AHS Cult S07xE04 | 11/9

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-PaytonWriter: 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.

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    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!

Jonah Raleigh

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.

AHS Cult S07xE03 | Neighbors From Hell

     Thanks to my trusty pal IMDB, I was able to discover before watching this week’s episode that James Wong had written “Neighbors from Hell”. Wong is certainly no stranger to the American Horror Story realm, as he has produced and written multiple episodes. Some of his writing credits on the show include one of my favorite episodes, entitled “Orphans” from Freak Show. Which shows that Pepper’s role in Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities was ultimately a prelude to her time spent at Briarcliff, and divulges the true story of how Pepper ended up in the Asylum. Needless to say, I had quite high hopes for this episode after discovering James Wong was at the helm of it. I am hoping that this episode lived up to my expectations, and more importantly, continues to increase in quality as we move forward with the craziness that’s emerged thus far.

Neighbors From Hell

Director: Gweneth Horder-Payton

Writers: James Wong

     The episode begins with a narration of a person unbeknownst to us, describing her fear to us. She explains that her fear is always the same...she lies down in bed, her husband Mark will kiss her, and the whole world will go black. She feels as though she is in a coffin and is unable to get out. This woman explains that one night her husband kissed her and it felt like she was lying in a bed of daisies. We now return to reality, and it turns out this woman who was describing her fear is named Rosie, one of Dr. Vincent’s patients. She suffered from a condition called feretrophobia, or the fear of caskets and being buried alive. The origin of this fear was being locked in a cabinet by her father as a young girl. After her father’s death, she explains, she felt liberated and was able to conquer her fear with the help of Dr. Vincent. He congratulates her whilst giving her a very strange look that unsettled me...I think something is up with this man and I don’t like it very much.

    Rosie and Mark return to their house, and Mark goes in a separate room in order to prepare a surprise for her. When he doesn’t respond in a while, Rosie investigates the situation. Much to her dismay, she finds a group of killer clowns restraining Mark and placing him in a white coffin with red lining...there is one for her too. They are both drilled into these coffins and we see the red smiley face once more as the title sequence plays.

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     We see Ally in her house, moments after the Pedro incident. She is joined by Ivy and Detective Samuels. Ally expresses her concern that she is going to be sent to jail, but Detective Samuels explains that Michigan has a “stand your ground” law that allows residents to shoot people that are trespassing on their property. Ivy attempts to comfort an inconsolable Ivy with the fact that it was dark out. Ally adds that there were clowns strewn about the house that were terrorizing here, citing Oz as a witness, but nobody is really buying it. 

    Detective Samuels explains that Pedro was already a person of interest for Roger’s murder from last week, and says that it would make sense that he would be at her house at night. Thankfully, he takes Ally’s gun just in case the District Attorney wants to press charges. Ally is still incredibly traumatized, as she nearly goes into cardiac arrest when the power merely turns back on. She is afraid that Oz will be scarred by the memory of her shooting Pedro, but little does she know that he and Winter have seen much worse on the “dark web.”

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    The following day, Ally and Ivy pull up to their restaurant to see a group of angry protestors holding up signs of Ally’s face and mercilessly chanting, “No justice, no peace!” repeatedly. Across the street, Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) is covering this footage on the news. What up, girl?

    Ally simply cannot go into her workplace after this, as she is already a major basket case to begin with. Her and Ivy switch seats and Ally drives home. Before she drives home, however, Kai appears right outside of her window. She is fearful at this point, but Kai appears to be very friendly to her. He commends her bravery in shooting Pedro and tells her to never apologize for protecting her family. He promises to control this mob for her and tells her to have a nice day. Obviously, this nice demeanor is laced with ulterior motives, but it does seem to help Ally relax for the time being. 

    Once she’s back at home, she enjoys a glass of rosé midday. Harrison and Meadow knock on the door wearing grandiose sombreros. They berate her for killing Pedro, explaining that the sombreros they’re wearing represent how Ally sees all Hispanic people. On top of this, Harrison is also angry because she misused the gun that he gave her when he is to blame for this. When they first met Ally and Ivy, Ivy explained how paranoid Ally was and yet, he decided to give her a gun. He asks her how it feels to exercise her white privilege with absolutely no impunity and they throw Taco Bell coupons at her, giving her an opportunity to wallow in her white appropriation of Hispanic culture.

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     Ally and Ivy are in their bedroom watching news footage about the protestors, as it segues into coverage of Rosie and Mark’s murder. Apparently, they were left in the coffins for a full week, their bodies in the early stages of decomposition. Ally hears an engine revving outside her window and she sees a giant truck spraying some kind of green chemical gas into the air. 

