Check into the Hell House on this week's episode of American Horror Story: Cult

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Oct 25, 2017

SPOILERS AHEAD for American Horror Story: Cult Episode 8: "Winter of Our Discontent," which aired on Tuesday, October 24, on FX.

Kai has gone full cult at this point. His minions follow him everywhere, and they eat at The Butchery, where the womenfolk are only allowed out of the kitchen to serve the men. Kai convinced the city council to vote in favor of hiring his minions as an armed, private security force. Beverly is ready to kill Kai, but Winter insists that it will ruin the "master plan," whatever that is.

In a flashback to October 2015, Winter recalls how she and Kai used to spend Halloween together, trolling Social Justice Warriors as hard-right nutjobs. A real hard-right nutjob, Pastor Charles, reaches out, and Kai decides to take things to the next step. The pair go to Pastor Charles' Judgement House, which is like the Hell Houses that churches put on, showing what will happen if you "sin." But in this house, all the torture and murder is real. Honestly, they could have made an entire season (or at least an episode) about the Hell House. By the time the siblings make it to the third room, Kai finally believes that the danger is real. He and Winter race to untie a man from being impaled on a chair of knives, saving him just before he is hit. Kai goes to rescue the others while Winter goes for help. The pastor stops her before she can leave and decides that she should be an exhibit in his house. Kai knocks the pastor out. When he comes to, he is strapped to the knife chair, with his victims looking on angrily. One victim wants to turn him over to the cops, but that is too good for him. Kai and Winter decide on murder, and impale him.

Winter uses this story as proof that Kai would never hurt her, even though she admits he changed that night. Winter believes they can get Kai on the right path, and Beverly agrees to give her until the end of the week.

Winter confronts Kai, telling him the women feel left out. The two sit to play Pinky Power, but Kai pulls away and cries, which startles Winter, and makes her more malleable to what he proposes next: that Winter be the mother of their messiah baby. Kai assures her that he isn't talking about incest, but it is far weirder than that. Winter will have sex with Samuels, and Kai will enter Samuels, kind of a human centipede of sex. "You cool with that?" Kai asks.

Apparently Winter is "cool with that," because we next see her and Samuels, sitting awkwardly on a couch, in ceremonial robes. Kai comes in and plays the R&B boy band hit "I Swear," which he says makes this a holy space. Kai and Samuels strip, Winter lies down, and Kai kisses Samuels to get him revved up. When Samuels can't get hard, Kai reminds him this isn't sex; this is a spiritual journey. Winter finally stands up for herself and refuses to take part – she says she feels like she is being raped. Kai insists this is a "holy ritual" – "that you came up with this afternoon," Winter points out.

Winter's punishment for disobeying is to wear an orange jumpsuit and dunce cap and stand at the side of the road putting recyclables back on the ground because Kai doesn't believe in climate change. Samuels drives up, calls her a servant, and gives her her meal – a portion of gruel – which Winter refuses to eat. She wants his apple; he refuses. The two argue, and Samuels decides he is going to impregnate Winter and tries to rape her. Winter pulls a gun and shoots him in the head.

During this scene, we get a flashback to when Samuels first met Kai. Kai was selling prescriptions with his brother's prescription pad, and Samuels forced him to cut him in. Kai delivered the money to him and found him f---ing a woman – or trying to. He couldn't get it up, and she fled when he started to choke her. Kai steps away from admiring Samuels' collection of Nazi antiques and gives Samuels a pep talk. Samuels goes way too far trying to prove he isn't gay, and Kai insists this is beyond gay and straight. After some nonsense about how women steal a man's power, Kai is f---ing him in the ass.

It's a none-too-subtle way of suggesting that the Men's Rights members are all latent homosexuals. I think that is inaccurate and entirely too simplistic. But is that the main takeaway as to what Kai wants from his cult? Is this just a Red Pill movement gone too far? I have spent the better part of the season trying to figure out what exactly Kai wants from his cult. It's not money; it's not women; it's not religious or spiritual awakening; and Kai doesn't seem to be mentally ill. All I can surmise is that he wants power. As I understand it, the Men's Rights Movement is based on the idea that society is turning its back on men and favoring women. And that seems pretty close to what Kai wants.

Meanwhile, Ally has been "cured." After being terrorized by Kai, nothing scares her anymore. Dr. Vincent locked her in a psych ward for three weeks, and when she is released, she confronts him and he admits that he believes everything Ally told him. In fact, he admits that Kai is his brother and Winter is his sister, facts that astonish Ally. Kai apparently broke into his brother's patient files. Vincent swears that he is going to do everything in his power to make sure Kai is committed or arrested or something, and promises to make sure Ally gets her son and her life back.

I don't know what to make of Ally now. She has been "cured," and she puts into motion a new plan. She has Kai over for dinner and wants to give him information but wants his word that he will do everything he can to make sure she gets Oz back. I'm not sure what she thinks Kai, a lowly city councilman, can do for her, but okay. Ally finally reveals that Vincent is trying to get Kai committed.

Kai is having a "traditional" cult meeting in his "lair," complete with chanting and members in masks. Two people are dragged downstairs, bound and gagged: Vincent and Beverly. He takes on Vincent first, revealing that he knows what Vincent has been up to. Kai rants about ushering in a "new beginning," then plays one more round of Pinky Power, but with a twist: Kai cuts off his brother's finger. This shocks Winter, who removes her mask and reveals herself to be one of the cult members. Kai wastes little time in stabbing his brother to death.

Now it is Beverly's turn. Winter had told Kai that Beverly was the one who shot Samuels, and he believed her. He is mad because he felt he made her an equal and he had "such plans" for her. Beverly rants about how his promises mean sh-t and how he is a fraud. "You don't know what you're doing from one moment to the next," Beverly tells him, a clear dig at Trump. Kai decides that because Beverly was his favorite, and she has fallen so far, he wants her to suffer. His minions take her to the isolation chamber.

Kai speaks to his followers, insisting that loyalty must be absolute, and now that they have weeded out the disloyal, they can move forward. The masked cult members remove their masks, and we see Ally has now joined the ranks. Ivy is stunned, almost a little scared. Ally seems smug.