Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TV Show Review: American Horror Story: Cult (Season 7)

One of the first shows to take on the disturbing state of our country, Ryan Murphy delivers another horrifying season of this anthology series. On the day of the election of Donald Trump, there are two very different reactions. Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson) is terrified by the prospect of a complete buffoon taking over the presidency while Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) is wild with excitement over the prospect of a new age in politics. Ally has a ton of phobias that creep back up with a vengeance as she confesses to her therapist Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson). Her reaction to the election also causes a rift between her and her wife Ivy (Alison Pill). They co-own a restaurant together and raise their son Oz (Cooper Dodson), but things have become more difficult with Ally's frequent freakouts so they hire a nanny Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd). She is Kai's sister and has a strange way of taking care of Oz.

A lot of strange happenings occur around their Michigan neighbor and when their neighbors are murdered, a new couple moves in. Harrison (Billy Eichner) and Meadow Wilton (Leslie Grossman) raise bees in their backyard and act strangely when they meet their neighbors. Kai grows his influence as he runs for city council, inspired by Trump. Anyone who gets in his way ends up mysteriously dead. Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) reports news stories that raise the fear in the town and with support from Kai, rises up in the ranks at the station. Detective Jack Samuels (Colton Haynes) investigates the threats to Ally and the nearby murders but he is secretly part of Kai's cult and forms a relationship with Harrison. A young report Serena Belinda (Emma Roberts) challenges Beverly until she is brutally murder on camera.

Ally is accused of causing a mass shooting when she actually tries to stop it. Kai is shot and uses his martyr status to recruit even more followers. Meadow was actually the shooter as she was trying to get out of the cult. She warns Ally and points her to Ivy who had taken away Oz after Ally's behavior grew worse. The show uses flashbacks to show how Kai grew his cult and the history of Valerie Solanas (Lena Dunham) through her former lover Bebe Babbitt (Frances Conroy). Other cult leaders are revisited as Kai uses them for inspiration. It turns out that Dr. Vincent had been working with Kai since he was his older brother but had covered up their relationship after their parents killed themselves. With the help of followers like Gary Longstreet (Chaz Bono) and others, he makes awful plans. Ally returns and joins the cult since she feels she has no other choice but she secretly plots against Kai.

Winter tries to turn against her brother but Kai test the loyalty of all the women in the group as many of the tenants of his cult are from men's rights activists. Ally and Ivy fear that Kai may actually be Oz's father since he claims to have donated to the sperm back often. Kai's paranoia grows as he becomes more powerful and feels a backlash from the community. Ally kills Ivy by poisoning her and relies on Kai to help get rid of the body. Ally finally does find a snitch in the ranks of Kai's followers and uses him to get Kai arrested. Months later, Ally recovers and tries to use her fame to run a campaign but Kai plans to break out of prison and attack her. In a public spectacle, Kai confronts Ally but Beverly shoots him in the head. Ally wins the election in a landslide.

American Horror Story: Cult took on the awful political climate that affects this country but like other seasons, it goes off the rails in later episodes. Evan Peters is dynamic as the wild cult leader Kai and Sarah Paulson brings her usual talent to Ally and her constant mental breakdowns. The season defies reality in many ways and tries to predict the future in a highly unpredictable reality. I enjoyed catching up on the episodes weekly to see how the cult grew and Ally's plots against Kai and I learned a little bit of history about other cults and the assassination attempt on Andy Warhol. This season ranks around the middle of other American Horror Story seasons. 

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