On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the seventh season of “American Horror Story” premiered on FX. This season’s theme, Cult, revolves around the 2016 election.
The episode began with news clips aired after Donald Trump’s presidential win in November, shown from two different perspectives, one being a lesbian couple devastated with the realization of the election and another from the perspective of a young white supremacist rejoicing at the results.
The episode wastes no time in delving into the horror in American Horror Story. Twisty the clown, a notorious character from “American Horror Story: Freakshow”, slays a young couple out for a rendezvous.
Evan Peters’ character, Kai Anderson, acts as the resident psychopath. Speaking at a city council meeting regarding extra protection for the local Jewish community center, Anderson claims that people thrive off fear, and that ensuring humans live in constant states of fear is the only way to create subordination.
As if this tyrannical speech was not enough to prove his instability, Anderson is later shown urinating into a condom, then proceeding to hurl the urine-filled condom into a crowd of Hispanic men. This blatant act of prejudice earns Peters’ character a beating, one which the audience naturally finds justified.
The lesbian couple, Ivy and Ally, continues to struggle to come to terms with the state of our nation. This internal battle causes Ally to spiral into a state of hysteria and paranoia, refusing to take medication prescribed to help with her many anxieties, including a phobia of clowns.
Ally believes she is being tormented by a gang of clowns as she grocery shops, intensifying the fragility of her sanity. This strain is felt by their son, as well as their marriage.
Another layer to the plot is added through the character of Winter Anderson, Kai’s sister. Equally devastated by the results of the election as her brother is enthused, Winter’s motives remain a mystery.
Accepting a job as the nanny for Ivy and Ally’s son, Winter seems to be in cahoots with her brother, plotting the destruction of sanity.
Clowns appear throughout the episode, perhaps as a motif for the morbidly laughable state of our government, but also as a palpably creepy sub-plotline.
The gaggle of eerie clowns, after terrorizing Ally during a routine grocery store trip, proceed to murder the neighbors, further mystifying the existence of the gang of homicidal clowns.
At the end of the episode we are, as always, left with a myriad of questions. For instance, what is Winter’s motive? Are the clowns real, or truly part of Ally’s deteriorating sanity?
How will Kai’s delusions play into the idea of the cult themed season? What is the relationship between Kai and Winter? Where are their parents in this chaotic sibling relationship?
But perhaps the most compelling question is in regard to Evan Peters’ blue hair. Just, why?
The idea of using the unbelieveable presidential election outcome as a means for a horror series and an inspiration for a cult themed one at that, seems like a type of premonition. After the events in Charlottesville the topic of the series is more pervasive and resonant than ever.
Abby Brone is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.