Spoiler alert! The following contains spoilers for American Horror Story: Cult Episode 10, "Charles (Manson) in Charge."
Well, the Charles Manson episode finally arrived. I have been dying for this episode, as I am somewhat obsessed with the Manson Family. Growing up in Los Angeles, even though I was born over a decade after the murders, the Manson Family was a kind of boogeyman for me. I don't think it is like that for every Angelino, but when your mother is a journalist and her best friend covered the Manson trials (and was on a first-name basis with all of Manson's "girls"), stories of the Manson Family were far scarier -- and more common -- than tales of ghosts and goblins.
So I was disappointed when "Charles (Manson) in Charge" finally aired. The Manson stuff was shoehorned in as a way to explain Kai's own version of Helter Skelter and give him someone to "talk" to as his paranoia and mania rose to new heights. On top of that, the Manson story was woefully incomplete. They only covered the Tate murders. There was no mention of the LaBianca murders that happened the following night -- the murders that Manson was actually present for. What is more interesting is that Manson only appears in Kai's psychotic visions. There was no Manson actually leading his "family," actually being a cult leader.
I also found it odd that Manson was brought in as a way to "explain" Kai's version of Helter Skelter. Helter Skelter is a very obscure concept, one that took me many years to understand (granted, I first started learning about Charlie Manson at age 12). Basically, Manson believed that the murders his followers carried out would be blamed on black people, thus sparking violence between blacks and whites and starting a race war that would be apocalyptic. Manson would then be able to rebuild the world in his image.
Kai's version of Helter Skelter is essentially the same thing, but his war would be fought along gender lines. Bebe spelled it out for him. It turns out that she was assigned to be his anger management counselor, after he slapped one of Winter's friends before election day. And Bebe, during that first meeting with him, spelled out her plan for him: that he release the female rage. Bebe thinks that the greatest politician of all time is Donald Trump, because more than any other politician, he stoked the feminine rage, which is now bubbling behind a dam whose walls are cracking. She wants Kai to release it. Of course, this also means that Kai would drown in the feminine rage. I don't know why Kai has no problem with this. I suppose that Bebe could be blamed for Kai's cult ideas. "You awakened me to the power of pissing people off," Kai says to her later in the episode -- right before Ally comes in and shoots Bebe dead.
It also seems weird that Kai is completely losing his mind. I always assume that people with extreme political views (on either side of the aisle) are a little bit mentally disturbed, but until this episode, Kai seemed more or less sane. Tonight, he was in the midst of a full-out paranoid schizophrenic episode: He believed he was being spied on, which led to a manic episode that triggered him talking to a vision of Charlie Manson. Granted, it was true that he was being spied on (one of his minions is revealed to be the mole, meaning he killed Winter for no reason), but the "bug" that Ally "found" was probably a fake.
Other important events in tonight's episode:
- Gary was killed for "the cause." Kai tells his followers they will have a "Night of 1,000 Tates," in which they go around killing pregnant women and frame the left for killing "baby farmers" or something. Instead, the cult kills Gary and leaves him propped outside a Planned Parenthood beside a sign that says "Stop the Slaughter," written in blood. I'm not sure what kind of message this is supposed to send. Kai is interviewed for the news and blames "left-wing terrorists" for killing his friend because "they don't think babies are humans." I don't know how the murder of Gary accomplishes this. He is a single man, no children, with no ties to Planned Parenthood.
- Winter was killed because, in his paranoid state, Kai believed she was the mole, selling him out to the FBI. Whether or not the paranoia was put in place by Ally is inconsequential because, in the final scenes, we see Sidecar is actually wearing a wire -- and confronted by Ally.