I was extremely impressed with last week’s episode, Neighbors from Hell. The season appears to be upping the ante and topping new heights when it comes to quality throughout each episodes. Here’s hoping “11/9” continues to follow and build upon its preceding episodes. After my first runthrough of the episode, it became apparent that John J. Gray decided to separate this episode into three equally astounding sections, with a brief preface occurring at the beginning. Therefore, my recap will be following this formulaic approach. Without further ado, let’s delve right into the recap!
Director: Gweneth Horder-Payton, Writer: John J. Gray
Election Night 2016
The episode begins by taking us back to the notorious election of 2016, where all of the main characters of our show conveniently live in a close enough radius to have the same voting station. Our girl, Beverly Hope, is doing some coverage of the race when we see everyone’s favorite bitch, Emma Roberts, walk up. She is a fellow newswoman named Serena, and of course, she is incredibly mean. It seems to me that Emma Roberts has been typecast as “the bitch," at least in Murphy’s projects. She’s played a cruel person in all of her AHS roles and also had a two season stint of Murphy’s Scream Queens where she was a sorority diva. Serena and Beverly engage in some friendly name-calling and throw shade at one another eloquently.
As we pan down the line, we see Ivy and Ally standing in the line preparing to cast their vote. Further down, Winter and her fellow dropouts and die-hard Hillary fans are shouting, “This pussy grabs back!” relentlessly. Harrison and Meadow are shown next, and Meadow comments that people should be able to pass a test in order to obtain voting rights. Me too, Meadow. Me too. Personally, Meadow thinks she’s equipped to vote for the Golden Globes or the Emmys, but she feels that she wouldn’t pass this aforementioned test.
Finally, Ally and Ivy make it to the voting stands. Ivy briefs Ally on not making any protest votes or anything...mmhmm. That seemed to work out well for Ally. They begin to show everyone casting their votes, the highlights of this being Meadow writing in Oprah as our next president and Winter taking a selfie with her ballot. We also watch Ally debate between picking Jill Stein or Hillary. The ominous music that accompanies it really brings her internal struggle to life.
Kai now runs in and takes a familiar man with one arm to the voting station, yelling at everyone to let Gary through because he needs to cast his vote. Ivy ducks out really quickly once she sees him, but it’s not made clear why she does this just yet. This is the same man who was in the grocery store, sporting his “Make America Great Again” cap whilst Ally was bombarded with fornicating clowns on electric scooters. Gary is able to cast his vote, and he holds up his stub and declares, “Welcome to Trump’s America, motherfuckers!”
Part I: Harrison & Kai
It is now 11/9/2016, making sense of the title of this episode. Kai is at the gym when we see Harrison walk up and introduce himself as Kai’s personal trainer. Harrison explains his gratitude to Kai, as he had many clients drop him due to post-election economic paranoia. While they’re working out, Kai goes on a spiel about how he doesn’t like labels like “straight” or “gay” because they further separate people. He mentions that a man with no labels is a man who inhabits true allegiance.
Their chat is interrupted by Harrison’s douchey boss Vinny who forces him to “clean up aisle four”, a euphemism for cleaning up the um...residue from men who pleasure themselves in the stream room. Kai thinks that it’s absolutely humiliating that Harrison’s boss makes him do this simply because he’s gay. While Harrison is cleaning up the steam room, the door closes and the infamous smiley face we have all come to fear appears on the door.
Back at the old Wilton household, Meadow is sitting on the couch drinking rosé while watching television. I don’t know if the characters in this show just really like rosé or if it’s supposed to signify something. Meadow is incredibly upset because their house is being foreclosed upon. Harrison argues with her and places the blame entirely on her shoulders due to the fact that she’s supposed to be the one who handles the bills.
At work the next day, Vinnie says that Harrison needs to make Kai book more sessions or else he will be fired. I have really come to dislike this guy in the few minutes that I’ve known him. Harrison explains his predicament to Kai and Kai says that being “nowhere” or being out of a job is a great place to be because he can go anywhere from there. Kai is very adept at spreading hope and recruiting people to his cause in a subtle way.
