American Horror Story: Cult has been throwing a lot of information at us during the last three episodes and the fourth episode gave us plenty of answers to appease our appetites. In the episode, we get a little insight on one of the series most mysterious characters - Kai. As we had already known, Kai is a titular character in the murder and mayhem of the season, and with a little trip down memory lane to the election, we get to see Kai doing his best work by influencing those with conflict in their life.
In the begging of the episode, we properly meet reporter Beverly Hope who is covering election polling but finds her segment cut short for the lovely Emma Roberts - playing a less than kind reporter named Serena Belinda who takes over to report on frivolous stories with no legitimate meaning. The polling setup gives us a glimpse at the standard group with Ally (who isn't screaming much at the moment) Ivy, Harrison, Meadow, Winter and eventually Kai who is accompanied by the familiar (bloodied up) face from the supermarket in episode one. At this point, it is very clear that Kai's reach extends more than most could predict, making himself the King in a game of chess.
Kai finds his first televised follower in Harrison Wilton, who is found the day after the election at the gym he works for. Harrison seems to be intrigued (and maybe drawn to) Kai who he coincidentally saw masturbating in a shower stall at the facility to appease Harrison even more so. Kai informs Harrison that he has in fact been surveying him for quite some time and believes there is a place for him in Kai's world. His first official task: murdering the homophobic boss that makes his life hell. Harrison walks up on the man while bench pressing and crushes his windpipe - but the fear of what he has done finally sets in. Kai offers his help and when Meadow is later shown to have begged someone for a joint off the street (even offering sex as payment) she finds Harrison and Kai in their apartment where her husband is cutting up the body of his former employer. Meadow isn't too shaken up (unsurprisingly) and Harrison semi-introduces her to Kai as someone who is worth believing in.
The next target for Kai's cult is Beverly Hope (the reporter mentioned earlier played by Adina Porter) who is on assignment, covering the story of the murder that Harrison committed. Towards the ending of the segment, the head anchor said he was pleased to have her back and the frustration from Beverly became tangible. Upon watching the clip repeatedly, he looks up her story and finds that multiple segments were ruined by random citizens saying something vulgar like "grab her by the p****" in a Trump like fashion. At one point, Beverly lost her cool (understandably so) and began to strike the young men who were her last straw. The segment went viral, with multiple clips of the prank and Beverley's actions to follow (I want this video now please.) We next see Beverly uncover the fact that her boss is sleeping with the younger reporter (Emma Roberts) and he cruelly cuts Beverley's segments to spite her - but she says she won't be going anywhere as she is the only black reporter for the news station. (What a sad world we live in...)
Beverley mocks Serena and says that sleeping with her boss is no way to solidify a career - then out of anger slashes her tires for a little payback. Kai chooses the right moment to approach her and offers his sympathy towards her situation, persuading her that his path could lead to being her biggest break yet. In this interesting discussion we do find out that Kai is both a war veteran and college graduate who majored in feminist studies and political science and it seemingly aids his ability to persuade. With Beverley in cahoots, we next see Serena doing a story on a dog adoption center until a group of clowns (which she hilariously mocks at first) walk up to the reporter and murder her as well as the camera man to make things easier for Beverley - so you could say a promotion was in her future.
Now like I mentioned in the beginning, the episode began with the voting and a one handed supermarket Gary endorsing Trump with his bloody stump - and this actually plays a bigger part than you would think possible. As it turns out, Gary attended a Trump rally where Ivy was present and she was sexually assaulted by the man, who was about to face punishment he had no idea was coming. Shortly after, Ivy meets Winter who wanted to see if Ivy was ok after the incident (I knew Ivy was involved) and they discuss their views on the state of the nation and share a potential moment before deciding to seek revenge and put the Trump supporter in a basement, shackled until after the election (one less potential vote for "leader.") Winter isn't the greatest at keeping secrets, so she tells her brother about what they had done and he offers him one way out - a saw to cut through the bone. So what matters more to Gary - supporting Donald Trump or keeping his limbs intact... Gary's decision? That would be a vote cast for Trump while now being left with one hand. American Horror Story sure knows all out weirdness and this season will clearly be no different - but this episode gave us answers we wanted and needed.
Overall Grade: 8/10
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the mechanics behind Kai's brain and how he's able to find people with personal struggles to brainwash. This episode gave us a better understanding of Kai (still not supporting him or anything of that nature) but now we at least know the evil that we are dealing with in the Cult themed season. Adina Porter is still such a standout presence in the AHS world and I loved seeing her have the chance to interact with one of my other favorite AHS staples, Emma Roberts to deviate from the previous three episode narrative.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- Adina Porter saying, "sucking dick is no way to build a career" was one of the best soundbites this season.
-Scratch that, Emma Roberts telling her Porter's character "I don't care how many dicks I need to suck to get there" created one of my favorite sassy conflicts in AHS Cult.
- Evan Peters comes at every AHS role like a true professional, as an incredibly talented actor. Now I just truly want him and Roberts to share an entire season together again; hopefully for the Coven return?