In the ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ recap we go back in time to the days when Kai Anderson began assembling his army of clowns…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
In the latest installment of ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ we go back in time to the formation of Kai Anderson’s army of believers in the best episode of the season thus far.
The episode flashes forwards and back to the final days leading up to the Presidential election in 2016 as well as the immediate aftermath and while that serves as the backdrop, Kai’s influence over his followers goes much deeper than Trump winning the presidency.
From his manipulation over Harrison Wilton’s own insecurities to feasting on the rage simmering inside reporter Beverly Hope, Kai seems to know the exact way to feed into anyone’s psyche while making himself the piece of the puzzle that they’ve always been missing.
It’s a rather brilliant expose on how Kai influenced the people around him to follow but also believe in everything he’s teaching.
The episode also confirms the people hiding behind those terrible clown masks as well as one more member of the Kai army that may have revealed some very important information going forward in the season.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ titled ’11/9’….
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The episode starts with Election Day 2016 at a polling place in Michigan.
The line to vote is filled with familiar faces — and for good reason considering everybody in our story is confined to a few blocks in a small town in Michigan. We see Ivy and Ally filled with smiles as they agree to vote for Hillary Clinton rather than some oddball third party choice (a decision we know Ally goes against in the end as she votes for Jill Stein).
We see Winter Anderson in line with her friends all chanting and ready to elect the first woman president. We find Harrison and Meadow Wilton debating on whether or not they are actually even qualified to vote for the president — proven by the fact that Meadow ultimately writes in ‘Oprah’ as her choice.
But the most disturbing incident happens just ahead of the polls preparing to close as Kai Anderson comes rushing in with Gary — the supermarket clerk we met back in the series debut played by Chaz Bono — and he’s there to vote. Never mind the fact that Gary is bleeding and can barely stand, but he’s registered so he’s given a ballot.
After casting his vote for Donald Trump, Gary emerges from the booth, throws up a bloody stump where his hand once was and he shouts that this is Donald Trump’s America now!
So what exactly happened to Gary’s hand? Stay tuned…
Clean Up on Aisle Four
Kai’s first target — at least taking place in the episode — was going after Harrison Wilton, who was working as a fitness instructor at a local gym. Kai signs up for 12 sessions to work with Harrison but it’s clear from their first conversation that he’s actually the one in charge. Kai digs into Harrison’s insecurities and paranoia about how he’s being treated because he’s gay while pointing out that labels such as sexual orientation or race are just another way the liberals are dividing this country into a class system.
Kai’s suspicions about Harrison’s issues are compounded when he meets his boss — a Jersey Shore reject named Vinny, who is always asking his gay employee to clean up the jizz leftover in the steam room from the gym guests who get a little too rowdy after a workout.
Of course, Kai preys on Harrison’s needs by showing him what confidence can do for a person — including his own masturbation session in the shower while his new follower watches from the outside looking in.
As time ticks on, Kai continues to feed Harrison with the words that will not only get the lowly gym employee to stand up for himself but also find a messiah worth following for once. A god who always answers the call. That’s Kai Anderson.
As Harrison’s problems begin to grow over time — including an eviction from his house after his ‘wife’ Meadow failed to tell him that they were way over their heads on the mortgage — his simmering rage is starting to boil over, especially at work where his asshole boss is now threatening his job if he doesn’t sign up some new customers in a hurry.
Kai’s advice not only gives Harrison the confidence to stand up to his overly tanned employer, but he ends up crushing the guy’s neck while he’s lifting weights before finishing the job off with a few smashes to the head with a dumbbell. A few moments later, Harrison is freaking out when he realizes he just murdered someone but that’s not much to worry about with Kai in his corner.
Kai sends out a mass message from Vinny’s phone telling anyone who matters that he’s leaving town for a few days before erasing the security camera footage from the gym that showed the murder. Kai then tells Harrison exactly what he needs to do to dispose of the body.
Later that night when Meadow arrives at home — which is now a trashy motel in the worst part of town — she walks into the bathroom and finds Harrison severing his boss’s head with a saw. Meadow doesn’t exactly freak out as you’d expect but instead turns her attention to Kai sitting in the corner giving him instructions.
Meadow: “Who’s that?”
Harrison: “Someone to believe in”
Kai’s influence over the Wilton’s continues after the election including the moment when Meadow draws up the designs for the clown masks that they will all soon wear while going on a murderous rampage across this small Michigan community. Kai’s manipulation runs so deep that after hooking Harrison on his promises, he even makes a small sexual advance towards Meadow because human contact is what she’s always craved. Remember last week when Meadow admitted that her worst fear was dying alone — with Kai Anderson by her side, she’s never going to be lonely again.
