WARNING: Spoilers all to and fro for American Horror Story: Cult Episode 11: "Great Again."
The season finale of American Horror Story: Cult was underwhelming. It was supremely predictable, and frankly, didn't have a lot of action. And in the end, nothing was really "solved." One cult falls, another rises.
The show opens with a flash-forward to 2018, where Kai is in a maximum-security prison, starting up a new "army" among his fellow inmates. We then jump back to 2017, just a few days after Ally discovered Speed Wagon was the mole and killed him. Kai is disappointed to admit to his followers that the Night of 1,000 Tates isn't going to happen. But the good news is that the Night of 100 Tates will. While the bros cheer, Kai is freaking out. Ally finally reveals that Speed Wagon was the mole, and while Kai breaks down over killing his sister for no reason, Ally promises that he will be what Winter thought he could be. Between dealing with Kai, who is losing his mind, and Beverly, who is suicidal, Ally has her hands full.
The next night, the boys have gathered to go over their supplies for Night of 100 Tates. Ally slips out in the middle of the festivities, to "get snacks." Instead, she alerts the massive FBI task force that has gathered outside in unmarked vans. The FBI swarms the house. All of the minions are killed (at least one by his own hand). The only survivors are Beverly and Kai, both arrested.
A couple months later, Ally has her life back. She has reopened the Butchery and is dating her new chef, Erica. Beverly comes in to chat, and we find out that Ally actually worked out a deal with the FBI when she was in the psych ward. She was given immunity in order to set up the bust on the cult. Beverly, who was released from police custody almost immediately, is surprised that Ally didn't turn her in. Kai apparently had pleaded guilty to all the charges, all the murders, which meant he avoided a trial, didn't get the death penalty, and had the chance to claim all the glory. Beverly is suspicious that Ivy was the only murder Kai didn't take credit for, and Ally does nothing to suggest Kai didn't kill Ivy, other than her terrible acting.
It is Oz's birthday that weekend. Beverly attends the small party at home. Rachel Maddow's people call, trying to get Ally on the show, but she declines. ("If you turned down Lana Winters, why would you do Rachel Maddow?" asks Beverly, in reference to another character actress Sarah Paulson played in the AHS universe.) Another phone call, and Ally takes it, expecting it to be another request for an interview.
It's a call from Kai, calling from prison. Ally accepts, and finds an irate Kai on the other end. She sent him proof that Oz wasn't his son, and now Kai rages on about killing her. She hangs up on him.
In prison, Kai's mini "army" is going well. He has 16 members so far, including a female guard named Gloria, who he has sex with on occasion. It is during one of these illicit f***s that he sees on the news that Ally is running for Senate, the position Kai was initially going to run for. But Kai has a plan.
Gloria brings Trevor, a scared rich kid who was imprisoned for killing a child in a car accident and then dumping the body, to see Kai in an otherwise empty prison kitchen. Trevor got tattoos to match Kai's, thinking that it was part of joining the cult. It's not; it's so that when Kai kills Trevor and mutilates his face, no one will think twice that it isn't Kai. So when he puts on a guard uniform and strolls out of the prison with Gloria, no one will be looking for him.
Ally is getting ready for her big debate. Beverly, now her campaign manager, tells Ally that Kai was found dead in the prison. Ally shows no emotion at this revelation. Nor does she react when Kai reveals himself at the debate, identifying himself at the microphone. A number of his minions (where he found new minions in a day or two is never discussed) stand at the doors, and Kai is given a gun by Gloria. He marches up to the stage and faces off with Ally. He screams at her, ranting about how she is a symbol he created, how women can't lead, all that insane misogynistic Red Pill stuff. He then pulls the trigger -- and nothing happens. Again and again. The gun is empty. Gloria smiles at him. No surprise here, Ally had the whole thing planned from the beginning and groomed Gloria on how to fake being one of Kai's followers. Beverly comes up from behind and shoots Kai in the head.
Ally wins the election easily, with 80% of women voting for her. She puts Oz to bed and tells him that Erica will be with him tonight while she goes to a meeting. So Ally puts on some makeup in front of the mirror ... then puts a hood over her head. Bebe's hood. We fade to black, but it seems pretty clear what is going on here. Ally has taken up Valerie Solanas' mantle. She has started the next wave of SCUM.
All I am getting from this episode is that cults (even cults of personality) are cyclical. One ends, another begins. It is kind of a bleak way to look at things. In this show, Kai was clearly playing the part of Trump, while Ally played Clinton. So it feels like the takeaway is, "It's never going to get better." Trump may be in power now, but whoever we get next is going to be just as insane. It's a nihilistic worldview and one that I don't subscribe to.
Kai's imaginary friend Charlie Manson was back in tonight's episode, but he only appeared in one scene in the prison. It was pointless. I'm still not sure what purpose Charlie served, other than maybe to show Kai's declining mental stability. But it could have been done so much better. Charlie felt like he was thrown in at the last minute.
Overall, I don't know how to feel about this season. I certainly didn't like this episode. As with most other seasons of AHS, this one felt a little scattershot. Kai is sometimes sane, sometimes crazy -- and there are varying levels of crazy within that crazy. He also bounces between being welcoming and inviting to everyone and being a hardcore misogynist. But on the positive side, this season tapped into fears like no other season did. Supernatural stuff doesn't scare me; it is real stuff that gets to me, and frankly nothing has been as scary as the political landscape for the last year and a half.
What did you guys think of this season of American Horror Story? Where does it rank for you?