Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have brought us yet another chilling season of “American Horror Story,” this time centering around the 2016 election. Some of our favorite cast members return for “Cult” including Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts and Frances Conroy. We are also introduced to some new faces including Billie Lourd, Lena Dunham and Billy Eichner.
Some fans have begun to walk away from the series, after the departure of “American Horror Story” favorite Jessica Lange. However, this season is carrying over some of the plotline from a previous season, “Freak Show,” except setting the murderous clown story against a modern-day backdrop. Murphy has teased, via Instagram, that Twisty the Clown—the central character of “Freak Show”—will play a large role in this season.
“Cult” will feature 11 episodes all centering around Ally Mayfaire-Richards as played by Sarah Paulson and her wife Ivy, played by Allison Pill. We are introduced to the Mayfaire-Richards as they huddle by the television watching Trump’s victory speech on the night of Nov. 6. After just two episodes, it is clear that this season will become extremely political and comment on some of the controversial issues that have arisen in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.
The center plotline focuses on the marriage of Ally and Ivy and how election night began their own living horror story. As we begin to learn more about both of them, we are introduced to Ally’s past dealing with crippling phobias that have risen again now that Trump has taken office. Among these phobias is her extreme fear of clowns, which begin to follow her around town.
Set alongside this plotline, is that of Kai Anderson, played by Evan Peters, a conservative millennial that begins his run for City Council after what he considers to be an inspiring win by Trump. Murphy and Fulchuk appear to be using Kai’s storyline to comment on controversial issues surrounding Trump’s presidency such as immigration and same-sex marriage. Thus far, viewers have seen clips of archived footage from election night and subsequent press conferences.
Although dedicated AHS fans have come to expect these unlikely storylines, this season seems to be pushing it. In episode two, it seems that the writers are manipulating Ally into the most improbable of situations. She has already witnessed the murders of three fellow citizens in the span of just days and has been followed by multiple gangs of clowns.
Many fans have begun tweeting #AHSCult to express their feelings on the new season. So far, the masses seem to love the new faces that are appearing in this season and are excited to see who else will join the cast as the season progresses.
While the acting has been impressive, it is the theme and plot that many are having a hard time getting behind. After only two episodes, we have been hit with twist after twist, whether it be clowns scootering in the grocery store or jumping out of an ice cream truck. Many fans are excited to see how Twisty’s storyline from “Freak Show” will connect to “Cult.” However, many feel like we are simply watching the show because of our love for the franchise as a whole, not necessarily this specific storyline.
All in all, we are anxious to see how Ally and Kai will develop as more bizarre twists are added to the plot. We will just have to wait and see what Murphy and Falchuk have in store for us as the season progresses.
Rachel Spurlock is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at RS874054@wcupa.edu.