American Horror Story: Cult finale recap: 'Great Again'
This very political season of American Horror Story comes to its conclusion tonight — and despite some bumps in our rough road to democracy, the will of the people must prevail. The show ended the same way it began: with an election. And regardless of how you voted in 2016, you’ve gotta be reasonably satisfied with the outcome of this one. Let’s dive in.
Kai might be in prison (wait, Kai is in prison?!), but it’s hardly cramping his cult leader style. As the episode opens, he’s pinky to pinky with Gloria, a security guard who opens her blouse at his command — and she’s not the only one under his spell. A confrontation in the prison shower turns into a blood-soaked sacrifice as one of Kai’s disciples presents him with a curved, homemade blade, then presents his throat for slitting. And the hallucinatory spirit of Charles Manson — whom Kai is spending so much time with that he’s progressed to calling him “Chuck” — is delighted. After all, this is only the start of the bloodshed.
So, how’d this happen? Let’s flash back 11 months to Kai’s last act as a free man: the Night of a Thousand Tates. And yep, it’s just what it sounds like…with one minor hitch.
“A little bad news to start,” Kai says. “Turns out finding a thousand pregnant women to murder is super hard.”
That’s right! The pièce de résistance of Kai’s reign of terror is the mass stabbing murder of a ton of pregnant ladies. And while a thousand was overambitious, a hundred is totally doable!
In other words, if Ally is going to throw a wrench in Kai’s plans, now would be a good time to do it — and it has to be her. She already killed Speedwagon, who turned up last week wearing a wire (turns out he was a state police informant looking for dirt on Samuels), and Beverly is so far into her nervous breakdown that she’s begging Ally to kill her.
Of course, there’s not much mystery here — we already know that Kai ends up in a prison jumpsuit, which means that all our high hopes for a death-by-poisoned-Manwich will just have to wait for some future season. Instead, Ally waits until Kai and his bros are armed, dangerous, and on the verge of committing mass murder before bringing in the Feds. One exciting gunfight in Kai’s basement later, the cult is officially dunzo.
Except, of course, it’s not. While Ally puts her life back together, getting a new girlfriend and reconnecting with Beverly (released by the cops, who assumed she was a victim, not an accomplice), Kai has been collecting disciples in prison and plotting his revenge. And right in the middle of some incredibly visually confusing sexual intercourse with his lady security guard (there’s a mysterious hairy white leg in the mix that belongs to lord-knows-who), he sees an opportunity to put his plan in motion: Allison Mayfair-Richards is on television, announcing her Senate run.
Ally is running on an anti-cult platform, which not only leverages her claim to fame but is tailor-made for our increasingly tribal times; after all, what are our current political parties if not a couple of giant cults? (Insert your preferred Roy Moore loyalist and/or glowing orb joke here.) But alas, she’s trailing in the polls. Ally needs to make a show of strength that also distances her in the public’s mind from Kai Anderson. Gosh, could this be foreshadowing something? I mean, wouldn’t it be amazing if she could just wreck him with an epic one-liner on live television before Beverly put a bullet in his head? Too bad Kai is in prison!
…Just kidding. Thanks to a body double disciple and a little face-peeling inspo from Hannibal Lecter, Kai fakes his own death and escapes just in time to give us the final confrontation we need and deserve. (He also peels off his shirt just in time to give us the gratuitous Evan Peters ab shot we need and deserve, but I digress.) With Ally standing before a crowd in a terrific red pantsuit, shutting down her political opponent with accusations of “mansplaining,” Kai takes the mic — and then the stage. His spittle-flecked tirade is more of the usual (blah blah women suck, blah blah sandwich), but when he raises a gun to put a bullet in Ally’s head, he gets a nasty surprise: It’s not loaded. And his beloved prison guard, Gloria? Yeeeah: She’s on Ally’s side, and not only that, she thinks his whole divine leader schtick is a bunch of baloney.
Face to face with her tormentor, Ally smiles.
“You were wrong. There is something more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man,” she says. What’s that? Oh, c’mon. YOU KNOW.
“A nasty woman.”
And before Kai can say something cutting about how well the whole “nasty woman” solidarity vote worked out for the last candidate, Beverly blows his head off, which is about as satisfying an act of vengeance as we’ve gotten on this series, ever. Really, it could’ve ended here and we all would have been fine with it, right?
But no, there’s still an election to win — which Ally does, with a whopping 80 percent of the female vote. And because this is American Horror Story, there’s one final twist still to go: After putting Ozzy to bed, substituting political talk for a bedtime story, Ally goes downstairs to powder her face, put on her green velvet hood, and prepare for a very special meeting. Who will be in attendance? Women, of course. Women, for sure. And if they’re lucky, perhaps a few lowly, abject turds will show up to help them make America great again, just like Valerie Solanas always wanted.
American Horror Story
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.