In the wake of another “clean up on aisle four” situation, Kai comes in and, while drawing the smiley face, empowers Harrison to get his life back.
Harrison walks in on Vinny lifting weights and sprays him in the eyes with cleaning solvent. This causes Vinny to drop the weight on his shoulders. Kai is now in Harrison’s ear provoking him and Harrison pushes the weight down on Vinny’s shoulders and we hear a disgusting bone crunch. Kai congratulates him, saying that he changed his life and that he’s proud to call him a friend. Since Vinny didn’t die from that awful bone crunching noise after all, Harrison finishes off by bashing his head in with a weight.
After the fact, Harrison is freaking out about all of this, but Kai has this shit covered. He uses Vinny’s phone to text all of the coworkers that he’ll be out of town due to an “emergency” and Kai hacks the computers and deletes the security footage. Kai somehow also knows that Vinny has no family. When Harrison questions Kai’s advanced level of knowledge about everyone’s lives, he responds by saying he’s been watching them for a long time. Kai says to Harrison that he’s going to wipe out everything he knows and build something bigger and better than he could ever imagine.
Meadow is walking back to their dingy apartment and asks some random dudes for a hit and that she’ll have sex with them for it because she ran out of Xanax. These men realize how pathetic she is and they just give her the entire joint. Winter walks into the bathroom and she sees Harrison decapitating Vinny while Kai is giving him a DIY tutorial on how to dispose of a dead body. Meadow exclaims, “Just when I think my life can’t get any worse…”
She sees Kai in the corner of the bathroom and asks who he is. Harrison responds with, “Someone to believe in.”
Part II: Kai and Beverly
We leap forward to December 2016 when we see Beverly and her news crew pull up to a landfill. Um, let me just say something. What “Michigan” are they in? If it was truly December in Michigan, this landfill would be devoured by snow, so much so that they would not be able to find this headless torso. I understand that this was filmed in Los Angeles, but as a resident of Michigan, I find it unrealistic that the landfill wouldn’t be entirely covered in snow.
Beverly covers the headless torso, which presumably belongs to Vinny. However, she seems very chipper about this whole macabre and morose story. It is now revealed to us that she’s back after a month away due to a mental breakdown. Beverly says, “It’s great to be back”, and Kai rewinds it over and over while popping a couple Adderalls. He walks closer to the screen and we see his eyes gleam. It’s not hard to tell something about her intrigues him and we wants her to be part of his clown clique. Kai grabs his laptop and does some research about Beverly’s breakdown.
While she was doing interviews and coverage, random people in the background would come in and yell, “Grab her right in the pussy!”, which is a clever combination of the viral news clip of a random bystander yelling and Trump’s “locker room talk”. After the third or so time it happens, Beverly uses her microphone as a weapon and threatens to grab the juvenile teens right in their pussies. As most things eventually become, Beverly’s breakdown was turned into a video remix.
The video Kai is watching now transitions into a video of Serena covering personal details about Beverly’s mental health and which psychiatric facility she’s staying in. Due to the fake love Serena displays, you can tell this coverage was probably her idea, as most news stations would never cover something so confidential.
Serena is now seducing Bob when Beverly walks in like the bad bitch that she is. Bob forces Bev to remove several minutes off of her important piece about Michigan’s ten most dangerous places to spare time for Serena’s wine tasting. Beverly then says the week's best line to Serena, “Sucking dick is no way to build a career, sweetheart.” On her way out, she slashes Serena’s tires, but Kai appears and gives her some helpful DIY tips regarding how to efficiently slash tires. Kai is really just the DIY king.
