After last week’s flashback episode, this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Cult returns back to the present where Beverly (Idina Porter) reports on Meadow’s (Leslie Grossman) continued disappearance. According to her boss Bob (Dermot Mulroney), however, Beverly is reporting fake news. When Beverly stands up to him, Bob fires her.
At the cult headquarters, Kai (Evan Peters) addresses his cult members including: Harrison (Billy Eichner), Winter (Billie Lourd), Gary (Chaz Bono), Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes), Beverly and surprising no one…Ivy (Allison Pill). By the end of their meeting they decide that their next murder must be public, and that Bob is going to be the victim.
None the wiser to her wife’s involvement in the cult, Ally (Sarah Paulson), confesses to Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) that her nightmares have gotten worse now that Ivy has taken Oz (Cooper Dodson) away from her. During her conversation with Dr. Vincent, Ally starts to realize that something has been amiss in her relationship with Ivy since before the election. Above all, she just wants to get her son back.
While Oz spends a night with a friend, Ivy spends the night with Winter. Ivy is ready to do anything now when it comes to radical action in order to make the country better for Oz and when they meet up with the rest of the cult, they are ready to do so. Dressed as clowns, the group invade Bob’s house with a video camera where they prepare to murder him. Their plans are stalled, however, when they discover a gimp in the attic, suspended from the ceiling by fishhooks. Kai is quick to kill the innocent. Bob comes next and the crew takes turns stabbing the news anchor. With inside knowledge, Beverly is quick to report on the murder. She releases to the public the video of the attack.
Following their attack, Beverly brings to Kai’s attention the weak link of the group: RJ (James Morosini), a character we literally met ten minutes ago.
Back at home, Ally notices suspicious happenings occur over at Harrison and Meadow’s, such as the not-so-secretive affair that Harrison is having with Detective Samuels. Not one for learning her lesson, Ally ventures across the street where she finds Meadow lying in an open grave.
Meadow begs for Ally’s help, but she runs away. So why’d she even go over there anyway? She returns home to call 911, but fails to get through. Instead, she calls Ivy who writes her off. Meadow starts pounding on the door and begs to be let in, giving up the details of the cult and its members. Maybe Meadow isn’t so into the cult anymore.
The cult meets again to discuss Kai’s sudden jump in the polls, but it’s not enough. He needs more. Their next course of action, is to kill RJ. With a nail gun. Ivy is most hesitant to commit the deed, so Kai puts the gun in her hands first. They each take turns until RJ is finally dead.
The episode closes with Beverly and Kai locking pinkies. Instead of Kai being in control, however, Beverly is. She calls him on his bluff and learns the true story of his past. Three years previously, Kai’s mother murdered his father and committed suicide to get out of the relationship. Kai’s brother covers up the murder. And who is this mysterious brother? None other than Doctor Rudy Vincent. They leave the bodies in their bed where Kai continues to visit the decomposing bodies, three years later.
Beverly brings Kai to tears and we’re left wondering, who is really in control of the cult now?
American Horror Story hasn’t been one to shy away from the most graphic scenes, but sometimes it feels like these scenes are there just because they can be. This episode featured much of this, particularly the murder of the gimp and the nail gun scene, an aside that offered little to the story overall.
With the backstory of the cult out of the way and the episodes less seemingly random, Cult is definitely still on an upswing, but only a slight one. With over the top violence and an undetermined final goal for the politically diverse cult, this upswing could easily start to turn back the other way.