17th Oct2017

‘American Horror Story – Cult 7×06: Mid-Western Assassin’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

ahs-cult-706

What exactly is horror? There seems to be a lot of discussion on that at the moment. This week’s American Horror Story: Cult is an interesting look at a show that built up a fan-base based on horror themes. With all fear removed from the “cult” for the audience though, where is the horror in Mid-Western Assassin?

Starting with an assassination attempt, American Horror Story: Cult takes us into another flashback to events where we see Ally (Sarah Paulson) save Meadow (Leslie Grossman). Seemingly finding her a safe place to stay, Ally then looks for proof of the cult and Ivy’s (Alison Pill) involvement. When her fears are confirmed though, will she be the one holding the gun?

This week’s episode follows the usual theme of being good, and having an interesting plot. The problem is that holes are starting to appear, and that includes spaces where the horror used to be. We know the cult members, we know the game that Kai (Even Peters) is playing, and the outcome of the episode is predictable. So where is the show going?

The answer to that is that right now it is strengthening the cult, and the power of Kai. We see further examples of his power play and how he manipulates his followers, and Meadow fills in a few gaps. The problem is that it feels all too planned out, and Ally is just too gullible, meaning she falls straight into the trap set up for her.

In other cases of the plot having holes, things are happening in a way that is slightly too simple. Witnesses would have seen the “shooter” in the assassination attempt, but at the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case. The suicide that is staged in this episode is also a physical impossibility and would raise alarm signals, yet it doesn’t. We just have to accept the events that we are seeing, and watch the story play out.

For people who saw the unedited version of this week’s American Horror Story: Cult, the impact of the episode is also a little muted. It is fully understandable why the edit was needed with recent events in Las Vegas. I would recommend seeing the unedited version when possible to understand the scope of the scene.

What this scene does do though is to show Ivy is the weak link in the cult, and may be the one to save Ally in the end. We’ve seen how selfish she can be though, so it may take some time. It seems though that Ivy isn’t one of the loyal cultists who enjoy the bloodshed that Kai’s reign of fear demands.

I’m sure next week we’ll see the predictable rise of Kai to national media star, and he’ll use his new exposure to move higher in the political world. Everything has to go as he expects. He’ll get his big downfall sooner or later, and we are part of his little cult following him on his journey. His reign of terror though is faltering, and it will be interesting to see just how far he will fall.

American Horror Story is a gory show that uses horror tropes to hook its fans, and it relies on the genre it was born from. With Cult though we are seeing a diluting of the horror on-screen, and that is a worrying side effect of the political story that is being born from the show. Still an interesting story, the problem is, how long is the horror going to last before it is just a good thriller?

**** 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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