14th Sep2017

‘American Horror Story – Cult 7×02: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


After last episodes introduction to the main characters, this week’s American Horror Story: Cult takes the task of fleshing out the characters, and introducing new ones. It also gets busy with reminding us that fear is this year’s theme, and that scary clowns are just a small part of it.

After the events of last week, Ally (Sarah Paulson), Ivy (Alison Pill), and Oz (Cooper Dodson) welcome new visitors. Kai (Even Peters) runs for the city council, and a blackout brings on even more terror.

If this week’s episode proves anything, it is that this year’s American Horror Story is a different beast that what we are used to. There are no supernatural influences to what we are seeing, it is all about fear. Whether it be the tension caused by the election, the clowns that are a continual threat, or new neighbours, they are all a cause of anxiety.

Ally is going to be an annoying character, and this week just solidifies that fact. When we look at her and compare her to Kai, they are both extremes. Kai is everything we expect from the worst of a “Trump fan”, in many ways he is a mini-trump in the making, using fear to further his own mission. Ally is everything that is expected from an extreme “Liberal”. It isn’t that people like this exist to this level, but they are used to satirise everything that is expected from both sides of the political spectrum.

In terms of interesting additions to the cast, this week we have new neighbours. Harrison and Meadow Wilton (Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman) are characters that are suspicious, and for me are part of the “cult” working with Kai. I may be proven wrong about this, but everything seems to be heading that way right now.

What we don’t know yet is what the end game of American Horror Story: Cult is. Kai and Ivy are gaining power in Ally and Ivy’s lives, but the question is why? Obviously, the fact that they are a liberal lesbian married couple obviously makes them a target, but why go to all this trouble just for these two? Especially when murder seems to be an option they are happy to use.

Looking at where American Horror Story: Cult is right now, the show is doing well at satirising the modern culture around politics, and to a certain level show the hypocrisy. We know that Ally voted for the “third option” in the election which arguably helped Trump win, so does that not make her a villain in her own eyes? This may be why her anxieties are forcing their way to the surface, a lot of the fear she feels has been created by her herself.

Using that theory, the fact that she seems to continually make bad decisions quite possibly further these anxieties. She has a hand in fatalities, and they are all through her fear. Yes, the “clowns” are pushing her to panic and act without thinking, but in the end, she is the one who brings the gun into the situation, and of course ended up in the restaurant where the latest victim was found.

This is where American Horror Story: Cult is interesting, it isn’t as clean-cut as pushing all the blame on Kai. It appears that he may be the cult leader, with his little group of clowns and fear lovers. It will be interesting to see if he actually manages to get in power in the council, and what he will do with it.

Looking at the way American Horror Story: Cult is using politics as a theme, city in which it takes place is a microcosm of modern-day America. This is what makes the satire work, and makes the show feel topical in today’s world. There is a lot of fear in society today whether it be over-hyped or in fact real. What this show does is to take it to the extreme and build a horror story around it.

Whatever role Ally plays in American Horror Story: Cult (other than the victim) this season is shaping up to be both different and interesting. Ally is a very annoying character, but that is exactly what she is meant to be. Hopefully though I won’t spend the whole season bitching about her actions and how stupid they are.

**** 4/5

American Horror Story: Cult airs in American at 10pm on FX and in the UK on Fridays 10pm on Fox.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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