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American Horror Story: Cult 7.2 Review – ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’

September 13, 2017 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
American Horror Story: Cult - "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark"
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American Horror Story: Cult 7.2 Review – ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’  

Friends, before we get started with this week’s episode, we need to talk about Oz—or as we now know him to be named–Ozymandias. In the comment section of last week’s ep, I joked that Oz would have a lot in common with the Murder Baby from S1, Murder House. I’m now convinced that little Ozzy IS the murderous son of ghost-Tate-Langdon and Vivien Harmon. Why? The age is about right. He looks like that kid—a lot. We don’t which (or whether) either of Ozzy’s moms are his biological mom. It’s not so much that we don’t know, but that they took time to remind us that we don’t know. We have been told that there are “no supernatural elements this season,” but the supernatural element here would merely carry over from a different season! For now, I’m standing by this theory. Okay, on to this week: As always, expect spoilers to follow.

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“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” begins right where last week left off. Ally (who I keep wanting to call Lana—probably due to the haircut) is terrified by a clown in her bed while Ivy works in another part of the house. Oz is chased by what appears to be the actual Twisty—which would make Twisty in roughly his 80s unless he’s supernatural—which we’re told he’s not. It could be a costume though. It’s hard to tell if “Scream and I’ll kill you” is something Twisty would say to a child. Anyway, the clowns are more scary than murderous at the Mayfair-Richards home. That’s a hint that this is all hinky.
The dynamic in our main household is strained, to say the least. Ivy appears increasingly frustrated with her wife’s perpetual fear and panic. I’m firmly convinced that Ivy is gaslighting her, but that hasn’t been officially established yet. Externally, what we see is a phobic wife whose fear appears to be seeping into her impressionable (devil) son. What we’re probably seeing is an extended setup for divorce grounds that leave Ivy as a sole parent who pays no alimony and gets the house while her wife is committed. Again, shadows of season one.

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Across town, Kai Anderson’s video has gone viral as he predicted. It was filmed by Harrison and Meadow Wilton—who happen to also be the new neighbors immediately moving into the Chang home. See, the neighbor Chang was a councilman. Now that his murder vacated his seat, young Kai wants to run for office. This makes it pretty clear that the clowns, the Andersons, and the Wiltons are all in this HIVE business together. That’s almost certainly the “Cult” that the title refers to here. Also, that’s Adina Porter as the voice of the newslady.
The neighbors marriage is fake by most metrics, in that they aren’t in love with each other, have no sexual attraction, and well—I guess it’s not my place to call someone else’s marriage fake. But the Wiltons are liars, and they’re creepy as shit. Natural beeswax candles are deep beige or golden colored, not white. Meanwhile, the men who didn’t like having warm pee thrown on them are now being held in an ICE facility. Oh, hostess tip Mrs. Wilton: nobody wants a glass of Crystal Light lemonade. Ever. They’re right about one thing though, Big Little Lies is transcendent.

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At the restaurant, Roger is running the kitchen in Ivy’s absence. Roger is a racist asshat, and Jose doesn’t care to be spoken to with blatant disrespect. Voices are raised and a knife is brandished, but Lana diffuses the situation before it gets crazy. Or does she? When Roger is found murdered in the restaurant freezer, Jose is the suspect that the strangely handsome cop focuses on.
Winter buys Oz a Twisty doll. Every last thing about that is completely messed up. Speaking of which, watch for Winter’s exceptional dialogue with Oz, “The trick is figuring out what they want to believe—then giving it to them.” Damn. Winter just summed up politics, relationships, news, marketing, and basically all human interaction. When the new nanny does the pinky thing with Oz, it’s quite uncomfortable. It makes sense that she’d use the same technique her whackadoo brother used on her. But it’s still super creepy. Oz is learning to be less afraid, which is probably not good. If Oz is who I think he is, he’s already a killer. And I don’t mean because he murdered millions of people and then blamed it on invading aliens. Because that is a Watchmen joke.

