***Spoilers for American Horror Story: Cult through Episode 11 follow. Spoilers***
With this seventh season finale, American Horror Story wrapped up what is likely its most cohesive — certainly, timely — round yet. And, despite my miraculously correct prediction of Ally’s final personal and political triumphs, the hour managed to keep viewers ever so slightly off balance, never quite sure whether events would align with our own nightmarish reality, or branch out in the fantasy victory we dreamed of.
A forward flash to 2018 reveals Kai has somehow — “Sold out by a filthy fucking rat” — ended up in a maximum security prison, but that apparently hasn’t slowed down his ability to find followers and lead the next revolution. As always, preying on the frightened and cowards provides Anderson ample disposable members to help him work his way back outside. When his newest recruit wonders how Kai ended up in jail, we’re transported to eleven months earlier, scaling back the Night of 1000 Tates … to 100 Tates, though his inner Charles Manson helps amp up the plan to attack and murder pregnant women and the babies they’re carrying — a political message he thinks will ensure his opponent loses. “Women will get rid of whoever failed to keep them safe.”
When a distraught and worn down Beverly begs Ally to kill her, Ally hints at something to live for and with a last minute dagger to Kai’s heart, tells him about Speedwagon’s deal with the FBI and Winter’s non-betrayal. It’s her final motivation to ensure Kai and the boys will work themselves into a terrifying frenzy, and enough for the FBI to raid and round up the entire gang — short a few due to the ensuing shootout, Beverly’s revenge and a suicide or two. With Kai having pled guilty to everything to save himself from a death sentence, Ally starts her life — “Meet my girlfriend of eight weeks and two days, Erica” — anew … Manwiches are traded for Butchery on Main fare.
Though Beverly has her suspicions about Ivy’s death, she and Ally come to a comfortable understanding, with Beverly eventually taking an active role in Ally’s Senatorial campaign. Though she’s ostensibly gained the upper hand over Kai, crushing him by revealing he’s actually not Oz’s biological father, Ally needs to prove her strength in a public debate to win over voters who still see her as a victim.
In a final (fairly predictable) late hour not-shock, Kai makes good on his “I am coming for you” threat. Having sacrificed newbie, Trevor, Kai’s shaved and tattooed doppelgänger, long enough to escape with Gloria (his prison guard lover), Anderson shows up at Ally’s debate to finally get his revenge. Spewing seething rage (and magical lines) at her, he gleefully points Gloria’s weapon at Ally and … futilely clicks away, but the smarter of the pair had already recruited the guard to her side. Beverly grabs her moment of glory, finishing off the last Anderson with a bullet to the head. Senate seat secured, Ally tucks in Oz with Twisty and a few inspirational words about women “changing the system”, then donning her green velvet hoodie, takes up the SCUM mantle left by Bebe.
Yeah, I’m cheering for myself guessing that ending many moons ago; I knew Ally would eventually get rid of Kai, that she’d probably go into politics (perhaps a future presidential run is in order?), and take over the cult. The one part I didn’t quite hit was that she’d take over SCUM.
Sure, Ryan Murphy’s messaging is over the top, but you’ve got to give the guy credit for getting everything so politically correct. Still, this felt less like a season of AHS and more like a splinter American Crime Story: Politico.
All the regulars were top notch this season, but especially Evan Peters, Adina Porter and Sarah Paulson.
Kai: “While women destroy the world outside, we wait safely for our time to strike.”
Ally to Beverly: “We all did what we had to do. And we still are. That hasn’t changed. What’s happening tomorrow night will be glorious, you’ll see.”
Ally to freaked out Kai: “Let me make you a Manwich.”
Ally leaving the house before the raid: “I’m just going to get some snacks.”
Beverly: “If she turned down Lana Winters (Paulson’s AHS: Asylum character), why would she talk to Maddow?”
Ally: “It’s time we band together to ban all cults. The Democrats, Republicans, the two-party system …
Isn’t it sad when a strong woman scares people more than clowns?
You can’t intimidate me and I am tired of being mansplained to.”
Kai to Ally: “You’re not a hero; you’re a symbol. You symbolize the hope that women will one day win an argument with their husbands, that they won’t be catcalled when they walk down the streets, that their bosses won’t talk about their tits anymore, that they’ll make just as much money as men make, that the fight is winnable. When I kill you, they’ll see that there is no hope. Women can’t lead. Women can’t win. They will always be outsmarted and outmuscled. They need to finally understand that what they can and should do is shut up, know their place, and make me a goddamned sandwich.”
Gloria to Ally: “If I’m being honest, all of that divine ruler shit turns me off.”
Ally to Kai: “You were wrong. There is something more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man. A nasty woman.”