‘American Horror Story: Cult’ Episode 8 Recap: Winter of Our Discontent

American Horror Story: Cult
Evan Peters as Kai Anderson in ‘American Horror Story: Cult” (Photo by Frank Ockenfels/FX)

After a weird episode involving a Zodiac Killer storyline, FX’s American Horror Story: Cult is back on track with episode eight titled “Winter of Our Discontent.” AHS: Cult episode eight begins with Kai’s men emerging from his home just as his brother, Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson), arrives for a celebratory drink. Kai’s leg is still stiff from the gunshot injury, and from their conversation it’s confirmed Rudy doesn’t know his brother’s been manipulating everything. Rudy admits he was ashamed of himself for not knowing all the good work Kai (Evan Peters) was doing and that’s why he didn’t visit Kai in the hospital. He adds that he’s proud of his brother.

Rudy’s impressed Kai has organized this group and wants to help get his message out. Rudy thinks it could become a national movement, and even offers to film videos for social media. As they hug, Kai tells his brother to call him Councilman from now on.

Ivy (Alison Pill) serves some of Kai’s men, who are all dressed in blue button-down shirts, a meal and the men promptly insult her, calling her a b*tch. Winter (Billie Lourd) listens in as one man tells Ivy if she smiles, her likeability will go way up. Winter stops Ivy from stabbing him.

Ivy is livid when she returns to her kitchen, asking Beverly (who’s busy cooking) how this “handmaiden” sh*t happened. Ivy thought they were on the verge of toppling the patriarchy, but now Kai has an army.

A flashback to the previous night’s council meeting illustrates what happens when anyone attempts to stand up to Kai. Kai has the council vote on a private police force and only Councilman Perry votes no. The audience is full of Kai’s armed, blue-shirted militia as Councilman Perry says more men with guns on the streets makes him uncomfortable. Kai points out the councilman lives in a gated community, forcing him to change his vote by issuing a veiled threat against the man’s school-age children.

Back to the restaurant and Beverly (Adina Porter) admits they let it go too far, but thinks the men would fall if Kai is killed. Winter joins them in the kitchen, warning them they can’t kill Kai. It would be a suicide mission, plus she thinks the movement needs them. Beverly doesn’t think Kai is fit to lead and tells Winter to decide if she’s with them or against them. Winter is sure Kai would never hurt her, but Beverly doesn’t agree.

Another flashback, this time to October 2015: Kai and Winter were trolling the “social justice warriors” on the dark web when they hit the jackpot. They’d pushed the limits and received a private invitation from a pastor to go to the Judgment House. When they got to Judgment House, only Pastor Charles was there to greet them. They had to agree to never tell what they saw at the house before they entered.

Pastor Charles allowed them to look around the house and they found a woman restrained, with her legs spread, bleeding to death and begging for help. Kai and Winter thought it was a joke, but were soon convinced it was real. The Pastor shocked the woman as they watched.

Each room had a different abomination, and the place smelled like death. People were being tortured at Judgment House and Winter wanted to leave but they had to stay and witness all these different tortures, listening as people begged them for help. The Pastor continued to preach over a loudspeaker, and Kai tried to free the victims. He told Winter to get help while he worked on freeing each one.

Winter was trapped at the door trying to escape when Kyle hit the pastor from behind and knocked him out. Coming to, Pastor Charles found himself tied up as Kai ticked off the list of the people who were being tortured. One was trying to sober up, the woman was being treated for a UTI at Planned Parenthood, and another was volunteering at an AIDS clinic when he was taken. Kai decided the Pastor deserved what he was putting the innocent people through and he threw the switch after Winter said, “Kill the mother*cker.”

Back to present time and Winter says Kai realized after that, and after going deeper into the dark web, that he can’t save everyone. Winter thinks Kai’s just lost his way and she can put him on the right path again. Beverly and Ivy agree to give her time to do that, but Beverly warns she only has until the end of the week.

Winter meets with Kai, and he understands the girls are restless. They pinky promise and Kai asks, “Do you love me? Will you always be loyal to me?” Winter says he makes it hard sometimes. Kai fake cries and interrupts the pinky promise. Kai says he loves their family and that the work they’ve begun is just the seed. The savior will arise from the blood they share, getting creepily close as he tells her she’ll be the messiah’s mother. Kai’s not suggesting incest but instead wants her to have sex with Samuels (Colton Haynes). He’ll enter Samuels as Samuels enters Winter. (This is totally twisted.)

Over at Ally’s place, she tells Dr. Rudy to leave but he won’t. Ally (Sarah Paulson) is pissed he locked her up in a psych ward for three weeks and he never helped her all these months. He didn’t believe anything she said, but now he says he believes everything. He also reveals Kai is his brother and he’s more dangerous than she even knows. Plus, Winter is his sister. Ally is furious and can’t believe Rudy’s sister is having sex with her wife, Ivy. Rudy admits he wasn’t listening and never realized she was talking about Kai.