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The happy face on the Wilton’s wall has not been scrubbed away, nor has the blood on the floor. Normal people don’t want to live in a house with someone else’s blood still all over the walls. Or if they do—they’re not all chill about it. I’m about ready to call the clowns as being the Wiltons and the Andersons. I also notice that The Wiltons have vintage clothing, weapons, and dress forms in their living room. We later see that Ivy and Ally have a dress form in their bedroom. Is that more common than I realize? Or could it indicate another connection between these people? It doesn’t seem like Ivy would be in league with Nazi clowns or whatever, but Ivy is clearly not all she seems.
Within a week of Ally seeing Roger die, the security at the house is all souped up. Ally gets a gun from the new neighbors, who are lousy with weapons. Harrison has been stock piling them “since Obama was elected,” and feels no irony saying that it’s “only a matter of time” until Obama sought to invalidate his “second amendment rights.” I must have missed that.

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Ally feels “vindicated” by Roger’s death, in a way that makes it seem like her phobias were actually signs of heightened intuition. That seems like a stretch to me. But it’s not as messed up as Ivy bringing Ally’s therapist to the house for a surprise session—then pretending it was spontaneous. Please. But you know, if you don’t want to get caught in a giant ball of lies, it helps to throw out some tiny lies that make people think they’re too smart to let you lie to them, right Ivy? I was as nervous as the doc when I realized Ally was keeping a gun in that house with a small boy, while she’s not taking her meds. Her declaration about doing “whatever it takes to keep my family safe,” was chilling. Unless the Wilton’s told her, Ivy does not know that Ally has a gun.
Kai’s visit to the Mayfair-Richards home is ugly and smacks of the kind of sarcastic meme action we see from conservative social media groups. Everyone seems offended nowadays. What kind of 20-something says ‘nowadays’ anyway? His attempts to wheedle his way into the home, or to inspire sympathy, or to passively threaten her are icky and awful. I have a feeling I’m going to dislike Evan Peters a lot by the end of this season. Pretty much only Pee Wee Herman and Bill Nye can wear a bow tie without looking certifiably insane.

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Ivy is at work when Winter tries to be one of those sexy nannies that tears marriages apart. Ew. That’s when the lights go out, clowns show up, and a harrowing nightmare unfurls. Cool! We notice that Winter has gone, and that the clown that assures Oz that he’s sleeping sounds like Kai. Meanwhile, Jose is explaining to Ivy how much it sucks to have brown skin right now. Ivy seems to get it, and she sends Jose to her house to take Ally and Oz some supplies.
As if often the case on American Horror Story, all hell breaks loose in the final segment of the evening. Ally and Winter cut their bath time short (after Ally reveals to Winter that she’s lying to Ivy about taking her meds), and she splits. Harrison comes by to explain that 8 states have no power, and that can ONLY be because of a terrorist attack—even though we’re all old enough to remember the time that nearly the whole the Eastern third of the US lost power for days. Ally is panicked, alone, and scrambling to get her and Oz to safety. Too bad Bubastis couldn’t be there (that’s another Watchmen joke!). It could have been a real Walking Dead moment (that’s a joke about giant cats who smite your enemies). One of the clowns takes a spill over the stairs. There’s another pounding on the door. Ally panics, fires her gun, and shoots…Jose. Is he dead? We don’t know. That’s the end of the episode.

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Wow! I was concerned that the political commentary would supercede the human drama and abject terror this season. As of now, it hasn’t. The show is doing a wonderful job of manipulating our emotions. We all feel a bit like we’re in a co-dependent whirlwind fling with American Horror Story. It frightens and delights us, but it also frustrates us, toys with our emotions, and even seems to enjoy hurting us at times. But man, we can’t seem to live without it.
Plenty of questions still remain for the rest of the season to answer. We have some good guesses about what’s to come—but who knows? A lot could change in a week. Got any big theories you want to share? Is there something you’re dying to see (or not see)?
See you’s next week!

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Though it's only episode two of this seventh season, American Horror Story is dropping huge hints at what's to come. Is Ivy in on whatever is making Ally so frightened? Since when are natural beeswax candles white? Who the hell names their kids after Ozymandias anyway? "Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark" delivers more talk of Germany and 'humiliated men,' and references to goddesses like Nicole Kidman and Beyoncé.
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