American Horror Story: Mid-Western Assassin
Original air date: October 10th, 2017
I’ve said since the beginning that this season may be the most controversial and scariest because it hits so close to home– maybe too close. This week, in respect for the Las Vegas Strip Shooting, the producers aired an edited version of the episode. The full episode is available online for those that want to watch it. I opted to watch the televised version. While I don’t believe in censorship, I also don’t believe in turning a blind eye—I think it would have been in bad taste not to address situation. Having said that, the mass shooting that occurs in this episode is a symptom of the illness of the season—not seeing a graphic portrayal did not take away from the episode.
At the end of last week, I felt that Meadow running to Ally, telling her everything before getting captured again, just seemed too convenient. It was– it was all part of Kai’s plan. How better to get noticed nationally than to have someone try and assassinate you? It also has effectively squashed any credibility Ally had. The episode ended with Ally being arrested for the shootings, but will that really stand? There must be footage or witnesses to support her. If she is locked away, that seems just too easy. Though I suppose if she gets institutionalized there could be some tie-ins to season two. Lana Winter shut down Briarcliff, but where did all the patients go? I just don’t think this is the end of Ally’s story. I keep hoping she can overcome her fears and somehow prevail.
Okay, speaking of Ally’s fear—Ivy kind of sucks. When she calls out Ally’s phobias as, “white-privilege bullshit’, I feel it shows a lack of empathy and understanding of mental illness. Back from the first episode I thought it was odd she had such little patience with her wife, now we know she’s been in on it the whole time. She says she doesn’t want to kill Ally because she doesn’t want Oz to go through that trauma—um, okay; but it is totally okay to see his mom cheating online, to see her be driven insane and to be terrorized by clowns himself, not to mention the guinea pig? I know, Ivy has joined a cult, but really? She is a horrible mother. For Oz’s sake, I hope Ally somehow gets through this. At least she knows her mental health isn’t the greatest and sought help—though maybe if she had another doctor, we wouldn’t have this season.
There was one thing that really stuck out to me: it was when Meadow said, “If you believe in something, then there would be no room for him [Kai].” I had been struggling with how easily Kai was able to recruit people, but this makes sense. I guess Sally Keffler’s (Mare Winningham) theory of Kai being a Reactionist, and his cult a result of American turmoil, (likening him to Manson) also makes some sense. To me, what makes the whole idea of cults scary is the unadulterated trust of the followers. Someone can wield so much power that they can manipulate people into killing others– or themselves– and they believe they are doing this from some greater good is terrifying.
We have seen Kai recruit and manipulate, so now what? Kai’s plan seems to be going well, but his cult isn’t huge and he has lost two people in the last two episodes; are we going to see some new recruits? Will the shooting propel him to the national level? If it does, can he keep up his momentum? Or will he be a flash in the pan—top news for a week, then accepting a gig on Dancing with the Stars? I am curious to see Kai’s end game. We know the players at the table, mostly. Dr. Vincent’s full role is still a question mark, and Beverly is a bit of a wild card, but is the momentum of the season faltering? AHS always has twists and turns in the seasons, I hope these in this case they lead to some interesting remaining episodes.