FX’s American Horror Story: Cult episode four begins with a flashback to election night. Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) reports live from outside a polling place, calling the turnout historic. She wonders if the blue wall will stand, pointing out that the turnout in democratic counties of Michigan seems lower than usual.
After the camera stops rolling, RJ the cameraman lets Beverly know her coverage probably won’t be used. Beverly’s pissed she just wasted her time, and even more upset when Serena (Emma Roberts) walks by to go cast her vote for HRC. Serena rubs in the fact she gets to sit on the coverage desk tonight, and Beverly’s incensed since Serena’s not in the least bit qualified to cover politics.
Serena pushes her way through the line which includes Ivy (Alison Pill) and Ally (Sarah Paulson) prematurely celebrating having a woman president, Winter (Billie Lourd) getting angry at the man who tells her group to keep the noise down, and Meadow (Leslie Grossman) and Harrison Wilton (Billy Eichner) waiting to vote. Meadow’s disgusted by her fellow citizens and suggests there should be a test to see if they’re qualified to vote. She admits she wouldn’t pass the test and doesn’t feel informed enough to make the right choice.
Right before Ivy and Ally step into voting booths, Ivy reminds Ally not to make the mistake of protest voting. Ally assures her she won’t, which we know is a lie.
Next, we see brief clips of the different AHS: Cult players casting their votes. Beverly and her cameraman vote for Clinton, as do Dr. Vincent and Ivy. Serena votes Trump, Harrison votes for Gary Johnson, Meadow writes in Oprah, and Ally marks her ballot for Jill Stein.
Kai (Evan Peters) rushes in accompanying an injured man who’s bleeding onto the polling place floor. He demands to vote, even though he can barely stand. Both he and Kai vote for Trump. As the injured man walks toward the desk to turn in his ballot, he holds up his arm which is bloody and missing his hand, and yells, “Welcome to Trump’s America, Motherf**kers!”
The day after the election, Kai shows up at the gym where Harrison works and requests him as a trainer. When asked his goals, Kai immediately replies, “World domination.” They discuss Harrison’s sexuality, and when Harrison asks if Kai’s gay, Kai replies, “See, this is what I’m talking about – labels. Diversity starts with ‘d i v’ which is also the first three letters of divide. Gay, bisexual, transgender…these are labels created by the leftists. They want to split us apart, create special interest groups that put themselves over the greater good of the community.”
Kai adds, “A man with no label has an allegiance only to what’s right.”
Harrison and Kai get to know a little more about each other, with Kai saying he does coding and is an app developer. He also reveals he was invited to join MENSA at 14 and is now focusing on politics and changing the world. He’s not gay but he will do whatever it takes so that those who he loves know that he loves them.
As they’re finishing up their training session, Harrison’s boss tells him he needs to do the “clean-up on aisle 4” since all the illegals have been fired. Harrison explains that means he must clean up after men have masturbated in the locker room. Kai thinks that’s humiliating and Harrison replies, “That’s the story of my life.”
As Harrison’s cleaning up, he hears a loud bang and then sees a smiley face drawn on the glass in the locker room. He finds Kai masturbating in the shower and smiles when Kai says he’s cleaning it up himself.
Harrison makes it home and Meadow’s been watching Fox News, but not really following the happenings in Trump World. However, what’s really worrying her is she missed paying bills and now the bank is threatening foreclosure. They’ll be evicted in three days, and Harrison is furious Meadow kept this a secret. Their mortgage is $1500 and only Harrison is making money. Harrison blames this all on Meadow, but she reminds him she had to go on disability because of her melanoma. Plus, she had to quit her job at a craft store because the manager sexually harassed her.
Meadow tells Harrison all she needs is him and a decent cable package, and then tries to get him aroused sexually. It doesn’t work.
Spring forward a few days and Harrison’s boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t sign up more clients. Kai’s 12 sessions are almost over and Harrison hasn’t gotten him to commit to more. He tries to convince Kai there have been a bunch of positive changes in his body since he started working out, but Kai knows something’s up because of how douchey Harrison sounds. Harrison admits the bank foreclosed, he lost everything, and he’s about to get fired. All his possessions are in a U-Haul trailer and he has nowhere to go.
Kai says this just means he’s free and he can take any path he wants. Harrison calls Kai optimistic and transformative, but Kai says he’s just a mirror for what’s already in Harrison. Kai tells Harrison he has to live his life the way it was meant to be.
Kai watches as Harrison once again is forced to handle the “clean-up in aisle 4” task, and he tells Harrison he deserves better while drawing a smiley face on the glass. Harrison wants to change but doesn’t know how, and Kai says, “Take my power in both your hands and get your life back.” Kai can feel Harrison’s pain and says it’s a motivator. He tells Harrison to inform his boss he won’t be treated this way anymore.
Harrison finds his boss lifting weights and squirts cleaning fluid in his face. He gets on top of his boss and slams the weight bar down across his throat, with Kai cheering him on. The bones snap in his boss’ neck and Harrison tosses the weight bar off his lifeless body. Kai tells Harrison he’s proud to call him his friend, just as the only-nearly-dead boss sputters back to life. Harrison picks up a weight and slams it into his boss’ head to finish him off.
