‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Episode 1 Recap: Election Night

American Horror Story: Cult Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson as Ally Mayfair-Richards in ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ (Photo by Frank Ockenfels/FX)

The season premiere of FX’s freaky American Horror Story: Cult, the seventh season of AHS, begins with Trump and Clinton announcing they’re running for president. The MAGA signs and American flags wave, and there’s a snippet of Jeb Bush declaring he finds Trump’s actions abhorrent. Clinton’s emails are brought up along with all the media attention they received, but still the polls indicate she’s heading toward a win. The focus of the news reports shifts to protests, fighting in the streets, and altercations at Trump’s rallies.

And now we come to the fateful night of November 8, 2016. Election Night arrives and Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) watches from his Michigan home as Trump’s victory is announced on Fox News. The reporters declare the election’s the most surreal in history, while on his sofa Kai says, “The revolution has begun.”

The mood’s less than celebratory in Ally Mayfair-Richards’ (Sarah Paulson) house. Clinton lost, but Ally refuses to accept the defeat until MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow confirms it. Ally’s friends discuss how this could have happened, while over at Kai’s place he’s screaming U.S.A. repeatedly and telling the world to f*ck off.

Ally’s devastated as she watches Pence introduce Trump as President. She cries and screams into her hands, upsetting her young son, Oz (Cooper Dodson). Ally’s unable to control her anguish, and her wife Ivy’s (Alison Pill) attempts at calming her down fall on deaf ears.

Ally wails about Merrick Garland who will never become a Supreme Court Justice under Trump, while over at Kai’s place he’s overjoyed at the outcome and happily munching on an orange Cheetos-ish snack.

Ally’s friends are dumbfounded Michigan went for Trump, and pissed at Jill Stein for taking votes Hillary needed. Ally and Ivy’s friend and neighbor Mr. Chang (Tim Kang) is also angry at his wife, Marylin (Nanrisa Lee), because she didn’t vote and he’s mad so many people cast protest votes. He’s concerned Ally and Ivy might lose their rights as a married lesbian couple. Oz is also worried his moms won’t stay married, but they assure him it will be okay.

Kai places the orange treats into a blender and then smears their liquefied form on his face. He imitates Trump’s hand gestures while looking very orange.

Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) is on the phone with a friend, and she can’t believe she gave a year of her life for this election. She dropped out of college to help the Clinton campaign, and she claims not to know what’s real anymore. “She was supposed to win. Is this really happening?” asks Winter on the verge of tears. Her friend warns her not to self-harm just as orange-faced Kai jumps on her bed. Winter punches him and yells at him to get out, pissed he’s there to rub it in.

Once she’s off the phone, they hook pinkies. Kai seems completely satisfied that “everyone” is scared now.

Next, we get a visit from an AHS fan favorite character. A couple’s about to have sex in a field when the woman freaks out, thinking someone is watching. The man tells her about Twisty the Clown and the people he hacked to death, just as we see Twisty approaching. He bows in front of the couple and produces a bouquet of fake flowers. The man pulls a gun and shoots Twisty in the stomach to no effect. Twisty slices the man’s throat and then repeatedly stabs him in the chest while the girl makes a run for it as she dials her cell phone for help. She crosses a footbridge and hides in Twisty’s old school bus, however the 911 operator’s voice gives away her hiding place.

Twisty rips her apart and tears out her tongue. He then picks up the cell phone, removes the mask covering the missing lower half of his face and says, “Wrong number.”

It turns out, the Twisty tale was actually from a comic book Oz was reading. Ally catches him reading it in bed after he’s supposed to have been asleep and forces him to fork over the reading material. When she sees Twisty on the cover, she has a horrible panic attack. Ivy once again comforts Ally, as she explains to Oz that Ally has an irrational fear of clowns.

Ally gets herself under control and apologizes for her phobias affecting Oz. Ivy gives her a gentle kiss and says they’ll work through it.

A cleaned-up Kai addresses the city council, asking what humans love the most. He answers his own question and says humans love fear the most as the council members exchange looks. “Fear is currency. It has value. We don’t need more cops, we need less,” proclaims Kai. He’s convinced if people live in fear, they no longer will have to think for themselves. Ally and Ivy’s neighbor is the head of the council and he wants to know if Kai’s suggesting they let chaos reign so people will give them unlimited power to do what’s best. Mr. Chang says he appreciates that Kai feels free to join society now that Papa Bear Trump’s been elected, but he also believes Trump’s a blip. He suggests Kai go meet people now that he’s no longer living in his parents’ basement and find out about the real world.

As Kai’s leaving he says, “There’s nothing more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man.”

Ally talks to her psychiatrist, Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), confessing she doesn’t know how she’ll make it through the next four years. She relives the election night over and over again, and now her old phobias have all been triggered – clowns, confined spaces, blood, particles in the air, the dark, a coral thing in the doctor’s office that keeps looking at her. Dr. Vincent picks it up off the shelf and Ally says it’s the holes in the coral she finds repulsive. Ivy got her through this once before after 9/11, and then Barack Obama was elected and the world was a better place. She loved him and was proud of her President. Dr. Vincent admits he’s been getting through it by deleting all his social media accounts. He prescribes an anti-anxiety medication since her reaction has been so extreme. He says it will be okay, but Ally honestly doesn’t think so.

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