FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 10: “Charles (Manson) in Charge”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Drink the Kool-Aid” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 7 finale, “Great Again” – click here
At the last Presidential debate, Winter (Billie Lourd) and her supposedly feminist friends rattle on about Hillary being “more important” than Obama. In the background, Kai (Evan Peters) types on the internet about the “dumb bitches” and then he rants to the ladies about their “precious Obummer” and the “early onset Parkinson‘s” Hillary supposedly has, though he does have a point: American doesn’t want a woman for POTUS, and not a “shrill cuck bitch.” Likewise, the girls realise Trump is all a product, or maybe a symptom, of the wounded male ego. Kai lashes out at one of them, slapping her in the face. Yikes.
A couple weeks later, he’s sitting with Bebe Babbitt (Frances Conroy), who tells him of Anat, the Ancient Semitic goddess of love and war. He takes that as a sign of women’s irrationality, weakness, madness; typical patriarchal bullshit. He believes striking a woman is a political act. She talks about Valerie Solanas, then leaning him into politics. What’s her endgame? She claims she’s an “OG” feminist, yet believes Trump is amazing. Because he’s going to be the one to detonate the bomb of “feminine rage.” Bebe commits him to also hammering away at it, to help it explode. He’ll have to give himself over to it, his life, most likely. She uses feminism in quite an interesting way. Believing Kai and other men like him, the most horrible and influential, are a method of releasing the powerful rage of women everywhere. Unique, and dangerously compelling.
People hate seeing Kai and his meathead militia on their various campuses and other public spaces. We see Mr. Anderson campaigning already for the senate, going for all the buzzwords, specifically “third trimester abortions,” which 85% of American men don’t understand. The typical nonsense of politicians emboldened today in the USA by the Donald. Kai and his denim dummies find protesters bearing down on them; he’s already gone paranoid, believing the Deep State is at work to take him down. Eventually, Kai gets maced right in the eyes. Luckily they’ve got white milk on hand!
At home, Ally (Sarah Paulson) works away and pretends to be the dutiful woman companion to Divine Ruler himself. She and Winter navigate their own personal troubles under his regime. Continually, Winter defers responsibility to everything else around her, particularly her brother. She gets more scared by the day, yet sticks around, no matter what ugly shit Kai does.
We’re getting more “Story Time” with Divine Ruler. He’s prepared a tale about none other than Charles Manson, the Master. Skip back in time to see the crimes at Cielo Drive, where Tex Watson and the Manson family women, Sadie, Patricia, and Linda (played by Billy Eichner + Sarah Paulson, Leslie Grossman, & Billie Lourd) all engaged in the brutal, infamous murders most of us already know. We see the vicious murders recreated.
Of course Kai gets around to the ideas of Helter Skelter from Manson, hoping to trigger a race war, blah, blah, blah. Therefore, the Divine Ruler decides they need to do something huge, far bigger than just one solitary pregnant woman: “The Night of a Thousand Tates.” Uh oh.
“I‘m the Devil, and I‘ve come to do the Devil‘s business.”
Gary (Chaz Bono) and some meatheads go to Planned Parenthood, looking for a list of women seeking late term abortions. But inside, he’s by himself, and a bunch of the clowns arrive, surrounding him. Kai’s got other plans for his man. They all stab Gary to death, leaving him to be found the next day. All spun as an attack on pro-life patriotism by the group the Woke Warriors. Beverly (Adina Porter) reports, as she’s instructed, but later Winter tries to help her get away, getting her a ticket out of the city. Is it real? You can never tell with the sister. Bev takes it as a test, refusing to go.
Things are getting weirder for Kai, he’s hallucinating his brother, Charles Manson, believing there are bugs planted by the federal government all over the house. There are a couple great, subtle references to the sitting POTUS, as it’s been throughout the season. However, now we’ve also got Charlie putting ideas in Kai’s head, telling him to “find the Judas,” which was, for him, Linda. She brought him down. Divine Ruler can’t let that happen, can he? Any coincidence Linda was played by Lourd, who plays Winter? Something bad’s gonna happen to the sister, I can feel it. Although it’s no good for any woman being around him. Except Ally, she plays to his paranoia; she brings him a supposed listening device she found.
Then Bebe shows up, to slap the shit out of Kai. Lamenting the “walking abortion” that is the male gender. She doesn’t like how he’s been doing things, he’s fucking up. The women’s rage hasn’t been unleashed appropriately, not yet. He’s lost in power, and he’s pissed everybody off entirely. He calls her down to the dirt, her cause. Before she can shoot Kai, she gets a bullet through her own brain from Ally. Jeeeesus, she’s on a warpath this season, baby! Because she’s putting herself right at the core of the inner sanctum, making Divine Ruler too comfortable to notice her plan; the one thing Bebe forgot to do herself.
Kai and Winter bond a bit, as she helps him shave his head and his face. They talk about knowing one another, the secrets, everything. Then he questions her loyalty. But she wonders about the people he surrounds himself with, what they truly mean in the grand scheme. She knows everyone will leave when they get what they want. She says she’ll always be there for him. So, is she truly loyal? Or is it a strategy? She admits things are difficult right now, that she needs distance for the moment. Yet he worries that her leaving will prompt others to do the same. Still, he agrees, so long as it means her ultimate loyalty.
Nah. He’s discovered her disloyalty, trying to send Beverly away. Now the tables are turned on Winter. He interrogates her in front of everybody. He asks about the bug, and also another device in the ice cream truck. Ally’s pushing the narrative, whether or not it’s true. She’s getting revenge partly through Kai. Eerily brilliant, no? Let’s hope it doesn’t destroy her before she can finish Kai and his movement off. We do see some of the meatheads are involved, at least Speedwagon. Ally’s got some tricks up her sleeve.
In the end, hallucinations of Manson urge Kai to kill his sister. And he strangles her to death on the floor.
Another fantastic episode in the best American Horror Story season to date! Seriously, it’s so great. This episode, written by Falchuk and Murphy, is a great lead into the finale. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
“Great Again” – aptly, relevantly titled to fit the rest of this season’s mould – comes to us next week. Be prepared for nastiness.