    The next morning, Ivy enjoys a cup of coffee and sees Ally staring blankly out into their yard. Upon closer investigation of the situation, there are at least thirty dead crows in their yard, presumably dead because of the aforementioned gas.

    Winter walks in and Ally is still pissed off about Winter abandoning her during her time of need. Ivy defends Winter, explaining that none of it was her fault and Ally agrees to forgive her and take her back on as their nanny. According to Winter, there was a man outside that she assumed was here to interview for a position as Oz’s babysitter. This bitch just says, “I hope it’s okay, I just let him in!” Okay? They migrate into the living room where they find a large naked man who is apparently here for an ad that was placed about horny lesbians. Ivy is threatening this dude, taking full advantage of FX’s newfound ability to say “fuck” on cable television. 

    After they are traumatized by this event, they discover the ad placed online about them, and find out that the ad says they prefer Caucasian people and that Latin lovers are strictly prohibited. Ally is convinced that Harrison and Ivy are behind this scheme. We now cut to a phone call of Dr. Vincent reading the ad and talking to Ally about the best plan of action. Ally keeps taking the ad down, but it’s coming back up in a slightly reworded format. During this phone call, there is a very subtle thing I noticed that could foreshadow big things for this season. I will be discussing it in the Afterthoughts section of this recap for those who are interested. Dr. Vincent suggests that they should have an emergency session and that Ally could possibly benefit from an inpatient facility. 

    Ally pulls up to the restaurant, and again she is completely surrounded by these protesters who clearly have nothing better to do. This time, they barricade her car and refuse to move. Kai appears from this large crowd and simply shouts, “Enough!” They magically back away from Ally’s car. Kai seems to be upholding this promise of protecting Ally, but I am just waiting for him to turn on her.

    Winter and Oz are in the house with his new pet, Mr. Guinea. As Ivy and Ally come into the room, they are immediately angered by his presence. On top of the fact that they all have a sensitivity to his fur, their biggest red flag is that Mr. Guinea is a cisnormative pet name. According to Winter, Mr. Guinea was a sort of peace offering given by Meadow. However, it is quite obvious that this was a ploy to turn Ozzie against Ally. As Ally tells Oz to say his goodbyes to Mr. Guinea, he dramatically says that he wishes he could say his goodbyes to Ally. I am living for Oz’s pettiness right now. 

    Ally calls the Wiltons, who are apparently hanging out with Dr. Samuels for some reason. Harrison tells her that they got Mr. Guinea because Oz needs a man in the house, as he’s drowning in estrogen and white privilege in the Mayfair-Richards household. Meadow hangs up on her. Right in the middle of, “That bitch hung up on me!”, the green gas truck is driving down the street again. Ally, the nonsensical person that she is, runs in front of the truck and screams a bunch of things. Sweetie, I don’t think they can hear you! The truck doesn’t stop and Ally dives head-first into the curb trying to dodge it. 

    We now cut to a very crucial scene in Cult, a meeting between Kai and Meadow. They perform the pinky ritual that has been very prevalent in the previous episodes, and Kai asks Meadow what she’s most afraid of. Meadow says that her biggest fear is that Sonja from Real Housewives has a drinking problem. Kai bitchslaps her in response to this bogus answer. Truly, her biggest fear is that Harrison is turning against her by befriending Detective Samuels. Seeing that Kai is now convening with Harrison and Meadow makes all the more sense to his plan. Instead of treating Ally poorly, he is winning her over through his ability to control the masses. Conversely, Harrison and Meadow are terrorizing her when they were incredibly sweet to her just last week. Oh, how the tables have turned. Kai says that if she wants to be somebody, then she has to make the world wrong.

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     Ally is having blood work done in order to determine what exactly the green gas substance was. She was sprayed by it in her feeble attempts to stop the truck. Ally agrees to let Ozzie keep Mr. Guinea, despite his cisnormative name. Once all three of them arrive home, they see the red smiley face painted on their door. Oz, like a stupid hoe, runs into the house. In his search for Mr. Guinea, he finds that he has been microwaved, and now more closely resembles the inside of a Hot Pocket than a guinea pig. Ally storms over to the Wiltons, assuming that they are behind this scheme. She punches Harrison directly in the face and threatens to kill Meadow, too. The Wiltons inform her that the red smiley face on their door signifies that they have been marked by the killer, despite Ally’s assumption that they drew it on the door.

    On their way out, Oz notices that the Wiltons have also been marked by the killer, but Ally decides not to tell them in order to maintain her passive-aggressive contempt towards them.

