We all witnessed the election heard ’round the world.
Trump’s brazen remarks and Clinton’s email scandal divided the country in a way we hadn’t seen since the Civil War. The election played out like a tragic Shakespearean play, the world on edge as we sat front row to the demise of American democracy. The impossible became more than possible; it became real as the least presidential candidate in American history became president.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
With last year’s ill- fated election night in the backdrop, the first 7 minutes of American Horror Story: Cult “Election Night”, felt a little all too familiar. And as the characters struggled with the uncertainty of a Trump run government, you can’t help but remember where you were, what you were doing, and how you felt that very night.
Series regular Sarah Paulson returns this season as the skittish, paranoid Ally- Mayfair Richards. Her visceral fear of Trump triggers an assortment of previously suppressed phobias, specifically of clowns and clustered holes. Ally’s wife Ivy Mayfair- Richards (played by Alison Pill) tries to be understanding, while their young son Ozzy reads Twisty the Clown comics underneath his covers at night.
Also back this season is Evan Peters as the blue haired disaster Kai Anderson. His reaction to election night plays out a little differently. After humping the television in excitement for a brief moment, he blends up a bag of Cheetos and smears the orange concoction over his face. (Maybe he was trying to match Trump’s Oompa Loompa hue?) But by daylight, he puts that blue hair in a bun, wipes the orange off his face, and attends a city council meeting addressing heightened security at a Jewish center. And after a passionate speech about the importance of fear, he’s put in his place by an unimpressed council member who comments on the fact that maybe Kai should spend less time in his parents’ basement and more time interacting with different kinds of people. “I know it feels good to have your worst instincts validated.”
Kai has one last remark before he walks out of the meeting. “There is nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man.” Kai’s character sets a tone of sinister intent dipped in emboldened bigotry. His pre- pubescent antics, like peeing in a condom and flinging it at a group of construction workers, are anything but childish and filled with hateful intent. Kai’s sister Winter Anderson (played by Billie Lourd) seems utterly terrified of her brother but completely loyal. Their pinky promises are disturbing, and at times Winter seems to be as demented as her brother. Like the first night, she babysits Oz and introduces him to the dark web.
It’s clear that Ally- Mayfair Richards’ phobia of clowns is out of control. She sees them everywhere: having sex behind the watermelons in the grocery story, in the backseat of her car, and in the corners of her restaurant, Butchery on Maine. Their grotesque masks are the stuff of nightmares, and I’ll probably have trouble sleeping tonight just thinking about them. And while it’s obvious that these clowns are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination, Oz sees the same exact clowns the night their neighbors are murdered in their home. Remember the guy who said, “I know it feels good to have your worst instincts validated?” It seems things didn’t end so well for him.
So let’s state the obvious: a lesbian couple plays the lead in this cult themed season that centers on Trump era hysteria. This is television at its finest. Ryan Murphy once again pushes the envelope with a diverse cast and his not so subtle social commentary. If the first episode is any indication of what to expect the next few months, then American Horror Story fans are in for a truly terrifying season. Clowns, clustered holes, Trump supporters and all: American Horror Story: Cult is your new Tuesday night nightmare.