TV reviews

American Horror Story: Cult – 7×03 ‘Neighbors From Hell’ – Review

Jenn Reid reviews Season 7 Episode 3...

Episode three might be putting this season of American Horror Story onto the right track. Pieces are starting to fall into place and the cult is slowly being revealed — although its purpose is still a mystery. Still, it’s a start!

This week, Ally is dealing with the aftermath of murdering Pedro, her Hispanic employee. While the police aren’t a problem and defend her ‘standing her ground’ and ‘protecting her family’ against an intruder, the rest of the town isn’t so supportive. Protestors have gathered around her restaurant calling her a racist, and the local TV reporter calls Ally the “lesbian George Zimmerman,” which is equal parts hilarious and fucked up. Her neighbours, Harrison and Meadow, also think Ally is a racist: they arrive on her doorstep wearing sombreros and throwing Taco Bell coupons at her, for some reason. Billy Eichner’s Harrison once again gets the line of the night by shouting “I’m one-tenth Mexican, does that make you want to murder me?”

The only person on Ally’s side is Kai, who calls her brave and promises to deal with the protestors for her. Despite their tense past, she seems reassured by him. Is Kai trying to lure Ally to his side of the political spectrum? Maybe, and it might be working. While two episodes ago she refused to fire “an immigrant” because of the political climate, she’s now letting racist rhetoric slide from the police in order to protect herself. She even calls her therapist to vent about how terrible it is being called a racist — apparently forgetting that people suffering from racism have it worse.

Speaking of Ally’s therapist – this week we get hints that he’s involved in the cult. He sees another patient, a woman named Rosie who has triumphed over her fear of being trapped in an enclosed space. Dr. Vincent (American Horror Story: Hotel’s Cheyenne Jackson) congratulates her on all the hard work she’s done, and Rosie heads home to celebrate with her husband. The clowns are already there waiting for her and trap Rosie and her husband in coffins. How would the clowns know Rosie’s exact fear? Well, one guess on that.

Dr. Vincent may be involved with the cult (and may even be running the show, as in my pet theory for now), but Kai is still its visible leader. He does his pinky promise act with both Harrison and Meadow, making each of them tell him their biggest fears. Meadow’s is that she’s forty and childless and may never “be penetrated again,” which honestly seems a little misogynistic and reductive? I mean she can go pick up a man, she can have a baby whenever and however. Harrison’s fear is that he’s stuck with Meadow forever and admits he wants her dead. Again, he could just divorce her? Leave? Pack his bags and dash off in the middle of the night? The motivation for these two is honestly weak. But Kai seems to think he can do something their problems.

And he probably can! He kept his promise to Ally and saved her from a crowd of protestors. Side note: does that mean the protestors calling for justice are paid or controlled by Kai? How else would he be able to part them like Moses at the Red Sea? It does seem like everyone in town is connected to the cult in one way or another: the Detective (Colton Haynes) was seen hanging out with Harrison and Meadow, and an ominous truck spraying toxic chemicals was operated by the clown mask brigade.

At one point, Ally chases after the truck screaming about what chemicals they’re spraying and I couldn’t help but think of conspiracy theorists worried about chemtrails and the like. The show is definitely trying to send up all aspects of extreme political discourse, but by doing so, it’s giving us no one to root for. Ally, the liberal, is the worst person you could imagine, the internet’s obsession with “liberal snowflakes” come to life: she tells her kid he can’t have cis-normative names for his pet guinea pig (that obviously does not survive the episode), is ‘triggered’ by literally everything and only thinks about herself. Everyone else is in the cult (except maybe Ivy? I’m on the fence), so who do we want to come out on top of this season? Or is the larger message that America is doomed, and there are no winners? Bleak, but it wouldn’t be inappropriate.

The episode ends with a mystery and a reveal: Harrison is seemingly being arrested for Meadow’s murder, while Ivy learns that Ally and Winter shared a too-close moment in the bathtub and leaves her. Ally is all on her own now, and we can only assume things are going to get worse for her.

What did you think of this episode? Are you enjoying American Horror Story: Cult? Let us know!

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