    Across the street, there are some men in masks spraying the green substance in the Mayfair-Richards’ yard. Ally interrogates them and she rips one of their masks off to reveal another mask: the red smiley-face. Damn, whoever is wearing those masks must be really warm and probably has trouble breathing. Ally falls to the ground in dramatic flair. 

    We now see a “pinky meeting” between Kai and Harrison. Kai asks him what his biggest regret in life was. Harrison responds by saying it was marrying Meadow. He then divulges to Kai that he wishes Meadow were dead.

    Ally, now with Detective Samuels, is attempting to explain the relevance and connection of the smiley faces and Mr. Guinea, placing the blame on the “neighbors from hell”. This explanation is interrupted by Oz gasping upstairs. Ivy and Ally go to his room and discover that a certain link has bothered him. They demand to see the link and it’s a video on “”, Oz’s favorite dark website, of Winter seducing Ally in the bathtub. Ivy is incredibly angered by this and bitchslaps Ally as a result. They have a huge fight over this, obviously, and Ozzie and Ivy leave Ally alone in the house. 

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    Across the street, Harrison is being questioned by the police. He’s very confused, as he was simply sleeping and rolled over to be covered in blood. They tell him he needs to calm down, and he replies by telling them they need to “calm up”. Harrison accuses Ally of being the killer and being up to some Gone Girl shit. It is now relayed to us that Meadow is missing, right after Harrison admitted to Kai that he wanted her dead. Harrison gets arrested, and Oz is in the house by himself again, looking quite mortified. Now, all three of them are in their house and stare up at a red smiley painted on the inside of their house. Uh oh…


     I am very pleased to say that this episode lived up to my expectations of it, and this season seems to be following the trend of gradually increasing quality through each episode. This episode delivered some very memorable quotes, alongside an interesting facade that Kai put up, and the revelation that Kai has now reigned in Harrison and Meadow to his cause. I have heard many theories that Ivy was simply gaslighting Ally and that she was going to turn on her, but after further inspection, I have conjured up another speculation about one of our characters.

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    I have a feeling that Dr. Vincent is in cahoots with the evil clowns. I know this may sound far-fetched, but trust me, it really isn’t. With the death of Rosie and Mark, the killer clowns used the exact fear of Rosie in order to kill them. This fear was something that Dr. Vincent knew in strict confidentiality and wasn’t just random information that could’ve been acquired on the street or online. This wouldn’t be the first time that Sarah Paulson confided in a sketchy psychiatrist...think back to Dr. Thredson (aka Bloody Face) in Asylum. The recurring symbol of this season is quite literally a bloody face, and the clowns use the fears that Dr. Vincent is aware of to prey on their victims. Like Dr. Thredson, Dr. Vincent has a layer of mystery to him that has yet to be revealed to us. He could very well be running the entire group of clowns. On top of this evidence, I also saw a very interesting thing that many people probably didn’t catch…

     While he is talking on the phone to Ally, he is simultaneously pushing around a bunch of buttons with smiley faces on them. This was very subtle, but it could very well serve as foreshadowing for the identity of the main clown killer. I thought this was a nice touch, and am super excited to see if the idea I conjured up is in fact valid.

Thanks for reading,


Jonah Raleigh

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.

AHS Cult S07xE02 | Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Well, another season premiere has come and gone, as well as the pre-season hype and anticipation we were all feeling. Personally, I am quite entranced by the season premiere episodes. The underlying questions and the overwhelming amount of information being introduced to me doesn’t allow me to see the episode in a clear sense. However, by the second episode, I have reached a point of clarity and am able to understand what this season has to offer in the weeks to come. As Ally’s post-election fears and Kai’s master plan further ensue, I am hoping Murphy and Falchuk, alongside their team of talented actors, writers, cinematographers, etc. can make this season one of the strongest in the anthology.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Director: Liza Johnson

Writers: Tim Minear

The episode begins with the same eerie shot of Ally and Ivy’s bathtub we saw in the last episode. Ally, after asking if Ivy could hear the noises in their room, is startled by a creature in a creepy mask.


Okay, sorry to interrupt this recap here, but please excuse me as I go off on a quick tangent. I very much enjoy watching all of my television and movies with subtitles. My hearing is not an issue, but I personally like to read the words as they come across the screen at the same time as watching the media. When I was watching this episode, the subtitles that were describing the action during this scene read, “Clown appears.” I don’t know if it’s just me, but this doesn’t appear to be a clown to me. This creature does not possess any of the conventional traits of a clown. I don’t see a zany hairstyle, nor do I see any makeup resembling that of a clown. This creature, whatever it may be, is incredibly scary-looking, but I just am not buying that it is a clown.