Kai’s next target is a reporter named Beverly Hope, who is the person responsible for dishing out the most important news in Michigan such as crimes being committed, political scandals and anything else that would be considered hard hitting journalism. Unfortunately for Beverly, her job has become stagnant as a new reporter named Serena Belinda (played by Emma Roberts) is getting ahead of her while serving up nothing but puff pieces while secretly seducing the boss behind the scenes.
After the election ends, Beverly finally reaches her tipping point when a series of interviews go awry after she’s bombarded by guests screaming about “grabbing them in the pussy” — a line once echoed by our president — and she eventually snaps and beats a skateboarder with a microphone for his continued taunts. That lands Beverly a 30 day stint in a psychiatric ward.
She’s released and returns to her old job but it’s clear she’s only being kept around because Beverly is the one minority currently working on air for this network. Her problems continue to fester to the surface when she busts her boss Bob engaging in some welcomed sexual harassment at the work place while tickling Serena’s nipples in the news room.
Beverly is fed up but Serena makes it clear that she’s going to do whatever it takes to get ahead — even if that means blowing her way all the way to “The Today Show”. Sadly, Beverly knows that Serena is telling the truth and it’s only a matter of time before she’s making millions as one of the faces that greets Americans each and every morning on television.
Frustrated with the continued slights at work, Beverly lashes out by slashing her boss’s tires but that’s when she runs into Kai Anderson for the first time. See he had been intrigued by Beverly’s story after finding out why she went missing from TV for a month after being admitted for psychiatric care.
Kai takes Beverly out for drinks when he feeds into her own anger and frustration over the pretty girl being handed the job that she so richly deserved. Beverly then explains that she’s got plenty of anger but what’s truly building up inside of her is rage — and that’s a much different kind of animal.
Kai feeds on Beverly’s needs by waiting until Serena’s next broadcast — where she’s promoting a local animal adoption festival — when his clown army shows up and stabs her and her camera man to death quite brutally and it’s all captured on film. When Beverly sees this back at the station she knows who did it — and that’s when she returns to Kai and thanks him for exacting the revenge she so sorely needed.
From there on out, Beverly is used as Kai’s tool to spread fear throughout the community by her reporting on television. At the beginning of the season, Kai set up the Hispanic workers to attack him with the Wilton’s secretly filming the beat down only after they started kicking the crap out of him. Beverly was then the reporter on the scene explaining what had happened as these undocumented workers savagely attacked an unarmed man in town.
Kai’s army continues to grow and now he’s got a voice on television as well.
The final scenes from this week’s episode set into motion a lot of questions about who is truly part of Kai’s army and who has been keeping a rather big secret all season long.
Flashback to the day before the election and Ivy wants to go to a Hillary Clinton rally while Ally argues that the election is already over in Michigan. Ally is confident that Hillary is going to win so what good does it do to stand at a rally all day long?
Ivy refuses to back down and goes to the rally by herself where she ends up engaged in a rather angry shouting match with an ardent Trump supporter named Gary. Yes, the same Gary, who showed up at the beginning of the episode with a bloody stump demanding to cast his vote for president.
In the midst of the argument, Gary angrily declares that maybe Ivy needs to have her pussy grabbed and he does the honors — which sends another of the rally goers into an irate state seeking revenge. That person is none other than Winter Anderson.
She pursues Gary but he drives away in great haste in his truck. When Winter reconvenes with Ivy, they decide to go get something to eat together before sitting down at the Butchery on Main. It seems Ivy not only met Winter before employing her as a nanny but she actually knew her well.
The two commiserate of the actions of that redneck asshole before Winter convinces Ivy that they should strike back at him.
The way they do it is by invading his grocery store after hours, zapping him with a taser before tying him up and handcuffing him to a pole in the basement. The idea being that Gary will no longer be allowed to vote for his hero Donald Trump and that will be the ultimate revenge for a guy so adamant about the former reality show star being elected.
Winter returns home with a giant grin on her face when she’s confronted by Kai, who gets her to give up her secret about what just happened. A few moments later, Kai appears at the grocery store offering Gary a solution to his handcuff problem. No, Kai doesn’t have an axe or some way to break the him free from the handcuffs, but he does have a saw that will cut through flesh and bone.
Kai wonders just how much it matters to Gary that he gets to vote — and a moment later the angry shop owner is cutting through his own arm so he can be set free to go to the polling place to cast his ballot for Donald Trump. That brings us full circle to the opening of the episode with Gary declaring this is now Trump’s America.
Gary is yet another member of Kai’s devoted flock, which now numbers at least four but perhaps five? Is it possible that Ivy was always part of this plot after meeting Winter at that Clinton rally before the election? Could Ivy have helped plot her wife’s mental breakdown so that eventually she would join them in the cult?
There’s more to Ivy’s story that we don’t know yet but she’s definitely hiding something and it will be rather interesting to see what is eventually revealed.
‘American Horror Story: Cult’ returns with a brand new episode next Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FX.