Minutes later in the office, Kai is calm while Harrison screams and panics. Kai has the boss’ phone and he sends a text to all of his contacts explaining he’ll be out of town. Harrison then realizes it was all recorded on security cameras, but Kai fixes that by erasing three weeks of footage which they’ll figure out was caused by a computer virus.
Harrison wonders about the dead man’s family and Kai reveals he didn’t have a wife, kids, or even any pets. Kai then admits he’s been watching Harrison and the people around him for a long time. All that matters now is that Harrison is a part of something “bigly” and they will now build something better and more powerful.
Meadow is so desperate to feel better she offers two strangers at a motel sex in exchange for drugs. They must feel sorry for her as they give her the pot without the sex.
Meadow makes it to her motel room only to find Harrison in the bathtub sawing off his boss’ head while Kai instructs him on the best way to cut up a body. “Just when I think my life can’t get any worse…,” says Meadow before asking who the dead man in her tub is and who’s Kai.
The story then moves forward to December 2016 with Beverly and her cameraman, RJ, arriving at a landfill. They’re going to report on the discovery of a headless torso and Beverly’s pissed about her horrible assignments. Serena is covering reflexology and getting a treatment on air, while Beverly is tromping through a dump.
Kai watches the evening news rewinding through the welcome back banter between Beverly Hope and anchorman Bob Thompson (Dermot Mulroney). It looks as if he’s fascinated by Beverly, listening to her say, “It’s great to be back, Bob,” repeatedly. He kneels close to the TV and asks out loud, “Where were you?”
Kai searches for Beverly Hope online and finds a video with the disclaimer: “The following are the incidents that forced Michigan newscaster Beverly Hope of WNBR Channel 7 to be driven to commit a savage act of violence.”
The video shows Beverly reporting at night on a traffic accident. She believes she’s interviewing an eye witness until he says, “Grab her right in the pussy!” and runs away. Another clip shows Beverly covering a pipe accident when men jump in front of her and also yell, “Grab her right in the pussy!”
Next, she’s reporting near an empty pool where a teenage girl was killed after doing a difficult move on her skateboard. A teen rolls up behind Beverly and utters the despicable phrase, and this time Beverly has had enough. She begins hitting him over the head with her mic.
Beverly checked herself in for 30 days of treatment and now she’s back.
Over at the news station, Bob feels Serena’s breast and talks about men not appreciating how sensitive nipples are. He invites her to his lake house the following weekend where they’ll talk about her career, drink wine, and… Before they can finish, Beverly barges in. Bob tells her to cut her next piece by a minute and a half because he needs more time for Serena’s wine tasting piece. Serena claims people don’t want news and instead just want to be distracted.
After Bob leaves, Serena tells Beverly she doesn’t care how many penises she has to suck, one day she’ll be on The Today Show.
After that encounter, Beverly slashes Bob’s tires in the parking lot. Kai catches her in the act and takes her out for coffee. Kai doesn’t ask for the specifics on why she was doing it, instead offering understanding about her situation as a black woman in the work force. He suggests she use a knife and slash some throats, adding that the fear in a small Michigan town can infect the world. Fear gets stronger, scarier, and rips across the country. He talks about the need for a great messenger to give fear a name. “Believe me, Beverly Hope. If you get the world scared enough, they will set the world on fire for us,” explains Kai.
Beverly wonders who he is and he lists off his accomplishments including a tour of duty, a brown belt in Karate, and a double degree from Yale. He says first he’ll win a city council seat, then move on to the state senate and then congress, with tens of millions of followers. Anything is possible, but he needs her. Together, they will equal power.
Kai tells Beverly he’s watched her and she has “it,” meaning rage. He believes the rage defines her and she explains what it is she feels. “It’s not like anger. Everyone feels that. It feels like wanting to be the last person on earth because that way you got to watch every other son of a bitch die before you,” confesses Beverly.
Beverly doesn’t believe in Kai or in anyone, or even in herself. Kai gives her a card with his campaign office’s address, telling her he’ll see her in a few days.
Serena’s out covering the setup of a pet adoption event, but she doesn’t want to hold the smelly puppy. Her cameraman makes her, explaining people want to see her cuddling a dog. She warns it not to piss on her before launching into her report. As she’s speaking, a clown can be seen walking through the empty event. Two more join him and finally Serena turns around as they approach.
Serena believes the clowns are just trying to steal her airtime, and even turns to ask the female clown a question for the segment. The clown stabs her in the stomach while another clown slices her neck. The cameraman tries to help and he’s stabbed, too. The clowns repeatedly stab both victims, all while the camera continues to record. They don’t check the camera before walking away. (And the dog is left unharmed, which is good since I would immediately turn off this episode and cut the recap short if they killed the puppy.)
Meadow shows Kai and Harrison her drawings of clowns, and Kai calls her a talented artist. Beverly comes into the basement and asks if Kai killed Serena. She saw the tape, which the network is refusing to air. She knows it was him and Kai admits it and doesn’t apologize. He says he did it for her so she would believe he would do anything for her. “I believe in you,” says Beverly, and then they hug.
