*Spoiler Alert* This article discusses the first three episodes of American Horror Story: Cult so if you haven’t seen them yet – go watch them and come back!
After months of anticipation, rumors, and speculation, AHS is finally back and it’s everything we’ve come to expect. This season is definitely not for the faint of heart and anyone with a genuine fear of clowns would be advised to steer clear. But one thing is certain – AHS: Cult has us all hooked and you can’t look away for a second this time. Here’s a list of a few of the most jaw-dropping scenes so far this season: a man urinating into a condom and throwing it into a crowd of people, two clowns having sex in a supermarket, a screaming couple getting locked in coffins, and a hamster in the microwave. And that’s all just a backdrop for one of the scariest characters we’ve ever seen – the blue-haired Kai, and his power has nothing to do with the supernatural.
So far we’ve established that Ally is being tormented, although we’re not sure why yet, that Kai is building (or already has) a following, and that almost no-one is who they appear to be. Here are a few facts we are certain of and a few burning questions we need to be answered:
15. Not All The Characters Have Been Revealed Yet
While we’ve been introduced to most of the players so far there are still a few waiting in the wings. Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are in the lead roles and we’ve already seen most of the newcomers to the show, including Billie Lourd, playing Winter; the creepy nanny from hell, and Alison Pill as Ivy Mayfair-Richards. Other returning AHS regulars include Cheyenne Jackson and Adina Porter. So who is still set to make an appearance? Well, we are yet to see one of the most controversial new faces – Lena Dunham, who is set to play a character named Valerie Solanas – the woman who tried to kill Andy Warhol. We can also look forward to seeing Emma Roberts as Serina Belinda, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and James Morosini.
14. Could Ivy Be Part Of Kai’s Cult?
Some fans are beginning to speculate about Ally’s partner Ivy and wondering if she too might actually be part of Kai’s cult. At first, she seemed to be supportive of Ally but this last episode left us questioning her motives with the way that she responded to the video of Ivy and Ally in the bathroom together. She was outraged at Ally’s alleged cheating but didn’t seem concerned in the least about the fact that someone had hidden a camera in her home. She also has a nature-themed name like Meadow and Winter, and we caught a shot of Ivy and Winter covered in blood, standing next to each other in the promo so we’re pretty there’s more to her character.
13. The Opening Sequence Is Back
AHS: Roanoke was amazing, but it was missing something crucial – the opening sequence – and it just didn’t have the same feel as the previous seasons without it. Obviously, that had to do with the mockumentary style of Roanoke but we are really pleased that the creators have brought it back for Cult. So far this has left us with more questions than answers, but Ryan Murphy has promised us that each image in the opening sequence will tie in with the events on the show by the end of the series. And it’s every bit as creepy as we expected it to be with images of someone wearing a Donald Trump mask (probably Kai), clowns popping out of a coffin, dead dogs, and of course, loads of blood.
12. The Glowing Green Gas Is Real
The sinister chemical truck, which is driving past Ally’s house and spraying a mysterious green gas is definitely not a figment of her imagination because we know Ivy has seen it as well and the dead birds all over the lawn prove that something dangerous is being pumped out of it. It’s a little strange that the birds were only on their lawn, but not knowing its purpose is driving Ally even crazier. She seems to think it’s some kind of government conspiracy because the gas company knows nothing about it. When she unmasked one of the men, just before passing out, he was wearing a creepy smiling face mask which seems to connect him with the clown gang but we can’t say for certain yet.
11. Who Are The Clowns?
During the first two episodes of the show, we were left wondering whether or not the clowns that Ally kept seeing were real or whether or not they were a symptom of her anxiety and phobias. But at the start of the third episode, we saw them killing another couple by stuffing them into coffins so now it seems that they aren’t just a figment of Ally’s disturbed mind. But the question still remains – who are the members of this utterly terrifying clown gang and what is their endgame? And is Kai connected to them in any way? We know that his aim is to incite fear in people so it seems highly likely that he might be the leader of this group. Guess we will just have to wait and see.
10. Ryan Murphy Used Sarah Paulson’s Real-Life Phobia’s To Create Ally
So the lead character in AHS: Cult, Ally, has a quite a few phobias. She’s can’t handle the sight of clowns and hates bees, but also suffers from a condition known as Trypophobia. This is an irrational fear of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps like those found on fruits, honeycombs, or coral reefs. So where did he dream up this list of fears for this character? The answer is that he didn’t. Paulson revealed in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that he used her real-life fears to model the character of Ally. When Ellen showed a close-up of a honeycomb Sarah struggled to even look at it! No wonder she looked so terrified of that coral in Dr. Rudy Vincent’s office.
9. Twisty Is Back
Ryan Murphy has cleverly used Ally’s coulrophobia (fear of clowns) as a tool to bring back one of the show’s scariest villains – Twisty The Clown, who we first encountered in AHS: Freak Show. And with scary clowns being all the rage right now as the remade version of Stephen King’s It hits the cinema’s it couldn’t be a better time. But not everyone is mad about Twisty, and we’re not just talking about people with a fear of clowns. When he first appeared in Freak Show The National Clown Association of America slammed the show for portraying clowns in a negative light. The actor who plays Twisty, John Carroll Lynch quickly responded saying, “I deeply apologize to the American Clown Association for any negative issues. Once again, they’re being told that they’re scary to people, and they already know that.” Talk about a burn.
