American Horror Story: Cult, Episode 2 Recap: "Don't Be Afraid of The Dark"

Photo: Frank Ockenfels/FX.
This week we pick up right where we left off with Ally (Sarah Paulson) afraid for her life after she rolled over to find a clown in her bed. She runs downstairs to get her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) for help. Ivy suggests that they call the police, but Ally is worried about their sleeping son Ozzy (Cooper Dodson) being alone upstairs. Given that their neighbours were just murdered, it makes sense that they’re being hyper-vigilant. But as has been the trend with Ally’s encounters with clowns, there is no evidence of one having been upstairs when the couple goes to look. Although, to be fair, they only checked their own bedroom, as if an intruder couldn’t have moved to another room while they were both downstairs. I think this fear that the intruder might be in a separate room is exactly what the episode’s director Liza Johnson wanted us to think.
For now, Ally admits that there might be something “wrong” with her. She can’t comprehend that such intense encounters are just her anxious imagination running wild. Ivy insists that they are going to get through this intense time together. And honestly, it’s refreshing to see Ivy be so supportive of her partner’s mental health. It must be a turn-on for Ally because they start making out on the bed — but then Ozzy screams. Kids always pick the wrong time to be in distress. Twisty and the same clown that appeared in Ally’s bed are in his room. He locks himself in the bathroom, but they break the translucent glass and have him cornered in the bathtub. This attempted attack is no more real than Ally’s. Ozzy is actually in bed having a night terror and when his mums wake him, he only wants the comfort of Ivy.
News reporter Beverly Holt (Adina Porter — who needs to be acknowledged for being the most dynamic character on AHS: Roanoke) talks about the “grotesque example of crime” committed against Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) the week before. The couple who recorded the incident, Meadow and Harrison Wilton (Leslie Grossman and Billy Eichner), sent it to their local WBNR-7 news station in hopes that it would help lead to a conviction. Kai himself — who we already know provoked the attack — is out of the hospital and planning on running for the vacant seat on the city council that was held by Tom Chang — who we know was murdered by killer clowns. Kai says the streets aren’t safe anymore with immigrants on them and he is “tired of complaining.”
Ally is at home and notices activity at the house that formerly belonged to the Changs. Movers are putting unidentified barrels in their garage at the direction of a woman, Meadow Wilton! Her husband is in a hazmat suit which raises enough flags for Ally to go across the street to investigate when they’re out of sight. I don’t know when people will learn that minding your business might be one of the easiest ways to prevent premature death. Anyway, looking into the front window from the porch, Ally discovers nothing except the couple’s eclectic taste in decor. When the couple catches her, she scurries away. Not very neighbourly, if you ask me
At the restaurant, there is tension in the kitchen. To put it simply, the lead chef Roger — who takes over when Ivy isn’t there — is an asshole. He commands the respect and authority that a teacher would over adolescents. And he insists that the other workers only speak English. When one of the workers, Pedro, presumably blows him off in Spanish, Roger gets extremely aggressive, threatening to shove a spoon up his ass. Pedro picks up a knife and dares him to try. Ally walks in and breaks up the altercation, with Roger insisting that Pedro be fired. “I’m not going to to fire an immigrant in this climate,” Ally says.
However, she probably should fire Winter (Billie Lourd), who is the nanny from hell. When she gets Ozzy home from school, he is still upset that Winter discredited his story about what happened to the Changs. She says that people are going to believe what they want and that Ozzy should let them. She then presents him with his own Twisty the clown figurine and makes him promise not to tell his mums. Then Winter asks him to join her in the same sinister pinky promise grip that she did with her brother in the premiere. She says it’s a trick that will help them both be “stronger.” Because they are connected flesh-to-flesh, Winter promises to take Ozzy’s fear and hold it for him.
