American Horror Story: Cult – Holes
By: Kelly Kearney
The fifth installment of the horror series sheds some light on Kai (Evan Peters), his life and how he became the leader of this Michigan fear cult. With his political aspirations growing faster than a Gallup Poll can track, Kai and Winter (Billie Lourd) join forces with news reporter Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) and use her media influence to spread his word; Fear is coming and it’s about to take over the world.
IVY JOINS THE GANG
Kai is holding a meeting in his campaign headquarters (a/k/a his parent’s basement) and all the cult players are in attendance. Gary the handless Trump fan (Chaz Bono), R.J. (James Morosini) the news cameraman, Harrison (Billy Eichner), Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) and Beverly all come to chat about the best way to bump Kai’s polling numbers. They agree that the town isn’t scared enough for him to win by a landslide. It doesn’t help that Bob Thompson (Dermot Mulroney) refuses to air the tape of Serena’s (Emma Roberts) on air murder and Beverly is having no luck convincing him otherwise. Since the tape is the key to spreading Kai’s word, Beverly tries to threaten Bob into airing it, but winds up getting herself fired which is bad news for Bob and his survival. If the tape won’t air then Kai suggests they kill Bob in the most frightening and gruesome way possible. What better way to set the community on edge then a satanic death ritual of their beloved newsman Thompson? While they’re discussing how to handle Bob, Ivy (Alison Pill) enters apologizing for her tardiness and after last week’s big reveal about her secret friendship with Winter, her cult status shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s fairly obvious Cult has switched from political ideologies to pure anarchy. All the members of Kai’s cult have varying political beliefs, but one thing they can all agree on is a hatred for the path this country is on. They would rather side with the enemy and burn America to the ground than continue with the current status quo. Hillary or Trump, none of that matters when fear is the platform to change and Kai is their leader of choice.
With Ivy gone, Ally (Sarah Paulson) is struggling more than ever. She’s at her session with Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) when she reveals her hole phobia is getting worse. The previous night she dreamt that bugs were crawling out of holes in her neck and she woke to find she had scratched herself raw. Ally thinks these dreams are due to the upheaval in her personal life and with her wife and son gone, perhaps the holes represent a hole she can’t fill. Dr. Vincent is pleased that Ally is taking responsibility for her problems and thinks it’s a step in the right direction towards battling her demons. She admits that she’s afraid, but since Ivy canceled their credit cards and Ally’s money is tied up in the building the Butchery resides in she has no other option but to stay in the house that was marked by the serial killer. Knowing that she’s been marked by the dreaded smiley face wreaks havoc on her stability but slowly she’s starting to piece together the fact that it Ivy probably planned this separation for a while. She thinks back to a time she tried to ignite the passion in their marriage but Ivy gave her the cold shoulder and it’s evident they had issues that went far beyond the election and clown killers.
Speaking of Ivy, she and Winter are driving and talking about Oz (Cooper Dodson) and how he asked if the grey-haired nanny is going to be his third mommy. Winter apologizes for Oz seeing the tape of her sexual antics with Ally, but they both agreed it had to happen to end the relationship and free Ivy up for the Cult. Much like Ally, Ivy is fueled by fear and its turning to hate. Hate for the direction America is going in as well as hate for Ally and her Jill Stein vote. Her anger pushes her to the point she’s willing to torch the planet to protect her son’s future from this political climate. Winter reminds her that “things are going to get really, real,” but Ivy is ready to change the world and the warning falls on deaf ears.
KILL THE GIMP
Donning their dong faced clown masks, the cult breaks into Bob’s house and sneaks up on him during his late-night snack. When offering them money doesn’t work he grabs a knife, but the pack of murderous clowns overpower Bob and start beating him up. Terrified, Bob yells, “No one will take care of it if I die,” and he’s referring to the gimp he has suspended from hooks in the attic. The group heads up to the attic and, sure enough, there is a leather-masked Gimp swinging from hooks like a Pulp Fiction sex slave. Immediately, Harrison says they have to kill the Gimp and Kai agrees. So, the cult starts slicing him up until the hooks rip from his chest and he falls to the floor. Ivy, who’s not used to all this violence, takes off to the bathroom to vomit while the rest of the cult drags Bob up to the attic to finish him off. Beverly, the employee that Bob took for granted, gets the final word when she inflicts the final death blow with an ax to Bob’s head.