As I was saying, Ally is startled by this unknown creature, and bolts down the steps in order to escape. She grabs a knife, and Ivy attempts to call the cops, a rational response to this situation. However, Ally brings up the point that Oz is upstairs, and Ivy’s maternal instinct level quite literally goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of milliseconds. Ivy grabs the knife, shielding a cowering Ally behind her, as they investigate. It should come as no surprise that they end up seeing nothing, and Ally begins to break down, claiming that she doesn’t know how much more of this she can take.

We quickly move into a scene with Oz, containing slow and menacing shots of his room that let us know that something frightening will soon occur. The camera hones in on his illuminated night light being switched off by a dirty gloved hand that could only belong to everyone’s favorite serial killer clown, Twisty! Oz appears to wake up and attempts to turn his night light back on, only to be startled by Twisty, who screams in his deformed dialect, “Scream and I’ll kill you!” Oz runs under his bed and is startled by the same creepy mask “clown” that we saw scare Ally. Oz runs and hides in his bathroom, behind his translucent shower curtain. Well, we know he’s not going to be winning any rounds of hide-and-seek any time soon. Twisty and his partner in crime gaze intensely at Oz.


Ally and Ivy are interrupted by Oz’s scream and immediately rush to his room. Ivy reassures him that what he was fretting about what simply a night terror, but he truly isn’t buying it. He continues to speak about how the clowns are going to kill him. Ally, being no stranger to these clowns and their wicked ways, attempts to comfort him. Oz bluntly pushes her affection to the side, claiming that he wants “Mom” whilst leaping into Ivy’s arms. This answers Winter’s question about whether Ally or Ivy was Oz’s biological mother.

Our next scene begins with some news footage of the harrowing video, filmed after Kai terrorized the innocent Hispanic men. There is a familiarity in the voice of the news anchor that I noticed. I was quickly able to deduce (through the “Guest Starring” section) that this was none other than AHS alum Adina Porter. Although Roanoke was definitely not my favorite season, I did enjoy Porter’s performance as Lee, alongside her brief two-episode stint as one of Ben’s clients in Murder House. I am excited to see her role as an anchorwoman expand and sprout as Kai’s plan continues to capture the attention of local news stations. We also learn that the men who hit Kai are being held in ICE and they are either going to stand trial or be deported. Kai uses this opportunity, however, to run for city council and take Tom’s place since he was murdered by the clowns. Kai’s plan seems so premeditated and meticulous that it almost leads me to believe that he set up the murder of Tom and Marilyn.


Ally is now in her house, looking across the street to see a moving truck and a man in a hazmat suit moving a countless amount of barrels of an unknown substance into the garage. Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman are spotted, inferred to be the new neighbors. Ally, her interest piqued due to how soon someone has moved in after the Chang’s alleged murder-suicide, decides to do some sleuthing. Without the slightest semblance of subtlety, she walks onto their front porch and looks in their front window. Billy Eichner asks, “Can I help you?”, in an incredibly curt tone. Ally walks away and we see perhaps the bitchiest look being exchanged in the history of American Horror Story.

We are now taken to the kitchen of The Butchery on Main, where one of Ivy’s trusted employees, Roger, is giving orders. One of the workers in the kitchen, Pedro, is speaking Spanish, and Roger gets incredibly infuriated. Pedro calls him a “pendejo”, the English equivalent of a dumbass. This causes Roger to point a ladle a Pedro, escalating to Pedro responding by raising his knife. A fight nearly occurs, but Ally intervenes. Roger explains that Pedro needs to be fired, but Ally voices her concern about firing an immigrant in this political climate.  

Winter arrives at the Mayfair-Richards household after picking up Oz from school. She asks him if there’s anything wrong, claiming that he’s been “throwing shade” ever since he got out of school. Winter gives him an iconic Twisty figurine, under the pretense that he will not tell his moms about it. Oz is afraid that the clowns may come back for him, as he was a witness to their murder in the Chang household. Winter responds to this by performing the same exact pinky ritual with Oz that we witnessed between her and Kai in the previous episode. She says that they’re connected now, and she’ll know if he’s lying. Winter asks him a series of questions about his fear, and in turn, she offers to take it for him so that he no longer has to keep it. As a result, she explains, they’ll both be stronger. Ally and Ivy return home, calling out Oz’s full name, which is Ozymandias. There is definitely some hidden meaning and possible foreshadowing in this name, which I will be further delving into in my “Final Thoughts” category.

