American Horror Story: Cult – Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
By: Kelly Kearney
Clowns and cults and bees, oh my! This week’s episode of “American Horror Story” finds Ally (Sarah Paulson) still reeling from her visions of killer clowns lurking around every corner. With the addition of the Wiltons, her bizarre new neighbors and her rapidly unraveling mental state she’s starting to turn over a new leaf; one that goes against everything she’s ever stood for.
CLOWNS AND FRIGHTMARES
The episode picks up where we left off with Ally waking to a clown in her bed. The traumatized woman takes off through the house screaming, “There’s a clown in the bed,” and lands directly in her wife’s arms. Ivy (Alison Pill), who is concerned for her wife and son, grabs a butcher knife and the two women start searching the house for the intruder. Room by room they go, checking in corners and under beds, only to find nothing out of the ordinary and no killer clowns. Ivy is exhausted from her wife’s apparent delusions and Ally’s starting to wonder if she’s losing her mind. Both women are over the drama and try consoling one another. Calming down means a little impromptu love making session (who knew a home invasion could be sexy), that gets interrupted by Ozzy (Cooper Dodson), who sees Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) and friends in his bedroom. The terrified boy runs to the bathroom and hides behind the shower curtain as he watches the clowns burst through the door. As they approach, Ozzy wakes up and it seems like all of this was just a nightmare caused by too many horror comics.
Last week we saw Winter (Billie Lourd) and Kai (Evan Peters) link pinkies and talk about fear, which seems to be the driving force of this entire season. Fear and manipulation are what they do best so Winter gets to work on Ozzy who still isn’t over the Changs’ death. If the boy’s fear was a fire than Winter is the fuel that’s keeping it ablaze. She gets Ozzy to pass his fear to her through their pinky linking, which sort of puts the boy at ease. She uses this as a coping technique, but Ozzy is still throwing shade over Winter not backing up his murder story with his mothers. Winter blows him and his attitude off by saying, “People are going to believe what they’re going to believe. The trick is figuring out what they want to believe and then giving it to them.”
Speaking of fear, thanks to Ally and Ivy’s new neighbors the video from the urine filled condom beatdown goes viral and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Kai’s the new “it” boy and he’s riding the wave of fear all the way to a spot on the city council. Considering the video was heavily edited in his favor, the beatdown was an obvious set up to invoke fear in the city’s voters. If the city is afraid of violent immigrants, Kai’s hoping they will turn to him like some kind of savior.
MEET THE WILTONS
Ally, who happens to be watching the news about Kai and the city council, notices the people who moved into the Chang’s house are the same people who recorded the beatdown video. She creeps across the street to get a better look at the couple, but when they catch her snooping and she sees the husband in a full bee keeper suit, Ally runs away in fear and maybe even a little embarrassment.
Back at the house, Winter informs his mothers that Ozzy is across the street with the Wiltons. Ally and Ivy get a taste of what makes these new neighbors tick. The couple, Harrison (Billy Eichner) and Meadow (Leslie Grossman), are a cornucopia of strange with their sun phobias, Nicole Kidman fangirling and backyard bee hives. Ally almost goes into a full panic when she sees Ozzy playing with the bees, but it’s not the sting factor that sets her off but the holes in the honeycombs that make her queasy. Harrison tells Ally the bees are harmless and work together for one common goal; to protect the hive and their queen. Could this hive mentality be a glimpse into the bigger picture of what’s happening with Ally and her stalking clowns? To put their mind at ease, the couple offers Ivy and Ally a glass of Crystal Light and some brief catch up conversation. The fact that these upper middle-class yuppie types have powdered drink mix should’ve been Ally’s first clue that something is seriously off with them. The four get to talking about the Changs and the Wiltons admit to not only knowing about the tragedy, but jumping at the chance to buy the home. Apparently, houses are cheap when the previous renter’s blood drips from the walls and the Wiltons with their bad credit saw this as a win, win. Not only are they amateur house hunters, they’re also not really a couple; Harrison is gay and Meadow is his cancer surviving BFF. Together the two friends made a pact to marry if they were still single at age 35, as long as Harrison gets one week a month with the boys in Vegas. Not only that but they’re also gun toting right winged conservatives that seem to think the housing market is determined by a number of lesbians in the neighborhood. The conversation goes from strange to stomach turning when Ally notices the blood stains on the carpet and walls and she can’t run from there fast enough.
