We’re now more than halfway through this season of American Horror Story and Kai has achieved his position on the city council with much more trouble to come if he has his way. After learning about his brother being Ally’s therapist, I wasn’t sure how aware Vincent was about Kai’s twisted mind but the introduction to episode eight solidified that he isn’t a part of the fear-inspired cult. Though Kai is initially impressing some (like his own brother) his actions have pushed the women in his cult to the brink of betrayal. The Butchery has been turned into stomping grounds for the brutish men in the cult who consistently hassle the women, making even Ivy feel the urge to snap. Beverly and Ivy suggest taking out Kai again, but Winter says that his end result could still be crucial to this supposed evolution of society.
Winter tells the two that she owes everything to him before we see a flashback sequence from October of 2015 when Kai and Winter trolled people on the dark web about religion, murder and the combination that gets them an invitation to a place called The Judgement House. The eerie butler-like man who greets them should have been enough to make people flee, but Kai guides his sister into the house with him where the find a demonic looking nursery that locks behind them and find a women strapped down who says she was forced to kill her baby. Kai seems to think it’s all for a scare, but Winter senses the depravity and reality of what they are seeing before their very eyes. The next room they are lead to is a man strapped down who speaks of dying from the inside out and mumbles about copious drugs in his system. Though we see other flashes of disturbing images in this house, we see a man speak as a self proclaimed pastor who offers his very own versions of religion and the “sinners” that fill his house of worship.
Kai begins to free people and Winter tries to find an exit, when the pastor finds her and suggests she “join the show.” Kai puts a quick end to that notion when he knocks him out and as he wakes he is surrounded by those he locked up and the Anderson siblings but they decide that jail isn’t enough punishment for someone so twisted - leading them to kill him and becomes a jumping off point for Kai’s insanity. Winter says that he began taking adderall, wanted to end the lives of those like the pastor and it slowly changed him as he delved deeper into the dark web. Back in the present, Kai meets with Winter and she explains how the women are feeling but he transitions to their pinky-swear game where she must be completely honest with her brother. “It’s time for you to learn your role in the bigger picture” Kai tells Winter but says that he needs her to be entirely on-board with him. Kai turns to tears and tells his sister that she will play a pivotal role: the mother to their messiah baby. In case you were wondering, Samuels will be the one sleeping with Winter while he is “entered” by kai himself to keep her pure. Kai’s logic is completely nonsensical, but as usual they still try their best to appease him with Kai and Samuels sharing their own erotic moment until Winter says she refuses to go through with it. Kai calls it a holy ritual, but Winter reminds him that he just made this entire scenario up today - showing that she at least kind of knows how messed up her brother’s brain is.
Elsewhere, we get to catch up with Ally who argues with Vincent. Once he connects the dots, he admits that Kai and Winter are his siblings (Ally’s mind is blown and I can’t blame her) he promises to her that he will do something about Kai and save her before it’s too late if it isn’t already. Ally ends up inviting Kai over for dinner (as a guise clearly) so he shows up with his own guards but she persuades them to step out long enough to give Kai information. Ally tells him that if he will promise to get her son back to her safely, she will share - and eventually does, explaining that his brother will be attempting to have Kai committed. One other interesting tidbit for Kai is that he has cured her of all phobias and fears, something nobody could do that has also made Ally stronger than before, now that she claims to be afraid of absolutely nothing.
By the next time we see Winter, she’s doing community-service like work with a giant dunce cap on the side of the road. Samuels stops to give her a poor excuse of a meal and refers to her as “servant” proving that Kai will make people pay for crossing him (though murder seemed to be worse.) Samuel’s does say he wasn’t always Kai’s sidekick when he initially busted him for writing fake prescriptions and forced his way as a partner of Kai to make profits as well. One night when they first began the arrangement, Kai stopped by to drop off his portion of the money when a girl left screaming that the detective could only finish intercourse by grabbing her by the throat. Kai explains to Samuel’s that he doesn’t need more women, he needs a man - and that sexuality is of no importance. (We also see Kai and Samuel’s full-on having sex proving that Kai does anything to get what he wants.) Winter stops Samuel’s story to chime in that he’s clearly gay and he becomes enraged, grabbing her by the throat and attempting to sexually assault her. Winter pulls a gun on him and screams words that resonate with her from Valerie Solanas’ manifesto before blowing the follower’s brains out.
Next, we see two people brought in to a cult meeting as “betrayers” who turn out to be Vincent and Beverly. Now while Vincent isn’t a cult member, he did betray family by Kai’s rules and is stabbed in the throat by his younger brother lastly mutters “Winter” while seeing her under the mask before dying. Next, Kai wants Beverly to suffer from the crime of killing Samuels - which is the story Winter told her brother. I didn’t expect her to fold on the girls so fast, but Winter needs to save her own ass in the long term plan if she wants to put an end to Kai (I hope.) Kai tells Beverly she was his equal so he couldn't be more shocked, however as she points out, she was reduced to kitchen duty and tells the room his “promises mean shit.” Kai says that death isn’t enough, wanting her to suffer so he has the former reporter sent to the isolation room which is filled with who knows what. Just when you think the episode will conclude, Kai points to the person in the room wearing Beverly’s former costume and welcomes a new member - Ally. When she reveals herself as the newest cult member, Ivy stares in shock and I now hope that a plan to dismember the cult from the inside has just begun.
Overall Grade: 8.5/10
This episode provided enough storylines for each important member of the cult while showcasing the transition of Ally from episode one to this point. The end of this episode was partially unexpected and the ending actually presented potentially thrilling plotlines for the remainder of the season (without squashing my hopes like the last installment!) Extra kudos to Billie Lourd and Evan Peters who really carried the episode excellently by showing multiple sides to their roles.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- I can’t tell if Winter will fully fall to her brother’s will or if she will make her own move but i’m hoping she attempts a power-play soon.
- Ally and Ivy are going to be having some super awkward conversations soon and I have to admit I’d be team Ally.