Of course, reporter Beverly Hope is first on the scene (since she was already there to begin with) to report the tragic news of Bob Thompson’s death. She claims she broke the story due to an anonymous email video of the murder and she can barely hold back her joy long enough to report the tragedy. Later, at the Butchery, Beverly and Kai celebrate their kill but also discuss how to get rid of their weakest link. The strength of the cult is measured by the loyalty of its members and a few are wavering, mainly R.J. who almost botched the coffin killing of Rosie (Laura Allen) and her husband. In a flashback, we see R.J. plead with Kai to let Rosie go and Beverly says that’s proof he cannot be trusted. Kai agrees and they both decide to get rid of R.J. for the sake of the cult.
TRUST NO ONE
Like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, Ally uses her son’s telescope to spy on Harrison whom she sees moving a large trash bag into his garage and then starts to make out with Detective Samuels. Since Meadow (Leslie Grossman) has been reported missing, Ally is terrified she’s in the bag so she gathers her courage to head outside and investigate. Creeping around the property she finds a large hole, similar to a grave and inside it is Meadow who begs her neighbor for help. Ally is too frightened and runs back to her house to call her wife who she has no idea is a part of this entire thing. Ivy plays along until Ally hears a banging at the door and sees Meadow begging for help. Ally starts to panic and Meadow screams that the town has been taken over by a cult that’s trying to kill her and even Ivy is a part of it. At that moment, someone places a bag over Meadow’s head and drags her off leaving Ally glaring at her phone in horror as she hangs up on her wife.
Across the street at the Wilton’s, the cult is having another meeting minus Meadow (Harrison says she’s with friends) and R.J. who’s tied up in another room and ready to be cut from the fear team. Kai mentions his polling numbers are up ten percent, but it’s still not enough and blames it on their weakest link R.J. Kai leads the cult into the room where he’s keeping the man prisoner and grabs a nail gun. Since the world record for surviving nails to the head is thirteen, Kai is ready to test those limits and orders the group to take turns nailing R.J.’s head. Ivy struggles with her part in the violence since R.J.’s “one of us,” but Kai reminds her that this is the second time she’s wavered in her loyalty. Considering the punishment, Ivy grabs the gun and shoots the first nail in R.J.’s head. One by one the members follow suit with Kai delivering the final death shot to the stunned and bloody cameraman.
The episode ends with a pinky link and a revelation about Kai and his family’s past. Beverly links up and asks her partner if he killed his parents since it’s obvious he and his sister don’t own their home. Kai flashes back to how his tragic life led him to where he is today.
With Winter at Vassar College, Kai stayed home and studied theology, a degree that went nowhere and his father, who’s a lawyer and paraplegic, wastes no time calling him a loser and an embarrassment because of it. Dealing with the loss of his legs turns his father into a violent alcoholic who beats his wife and son and turns their home into a nightmare. One night, while Kai is surfing the web, he hears his parent’s argument end in gunfire. He takes off through the house to find his mother has shot his father in the stomach and the man is bleeding out. Shocked, Kai asks why and she says it was her only way out and then puts the gun in her mouth and kills herself in front of her son. Instead of calling the police about the murder/suicide, Kai calls his brother Dr. Vincent for help. Vinnie as Kai calls him is convinced they will become societal outcasts as well as lose half of what their parents are worth. With the cops on the back burner, Vinnie gets Kai to agree to cover up. They’ll sprinkle their parent’s bodies with lye and turn their bedroom into a mausoleum. At first, Kai is disgusted by the idea that his brother is asking him to go along with this Norman Bates plan, but eventually he agrees and the two decide to keep it from Winter until she comes home from college. When Winter does come home, she is disgusted but soon agrees to stand by Kai and his idea that this is isn’t an end but a beginning. Cut to the present and Beverly asks if his parents are still rotting away in their room and Kai admits they are. He tells a shocked Beverly that he finds comfort in visiting them, at least his mother anyway. His father he’s happy to watch rot.
It’s a shocking start to a life of cult crimes and politics, but now that Beverly has the low down on Kai will she use it and take the cult’s power for herself? Anything is possible in the land of Ryan Murphy and as we’ve seen in the past, Beverly hope suffers no fools. Kai just might be the fool that Hope can build a career on.
By: Kelly Kearney