American Horror Story: Cult Episode 3 gives new meaning to the term 'Neighbors From Hell'

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Sep 20, 2017

Spoiler Alert! We go over everything in Episode 3 of American Horror Story: Cult.

This week's episode finally shifted away from Ally screaming at nothing to Ally screaming at other people. At least this gave some new dimension to the freak-outs. It also made for an exhausting episode.

We open with a double murder. Rosie is a patient of Dr. Vincent's, and he's been helping her through her fears of coffins and being buried alive. She and her husband Mark return home and are accosted by a gang of scary clowns who force them into matching coffins. They are left to suffocate, a bloody smiley face painted on the wall.

Switching gears, we go back to Ally and Ivy and the police taking Pedro's body from the home. Detective Samuels assures Ally that she was well within her rights to shoot. The state has "Stand Your Ground" laws, and this was clearly a case of self-defense.

The next morning, the ladies go to work and come across a protest outside The Butchery. A small mob of people are carrying signs calling Ally a murderer and calling her a lesbian George Zimmerman. Ally just wants to go home. She and Ivy compromise: Ivy goes into work, Ally will go home. As Ally scoots into the driver's seat, Kai pops up in her window. She starts to roll up the window, but then he compliments her, assuring her she didn't do anything wrong. He promises he will take care of the mob and tells Ally to "keep living her truth."


Ally's truth is, apparently, hitting the wine the moment she gets home. A knock at the door puts her face to face with Harrison and Meadow, both wearing enormous sombreros in solidarity with Pedro. Harrison wants his gun back. Meadow blames Ally's white privilege, saying she "saw a beautiful brown face and immediately thought 'invader!'" Meadow wants Ally out of the neighborhood, and Ally exclaims that she was there first. "Tell that to the Native Americans," Meadow retorts, as Ally slams the door.

That night, Rosie and Mark's murders make the news. The reporter suggests a link to the Chang murders because of the smiley face and suggests a serial killer is on the loose. Ivy shuts off the TV, but a new fear is rolling down the street: a huge tanker truck, spewing chemicals that are highlighted by a green light. The next morning, the ladies find dozens of dead birds on their front lawn. Ivy calls to report it and finds out their township didn't sanction any chemical spray. Ally's paranoia starts to inflate, but before she can reach Alex Jones levels, Winter walks in. Ivy called her and defends her. Ally apologizes and accepts her back into the home, which comes as a relief to Winter, who thought that they had hired someone else when she let in a man who was answering an ad.

Ally and Ivy rush into the living room and discover a naked man jacking off. He was just answering an ad, and after Ivy grabs a candlestick and threatens to kill him, the man scurries off. Hitting the Internet, Ally finds the ad that the man was answering, one looking for a "stud to satisfy two horny lesbians. Latin lovers need not apply." Their address is listed and Ally knows it was the Wiltons.

Ally has decided that she is going to confront the protestors, believing that if she talks to them, "her people," they will understand. She calls Dr. Vincent on the way, ostensibly to help her work out what she wants to say to the protesters, but they veer off, talking about the sleazy ads that keep appearing online. Dr. Vincent suggests that they have an emergency in-person session tomorrow and that she may want to look into a temporary, voluntary commitment.


It is here that it becomes painfully clear that Dr. Vincent has something to do with this happy face cult. It is purely because of his expression during this scene while he is talking to Ally. It is something that is hard to explain, but there is a certain ... I don't know, smarminess? on his face, even while his voice remains even. Interestingly, it was also the psychiatrist who turned out to be the serial killer in AHS: Asylum. Is this going to be some greater plot point in this larger American Horror Story universe that series creator Ryan Murphy alludes to all the time? Or does someone on the crew have an intense problem with psychiatrists?

Anyway, Ally's car is surrounded by protesters, and shockingly they don't seem to care that she insists she is "one of them." Kai appears in the crowd and, without a word, the crowd dissipates. Approaching Ally, he says, "I told you I would take care of it, and I did. Have a nice day." He leaves, incredibly pleasant now that he thinks they are on the same side.

When Ally and Ivy come home that night, they find Oz has a new friend: a guinea pig named Mr. Guinea, a gift from Harrison. It's not quite clear what Ally is more upset about: the fact that this is a no-pets home, or that Oz gave it a "cis-normative" name. Oz is already in love with Mr. Guinea and tells his mom that he wishes he could get rid of her. He runs out, and Ally flips, thinking that this was Harrison's way of getting back at her for being "racist." "I'm the least racist person!" she insists as she calls up Harrison to yell at him. Harrison is watching TV with Meadow and Detective Samuels. There is more shouting, and it ends with Meadow grabbing the phone, calling Ally a horrible racist, and hanging up. And because nothing lets up for Ally, the chemical truck rolls by again, spraying. She stands in the street to try to stop it. It keeps rolling, nearly hitting Ally, who gets no answers.


