The Cult’s Conscience: “Election Night”
If you were not aware, the seventh season of American Horror Story premiered on Tuesday, September 5 on FX. This season, entitled “Cult,” uses today’s political divide stemming from the 2016 presidential election as the premise to exploit fear and radical values.
While the vantage points on both the left and the right are portrayed in a hyperbolic fashion by producer Ryan Murphy, they are still plausible considering the political status of our world today.
In the opening moments, there is a montage of statements from Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and multiple news outlets. After the announcement of Trump’s victory, Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) opens the show isolated in his home and stating, “The revolution has begun.” Kai follows, in ecstatic fashion, I must say, aggressively dry-humping his television in triumph and blending Cheetos to spread across his face in honor of the president-elect.
Kai appears later, startling Winter Anderson (played by Billie Lourd) to boast more than he already has in solace. Winter and Kai do obviously share the same last name, but their exact relationship is unknown. With the absence of sexual activity, it may be easy to assume the two are siblings. However, the awkward pinky promise and dark confessions may lead you to believe this relationship is geared more down the “cult” route.
Meanwhile, Ally Mayfair-Richards (played by Sarah Paulson) dives into a dramatic depression at the realization of what has just occurred. Her worry is raised as she wonders if her marriage to Ivy (played by Alison Pill) can remain under a right swing of the governmental regime.
This political devastation then began to exploit Ally’s previously controlled irrational phobias, such as her fear of murderous clowns. (Uh oh, sound familiar?)
Yes, it’s true. Freak Show’s Twisty the Clown does return.
A couple is shown during a picnic turned sexual encounter. The female stalls, paranoid that they are being watched. With that said, the male decides to joke that the culprit of this delusional fright was none other than Twisty the Clown. Little did he know this was the truth.
Our favorite killer clown appears and the couple is understandably caught off guard. The male takes the matter into his own hands, pulls out his firearm, and fires a few shots direct to the chest of Twisty.
If you did not know this, you have some catching up to do, but I’ll give a refresher for everyone. Twisty cannot die because he’s already dead. In Freak Show, Edward Mordrake stabbed Twisty after he was chosen to walk with Mordrake’s spirit troop of freaks for all of eternity.
As you can imagine, it did not end well for the two lovers.
Like the unfortunate couple, Ally’s son Ozzy could not escape Twisty either. At least not in comic book form that is. Oz is caught reading his Twisty comic by his mother Ally. In the understanding of his mother’s fears, he attempts to hide the book but to no avail. Ally insists and at the sight of just the cover, she breaks down.
Meanwhile, Kai is at a city council meeting in order to speak against the extension of overtime hours for law enforcement to protect a Jewish community center. The reasoning behind his oppositional standpoint is his belief that fear is necessary. Kai essentially proposes that there be no protection, allowing chaos to reign free. As a result, people in fear would allow a form of limitless power to protect them from the violence. Needless to say, his efforts did not sway the minds of the voters and the motion passed. As Kai departs from the meeting he says, “There is nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man.” This entire exchange explains Kai’s schema and furthers the understanding behind his cult mentality.
AHS faithful Cheyenne Jackson returns as Dr. Rudy Vincent and gives Ally advice to control her fear. Ally does admit that election night was the trigger for a reemergence of her phobias, so Vincent suggests that she disconnect herself from society and social media. He stressed the importance of focusing on herself and starting to take a prescribed anti-anxiety pill (one that she tried to refuse).
Ally proceeds to the grocery store following this visit. Apparently, the entire town was at home watching a Trump speech, because the store was absent of life despite a clerk sporting the infamous “Make America Great Again” hat. Either the sight of this hat sparked a traumatic mental trip or what came next was real. Ally progresses throughout the store until she sees the two clowns having sex in the produce section. (Odd, right? It gets worse.)
After that, she is chased by a four-faced clown with a knife on an electric scooter while she throws bottles of wine at her attacker in defense. Ally finally makes out of the store safely in her car to call Ivy, only to notice a clown in her back seat. This unimaginable occurrence caused her to jolt the vechicle into one of the lot’s light poles. Ivy does respond to the call but says the clerk has no film evidence of clowns in the store. At the point, we do have to question if these evil-ridden jokesters are even real.
Until Ally says, “It’s like they knew my fears.”
This triggered thoughts of the only two people that would truly know her fears to our knowledge at this point – her doctor (doubtful suspect) and Ivy. Could Ivy be behind (and covering up) the attacks?
We find out that Ally and Ivy own a restaurant named “Butchery on Maine.” Ally is the company’s face and Ivy runs the kitchen. They sit down to talk over the status of their business; however, it is what happens when they leave that sparks interest.
As they depart from the restaurant, a discussion ensues illustrating Ivy’s discomfort that Ally casted her vote in the election for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Though an argument has commenced, they are momentarily interrupted as Kai walks by and purposefully spills his afternoon coffee on them. The encounter by all accounts is random, raising many unanswerable questions.
We find out nearing the end of the episode that Ally and Ivy’s nanny has disappeared, probably escaping the Trump presidency considering she was foreign. They put out an ad to hire a new nanny and, of course, the one they hire brings the reappearance of Winter.
Winter’s first night watching Ozzy almost comes off as a recruitment. Winter notices Oz’s drawing of Twisty the Clown and jumps right in. “Have you ever seen a dead body?” She went on to introduce Oz to the “dark web,” showing him videos of murder. Ozzy was hesitant to watch at first, but when pushed to continue he starts to seem intrigued.
When Winter goes to retrieve cookies for their viewing pleasure (there’s nothing better than murder and cookies I suppose), Ozzy noticed an ice cream truck parked across the street. Only the truck did not carry ice cream, it carried our clown friends from the grocery store. Verdict: they have been real the entire time.
The episode returns to a crime scene as Ally and Ivy search for their son. Ozzy explains a murder has taken place, committed by a group of clowns. He goes on to tell them he and Winter followed the group and witnessed their action from outside of the home. When Ozzy is sent away so the mothers can speak with their nanny, Winter destroys Ozzy’s truthful statement by using his imagination and infatuation with Twisty as a defense. The police then relay that they are seeing the case as murder-suicide.
In the final scene, we pan to what starts as a peaceful moment of Ally sleeping. Until she hears something startling. As she turns to confirm the sound with Ivy, well let’s just say it was not her wife lying next to her in bed.
Episode 2 of American Horror Story: Cult will show on FX, Tuesday at 10 p.m. eastern.