FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 5: “Holes”
Directed by Maggie Kiley
Written by Crystal Liu
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “11/9” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mid-Western Assassin” – click here
Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) is reporting on the mayhem in her city, the smiley faces left on walls, a crime wave. She interviews city council candidate Kai Anderson (Evan Peters). But her boss Bob Thompson (Dermot Mulroney) says it’s “fake news” and sensationalism, not reporting. After she gets personal, he fires her, though she leverages him into maybe holding onto her job.
All together, the cult meets. Kai, Winter (Billie Lourd), Beverly, Harrison (Billy Eichner), Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes), and others. The rest don’t think things are going well enough, so Kai thinks they need to step up the fear, just like Beverly believes they need to be seen more widely.
And who else shows up? Ivy Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill). You knew it was coming. Still a bit of a shock, after all we’ve seen. I wonder how far she’s looking to drive Ally (Sarah Paulson) mad. This is what keeps me curious: what’s her endgame?
Speaking of Ally, her phobias are getting worse. The trypophobia is near killing her. She scratched her neck bloody from visions of holes in it. Wounds open on her skin, a bug crawling out. Hideous. So, Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) attempts to talk with her, about where the fear comes from, deep rooted in her psyche. Things are just not good right now for Ally, life is falling apart all around her.
Kai: “Because the perception of credibility leads to the perception of power”
However, Ally sees, just barely, there was something lurking in Ivy. She doesn’t see the extent, but understands there was almost a plan to how her wife left. Flashback to September 2016, as the Butchery on Main isn’t panning out exactly how they’d hoped. And yet Ally was eternally optimistic while her wife clearly wasn’t happy. Signs. Doesn’t help that she had her brief encounter with Winter, either. Worse still, her and Oz aren’t as close anymore, she feels him slipping away, too.
We know all the angles, so we see the purposeful deception of Ally on the part of Ivy, Winter, the cult. And it’s all about to get heavier with their latest plans for setting America on fire from within.
Bob gets a visit at home from the clowns. They’ve decided on filming this murder. Each of them goes in on the guy when he goes for a knife. They start chanting “Ave Satanas” and prepare to kill when he tells them: “I have a gimp in the attic.” They find a man suspended by hooks from the ceiling. The others debate on what to do with the gimp. Kai just kills him. Because the cult is not a democracy. After all that they take Bob upstairs and finish him off, to instil fear in the public by way of a fake Satanic ritual murder. Y’know, the stuff the media and its mindless audience will devour. Proof of America’s further decline. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Cut to Beverly, innocently reporting on the news of her boss’ murder, showing footage she was supposedly sent anonymously of his death. Ooh, girl. You bad. Later, she and Kai meet at the Butchery. He laments everyone else and their questions, believing she’s his best disciple.
Flashback to when the cult were setting up for the couple’s murder, the two white coffins. It’s methodical, like any other group working on a project. We also see Meadow (Leslie Grossman), who’s still… missing. Before the latest work of the cult. Right now, we see Meadow having issues with the disturbing nature of the work, and others, as well. This is why Kai and Beverly decide they must cut out the weak in their ranks.
We now see Ally, watching Harrison’s place. She sees him with a shovel, dragging something out through the garage towards the backyard, those barrels briefly visible. Then she spies Harrison in the window, kissing Dt. Samuels. Her curiosity sends her across the street, foolishly. She goes out back and a hole dug with a semi-conscious Meadow inside nearly knocks her off her feet. Instead of helping, she runs back home. But even if she calls the cops, won’t her story sound absolutely insane? A grave in her neighbour’s yard, his wife in it, a cop in cahoots with him making out in the living room? Instead, she calls Ivy. Yeah, great. Not that her wife believes any of it until there’s loud knocking at the door. It’s Meadow, pleading for help. Someone quickly snags her with a bag over her head. On the other end, Ivy’s with the rest of the cult, as Harrison and Dt. Samuels show up. Hmm, no Meadow, though.
And Kai, he’s worried about dissent in their cult. He gets lively, as cult leaders so often do, instilling his own fear in the pupils beneath him. Therefore, he decides they’ve got to solve one of their problems. This means killing one of their members, R.J. Who must do the deed? Their leader wants Ivy to use the nail gun, to finish their former friend off. As is the case today, an issue seems inherently two-sided, no room for any middle ground, which Kai exploits in order to get what he wants.
Thus we’re given possibly the single most savage death in American Horror Story‘s seven seasons. Yowzahs. Everyone takes a turn on the gun until the guy’s brain dead, bleeding and drooling until Kai has a lick of his wounds, then finishes him off. Quoting Hamlet all the while.
Kai: “Are you with us, or are you against us and all that we stand for?”
Beverly and Kai play the pinky truth game. She asks about his parents, if he killed them, where they are; he doesn’t talk about that. She wants truth. He says they died three years prior. In 2014, his dad was in a wheelchair after a motorcycle accident, becoming an angrier man all the time. He hated his son, his life, his wife. This sent him to The Red Pill, other similar places. Where hideous men are trained, these days. One night, he hears a gunshot, another, finding his mother shooting dad before taking her life.
Afterwards, he called his brother: Rudy Vincent. Oh, shit. They decide on not calling the cops, but taking care of things at home. It’s all about the government, the Death Tax, Rudy’s burgeoning practice. They make a pact, to deal with it themselves. This is where the pinky game emerged in Kai’s consciousness. What do the brothers do? They pour lye over the bodies, leaving them in bed to decompose in an amateur mausoleum.
Kai informs his sister Winter later about what happened. This is the start of something insane. All sorts of beginnings for Kai, his warped psyche. America isn’t safe, not with guys like that around.
What an episode! This is my favourite, so far. Loving this season personally. One of the best, if not THE best to date. Just my opinion. The writing touches on so many different things wrapped up in the sociopolitical spectrum of where America’s at right now. Great, timely stuff.
“Mid-Western Assassin” is next week.