(This is a recap. Spoilers below.)
Season 7’s penultimate episode brought us many full-throated close-up screams and even more reasons to be paranoid.
Here are 10 paranoid delusions from this week’s episode of American Horror Story, “Charles (Manson) In Charge.”
—An alternate title for this episode was “Charlie (Manson) And The Chocolate Factory” but it turned out to be the name of a very questionable porno. Same re: “Charlie (Manson’s) Angels” and “Charlie (Manson’s) War.”—
1. Anger Management Is How They Get Ya
In a flashback to just before the 2016 election, Kai (Evan Peters) loses what we’ll refer to here as his “cool” and slaps one of Winter’s friends during a heated political discussion. She presses charges and Kai is court-ordered to attend mandatory therapy sessions. Here is where, apparently, he first encounters Bebe Babbitt (Frances Conroy) who, without knowing nearly anything about him, convinces Kai that he’s “a turd” who should run for office to explode the bomb of feminine rage.
Kai seems immediately onboard and Bebe doesn’t question it.
So this whole dude-cult thing was in service of feminism? Yeah, right. That’s what the creators of the show WANT you to think.
2. Protestors Work For The Feds, I Just Know It
At a pointless rally attacking human rights and fictional senator Herbert Jackson (Dennis Cockrum), Kai is overrun by demonstrators. Naturally, Kai believes they’re working for the Feds who are, naturally, working for Washington elites. Naturally.
How he’s come to his conclusion is unclear. Maybe he doesn’t need a specific reason at this point since Kai is losing his mind (and has been forever).
Also, in fairness, the protestors end up throwing urine at Kai’s followers and macing Kai. Bad people on both sides…On both sides…
3. Cooking School Is Code For Dead
After Kai rants about the Feds some more, Ivy and Ally get to talkin’. Winter is worried that Ivy (Alison Pill), who is rumored to have enrolled at a Paris cooking school, is most-likely dead or being held captive and that Kai is responsible. Ally, using the opportunity to be shitty to Winter, again, hints that, if indeed something did happen to Ivy, Kai wouldn’t necessarily be the culprit.
Well then who is the culprit, Ally? Who could it be?!
4. Anyone Can Die At Any Moment, Dude
Watching a news broadcast where Senator Jackson implies that Kai should be indicted, Kai tells the crew to get our their sleeping bags. “Oh, oh, fuck yeah. I love story-time!"proclaims Heart Attack.
Kai narrates details of the Manson Murders over an impressive reenactment. Looks like someone listens to the podcast ”You Must Remember This.“ (That someone is Kai.)
AHS faithfully recreates the horrific, brutal slaughter of Sharon Tate and her rich friends - with Paulson, Grossman, Lourd and Eichner playing Manson’s disciples. Charles Manson, like every other cult leader in this series, is portrayed by Evan Peters.
The depiction is well-done but not as scary as the actual story because it’s missing Manson’s warped rationale. So, seriously, check out the above podcast.
According to IMDB, Sharon Tate is played by Lily Rabe, which seems physically impossible. But, if that’s the case, the makeup job is incredible.
5. It’s True, Everyone You Love Wants You Dead
Kai introduces his newest scheme, “The Night Of A Thousand Tates,"wherein women who’ve visited Planned Parenthood will be targeted for bloody murder. You know, because they’re health-conscious yet poor and, therefore, amoral.
Gary (Chaz Bono) is tasked with obtaining the PP patient list for the glorious "Divine Ruler.”
To his surprise, and almost-chagrin, the whole scheme is a trap and Gary’s cult friends are there to execute him. That’s right, Gary gets lovingly ambushed. Gently, softly ambushed.
The point, supposedly, is to frame the “Woke Warriors” for Gary’s death to further Kai’s authoritarian agenda.
6. Winter Has No Hope, Man
Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) is back in the saddle, spreading propaganda for Kai and his movement. Except, she doesn’t seem to have the same old spark she did before. It’s almost as if being locked in isolation and forced to drink (fake) poison at gun-point will mess a person up.
Winter, feeling guilty she framed Beverly for Detective Hot Mike Pence’s murder, buys Beverly a train ticket to Montana and urges her to escape. Beverly refuses, exhibiting classic signs of Stockholm syndrome. It’s almost as if being locked in isolation and forced to drink (fake) poison at gun-point will mess a person up.
7. Murdered Family Members Can Come Back To Life, Brother
Kai seems more paranoid than ever as he searches for the source of a buzzing sound in his house. Ally tries to convince him he’s just hearing things, which only intensifies his hunger for hallucinating.
On the menu is dead Dr. Rudy (Cheyenne Jackson), who appears to Kai as a rotting zombie in the makeshift mausoleum before being stabbed to re-death by the not-ghost of Charles Manson. (FYI, we locally source all of our phantasmagorias.)
The not-ghost of Charles Manson convinces Kai that he needs to smoke out the traitor in his crew or risk being taken out.
Suddenly, Bebe Babbitt appears, in real life, and slaps the shit out of Kai. Kai has taken things too far, even for Babbitt who, weeks earlier, convinced him to stoke the flames of female whatchamacallit. So, he’s fucked up, subjecting the women in his circle to torture, manipulation and gruesome death. To which Kai replies, duh. He was never going to die for their cause, he just liked the first part of the plan where he’d become powerful.
Bebe blows up Kai’s spot before Ally blows Bebe’s head off. Unintentionally, Ally might have just killed her best…ally? Ally, ally - there’s a conspiracy in there somewhere, man!
8. Brothers Are Creeps, Sister
While Winter gives Kai a Charles Manson/Sinéad O'Connor-esque buzzcut, Kai delves deep into his weird older-brother/younger-sister psychosexual philosophies that would creep out even the creepiest of creeps. Even though Winter was probably going to say this anyway, the bit about him listening to her masturbate as a child likely encourages Winter to state that she’s unhappy and needs a break from Kai and the whole cult thing.
At first, he seems receptive but, of course, this is just a ruse. Kai is too paranoid to let anyone out of the clan, especially anyone he suspects of turning people against him. Exhibit A) the ticket Winter purchased for Beverly.
9. Never Rely On The Murdering Ex-Wives Of The Women You’ve Slept With
Kai interrogates Winter, demanding to know why she would betray him to the Feds, or whoever he thinks is actually spying on him. Winter asserts she’s not the mole, that she doesn’t even think there is one. Of course, that’s exactly what a mole would say, right? RIGHT?
Who can Kai trust? Definitely not his own sister, who’s done everything he’s asked of her so far. Maybe the not-ghost of Charles Manson. Or, how about Ally, the woman they both tried to drive insane who’s been systematically taking out her enemies?
Winter desperately tries to reason with Kai, invoking their sacred pinky power ritual to no avail. Kai has evidence, a bug supposedly sewn into his cushions and an audio recorder supposedly found in the ice cream truck, the one Winter was supposed to clean. Did Ally put it there? Maybe. Regardless, Winter is deemed guilty and strangled by Kai.
10. Trust Nobody, Especially Overeager Fascists
Immediately after the execution, Speed Wagon, the brown-nosing Nazi, feverishly destroys (why?) the wire he’s been wearing. The pressure is clearly getting to this unlikely hero whom we’ve hated this whole time. Not only is Speed Wagon the mole Kai’s been searching for, he’s been blissfully unaware that Kai’s been killing people.
Now that he’s had it, and Ally barges in on him, what will happen to Speed Wagon? Will Ally rat him out? Will she use him to start a revolution? Will Heart Attack take over as most annoying character? Yes!