(Photo: Frank Ockenfels/FX Networks)

“I am one of you.” It’s what Ally screams at the protestors as they surround her car, calling for justice for the man she killed in a moment of unfounded fear. It’s a ridiculous statement from someone facing down picket signs with her own face on them, but also one of the cleverest moments of post-election commentary this season has delivered so far. On a basic level, Ally can’t count herself among the protestors because she is the one who fatally shot a man and was, mere hours later, absolved of her guilt by a cop who reminds her she lives in a state that has a stand your ground law. But if circumstances had been slightly different, if another white woman had shot a person of color in her neighborhood, Ally probably would have joined the chanting crowd. And yet, she still would haven’t really been “one of them” in a crowd with few white faces whose post-election (and, honestly, pre-election) fears are founded in actual, life-threatening realities. And here we see the show first begin to draw the line about who has palpable reason to fear in the post-Trump world, and who has a more existential terror.

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“Everyone thinks I’m a racist. Do you understand the specific pain of someone like me being accused of that,” Ally asks her therapist in the car before she runs into the protestors, and in that instance it doesn’t seem like she’s comparing her LGBT identity and the prejudices she likely faced in her life to those faced by people of color (as the show has been leaning heavily on the racial prejudices held by Kai, who seems more than willing to court gay members to his group) but is instead throwing down the good ally card. She seems to be saying she’s not just not racist. She’s super duper not racist. And all the people who know her only because of one (fatal) action against a Hispanic man who’s only crime was showing up at her doorstep with supplies should recognize that. Dr. Vincent rolling his eyes as she attempts to start a childhood story that would appropriately display her “specific pain” is all of us.

Kai’s arrival on the scene to rescue Ally from the protestors is a surreal moment, even on a show inhabited by clowns having sex by the cantaloupes who then vanish into thin air. The instant dismissal of a crowd that seemed to be ready to keep Ally’s car surrounded indefinitely, all with a simple “enough,” suggests they may not be what they seem, but also seemed like a slightly too convenient way to get Ally to see him as her saving grace. “I told you I’d take care of you. And I did,” he whispers to her before walking off onto the newly cleared road. It’s obviously what he wants to convey to her if he hopes to recruit her (which appears to be his ultimate goal) but wouldn’t it make more sense to let Ally come to that rather obvious conclusion on her own?

Ally and Ivy’s neighbors continue to offer both delightful moments of levity and more than a little confusion. When Meadow and Harrison show up at Ally’s door, both the audience and Ally assume the gun loving couple will be staunch supporters of anyone defending their home. It’s a solid twist when they call her a bigot (wearing sombreros, no less). The moment has the kind of wacky energy that worked so well in AHS seasons past. We can assume the pair are members of the really, really, insane clown posse since we get a glimpse into their pinkie swear sessions with the blue-haired leader, but the actual secrets that come tumbling out of them don’t make a ton of sense. Harrison’s confession that not only is his sham wedding to Meadow his greatest regret but that he also wishes she were dead is some solid foreshadowing to the bloody-Meadow-less state Ivy and Ally (and the police) find him in the episode’s final moments. But why the jump to daydreams of bloodshed when a divorce would make him more available for his, as Meadow puts it, “friend” (the white-haired Colton Haynes playing a detective who was very, very quick to assure Ally she shot Pedro in self-defense)?

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This episode saw the ever supportive Ivy come to her wife’s defense to an even greater degree than earlier installments (she’s quick to volunteer in the immediate aftermath of Pedro’s death, “we may be under attack by ISIS”) so of course Ally’s bathtub moment with Winter had to come to light in the worst way possible—popping up on Ozzy’s laptop for both of his moms to see. It’s interesting to see one of Ally’s few very logical observations (something seriously weird is going on if someone bugged their house and knew to send that particular video) goes completely ignored by Ivy, who’s so wounded by her wife’s betrayal (possibly more by the sheer cliche of having an affair with the babysitter than the actual cheating) she seems to relish the fact she’s leaving Ally behind in a house that might have been marked by a serial killer. Now the only question is, will their son witnessing Tarantino-level bloodshed for the third time in a week be enough to at least get them into family counseling, or will the clowns successfully drive them apart, just as Ally fears?


Stray observations

  • Even forgetting the whole bath-seduction moment (and showing Ozzy the dark web and taking him on a field trip to see a neighborhood murder) Winter is the worst babysitter ever. She lets a stranger into the house (it’s super bad luck it happens to be a masturbating stranger, but still), accepts pets from the neighbors, probably eats all the fancy snack food and doesn’t say anything when she uses the last paper towel...
  • So, based on the semi-cold open involving one of Dr. Vincent’s patients getting a new phobia-free lease on life just before being horribly and specifically murdered by the clowns, it looks like the not-so-good-doc is in league with Kai and company. At this point that revelation doesn’t feel particularly surprising or unsurprising—Cheyenne Jackson has done a good job so far of playing the shrink as pure neutral, not absolutely good, but also not terribly creepy.
  • Poor, poor Mr. Guiena was never long for this world, as his owner is destined to be the most physiologically damaged kid at his town’s most progressive private day school.
  • There are situations when you can probably leave your fairly-self sufficient kid alone on your front steps for a moment. When your block has recently been the site of multiple violent deaths is not one of those moments. Oz needs one of those backpack leashes, stat.

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