We welcome the return of new plot this week after last weeks dedication to rewinding the story to fill in some of its own gaps. However, opening the episode with a mass shooting and then rewinding the episode felt out of form and weird, experimental writing when we’ve waited two weeks for resolution on what’s happening to Meadow and Ally. Thankfully everything plays out for the best in the end, and the odd episode setup works out for the better with the bait and switch, perhaps even being in line woth the seasons underlying theme of unreliable narration, but we hope the rest of the season’s plot is strong enough to stand on its own without gimmicks and brings more of the horror we’ve been hungry for.
The shooting being shown from two different perspectives did help bolster it, and starting with Ivy’s perspective helped add an element that no one is safe, and implying it was Ally was almost heartbreaking that we’d seen them break her down to that level of mental illness. The reveal was much more sinister and down right evil, but we will get to that after a quick recap–
The storypicks up after Meadows coincidentally timed wake up in the hole and cry for help/big reveal of the cult to Ally and subsequently being dragged back across the street. Ally reacts just how you would expect her to, like a typical horror character, making all the wrong decisions and missing obvious red flags. First she grabs a knifeand some pepper spray and runs across the street: scaredy [Ally] cat to the rescue!
Then she sneaks in on Harrison and the detective doing it and steals their keys, like they can’t hear her. Then she frees Meadow, who is bound and gagged in the garage, instead of being thrown back in the hole and buried, or simply murderered at this point [also how much did she have to cooperate to be bound and gagged and her husband to then go back to the house, strip, and plow the detective?].
They get discovered, but always great in a crisis, Ally gets Meadow to the car and takes her to their knowingly unsafe restaurant. Best line of the episode is Meadow casually asking for a cappuccino in the middle of a crisis situation. Then the final nail in the phobia coffin is taking Meadow to Dr. Rudy, who we still believeis fully aligned with Kai and not being blackmailed or just turning a blind eye.
Ally then leaves Meadow with the shrink to seek help from Sally Keffler, a potentially amazimg character who’s ark shouldve been introduced last week and spanned two episodes to break things up, but we digress.
Sally had opposed Kai at a debate and anounced her run against him, citing laws and statistics he didn’t see coming and thoroughly cutting through his b.s. to the cheers of the attendees [very informal debate]. We loved seeing Kai amd his man bun finally not getting his way on something, and the introduction of a stable, non-cultist character was much appreciated. Sally even believes Ally’s story and seems to be on her side, so naturally Kai and his clowns show up to stomp out that glimmer of hope.
Kai takes a step-up on the villain ladder and Evan Peters delivered a down right sinister performance while they restrained Sally as he wrote a suicide note on her Facebook and then shot her to “look like a suicide.” We argue if the gun angles were analyzed and her being shot already layong on the floor, and the unlikelihood she would commit suicide after dedicating herself to a cause and receiving positice feedback that this scene was poorly written to jump to whichever piece of the story is comimg next. Honestly we would’ve preferred a few more scenes of Sally opposing Kai and gaining traction before her demise and less of the filler [like the gimp in the last episode].
We also got the added scene of why Ivy resents Ally [bogarting Ozzy and making her feel like an outsider] during her pinky-swear with Kai. More importantly, Ally recognizes her in her newly fashiomed evil elephant mask. Returning to Doctor Rudy, Ally finds that Meadow left on her own (suspicious), and the flashback we see indicates he did know Meadow and the slip at the end ofthe scene indicates he probably knows whats about to happen.
We see the reveal that Meadow was the shooter and did it for her love of Kai, to insight fear and make him a martyr. At the last minute she somehow pins it on Ally, whoch seems more fortuitous than planned, and kills herself, leaving us void of the season’s comedy relief.
So Dr. Rudy. Kai and Winter’s older brother. He seemed to know Meadow and her deal, but she didn’t seem to know him, and it felt like he did the bare minimum to save face. This enforces the theory that he is a behind the scenes operative working with Kai, but not necessarily a clown (possibly a larger cult or just a sounding board for his deranged brother). We believe the attempts to have Ally self commit herself were a ploy to have her declared mentally unfit and more easily get Ivy custody of Ozzy without violence or more insanity. We think he may be possibly trying to curtail Kai’s casualties, but he is at minimum guilty by association.