Oz is apparently across the street; Winter sent him over there to see the new neighbors’ beekeeping setup. Ally, the worry wart that she is, sprints over and starts freaking out, most likely due to the holes in the honeycomb. I am eager to learn what it is about the freaking holes that bother her so much! Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman introduce themselves as Harrison and Meadow Wilton. After some banter about Ally’s paranoia and introductions between the two couples, Ally asks the Wiltons why they moved in so quickly after the Changs were murdered. Harrison explains that due to their previous history with foreclosure and bankruptcy, they wanted to move into a house that was flawed because they were more likely to attain it. Ally finds it weird that the Changs were renting; I find it more intriguing that the person they were renting from could easily be in cahoots with the Wiltons and the evil clowns!

Harrison begins to explain his attraction to the beehive. He admires the beehive to such a full extent due to the fact that every single member of the community is committed to a uniform and singular task. This leaves no room for self-indulgence. This unity definitely sounds cult-related to me, and it explains the beehive pictures that American Horror Story has been marketing. The four of them move inside as Meadow explains her ongoing battle with the sun and her undying love for Nicole Kidman and Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade. It is revealed that Harrison is actually gay, but they are married due to a pact they made, pledging that if neither one was married by thirty-five, they would marry one another. They drop some hints about their location, mentioning cities like Northville and Detroit. As Ally and Ivy exit the Wilton household, they witness the disturbing and poorly painted-over smiley face symbol and blood-stained hardwood flooring.

Right before bedtime, a notification appears on Ivy’s phone indicating that the alarm inside the restaurant has been triggered. Ivy is just about to go when Ally offers to. Um, excuse me? Are you okay, sweetie? This plot twist is almost as severe as when it was revealed that Oliver Thredson was Bloody Face. Ally goes in and disarms the system, but hears some rummaging around in the meat locker. She walks in only to see Roger’s nearly lifeless body dangling from the meat hooks.


Presumably a few days later, we see bars being installed around side the Mayfair-Richards household, as Ally stares off into the distance. Dr. Vincent appears with genuine concern due to Ally missing some of her meetings with him. Ally is somehow convinced that she is responsible for Roger’s death, despite the fact that she merely tried to help him and obviously whoever hung him up there in the first place is solely responsible for his demise. A flashback depicts that Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) has a hunch that Pedro did it, due to the debacle in the kitchen, but Ally and Ivy explain that Pedro couldn’t have done this. Ally explains that she feels vindicated and actually is thankful for all of her phobias, as many things she has been terrified of have been incredibly rational. We view another flashback of Ally purchasing a gun from the Wiltons. Hmm..they sure do have a vast range of interests and hobbies. Ally pulls out her gun and shows it to Dr. Vincent. Honestly, I don’t think Ally should have a gun. When left in the wrong hands (i.e. Ally, an incredibly anxious and scared person ready to act based on impulse), a gun is an incredibly dangerous weapon. The scene ends with Ivy and Dr. Vincent discussing Ally’s current state. He explains that Ally seems to be exhibiting signs of agoraphobia...

We hear a knock on the door, which enables Ally to grab her knife. I’m sure these clowns pose a real threat to her in broad daylight. Kai appears, behind a newly-installed metal door that resembles a prison cell. He announces his campaigning, referencing to last week’s quote that he is a humiliated man who needs a chance to redeem himself. Ally immediately recognizes him from the latte incident, but continues to listen to his spiel after his poorly-worded apology. He asks her when the last time she truly felt safe was, and she struggles to answer. He quotes some bullshit facts he found on Facebook linking illegal immigrants with 40% of all crime. Ally says that she wants to build bridges and not walls, and politely tells him to buzz off. Kai questions all of her safety precautions and challenges her previous statements. He bangs on her door and gives her quite a good fright. Although, scaring Ally isn’t that hard. Just put her in a room with a sponge and she’ll freak out about all the holes in it.

Oz is ready to go to sleep after Winter asks if he needs to be tucked in “or any shit like that”. He inquires her about his dreams. He has a hard time differentiating his dreams from reality. Winter simply suggests asking the subject of his dream if he is asleep or not. Across the house, Winter notices that Ally is uptight, although to be fair, anybody would be uptight after you creep up behind them and dig your hand into their shoulder. Ally explains that she doesn’t want to take her pills, and Winter offers a glass of red wine and warm bath instead. Winter thoughtfully draws her a bath, not without ulterior motives. Winter attempts to seduce Ally, her motives truly unknown, as the alarm goes off.

