American Horror Story: Cult season 7, episode 5 recap “Holes”


Episode 7 of “American Horror Story: Cult” features several major twists and revelations about the clown cult and their motivations.

“Holes” speeds up the plot and significantly ups the gore factor to deliver not one but two gruesome character deaths at the hands of the murderous clown cult, producing by far the most violent, stomach-churning and torturous scenes of American Horror Story: Cult (if not the entire series).

Last week’s Sarah Paulson-lite episode revealed that most of the people around Ally are involved in Kai’s efforts to use fear as a means for control by scaring the inhabitants of their small Michigan town through the formation of a cult that murders people while wearing clown masks, confirming that Ally’s encounters weren’t just hallucinations.

In a series of flashback scenes, it was revealed that the group includes Ally’s new “neighbors from hell,” Meadow and Harrison, Kai’s sister (and Ally and Ivy’s nanny) Winter, one-handed grocery store owner Gary, Det. Samuels, plus TV reporter Beverly Hope.

This week we learned that the group also consists of Beverly’s cameraman, RJ, and Ally’s wife, Ivy. The latter revelation shouldn’t come as a surprise given that we saw Ivy meeting Winter at an election rally in episode 4 before she was hired to care for Ozzy. The pair teamed up to kidnap and temporarily tie up Trump supporter Gary after he sexually assaulted Ivy at said rally.

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We also learned in this week’s episode that Ally’s shifty therapist Dr. Rudy is unsurprisingly involved with the cult and may even be its actual leader. In yet another disturbing scene, we find out that Rudy is Kai and Winter’s older brother who devised a plan to keep their parent’s murder-suicide under wraps so it didn’t affect his career or their financial situation, which involved keeping their decomposing bodies locked in their bedroom.

The event greatly impacted Kai, formerly a meek religious studies major dealing with his verbally abusive father, who ended up in a wheelchair due to a motorcycle accident. He becomes visibly emotional when discussing the situation with Beverly.

While Kai seems to be the leader of the cult spearheading a city council campaign as a means to gain influence, it’s Beverly and potentially Dr. Rudy who actually have the most power, seizing on Kai’s weak emotional state (despite his bravado) to achieve their own goals.

While we’ve yet to see Rudy participate in the rituals, it’s clear that he’s pulling the strings behind the scenes by using his patients’ greatest fears against them, including Ally. But we don’t yet know what the group’s end game is with Paulson’s character, whose fears surrounding living alone resulted in her scratching her neck raw due to her fear of small holes a.k.a. trypophobia (hence the episode’s title).

Ivy was clearly frustrated with her before the election and had her exit strategy all planned out, but she doesn’t seem to want her dead. Instead, she wants to be part of a revolution because she hates the country post-election. But now that Ally knows that everyone around her is involved in the cult thanks to Meadow, it’ll be interesting to see how she reacts and who she turns to, especially since she does not yet know about Dr. Rudy’s involvement.

The cult also demonstrated that they’re more than willing to go against their own, with Beverly suggesting that they eliminate her weak-minded cameraman, which may have been her goal all along in having him join the cult. She’s also managed to get rid of her younger rival, Serena Belinda, and sleazy news anchor Bob, who fired her early in the episode after accusing her of reporting “fake news” due to the holes in her stories.

Both death scenes were difficult to watch (as well as the demise of Bob’s gimp), with the show preferring the torture porn-style of horror rather than genuine jump scares. However, there is still something psychologically terrifying about this season, given that it forgoes supernatural elements in favor of playing off of real-life events, which is especially unsettling given our tumultuous times, with last year’s election as the backdrop for the action.

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While the group was on board with getting rid of RJ (albeit reluctantly) via several nails to the head, it seems that only Harrison and his lover Det. Samuels are aware of Meadow’s whereabouts. Ally found her lying in a hole in the ground in their backyard. She briefly managed to escape but was recaptured after revealing the truth about the cult to Ally, setting up the phobia-filled restaurateur to be this season’s unlikely hero rather than just a victim. But she’ll have to act fast as Kai’s campaign for a county council seat gains steam, following the release of the grisly footage of Bob being murdered.

American Horror Story: Cult season 7 continues Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.