When Ivy and Ally arrive home and find their son gone, they panic. Winter causally tells them that he’s across the street with their new neighbours. And having already had a weird interaction with them, Ally runs across the street with Ivy in tow. Harrison is showing Ozzy a bee colony. Apparently the Wiltons are beekeepers and that isn't the only curious thing about them. Meadow makes an insensitive comment about lesbians raising property values; Harrison appreciates bees because there is no dissent among them, only a collective mission to support the queen bee; and they both make light of the Changs' death, which is still being called a murder-suicide. But they don’t come off as hostile. In fact, I appreciate that Harrison straight-up asks Ally why she was snooping around their home earlier in the day. However, the oversharing reaches new heights inside their home when Meadow fills them in on her bout with skin cancer, Harrison being gay, and their collective hobby as presidents of the Michigan chapter of Nicole Kidman’s fan club.
With remnants (like blood) of the Chang murder still visible and small-talk boundaries crossed, Ally and Ivy decide to leave. Good idea. Later that night, just as they reach the logical conclusion to mind their own business, Ivy gets a call. Something has tripped the alarm at the restaurant. Ally agrees to go shut it off since Ozzy is having trouble sleeping and feels more comfortable with Ivy. When she gets there she finds her asshole chef Roger hanging by a hook in the freezer. This is no figment of her imagination.
Recounting the incident to her therapist (Cheyenne Jackson) — who has been called upon for a house visit by Ivy — she tells him that Roger was alive when she found him but in trying to help him down, she drove the hook in deeper and killed him. The police want to pin the whole ordeal on Pedro, which Ally denies. However, she feels like all of her fears have been validated: the world is not a safe place. And in an unexpected twist, she turns to her weird neighbours for help. They give her a gun for protection. Ally hasn’t told her wife about the gun and Dr. Vincent thinks Ally may be developing agoraphobia and tells Ivy to keep an eye on her. He can’t divulge that to Ally, though he probably should have.
In what feels like more than mere coincidence, Kai shows up at Ivy and Ally’s door to campaign for his city council seat. Ally answers the door with a knife behind her back, which Kai somehow knows and he taunts her about living in fear. He is spitting alternative facts about undocumented immigrants causing violent crimes and claims he is one of the people who wants to protect her from them. Ally slams the door in his face. In this climate, it makes sense that at the restaurant, Pedro tells Ivy that he is nervous about the police questioning him in Roger’s murder because it’s “hard to be brown” these days.
Later that night, Ozzy wants to do the “pinky thing” with Winter again because he’s scared to go to bed. He can’t tell if he’s awake or asleep when the clowns come and the nanny simply suggests that he ask, and walks out. Downstairs, Winter counsels Ally on what she needs to do to relax. With Ivy still at work, Winter suggests a bubble bath. And then she prepares it for her… And then she proceeds to wash all of Ally’s body, leveraging her knowledge that Ally hasn’t been taking her anti-anxiety meds as motivation for the married woman to go along. This chick has no boundaries and needs to be fired. But there’s no time to worry about workplace ethics. The power shuts off just before they are able to touch lips.
There is a clown in Ozzy’s room and I think this one is real. Ozzy follows Winter’s advice and asks the clown if he’s awake or asleep. The clown tells Ozzy he’s asleep and Ozzy goes along, retreating to his pillow. Winter and Ally are downstairs frantically trying to set up candles when Harrison bangs on the window and insists that the power outage is the result of a terrorist attack. He advises them to stay inside because rioters are coming and she believes him. FYI: Anxiety does not make you lose your common sense. All of this feels like a set-up and I’m screaming at my television.
Winter decides to jump ship and head home to protect her own belongings, leaving an already fragile Ally alone in a crisis. The latter calls her wife, who is trying to make sure that all of the food at the restaurant doesn’t go bad without power for the freezers. Ivy can’t come home, but she sends Pedro to take Ally some supplies. However, Ally’s phone dies before Ivy can communicate this. Ally is panicking. There is obviously someone in the house with her. A door closes on its own and outside the window, the same ice cream truck that brought the killer clowns to the Changs has appeared. And to her horror, someone cut all of the wires on her circuit breaker. It’s confirmed, someone is trying to hurt – or at least scare the shit out of – her.
Upon this realisation, a clown appears and blows out Ally’s candle, sending her into darkness. She kicks into high gear, grabs her gun, and wakes up Ozzy. She shares the game plan with him. They are going to run to the neighbour’s house. She opens the door for them to escape, and there is someone right outside! She fires and shoots Pedro. This poor woman can’t catch a break.

More from TV

R29 Original Series