As they’re hugging, she whispers, “Equal power,” in his ear. Kai agrees.
Beverly’s back out on the scene of another crime where they found the severed head of Harrison’s boss, Vincenzo “Vinny” Ravoli. An anonymous phone tip brought the police to the scene, and the cops think the head belongs to the body from the dump. Beverly wonders if children are safe to walk the streets and if the government is doing anything to help its citizens. She ends her report by asking, “How much carnage must we the people endure before we finally say enough?”
We finally catch up again with Ally and Ivy, and it’s a flashback to Ivy trying to get Ally to go with her to a rally the day before the election. Ally thinks HRC has it locked up, but Ivy says that kind of thinking will lead to a Trump win. Ally admits she isn’t sure what Clinton believes in, but she does see what Jill Stein stands for. Ivy warns her not to repeat the Nader mistake, and Ally says she wouldn’t even consider giving Stein her vote if she thought Trump had a chance of winning.
Ivy attends the rally without Ally, walking through a pro-Trump crowd yelling “Lock Her Up” and waving Make America Great Again signs. Signs also proclaim Planned Parenthood sells baby parts and that God says to vote for Trump. The two opposing sides are separated by a metal barrier and Ivy doesn’t want to engage with the Trumpsters but gets into it with one who says Killary started the negativity by calling them deplorables. Ivy states the obvious, saying Hillary was only referring to the bigots who support Trump. The Trump supporter says he’s pissed and Ivy says that’s because a black man ran the country for eight years and now a woman will for the next eight. The argument denigrates to the point the Trumpster follows Trump’s lead and grabs Ivy in her private area.
Winter runs up and screams at the man not to touch Ivy, saying she saw what just happened. Winter yells for someone to call the police and chases after the fleeing deplorable as he tries to escape. He hops into his truck and drives away while Ivy looks upset and confused.
Ivy thanks Winter for defending her and Winter says they don’t have a choice but to make sure men don’t think they can do what they want. Ivy treats Winter to lunch at her restaurant, and Winter calls her incredible. She also admits she wants to be Huma Abedin, the person next to a powerful person pushing them to greatness. (Interesting that four episodes in we’re finally learning about this prior connection between Winter and Ivy.)
Ivy is more upset than she let on, and Winter says the man is lucky she didn’t taze him. Ivy thought she was a fighter and is disappointed she froze. Winter tells her not to be so hard on herself. “There’s a lot of crazy right now. I mean, Trump and those d*ckfaces feel like they can get away with anything. This is not normal,” says Winter.
Ivy and Winter discuss misogyny and how white men have felt entitled since the beginning of time.
And now comes another bizarre connection. The man who assaulted Ivy is Gary (Chaz Bono), the store clerk who claims he didn’t witness Ally under attack by the clowns. He’s closing up the store the night before the election after promising his co-worker he absolutely won’t forget to vote.
As Gary’s turning off the lights, he spots Winter down an aisle staring at a display of tape. When he asks what she’s doing there, she says she saw the store’s name on his truck. Ivy tazes Gary while Winter knocks him out. Winter picks out a roll of heavy-duty tape as Ivy smiles.
Gary comes to and he’s completely taped up and handcuffed to a pole. Ivy and Winter, faces covered by ski masks, assure him they’ll tell the police his location in 24 hours – after the election is over. Ivy says, “The world is about to change, Gary. For the first time in history, a woman will be your Commander in Chief.” Gary screams it won’t happen, and Ivy tells him he doesn’t matter anymore. They slap some tape over his mouth and leave him chained up.
Winter arrives home and heads to her room. Kai notices she has blood on her face and asks what she did. When she confesses she hurt someone, he asks how it felt. Winter replies, “It felt f**king fantastic!” He demands she tell him everything.
Gary yells for help and Kai arrives to tell him no one can hear him. It’s an hour before the polls close and Gary is frantic to vote. Gary wants Kai to cut through the pipe or through the handcuffs, and has tools at his grocery store to do the job.
Kai whips out a hatchet, which can’t cut through the cuffs. Gary wonders if Kai is nuts and Kai says, “For eight years they’ve been telling you there’s something wrong with you for being a straight white working man. Longer than that, probably. You work hard. You like American beer and pussy and they laugh at you for it!” Kai lists Samantha Bee, Rachel Maddow, and other b*itches mock Gary and continuously put him down. Gary agrees and Kai says now – election day – is his chance to get them back. Kai wants to know what Gary would give for the chance to vote, and Gary asks Kai for the saw. Kai places his belt above the area where Gary will make the cut and Gary screams and then chops his own arm off as Kai watches, expressionless.
More on American Horror Story: Cult:
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 1 “Election Night”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 2 “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 3 “Neighbors from Hell”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 5 “Holes”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 6 “Mid-Western Assassin”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 8 “Winter of Our Discontent”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 9 “Drink the Kool-Aid”
– Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 10 “Charles (Manson) in Charge”