Harrison rushes to the door with candles and chants, “Lesbians, we’re under attack!”. Apparently, there has been a terrorist attack and eight states have lost power simultaneously. He advises them to simply stay inside until this all blows over. Winter wants to go back home, in order to protect her belongings. Ally is a total basket-case at this point. She begs and pleads, doing everything in her power to get Winter to stay. Unfazed by this alleged terrorist attack or Ally’s grandiose displays of fear, Winter strolls out casually. Ally and Ivy have a brief phone conversation before Ally’s phone dies. Ivy, across town at their restaurant, asks Pedro to bring her a bunch of candles and a charger...I think we can all see where this is going. Ally is walking around the house when she sees the infamous ice cream truck pull up across the street. In lieu of an alarm system, she puts furniture in front of her windows and uses the classic “chair under the doorknob” trick we’ve all used once or twice. When looking at her power boxes, she notices that her fuses are cut. She turns and sees a creepy clown!  Now this is a clown, people! It’s got the creepy face of makeup, the wacky green hairdo, and the positively sinister smile.


Ally starts to run for Oz now, but there’s some demonic creature at the top of the stairs. Ally pushes her over the edge of the railing effortlessly and wakes Oz up from his slumber. She runs through the house with him and prepares for them to sprint away from the house. Pedro is right in front of the door as it opens, and like the irresponsible gun owner she is, Ally shoots him. The episode ends after showing Oz’s horrified face and Ally’s instant regret.


Despite seeing more of the same when it comes to Ally’s character, I am pleased that “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” at least provided some more insight into the motif of bees throughout the season and the idea of the cult as a whole. I am interested in seeing how much further Ally will deteriorate before she eventually does something even more drastic than shooting an innocent bearer of iPhone chargers and candles. I also am excited to learn more about Kai’s plan and see some more of Winter and Oz’s interactions. Also, I totally want a Twisty Figurine. Not a Funko Pop Twisty, a legitimate Twisty figurine like the one Winter gave Oz.

Speaking of Oz, let’s talk about his name: Ozymandias. Ozymandias definitely sounded familiar to me, and through some research, I learned that it was the name of one of the final episodes of Breaking Bad, but ultimately originated through a dark and ominous poem. The name Ozymandias translates to “a tyrant, a dictator, a megalomaniac, a colossus”. The author of this poem, Percy Bysshe Shelley, essentially aimed to convey a social commentary on the reckless arrogance that tyrants employ and how it essentially takes them nowhere in the end. Although Ozzy is far too passive at the moment to become a tyrant, his name could ultimately serve as a form of foreshadowing for how this season will turn out. Our main character, Kai, seems to be wanting a lot of power and clout, and he is dropping down incredibly low in order to get it. This could mean that Kai’s ending ultimately is pointless and that all of his power led him nowhere. We’ll see. I found that little easter egg very interesting, and something very few people may have noticed. I honestly didn’t even catch it until my second viewing of it, thanks to my handy subtitles.

I am really liking the characters Meadow and Harrison so far. Although their intentions have not yet been revealed to us, they are quite funny and interesting. They definitely have some memorable moments already, and hopefully they will make some more along the road.

Well, that’s all I have for this week, folks. I am hoping that next week’s episode, entitled “Neighbors From Hell”, keeps us on our toes and leaves us all with a plethora of thoughts and opinions to discuss.


Thanks for reading,


Jonah Raleigh

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.

AHS Cult S07xE01 | Election Night

As a long-time fan of American Horror Story, it’s become quite difficult not to set my standards for an upcoming season incredibly high. Each chapter in Murphy and Falchuk’s anthology is a chance to start fresh,  bringing along essential cast members for a new story in innumerable combinations of times and places. Messy conclusions are forgiven due to a sense of hope instilled within viewers that the next season can only top its predecessors and can provide more connections as to how all of these seasons are connected.

After last year’s increasingly confusing and mysterious marketing campaign consisting of endless trailers alluding to what the season could be, it was a relief for Ryan Murphy to announce in early February that season seven would be centered around the notorious Election of 2016. For many voters, this was a real American Horror Story. Although Murphy only leaked the general premise of the theme, when he later announced that this season would be entitled Cult, I was intrigued to see in which direction this season would go…

Election Night

Director: Bradley Buecker

Writers: Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk

The episode opens with a montage of various clips from the election, quickly jogging our memories and placing us back into our mindsets of last year’s election. The montage includes speeches from candidates Clinton and Trump, clashes between their respective supporters, and various new footage. Accompanied with a dark and leering instrumental, this invokes an ominous tone that prepares us for the season to come. A black screen appears with the iconic Willow font letting everyone know that it is “November 8th, 2016 - Election Night”, and now the story has truly begun.

