While previous American Horror Story seasons are part of the former category, AHS: Cult seemingly falls in the later. In addition, Murphy indicated that while his characters do have strong views about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that's not what the season is about. If creator Ryan Murphy was looking for a reason to stream this all at once, this is it: "Cult" pulls you in and doesn't let go.
The first episode of "Cult" wastes no time setting itself up: It's the oh-so-long-ago night of November 8, 2016, and a group of friends has gathered to watch election returns at the tastefully yuppified small-town MI home of Ally and Ivy Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson and Alison Pill), a nice lesbian couple who run a successful locavore restaurant on a quaint Main Street nearby.
Ever since the 2016 US Presidential Election, all we see is Donald Trump's face everywhere. Fuck you, Nate Silver!
On the other end of the spectrum, Kai, watching the news alone that same night, is ecstatic. As American Horror Story well knows, this goes far beyond everyday politics. But could the real evil of Cult actually be his sister Winter (Billie Lourd)?
Kai goes to her room, presumably to gloat, but then something unusual happens: they lock pinkies, implying some sort of pact between the two of them. It's an interesting first scene to say the least, and the best of the episode.
Cut to a few weeks later, and Ally is not doing well.
John Carroll Lynch will reprise his infamous role as "Twisty the Clown" Emma Roberts will return as a MI newscaster, Serina Belinda, alongside Adina Porter who plays Beverly Hope. "The white privilege that Sarah and Alison ['s characters] deal with is satirical as well".
"I'm a character actor, and I really like to do stuff that's kind of out there and edgy, and I don't want to be seen as anything when I'm acting", says Bono of not taking transgender roles specifically. Her phobias flare up once again, and she envisions the delicious soufflé Ivy made has turned into a bunch of chopped up fingers.
On the other side of things, Kai seems to be attending a city council meeting on whether to pay for security at a Jewish community center or not. "But as much as I hate him, I didn't trust her".
Warning: obvious, clown-filled spoilers ahead!
Either way, she runs out of the store and into her vehicle, where one of them is sitting in the backseat. Her relationship with Ivy is growing strained.
While Trump may be the starting point for AHS: Cult, the season is more about fear.
"It's very scary that night for many people".
Ally is scared because she's now anxious that her fear of clowns is affecting her son. In the only time they collide the entire episode, Kai diverts their attention by spilling coffee all over them in the street, and isn't very apologetic. Ally and Ivy look to hire a nanny, who is naturally exposed as rather shady so that the audience can be "in the know", and decidedly uncomfortable. Winter, of all people, is up for the job, after being prepped by Kai. In case that weren't creepy enough, and it is, she starts seeing clowns everywhere, and while insane clowns might also be enough, they're nothing compared to insane clowns having sex.
Did you spot Twisty attacking Oz in his bedroom? Ally moans. "Oh my God, how could they have been so wrong about this?!" She dials for help immediately in a panic but before she can do anything else, Twisty materializes in front of her.
Ally comes from her therapy session and enters a grocery store. So of course the show leaves us on a cliffhanger when Ally rolls over in bed and there's another one of those dang clowns right there beside her. "While Ms. Paulson and Mr. Peters commit to their characters' belief in their own derangements", James Poniewozik wrote in The New York Times, "'Cult' ends up rendering all political sides as caricatures". Trump may as well be the last of her worries.
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