Instead of giving us details about what the eponymous cult could be, the premiere instead focused on how the presidential election caused Ally's various phobias to resurface and emboldened Kai to act more recklessly.
Cult will deal with the 2016 election in some way. But after teasers, a trailer and three episodes sent to critics ahead of Tuesday's premiere, we now know election night was just the jumping off point. "We're all uneasy with the state of the world", insists her smarmy shrink, Cheyenne Jackson. Ally's logic is pulled directly from the perceived attitude of so many American people in the final months of the election race as publications from The New York Times to Washington Post were publishing think pieces about why we simply "couldn't trust" Hillary.
Likely under the direction of Kai, Winter starts corrupting Ozzie the first night she sits for him. Contrast that with Kai Anderson (Evan Peters), a 20-something, greasy white dude sitting alone in a drab basement. Six new crew members join Captain Lee and the veterans Kate and Nico on the modern luxury yacht Valor for the fifth season of this maritime reality show.
As noted, there are some clever asides scattered throughout, starting with a progressive's complaint about CNN not providing a "trigger warning" before announcing that Trump had won. In this case though, creator Ryan Murphy explicitly stated that Season 7 would avoid the supernatural in its entirety, so how does Twisty turn up in Oz's bedroom? It's campy, disgusting, and grotesque-but, hey, this show has never been described as "subtle". Towards the end of the episode, the boy witnesses a gruesome murder right across the street.
"American Horror Story" has always capitalized on all its viewers' fears to give them the worst creeps known to humankind. And we're not even sure if they exist outside of Sarah Paulson's character's mind. Oh, well, nevermind. This creepy individual first appeared in the security mirror at the start of Ally's grocery nightmare, but bailed on the in-store fun to go out and wait for her in her auto, where those teeny tiny hands (which seem to be affixed to its. head?) look extra creepy coming at ya in the rearview mirror. Later, back at home, she's told by the cops it was just a hallucination. Her reactions also leave her history with Ally's phobias muddied. Ally and Ivy look to hire a nanny, who is naturally exposed as rather shady so that the audience can be "in the know", and decidedly uncomfortable.
"There is nothing more unsafe in this world than a humiliated man".
By the episode's end, I started to wonder: Is there anything both sides can agree is universally scary? Cult putting it all out there early on may be a good sign, making room for plenty of character development as we move forward. Trump's Twitter feed? Clowns?
Later, we discover this scene was merely the plot of a child's comic book. He wants society to embrace the fear and let chaos reign so that citizens will become so terrified that people like Kai, who aren't afraid of anything, can take control of the world.