Election Night.jpeg

Two main perspectives are magnified and satirized, switching from one to another as the election results are announced. As Trump’s win is announced, Kai Anderson (portrayed by the wonderful Evan Peters) excitedly chants to an empty living room, “Fuck you world!” and begins humping his television set. Conversely, Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) is screaming at the announcement of Hillary’s concession, wailing incessantly as her wife, Ivy, attempts to calm her down and reassure her and their confused son Oz that everything will be okay. Amongst these two grandiose reactions, it is revealed that our story takes place in Michigan, but no specific city was given as of right now. As Kai begins putting Cheetos in a blender, another character is introduced.


Winter, portrayed by Billie Lourd, is an English Lit/Women’s Studies major turned dropout and full supporter/campaigner for Hillary Clinton. Instead of screaming as the results are announced, she subtly cries until being startled by Kai whose face is covered in Cheeto powder and whose hair is positioned exactly like Trump’s. Besides the blue hair, the resemblance was truly uncanny. Kai and Winter lock pinkies in a gesture that will later be vaguely referenced to as she whispers, “I’m just so scared right now.” Kai responds bleakly, “Everyone is.”, and the title sequence begins.


Seemingly unrelated to our narrative thus far, a couple is shown having “a picnic”, or rather having sex, in the woods as the terrifying Twisty eerily walks up to them. He begins to pull out some of his toys from his trusty sack when the boyfriend starts shooting him. However, the immortal that he is, Twisty is unfazed and goes on to murder both of them. The camera pans out to Oz, reading a Twisty comic book under the covers of his bed. Ally comes into his room, suspecting him of looking at porn, but is incredibly horrified by the comic book, breaking down completely at the sight of it. Ivy, the trusty rock that she is, comes in to console Ally and Oz once again.

In the next scene, we are able to recognize Ally’s neighbor, Tom, who was with her when the results were announced, on the city council, listening to Kai’s speech that was completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Kai brings up the importance and value of fear within American society, citing examples of parents allowing their (somewhat irrational) fear of losing their children affecting the lives that their kids lead. He brings up that fear is chosen over freedom when it comes to Americans, and an outline of his master plan is revealed. On the outside, his plans seem to be one of an anarchist nature. However, through further explanation, he would like chaos to ensue until the extent that Americans are so afraid of the current state of the nation that they will fully entrust in the government for protection. His plan is made a mockery of by the city council, and he responds sordidly, “There is nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man.”

Presumably some time has passed, as Ally is meeting with her psychiatrist Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson). She divulges to him how much the election is affecting her, namely triggering all of her old phobias. Her fears of clowns, tight spaces, the dark, air particles, and most interestingly, her fear of Dr. Vincent’s coral decoration in his office. Something about the holes in are really getting to Ally? In addition to this, Ally reminisces how much better her life was when Obama was president, and how meeting Ivy helped her get over her phobias. Logically, Dr. Vincent prescribes her anti-anxiety medication, which she resists. However, after realizing how much her life is being affected and controlled by her phobias, she reluctantly agrees to take them.


It is now nighttime, and Ally is at the grocery store. However, she is so wrapped up in the fact that the cashier (Chaz Bono) is a Trump supporter that she doesn’t recognize how sketchy it is that literally nobody is in this store beside her. The real nightmare in this situation for her is the cashier sporting his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap. On her way to the dairy section, she witnesses two clowns fornicating in front of the fresh produce. There is another man with a haunting mask riding an electric scooter up and down the aisle ways. Instead of leaving the store, Ally decides to retaliate at these clowns/demons by attacking them with her weapon of choice: poorly thrown bottles of rosé. She bolts for the car and contacts Ivy only to find someone in her backseat. Unsurprisingly, the security footage only caught her throwing her rosé and nothing of what she was explaining. This begs the question, “Are these clowns figments of her imagination, or are they ghosts terrorizing her?”

We are now in Ally and Ivy’s business they co-own, called The Butchery on Main. Apparently, Ally has not shown up for work since the election, which messes with their agreement of Ally being Front of House and Ivy being in the kitchen. Ally, in a panicked state, escalates this into a fight about their marriage and sex life. Within this sequence, it is disclosed to us that Ally actually voted for Jill Stein, because she felt as though she couldn’t trust Hillary. This makes her reactions to the election seem even more unjustified and over the top than they already were. If she really hated Trump that much, did she really believe voting for The Green Party would’ve held more power than voting for Hillary? Out in the street, Kai spills coffee on them, causing a fight between him and Ally, who are strangers as far as we know. The scene concludes with Kai’s memorable line, “Enjoy your latte, bitch.”