After she calms down, Ivy thinks Ally’s suspicions about the Wiltons are unwarranted, but the conversation is cut short by a call from their restaurant’s alarm company. Something tripped the alarm and Ally offers to go check it out. If you’re thinking a woman with a loose grasp on her sanity is a bad idea to check out a possible crime, you would be right.
When she gets to the restaurant, the power is out and one of her cooks Roger (Zack Ward) is dead and hanging from a meat hook. Earlier Roger (or as I like to call him, “Alt-right Gordon Ramsey”) got into an altercation with Pedro (Jorge-Luis Pallo) the sous chef and Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) assume Pedro is the murderer. Ally and Ivy try to tell Samuels that Pedro is a decent man, but all he cares about is his immigration status and finding someone to pin Roger’s death on. With the release of Kai’s video, everyone but Ally and Ivy seem more than ok to blame this violence on any brown skinned person they can.
Lock The Doors, Fear is Coming
Feeling like her fears have been validated, Ally is starting to close in on herself and even gets the house windows and doors blocked by bars. Ivy doesn’t know how to help her wife so she calls Ally’s therapist, Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), over for a house call. The doctor seems to think she’s suffering from the beginning stages of agoraphobia and is worried when she admits she got a gun from The Wiltons for protection. He immediately tells Ally she isn’t in the right state of mind for a weapon and she quickly turns on him calling him “a knee jerk liberal.” Ally is really starting to lose it and she’s quickly becoming that what she fears. She orders the therapist to keep the news about the gun to himself and he has no choice but to agree.
Feeling vulnerable and triple checking the window locks, Ally hears a knock at the door and it’s Kai campaigning in the neighborhood. Ally immediately recognizes him as the jerk who threw his latte at her and her wife and the two quickly share some heated words. Kai tries apologizing for the coffee and when it gets him nowhere he notices that Ally is hiding a knife behind her back. He questions why a woman who “wants to build bridges and not walls” would be so afraid that she needs a knife to answer the door? Ally, who is barley keeping it together, gets upset provoking Kai to act like a vicious animal, charging the door and scaring her. The encounter does nothing to calm Ally’s fear that the world is falling apart and people are out to get her.
AN ACCIDENT TURNS INTO TRAGEDY
All of Ally’s foreboding culminates in one horrible night. Ivy is at the restaurant and Ally is at home with Ozzy and Winter, who is doing her best to be a full-service nanny. To keep Ally calm, Winter runs her boss a bath and flirts her way to the job of personal back and front scrubber. Things turn heated and sexual, but Winter promises to keep this and the fact Ally hasn’t taken her heads meds to herself. Before the cheating can go any further, Harrison is banging on the door like a veritable Paul Revere of bad news screaming, “LESBIANS! ISIS is coming!” It seems eight states lost their power and Harrison is convinced it’s some terror attack. Winter, who isn’t about to stick around and die, ignores Ally’s pleas to stay and leaves her in the house alone. Ivy is also no help since she’s at The Butchery on Main and getting pretty tired of her wife’s daily dramas. She tells her she can’t come home due to a shipment of meat that will spoil unless she gets the generator up and running. Things go from bad to worse when Ally realizes she’s not alone in the house.
Of course, a pack of killer clowns is in the house and they start stalking Ally, pushing her to the brink of sanity. She forces her way past one on the steps towards Ozzy’s room and mother and son decide to run to the Wiltons. Grabbing her gun, Ally has no idea Ivy sent their employee Pedro to check up on her with candles and a phone charger. As the helpful man approaches the front steps, Ally is in a full panic. She swings open the door and out of fear, pulls the trigger and shoots Pedro dead. Realizing what she’s done, and in front of her son no less, Ally screams and falls to the floor in shock.
Is Ally actually crazy? Why does Ozzy see the make-up faced monsters and what is with all these pinky swears? Is Ally the Queen Bee and is the town the “hive,’ working together on one common goal to gaslight her? When it comes to Ryan Murphy’s, “American Horror Story” anything is possible and all of it is terrifying!