He takes Beverly out for a cup of coffee at The Butchery on Main, giving her a lecture about the importance of fear in an attempt to recruit her into his group. He introduces himself, divulging to the audience for the first time that he is a Yale graduate with a double degree in political science and women’s studies. Winter also mentioned she was studying women’s studies in Episode 1, but she studied at Vassar. Oh, and Kai also graduated in three years, as if the other credentials weren’t impressive enough. Kai also mentions his interest in being on the city council. Beverly tells him it’s full, but the murder of Councilman Chang makes sense, and was most likely premeditated in this moment. Beverly describes her rage as wanting to be the last one on Earth merely so she can watch everyone else die. She has a dark side that’s finally being revealed.
We now cut to Serena at a puppy jamboree in Brookfield Heights, which is the city in Michigan where all of this is taking place. Maybe they told us about this already, but it’s news to me. While Serena is recording, a group of three clowns appear. She says something sassy and sarcastic about the clowns and the three of them stab her and the cameraman alone. Honestly, thank god the puppy was okay.
Meadow is showing Kai some clown masks when Beverly runs down to his basement and asks him if he had anything to do with it. Kai admits to it, and I am beginning to believe that the three clowns were Meadow, Harrison, and Kai. At this point, Beverly finally believes in him, although she said she wouldn’t earlier. We are now taken to Beverly, who is in charge of all the coverage in lieu of Serena’s murder. She is talking about finding a severed head that is assumed to belong to Vinny. However, she has a specific confidence in her, the kind that can only be conjured up through Kai’s alluring ways.
Part III: Ivy & Winter
We are now transported to November 7th, 2016, the day before the election. Ivy is pushing Ally to go to a rally with her in order to solidify Hillary’s win as much as possible. However, Ally can’t picture a world where Trump is going to win the election, so she foregoes the event.
When Ivy arrives, she engages in a fight with Chaz Bono, who has two hands at that moment in time. It escalates by him sexually assaulting her. Winter intervenes and yells at him. When she calls the police he begins to run away. Winter chases him, but even though she is unable to catch him, she sees the Field’s Market logo on the side of his truck and begins to plot her revenge. Winter and Ivy go out for some food and get to know each other a little better. Ivy takes her to her restaurant and explains her internal disappointment of letting Gary get away with violating her. Together, her and Winter devise an amazing plan and I am living for it.
At Field’s Market, it’s closing time and Gary spews more of his Trump bullshit to his coworker on her way out. While walking around the store, Gary finds Winter eerily standing in the aisle. She’s searching for tape in order to tie somebody up. Ivy comes behind Gary and tases his misogynistic, white-privileged ass. Winter punches him and prepares to tie him up. This scene is just too iconic.
I absolutely love Winter and Ivy as a team. They are now in some dark basement and Gary is handcuffed and tied to a pole. They are leaving him there just in time for him to miss voting, which is so petty and I absolutely love it.
When Winter returns home, Kai finds blood on her. He asks what it was from, and she responds by saying she hurt someone and it felt fucking fantastic. When she tells Kai more about it, he feels obligated to come and “help” Gary. Gary is giving him all these instructions about going to his grocery store and getting tools, but Kai simply hands him a saw and uses the power of politics to motivate him to use the saw. Gary goes all 127 Hours on his hand and Kai watches. The episode ends.
Wow. Just wow. This episode was honestly so brilliant in every single way. I loved the concept of dividing the episode into three separate and crucial segments. Overall, I am absolutely in love with Kai’s character. Evan Peters is playing him to the hilt and it is my favorite role of his thus far. Even though I like Emma Roberts, I’m definitely not going to miss her typical bitchy character. I absolutely love Beverly’s dark side and Adina Porter’s performance as Bev. Overall, this episode was executed so masterfully and I am proud to say this season is shaping up to be a great one. 11/9 was by far my favorite episode of the last three seasons. Let’s hope next week's episode, “Holes," continue to help the season strive and possibly explains Ally’s hatred of holes to us!
Though much too modest to admit it himself, Jonah is perhaps the world's preeminent AHS expert. He loves talking film & television, building his fledgling vinyl and Blu-Ray collection, & having far too many coffee drinks. Jonah can often be found binge watching shows with his handsome one-eyed ocicat, Irving.