American Horror Story: Cult season 7, episode 6 recap: “Mid-Western Assassin”


Ivy and Meadow’s involvement in the clown cult is explained in “American Horror Story: Cult” episode 6, ‘Mid-Western-Assassin.’

This week’s episode begins in reverse order with a much-publicized opening scene that was heavily edited in light of the Las Vegas shooting last week. It features a mass shooting at a political rally held in support of Kai’s (Evan Peters) campaign for City Council, which leaves him lying injured on the ground behind the podium, perhaps fatally. The audience is led to believe that Sarah Paulson’s Ally has finally gone off the deep end and has taken matters into her own hands after finding out about the cult from Meadow (Leslie Grossman) in episode 5.

Her neighbor’s sudden reappearance called into question whether her life was truly in danger, or if it was yet another plot in Kai’s sinister plans. We learn the truth by the end of the episode, which details the emerging cult leader’s deep emotional connection with Meadow and even Ivy (Alison Pill), who has managed to spare Ally’s life until now so that their son doesn’t have to face the loss of one his moms, while assuring that her spouse’s “entitled” phobias will make her seem crazy enough that she won’t be allowed to get custody of Oz.

As seen in flashback scenes in last week’s “Holes,” Ivy’s contempt for Ally has been growing since before the election, but her pulling the lever for Jill Stein was the last straw. Her meeting Winter (Billie Lourd) at a rally where she was assaulted by Gary (Chaz Bono) clearly reinvigorated her increasingly mundane life, slowly turning her into a revolutionary of sorts who sought revenge by tying the grocery store owner up to prohibit him from voting for Donald Trump, with Winter’s help.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT — Pictured: Alison Pill as Ivy Mayfair-Richards. CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

She only grew more hostile after the election results were known, allowing Kai to step in and draw her near by threatening to reveal her secret, and using a possible romantic relationship with his sister as bait. It’s during their pinky ritual that she makes the aforementioned revelations about the nature of her relationship with Ally, which explains why the cult has yet to murder her. She indicates that her bitterness towards Ally started after the birth of Oz (Cooper Dodson). Ally is his biological mother, which caused Ivy to feel distant from her son, especially after he was born and she was incapable of breastfeeding him (which Ally did until he was three), causing her to feel like Ally was attempting to take full ownership of him.

Kai uses his powers of seduction to draw in the likes of Harrison (Billy Eichner), Meadow and even, Ivy, using the same techniques and flattering phrases to make them feel special at a time in their lives when they’re feeling adrift. We learn that Kai’s growing closeness with his newest recruit is what set off Meadow, who fell madly in love with him. She attempts to leave, but is stopped by her gay husband/childhood love, Harrison, and his partner, Det. Samuels (Colton Haynes).

The trio tie her up, stuff her in a closet, and appear ready to do away with her for good. Kai waves the other men away and begins listing demeaning ways in which she’s viewed by the world, only to build her back up and express her importance to him in his life. He admits that her earlier criticism that he’s thinking too small with his bid for a city council seat is valid. She then trepidatiously agrees to his plan to stage his own assassination.

The ploy even managed to include Dr. Rudy (Cheyenne Jackson), who we learned last week is actually Winter and Kai’s older brother. It’s unclear if the other cult members (including Ivy) are aware of this fact, but it seems that Kai will make sure that Ally stays ignorant of his involvement since he’s the only one she can now turn to, even if his grasp over her has already lessened. However, there may come a time when he’s able to have her committed so Ivy can get rid of her for good without committing murder, if in fact their attempt to frame Ally for the mass shooting doesn’t work.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT — Pictured: Cheyenne Jackson as Dr. Vincent. CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

Kai’s slow but steady march towards world domination (however far-fetched that may seem in a country that just elected a reality TV star as president) smoothly continues as he easily dispatches with a formidable opponent in Mare Winningham’s Sally Keffler, a true conservative who pegs Kai as a reactionary who seeks to control the populace through fear, much like the current president. She compares the pair to “flies that the garbage has drawn.” He dismisses her as an elite and “the last of the intellectuals,” as the group stages her suicide via a Facebook post (and who wouldn’t regard something posted on the social media site as anything other than fact?), after she announces her plans to challege him through a write-in campaign.

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“I will never desert you like she did,” he later tells a large crowd at his rally.

In attendance are Ally, several members of the cult, and Meadow, who marches towards the front of the crowd at the outdoor event. She begins shooting several people, including Kai, but only in the leg, assuring that he’ll live to see another day.

“This is the face of true love,” she says, before putting the gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger. Unsurprisingly, Ally is left with the gun in her hand as police arrive, perfectly setting her up as the fall guy (or gal).

“Mid-Western Assassin” ends as Kai awakens while being carried into an ambulance on a stretcher. The satisfied look on his face suggests that he knows that he’ll emerge even stronger than before on a national level following the elaborately staged assassination attempt, while Ally is taken away in handcuffs, and Ivy sits visibly shaken nearby after witnessing the horrific scene.

Next: Evan Peters to play Andy Warhol, Charles Manson in American Horror Story: Cult

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