Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

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Back on Earth-2—where everything is the same except for the clowns—there’s still been no sign of Pennywise. The clowns do return quickly, though, as this episode opens where the last ended, with Ally (Sarah Paulson) screaming in bed about a clown. When Ivy (Allison Pill) follows her up to the room with a knife, however, she finds nothing. In the room down the hall, Oz (Cooper Dodson) also has a scare with a clown, Twisty to be exact. But when his screams bring his mothers running, he realizes he’s just been dreaming.

The mysterious videographers of Kai’s provoked attack are revealed in a news report to be Harrison (Billy Eichner) and Meadow (Leslie Grossman). Kai (Evan Peters) succeeds in spinning the story to the point where he is painted as the victim and announces that he is running for city council now that the murdered Councilman Chang’s spot is open.

Looks like a politician to me

At the Butchery on Main, we meet Roger, Ivy’s sous chef, an angry man who demands that only English be spoken in the kitchen when he’s in charge. Pedro tells him off. Later that day, Winter (Billie Lourd) brings Oz home from school and gives him a Twisty doll and introduces him to the Pinky Promise game. If he confesses his fears to her, she will keep them for him.

By the time Ally and Ivy get home, however, Oz and Winter aren’t home. Instead, they are across the street at the neighbor’s house. A new couple, Meadow and Harrison, have moved into the old Chang house following the murder. Harrison is a gay beekeeper who married his skin cancer survivor best friend at age thirty-five as a result of a marriage pact. That night, Ally and Ivy get into a bit of pillow talk about the couple which is interrupted by a notification that the Butchery’s alarm system has gone off. Ally offers to go check it out.

At the Butchery, Ally turns off the alarm and wanders through the restaurant until she enters the meat cooler, where she sees Roger’s dead body. This time, Ally is not hallucinating. Through flashbacks during a surprise visit from Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), we learn that Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) and the police are trying to pin the murder on Pedro, despite Ivy and Ally vouching for his character.

Ally’s fears have gotten the best of her, and she’s installed a brand new security system. Behind Ivy’s back, Ally has also borrowed one of Harrison’s guns (he has plenty to spare). Even in the safety of her own home, when a knock comes at the door, Ally brings a knife with her to answer it. It’s Kai. Kai tries to convince Ally to vote for him for city council, and despite him being a charismatic speaker, she does not fall for it. Angry, Kai tries to scare her, and in this, he succeeds.

Nighttime comes, and Winter puts Oz to bed.  She tells him that if he sees a clown, he should ask it if he’s sleeping and he’ll know whether it’s a dream or not. Oz likes this idea. With the child in bed, Winter convinces Ally to take a relaxing bath instead of her medication. It’s so relaxing, in fact, that Winter scrubs Ally’s bare back in the bathtub, and maybe a bit more than her back.

I’d let Billie Lourd scrub my back too

Mid-bath, however, the power goes out. Harrison quickly arrives with beeswax candles and explains that it’s a terrorist attack and that eight states now have no power. Winter promptly leaves after this, despite Ally begging her not to.

Ally and Oz are then left alone in the house. Or, supposedly alone. When Oz wakes to see a clown, he asks if he’s sleeping and the clown, in a voice that sounds much like Evan Peter’s, assures him that he is.

After seeing an ice cream truck stop across the street, Ally grows frantic. She runs through the house away from clowns until she finds her gun. She then goes and wakes Oz up, explaining that they are going to run to the neighbors’ house.

As Ally explains her plan to her son, Pedro arrives at the door with supplies that Ivy has sent with him to help Ally feel safe. When Ally opens the door, gun at the ready, she is surprised to see anyone there and instinctively shoots. Pedro falls to the ground.

Closing Thoughts

The second episode of American Horror Story: Cult may pick up exactly where it left off, but it leaves a few things behind and for the better. While politics definitely come through in this episode, they do so in the form of Kai’s councilman run and Harrison’s insistence on buying guns before Obama outlawed them. The political references in this episode were more calculated and packed a better punch because of their timelines. 

This season of AHS is politically motivated, and politics will remain part of the story. With clowns running around and the confusion of whether or not they are real, though, the political landscape is becoming more of a background for a bigger story.

In the second episode, Harrison introduced us to the idea of the hive. While this new neighbor may have been referring to his bees, he could have been hinting towards something bigger. Did Harrison and Meadow film Kai’s attack to propel his bid for the council person’s spot? Is Kai the leader of this hive or a pawn himself? Could Ivy’s dismissal of both Ally’s and Oz’s clown visions be because she herself is part of the hive? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Images courtesy of FX

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