It's not clear where this fits into the narrative, but the next scene sees Kai and Meadow playing the pinky game. He asks what she is afraid of, and she cracks some lame joke about the real housewives of Utah or some nonsense. Kai smacks her and yells, "Are you going to waste my time? This is a revolution!" They sit and try again, and she admits that she is afraid that she will die childless, unloved, and never penetrated by a man again. She is also afraid that the man she loves (I assume this is her husband) is turning against her, now that he has a "friend" (again, assuming this is Detective Samuels). Kai advises her to stop saying sorry; it makes her nothing. "Everything is someone else's fault from now on. If you want to matter, you make the world wrong."

Somehow, after the last 24 hours of insanity, Ally, Ivy, and Oz are having a relaxed, happy time at the restaurant with a tasting menu of ice cream. Oz apologizes for what he said to Ally and has agreed to find Mr. Guinea a good home, but Ally has decided to let Oz keep his pet. The trio head home, and Oz races ahead to tell Mr. Guinea he gets to stay there. He calls for his moms and they find the bloody happy face painted on their door. Oz has run ahead into the house. Moms follow and find Mr. Guinea isn't in his cage. He's in the microwave. They arrive just in time to watch him explode.

Ally rushes across the street to confront Harrison. She charges into the house, finds him and Meadow in the backyard, and punches him in the face. A vulgar yelling match ensues, with Ivy and Oz standing in the background nervously. Ally blames Harrison for blowing up the guinea pig, refusing to believe him when he denies it. The Wiltons grow concerned when Ally mentions the smiley face on the door. "You've been marked by the killer," Harrison says with concern. Oz gets scared, and Meadow insists that they didn't paint it there, but Ally will not be swayed. She vows that if either of them come to her house again, she will kill them both.

Ally storms out, with Ivy chasing after her. She is at her wits' end, insisting Ally is not the person she married. "I even put up with the fact that you voted for Jill fucking Stein!" she says. Their fight is halted when Oz calls their attention to the smiley face painted on the side of the Wiltons' house. Ivy suggests they warn them; Ally thinks they just painted it there themselves. Ivy takes Oz home, and Ally is delayed when she sees the chem truck roll up again. This time, two men get out and start spraying chemicals on the lawn. Ally goes nuts, demanding to know who they are and what they are spraying. After the men ignore her, she finally breaks open the protective headgear. All she finds underneath is a smiley face mask that mimics the one painted on the house. Ally faints.

Again, I don't know where this fits into the timeline, but now Kai and Harrison are playing the pinky game. Harrison's biggest regret is that he married his fag hag. Even still, he loves her and doesn't wish her dead. After some prodding by Kai, Harrison admits that he does wish her dead.

Ally and Ivy again meet with Detective Samuels, and Ally insists the Wiltons are the Neighbors From Hell. Samuels gets a message saying that the smiley face on their house is authentic and he is going to set up surveillance for them. They hear Oz swearing upstairs, and the moms rush to check on him. He is sitting with his shut laptop and admits that, after he turned off the parental controls, he clicked on a bad link. His moms try to explain that he isn't in trouble but what he did was wrong and they need to see what he was looking at. They wrest the computer away from Oz and find a video of Ally getting fingered by Winter. The moms rush out into the hall, where Ivy slaps Ally and Ally tries to use the video as proof that someone has been in their house. Ivy isn't falling for it and decides that she is leaving and taking Oz. Ally begs her not to go, then, interestingly, begs Ivy "not to leave me alone." Ivy doesn't respond well to this and assures her wife that if the smiley face is what the cops said, "you'll have plenty of company."

Oz comes downstairs with a backpack, ready to go. He feels like his moms splitting up is his fault, and Ally kisses him, assuring him it isn't. The awkward family moment is interrupted by more police cars. Outside, they see Harrison running around, hysterical, with cops trying to calm him. Apparently he was asleep and he woke up and found Meadow dead next to him in bed. When he sees Ally, he accuses her of killing Meadow. The two face off with screams, but when Harrison lunges towards Ally, the cops handcuff him. The moms realize that Oz is no longer on their front porch and they panic. Then they see Oz in the Wiltons' house, staring in shock at the bloody walls and the bloody smiley face painted on the wall.

I've gotta say, that is not the most shocking way to end this episode. In three episodes, the kid has seen his guinea pig explode, his mom shoot a man, the neighbors being killed by clowns, and the same smiley face on his own house. I don't know what it was about that bloodied scene that got Oz so riled up.

I think I have finally figured out what part of the show is geared toward right-wingers. The insane, ridiculous portrayal of the left-wingers. I am a fairly liberal person, but even I think that the liberals in this show are a little ridiculous. Forbidding cis-normative names? Voting for Jill Stein? Absurd. Absolutely absurd. And I don't care what anyone says, anyone who says "I'm the least racist person" or "These are my people," well, they need to be slapped.

I still don't know how I feel about this season. I find Ally to be exhausting, but I am intrigued that this season doesn't have any supernatural elements. Help me work through my feelings on Cult in the comments section!

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