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Cheyenne Jackson as Dr. Vincent in ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ (Photo by Frank Ockenfels / FX)

Ally thinks Rudy helped Kai get inside her head, but Rudy believes Kai broke into his office and read her file. Ally knows Rudy ruined her life and now she wants his license. Everything that’s gone wrong is because of Dr. Rudy, but Rudy swears he’ll get her her life back and her son back.

Winter prepares to have sex with Samuels, and Kai makes it into some bizarre formal ritual. They’re dressed in robes and he declares the bed a holy space. He also declares “I Swear” is now a sacred song and will be played during every messiah copulation. Kai and Samuels kiss and then Samuels is about to have sex with Winter, but he can’t get an erection. Winter finally comes to her senses and puts an end to this ritual that Kai just came up with.

Ally cuddles one of her son’s shirts and his toy truck, lying on his bed. The way the small pillow is positioned behind her and because she’s wearing a flowing white shirt, she looks like an angel.

Ally lets Kai and two of his men in when they arrive for dinner. The men are armed and Ally admits she invited Kai over to give him information. She asks if the men can leave so they can speak privately, and then she tells Kai she knows something he’ll want to hear. Ally won’t tell him unless he gives her back her son. She makes him promise he’ll do that and when he does, she tells him Rudy is trying to get him committed. Rudy will try to stop Kai because if Kai’s plan doesn’t ultimately work out, then it will ruin Rudy’s career.

Kai thinks Ally looks different and she explains that after all these months of him terrorizing her, she’s cured. She’s no longer afraid of anything.

Winter’s wearing a dunce camp and an orange jumpsuit while putting trash back on the streets as her punishment for not completing the ritual. Samuels brings her lunch along with another sack of recyclables to throw on the grass. (Kai doesn’t believe in global warming.) Samuels calls her a servant as he hands her her gruel for lunch. She wonders if Samuels was always Kai’s bitch, but it turns out Samuels caught Kai distributing fake prescriptions years ago. Instead of taking him in, Samuels blackmailed Kai.

A flashback shows Kai visiting Samuels’ house to give him his share of the money and finding him unsuccessfully attempting to have sex with a woman. Samuels couldn’t get an erection and Kai told him that’s because he hates women. Kai believes women take your power every time you have sex. What Kai thinks Samuels needs is a man, but Samuels said he’s not gay. Kai countered with an argument that there’s no such thing as gay; it’s all about circuits and power, and with a man there’s no energy drain.

Now, Samuels says Kai was right and so he follows his rules. Winter says there’s an easier explanation than that: he’s gay. Samuels gets pissed and attempts to rape Winter, but she pulls a gun. She says Valerie was right and he’s like every man. “When Hillary lost, I did too. I should have fought back. I should have gotten angry. I joined this thing and it’s too late for me. It’s too late for you, too, turd.” She pulls the trigger and Samuels’ brains explode all over the driver’s side window.

Kai has the “betrayers” brought to him in his basement. Rudy and Beverly are tied up and gagged, and Kai is ready to kill Rudy first. He can’t believe his brother didn’t protect him, but Rudy says Kai can always trust him. Rudy says he was just concerned and they can talk about this, it’s not too late. Kai says he’s been chosen to usher in a new beginning. Rudy claims he wants to see his brother succeed, no matter what.

They reminisce about pinky promises and how it was their own private world. Everything they did would be forgiven. Kai unties Rudy’s hands and extends his pinky. They link pinkies and Kai cuts Rudy’s off. Winter takes off her clown mask and Rudy can’t believe she’s standing there watching this happen.

Kai slices his brother’s throat and dies at Beverly’s feet.

One of Kai’s men takes the gag out of Beverly’s mouth. Kai reveals Winter told him Beverly shot Samuels in the head and warned her Kai was next. Beverly says Winter’s lying but Kai punches Beverly in the face. He can’t believe she betrayed him, and she screams that he betrayed her. “Your promises mean sh*t. You’re fake. You don’t stand for a goddamn thing,” says Beverly. Kai claims to be standing up for those who need to be heard.

Beverly says his ego is bigger than everything and he’s an attention whore. She tells him her biggest mistake was believing in him, and Kai says she’ll suffer instead of die.

“Loyalty must be absolute. Without it, we have nothing,” says Kai. Those still in masks remove them and it turns out one is Ally – the newest member. She glares at Ivy who stares back.

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 4 “11/9”
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 9 “Drink the Kool-Aid”
Recap of American Horror Story: Cult Episode 10 “Charles (Manson) in Charge”