This week, American Horror Story came back with its seventh installment, which started with real footage of the 2016 election – a true horror story for many.
Read on for our recap of American Horror Story: Cult 7×01, “Election Night.”
The evening of Nov. 8, 2016, is a true nightmare for Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson), who is following the election results with a group of friends. She is shocked, to say the least.
In the meantime, there’s another person following the election’s results very attentively – but contrary to Ally, he’s very pleased with them. It’s Kai Anderson (Evan Peters), who believes fear must dominate. He makes a point throughout the episode to instill just that, along with provocations and acts of violence.
As Donald Trump, the new President of the United States, marches to the podium, Ally screams in horror and despair. Her wife Ivy Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill) tries to calm her down, while their 10-year-old son Ozzy is observing them from the kitchen.
As American Horror Story: Cult 7×01 continues, Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) is talking to a friend on the phone. We learn that she campaigned for Hillary Clinton and is now utterly upset by the election results. Her friend tells her that she must not succumb to fear and, most importantly, she must not go back to self-harm. We also learn that Kai is her brother. Siblings with radically different political views? This will be interesting…
After the title credits, we encounter a familiar character: Twisty the killer clown, who we first met on American Horror Story: Freak Show. This time, though, Twisty is just in a comic book Ozzy is reading. When Ally finds out, she has a panic attack. We learn that she is utterly terrified of clowns.
Shortly after, we see Ally talking to her therapist, Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson). Aside from the fear of clowns, we learn that Ally has other phobias: confined spaces, blood, darkness, and… holes. She tells Dr. Vincent that her phobias are affecting her so much more since Election Night. He suggests some light medication – and it looks like Ally needs it, because she starts to see clowns everywhere. Let’s just say there are a lot of clowns in this episode, so if you share that fear with Ally, this might not the American Horror Story season for you.
Ally’s phobias and general fears about the election are putting a strain on her relationship with Ivy. In American Horror Story: Cult 7×01, her partner is very clear about wanting her wife back, meaning the person Ally was before the “stupid election,” as Ivy calls it. Ally promises that she will do her best to focus on her family.
But Ally and Ivy have another problem to solve: Ozzy is in need of a new nanny. They end up choosing Kai’s sister, Winter, of course. And what does Winter do while babysitting Ozzy for the first time? She shows him the wonders of the Dark Web, such as a video of someone being stabbed. She calls it a vaccination for his brain: It “hurts at first, but it makes you better.” When Winter leaves him alone to watch the video, Ozzy hears a truck parking opposite his house and sees clowns coming out of it.
When Ally and Ivy get back home later night, they see the police. They fear for Ozzy, but he’s fine – it’s their neighbors who aren’t. It turns out they were murdered in American Horror Story: Cult 7×01, and Ozzy mentions that he saw the clowns. But in fact, he saw much more than that. In a flashback, we see him warning Winter about what he just saw outside the house. Winter thinks it’s a good idea to go investigate, and so Ozzy becomes a witness to the murder of his neighbors by the clowns. Ozzy tries to tell that part of the story to his mothers and the police, but Winter denies it, and the police think it’s a case of murder-suicide.
So, in the end, the clowns weren’t all in Ally’s mind. Is Kai behind all this, with the help of his sister?
The first episode of American Horror Story was dominated by Sarah Paulson, who is amazing as always. She and Evan Peters taken on two characterizations of the post-election hysteria, showing us the extreme reactions on both sides with more than a pinch of American Horror Story‘s trademark creepiness.
What did you think of American Horror Story: Cult 7×01, “Election Night”?