Did clowns have sex on some watermelons: No, but we did find out who is behind each mask so we know that it was Billy Eichner and Colton Haynes who brought us that delightful moment. Thanks guys! De-light-ful.
We have spent a lot of time wildly (and stupidly) speculating and theorizing about Cult. Sometimes it’s big plot points and other times it’s little things–like why is Colton Haynes’ hair bleached blonde, damn it!? This episode featured a lot of big reveals and some pretty big moments. Shockingly, we predicted a few correctly.
I guess the biggest jaw drop of the evening is supposed to be the first: Ivy is part of the cult. Dun-dun-duuuun! But seriously, we all saw this coming, right? Logically, it’s the only thing that made sense. I’ve been frustrated by Ivy’s actions all season, and the only way she’s not the dumbest person and the worst parent is if she’s in on the action. Finding out about her history with Winter last week (which, whoops, forgot to post a review, mea culpa) only cemented the idea.
Another big moment is the death of R.J. (James Morosini). I’m proud to admit I called this one. In the opening cult meeting scene, as soon as I saw him I had a “who dis?” moment and knew instantly he was disposable. Sure he was Beverly’s cameraman but I kinda (totally) forgot about him from the last episode. And even if he had been memorable, the only other thing we knew about him was he couldn’t handle looking at a dismembered body. Not grade-A cult material.
Kai’s backstory is by far the most effective big reveal, and I’ll admit it was unexpected. What was expected, however, was the reveal that Dr. Vincent is his brother. While we may not have known exactly how Vincent fit into things, it’s been clear that he, like Ivy, isn’t completely innocent. As soon as Kai says he called his brother after his parents’ murder-suicide, it was obvious who was going to show up. It’s still unclear how much Vincent is involved in the cult. But, as the old saying goes, the family that entombs their parents’ bodies in their bedroom in order to keep collecting pension and disability checks together stays together.
That scene also provided some nice shifts in power dynamics between Beverly and Kai. He did promise her equal power last week, and it was nice to see someone manipulating him for a change. It also makes Kai a little more human. There’s a beautiful contrast between the cult leader lecturing about the medulla oblongata and the young man crying over his parents’ deaths. I’m glad we got to see something more nuanced than just evil painted in broad strokes (even though that can be undeniably fun). Before the reveal of who the clowns were, it seemed pretty obvious that the one with three faces was Kai. I speculated that symbolically it represented his intentions. He’s playing both liberals and conservatives (classically two-faced), but really he has a completely different agenda (that third face). If we want to read the clown mask symbolically, I still think that’s a pretty good reading. We have now, however, seen two very different sides of Kai. Maybe there’s a third on the horizon.
Things with Meadow are still up in the air. Allie finds her alive in an open grave, and then later she comes to the house, ranting about the cult and everyone involved before being dragged away by someone unseen. This, however, doesn’t seem in line with the cult’s usual modus operandi (second time I dropped Latin in this review, and now we all know that Latin is scary). Kai takes care of R.J. swiftly and uses it as a teachable moment for the rest of the cult. What would be the point of leaving Meadow in an open grave? The rest of the cult also doesn’t seem to think Meadow’s dissenting. They ask Harrison where she is when the group meets, and he replies cryptically that she’s with a friend.
It seems more likely that the Meadow stuff is just to mess with Allie. Which brings us to big unanswered questions of Cult for me: Why is Allie being targeted so directly, and what actually is the point of this cult? These people are expending a lot of energy to torment one woman it seems. I mean sure, they’re doing other stuff, but Allie is getting a lot of their attention. I don’t really see the point, but I also don’t see how this cult can have cohesive goals anyway. We’ve got Mr. I-Will-Chop-Off-My-Hand-To-Vote-For-Donald-Trump on one side and Ivy and Winter who want to tear down the world that got Trump elected on the other. Kai and Beverly are clearly thinking less about current politics and more about the relationship between power, rage and fear. Harrison seems to just be blindly loyal to Kai. And who knows what bleached blonde cop wants. (And yes, I know his name is Detective Jack Samuels but do they ever say it in the show? Does anyone call him Jack? I’m assuming a Detective Samuels has been dropped at least once, but I don’t remember it.) Maybe he just wants to remake the world into a place where you can have sex in the produce section of a supermarket with whoever you want and on whatever fruit or vegetable you want.
The biggest surprise of the evening, however, was that gimp. Didn’t see that one coming. I mean, clearly something was up when we saw Dermot Mulroney lick blood off his gloved hands. But a gimp in the attic! Classic AHS. Now it’s time to wildly speculate about who that gimp was and whether his identity will be important later.
These last two episode have been the strongest of the series. “11/9,” despite our radio silence about it, was excellent, and “Holes” delivered on some big moments effectively. It is striking, however, that these two episodes are the two that sideline Allie the most. It’s much more entertaining to spend time with our merry band of villains than the protagonist of the show. What that means for the rest of the season, I’m not exactly sure. We’ll eventually have to return to Allie if we want any real payoff this season, but I’m kinda dreading it.
Cake rating: These two episodes have been strong, but there has only been one man-butt featured this season. That’s unacceptable. I think bleached-blond cop should jump out of a cake in a G-string. Whether you feel you need to eat a slice of said cake is up to you; I feel the sight is probably compensation enough to deal with any negatives from these episodes.