23rd Oct2017

‘American Horror Story – Cult 7×07: Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins Scumbag’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


To understand the power of cults you have to look to history. Tonight we see the start of the flashbacks in American Horror Story: Cult, with the first focus being on Lena Dunham playing Valerie Solanas.

With Kai (Even Peters) enjoying the fame of the assassination attempt, it brings his cult new followers. With the focus becoming increasingly male, the female members start to feel left out. When Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) meets Bebe Babbitt (Frances Conroy) she is introduced to the history of Valerie Solanas and her SCUM manifesto.

When watching the previous episodes of American Horror Story: Cult, it has been easy to see that Beverly Hope is one of the weak points in Kai’s growing group. Fiercely power-hungry and tired of having to take a back seat, it would never take much to set her off. This week we see that in the way that Kai pushes her away, and she seemingly is losing power in the group.

The problem with pushing the women of the group away though is that they are no push over. This is why brining in Valerie Solanas as inspiration is a wise move for the story. It gives an example of violence as a way for the women to have a revolution of their own. To fight against the patriarchy, even if it is only within the cult they are part of.

We knew even before this season started that Lena Dunham was going to be a guest star, and she is perfect for the part of Solanas. It is almost a breaking of the fourth wall giving her the part of an outspoken political activist looking to make a change. This isn’t to say that Dunham is as extreme as the character she plays though, but it taps into her pop culture image that we see in real life.

Dunham plays the part well and is able to convey that level of fanaticism that the character needs. It has to be remembered though that we have to take the version of Solanas in American Horror Story: Cult with a pinch of salt. Connecting her and her followers to the Zodiac killer is an interesting but confusing move but it works for that level of extremism that the show is trying to create. Most importantly of course it is a call to arms that manipulates those who hear it.

With the final twist of the episode, it is questionable as to where it will go in future episodes. While it does strengthen the female group in Kai’s cult, it still weakens his group as a whole. It raises the question of exactly what he is hoping to achieve? Especially if his little group of believers start to kill each other. It does hint though that there is something bigger at work here, and it has yet to be revealed.

This week’s American Horror Story: Cult thankfully moves back into horror story as we see some gore make a return. The death scenes are gratuitous and the characters are becoming more extreme, and that is what the show needs. With no Sarah Paulson this week, it will be interesting to see when her character will return. With Jamie Brewer making an appearance though, it is nice to see that some of the American Horror Story characters from past seasons are continuing to make a return.

With this episode of American Horror Story: Cult feeling like a return to form for the show, things are starting to become interesting again. Hopefully there are a few more twists coming that will make this season more unpredictable, because that is exactly what it needs to hold the interest of the audience.

***** 5/5

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

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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