We now see Winter applying for a job to be Oz’s nanny and meeting Ally and Ivy. This is juxtaposed with a conversation with Winter and Kai that also includes their locking of pinkies. This conversation was a flashback, as her and Kai are in cahoots now. Winter explains to her prospective employers that her proudest moment was being retweeted by Lena Dunham, which I found to be interesting, as she is set to be on this season. Moments after, we see Winter explaining her most humiliating moment to Kai. We watch her spout off bullshit about “loving children” to Ally and Ivy at virtually the same time as we see her telling Kai that children are what fill her heart with dread most. This was a very nice touch in my opinion, as it displayed the veneer that Winter is putting on for Ivy and Ally, and exposing her rotten core right off the bat to us.

Cut to Kai provoking a group of Hispanic men. He uses derogatory terms to refer to them and says that because Trump’s president, they’re no longer welcome here. To top it all of, he pulls out a condom from his backpack, urinates in it, and proceeds to throw it at these group of innocent men. He understood that this would be the final straw, and he allows them to beat him up, as the camera pans out to an iPhone recording the fight. Hmm…

Kai Scene.jpeg

As Ally and Ivy are trying out new plates at the restaurant, Winter is babysitting Oz. Quite predictably, she’s behaving much differently towards Oz than she was in her interview. On top of probing him with questions about his home life, she sees him drawing a picture of Twisty. She then asks him if he’s ever seen a real dead body and things go awry very quickly from this point on. She begins showing him videos on “The Dark Web” of people being murdered. Oz doesn’t really want to partake in this, but Winter explains to him that this video and what she’s teaching him is like a vaccination for his brain - at first it may hurt, but in the end it will make him stronger. This part was easily the darkest part of the season premiere, and made me more interested in Winter’s character.

An ice cream truck pulls up across the street containing the clowns that Ally has continually claimed to have seen and Oz’s interest is piqued. This lets us know that these clowns aren’t merely a hallucination on Ally’s part...but you never truly know with American Horror Story. Across town, Ally is scrolling through Donald Trump’s tweets and getting super triggered. She continues to hallucinate, seeing blood in her food and a clown masturbating. This sends Ally on a clown hunt all around the restaurant, while Ivy is trying (and failing) to console her and reassure her of the truth.

Later that night, Ally and Ivy arrive home to find caution tape and several emergency vehicles on their street. Naturally, they’re concerned that something is wrong with Oz, but it is explained to her that something happened with her neighbors, Tom (from city council), and his wife Marilyn.

We see Winter’s account of everything that happened, including her and Oz going up to the house and watching the clowns mutilate their neighbors and leave their signature smiley mark in the Chang’s blood. However, Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) tells Ally that this was most likely a murder-suicide. Ah, of course. The classic unreliable witnesses/inaccurate account of events that American Horror Story loves to throw at us.

The season premiere ends, rather anticlimactically, with Ally yet again being startled by the clowns.

Final Thoughts

Although there was a lot going on with this episode, I wasn’t particularly floored by it. Historically, American Horror Story  season openers have been very captivating and immersive into the theme and vibe of the season. However, there are so many directions in which this season could go that I’m not particularly sure if I understand the theme of it just yet. This episode wasn’t the worst episode of American Horror Story, but I definitely think as far as season openers go, this one was probably the weakest.

However, just because this season started off weak (in my opinion), does not necessarily indicate that all hope is lost. Typically, seasons of American Horror Story  start off incredibly strong and tend to lose quality and put a damper on the season as a whole by the very end of it. The mediocrity of this episode could very well mean that this season has much more in store for us yet, and could increase in quality as the season goes on rather than follow the typical trend.

All negativity aside, I did appreciate how this season hasn’t used the election as an entire concept to base the season around, but rather a starting off point for Ally’s mental deterioration and the subplots with Kai, Winter, and Oz. My favorite part of this episode by far was Twisty. I absolutely loved seeing him again, and am glad that he seems to have made his way into modern pop culture in the AHS realm. “Edward Mordrake: Part II” will always be one of my favorite episodes of AHS, as I loved seeing his background and learning that there was so much more depth and (above all) depravity to his character. I hope we see more of him in Cult!  I’m hoping next week’s episode, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, starts to explain more to us and continues to remain filled with clowns!

- Jonah

Jonah Raleigh

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.