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"American Horror Story: Cult" aired its most gruesome episode yet Tuesday. (Photo via ahsfx Instagram) 

'American Horror Story: Cult' season premiere looks to the Trump presidency

Compared to other premieres of American Horror Story which have included topics from  paranormal activity to witch gatherings, ‘Cult’ focuses on something no American could avoid — the election of Donald Trump. 

The episode begins with various news clips of Trump being announced as America's next president while viewers deal with their conflicting emotions. These two scopes are depicted with characters Ally (Sarah Paulson) and Kai (Evan Peters).

Kai, a white male who sees Trump as a hero, replicates him by smearing Cheetos on his face to emulate his orange hue. While on the other hand, Ally and her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) watch in horror as a gay married couple, afraid of what the future holds for their marriage and family. Although dramatized, both sides of the political spectrum reflect somewhat of a realistic response to the election. Previous topics of AHS were scary because they were about paranormal activity that is fun to watch on TV. However, ‘Cult’ takes realistic political hysteria and broadcasts them right into fans’ living rooms. 

Winter (Billie Lourd), who is assumably Kai’s sister, is devastated by the news, saying CNN should have added a ‘trigger warning’ when Trump’s presidency was announced on their website. Kai enters the room, looking to brag about the news of his idol. Then, something unexpected happens. The siblings lock pinkies, which seems to imply an agreement between the two despite their ideological differences. 

Fast forward a few weeks and Ally is starting to experience old phobias again. She catches her son reading a Twisty the Clown comic book late one night — a clown who was seen in the season of “Freak Show.” In past seasons, Director Ryan Murphy’s style depicts a certain creepiness. He uses a lot of gruesome imagery to add a realistic touch to his characters and the scene itself. In this new season, he is still using those same effects but instead of it being unrealistic creations such as vampires, witches and ghosts, everything is depicted by real people and events.

On the other side of things, Kai seems to be attending a city council meeting on whether to pay for security at a Jewish community center or not. Kai openly speaks of his disapproval for this idea until a council member decides to tell him to leave. This scene shows the route Kai is willing to take if he does not get what he wants from a higher authority. The city council sees he is a dumb teenager who is only speaking up because of his new found glory for the president.

Later, Kai sees a group of construction workers and begins to yell racial slurs at them and throws a condom filled with urine at them, which was very obscene but also shows actions that are depicted today when it comes to racism. The workers become angry and attack him. This appears to be part of a plan of Kai’s, as a random person records the happenings on a cell phone near the scene.

Ally comes from her therapy session and enters a grocery store. She encounters a cashier who is obviously a Trump supporter and even witnesses multiple clowns throughout the store. She runs out and immediately calls Ivy.

Back at their home, Ivy speaks to the police about the incident at the grocery store. There is no evidence as to what Ally described. We can assume that she could have imagined the whole ordeal or maybe she is being targeted because of a possible hidden memory that seems to gnaw at her. She brought up to her therapist about how she has not felt this way since 9/11 — hinting there might be some hidden fears or experiences rising to the surface.

And then, Ally starts seeing the clowns again. While this is happening, Winter is showing their son videos of murders online after witnessing the boy painting a picture of a clown with a knife and wants to show the real deal. At first the boy is uncomfortable with the videos until Winter explains that it is like getting a vaccination. It will make him stronger after a while. Overall, super disturbing that a little boy had to witness something like that. 

The son notices something going on across the street and points it out to Winter. They both go over to investigate and see people in clown masks murdering the neighbors.

The son explains to his parents what he witnessed. Winter claims he has an overactive imagination and that she found Twisty comic book in his room. The police confirm this by saying the scene looks to be a murder-suicide.

At the end of the episode, Ally is laying in bed and hears something. She turns over to expecting to see Ivy but instead sees a clown. 

While there were only small snippets of the “Cult”, it looks as if the rest of the season Ally will be fighting with her thoughts and whatever Kai and Winter have in store. This premiere is definitely different from previous seasons. Viewers usually have an idea that each season will have a certain creepy creature or event take place, but with this being an actual polarizing event, it will be interesting to see how the plot will unravel each week. Fall has arrived with the premiere of AHS — so buckle up, Ryan Murphy fans. 

American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX. 


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