8. There Are No Supernatural Elements This Season
While almost every season of American Horror Story has dealt with some aspect of the supernatural, the series creators have confirmed that will not be the case this time around. So while we won’t have any ghosts, witches, or vampires to entertain us this season we still have plenty to look forward to. It seems that the “monster” in this season is based in reality and in some ways that makes this season even scarier than any other. So far this season’s main theme seems to be fear and a lack of communication between people supporting different sides. The two lead characters, Ally and Kai, seem to be on opposite sides of fear – Ally is struggling (and mostly failing) to control her anxieties, and Kai is using fear as a way to control people and build a following.
7. What Exactly Is The Nature of Kai’s Relationship With Winter?
Here’s what we know for sure about the relationship between Winter and Kai so far – they live in the same house, she is definitely one of his followers, they support different political parties, and they share the same last name, Anderson. Judging by their first scene together, where he mocks her choice of candidates in the 2016 presidential election, the obvious assumption is that they are brother and sister. They do seem to look similar to each other and we haven’t seen any signs that their relationship is sexual or romantic in any way. But some fans feel like there is more to it than that and they theorize that she may be his first follower, who has taken on his last name as a sign of her devotion.
6. It Has A Political Power Theme
This season opened with the backdrop of the results of 2016 U.S presidential election and according to co-creator Ryan Murphy, the season is set to have a strong political theme. He said that he will be “illuminating and highlighting” groups of people he believes to be “ignored by the current Trump administration” and people who are afraid and feel terrorized about losing their lives. So far the show has used the real-life tension created by the election as fodder and it’s working really well. Some people aren’t liking the theme this year, while others think it’s one of the best ever, but the point is that people are watching and talking about it – so that’s a win from any viewpoint.
5. What Does Kai Want With Ally?
One of the most burning questions in my mind with regards to American Horror Story: Cult is this: What on earth does Kai want with Ally? It’s obvious that he is trying to get closer to her and in episode three we saw him save her from the angry mob outside the restaurant so we know that he is slowly earning her trust, but why is he targeting her? She doesn’t appear to have any important social connections, but he must want something out of it. Some fans have theorized that it might have something to do with Ally and Ivy’s son Oz. His full name, Ozymandias is an ancient Greek name tied to powerful rulers, so could it be that he is really the one Kai is after? Is Oz the next cult leader perhaps?
4. There Are Almost No “Likeable” Characters
Usually, the show gives us a blend of bad guys with a few likeable characters thrown in for us to root for. This season we haven’t really seen any character that we want to get behind, apart from maybe young Oz. The two lead characters Kai and Ally are not the kind of people we want to root for. Ally is just too scared, regressed, and over the top for us to truly like her, and we know that while Kai is charismatic, he is also very dangerous. We are suspicious of everyone at this stage, including the initially sweet Ivy, Dr. Vincent, and Detective Samuels, which doesn’t really leave us with anyone else to get behind except Oz. But we have to remember we’re only a few episodes in and we haven’t met everyone yet.
3. Is Dr. Rudy Vincent Really Who He Claims To Be?
The third episode of Cult got us wondering if Dr. Rudy Vincent might somehow be involved with the clown gang and possibly even Kai. We’ve already seen Kai playing the pinky game with Ally’s new neighbors, Meadow and Harrison, and Winter, so we are certain about their alliances, but Dr. Vincent is growing more and more suspicious. Episode 3 opened with him counselling a woman about her coffins and right afterward we saw the clown gang break into her house and lock her and her husband into side by side coffins. But the clown gang must have known about her phobia and he’s the only connection that we can see so far. Think about the clown’s Ally keeps seeing and the bees at the Meadow and Harrison’s house – can’t be a coincidence, right?
2. Nothing Is At It Seems
American Horror Story loves to keep us intrigued – with each episode leaving us asking more questions than the last but this much is certain: nothing is ever at it seems. You can try and anticipate twists and cliff-hangers but even if you do the show will often surprise you by revealing quite the opposite of what you imagined. This last episode has left us wondering whether or not Meadow is dead and Leslie Grossman, who plays Meadow has promised that it’s still going to get a lot more interesting. “After the third episode, there’s so much more to learn,” she teased, “I think you’ll see Meadow commit to the courage of her convictions. Kai changes Meadow in fundamental ways. Nothing is ever as it seems on this show, and nothing is ever simple. So it’s really interesting and fun and crazy and unfolds in a really amazing way.”
1. This Might Be Evan Peters’ Best Performance Yet
In this season of AHS, fan favorite Evan Peters is playing the role of Kai, a creepy but surprisingly charismatic psychopath who seems to use fear to dominate those around him and get them to do his bidding. Right now he seems to have his sights set on winning the city council seat, but according to the rumor mill, he’s going to go much further than that. Throughout the season he is also set to play other cult leaders including Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Jim Jones. Co-creator Ryan Murphy believes this might be Evan’s best performance yet, adding that Peter’s did tons of research about cults to prepare for the role. He said, “I do feel like this is his best performance. For Evan, it’s been a great challenge. We pushed him to the limit.”
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