Right out the gate I would like to say that even though I’m not personally a fan of Lena Dunham this was a highly enjoyable episode. While her fake accent came on a little strong at times, nearly triggering flashbacks to Emmy Rossum before she adjusted to her role in Shameless, she still gave a solid performance. Once we cut past that, her role gave us a fresh and unexpected storyline, that even with it’s rewriting of history, injected fresh life into a shaky season.
Dunham played radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who attempts to assassinate Andy Warhol in the first opening scenes. The setup wasn’t a stretch, Evan Peters was brilliant as Warhol, who sent her over the edge with his flamboyant misogyny and disrespect.
The rest of the episode’s flashbacks revolve around Valerie establishing a radical feminist cult–SCUM. Notable members include Dot Jones and Jamie Brewer who stood out in the best way, often stealing the spotlight from the background.
The gist of SCUM is to eradicate men and they begin by following her SKIN Manifesto, where her attempt at assassinating Warhol was there cue to start. Things get a little farfetched when it’s revealed the members of SCUM were not just murderers, but the actual zodiac killer(s). Come to find out, one of the few gay men allowed in the group was the one writing the letters and parading as the Zodiac Killer, stealing Valerie’s ideas and robbing her of results. The whole thing becomes a cautionary tale of how men will always take credit for the work women due, with the story being recounted by Solana’s, now aged, confidant Bebe (Frances Conroy).
Bebe first contacts Beverley at the news station and plants seeds of doubts a out Kai into Beverley’s mind, saying how she believed Meadow wasn’t aiming to kill, but to improve his image. Beverley then tries to visit Kai, who now has a lot of new neo-nazi looking followers in and around his house, but is first stopped and disrespected by the new cult members.
Once in, she debates with Kai about strategy and how she feels their deal isn’t being done fairly, as she feels a power imbalance. Feeling defeated and excluded, Beverley calls a meeting between the remaining women of the cult (Winter, Ivy, herself) and Bebe. Unsurprisingly, Winter is easily sold on radical feminism.
Kai eventually finds a copy of the SCUM Manifesto under Winter’s bed and confronts her after we see him taking up one of his parent’s corpses (we only saw one in the bed! Maybe important?). Kai seems to be supportive but then messes with her say ing their slogan should be “Men Lead, Women Bleed” and she falls for it hook line and sinker when he says it was Harrison’s idea. It didn’t take much, but Kai has spurred infighting within the cult; the ladies lured Harrison to Ivy’s restaurant and they gruesomely use the butchery saw to dismember him.
In the final scene, Kai sees Beverley deliver the news report aboit Harrison’s body being found in pieces, and she plugs her point that law & order aren’t working. Kai then turns and says, “they’re at their best when theyre angry, don’t you think,” and the camera pans to reveal Bebe beside him.
Great twist that has us hyped for the last few episodes, but what could happen? I’ll sticking with my theory of the megacult network and Bebe is a liaison assisting Kai.
On the connections to other seasons, we already saw the Zodiac Killer in Hotel at the devil’s night dinner, but their face was shrouded. So either it’s a tie in or her story was made up. But Hotel links directly to Coven, as We all know with Queenie’s inclusion. We also believe that there is more connection with Freakshow, since it was teased that this would tie into Freakshow well and we think it may be more than just the Twisty comic and clown usage. We believe Kai (and Winter and the shrink) may be related to Dandy Mott from Freakshow, and thus also Edward Mott (the rich man that built the Roanoke house). This might explain why the clowns and Twisty were such an obvious to.
Tune in with us next week to find out what the next twist is!