From the moment it was announced that the topic of American Horror Story 7 would have a tie-in to the November 2016 presidential election, gasps and groans could be heard in response.
We've been inundated with politics with so long, and from so many angles, the idea of it leeching into our escapist entertainment seemed like an invasion of privacy.
After watching the first the first three episodes, any misgivings were swept away. Here are seven reasons AHS Season 7 may be the best season yet.
It's equal opportunity satire
We need to get this out of the way right up front. Ryan Murphy's politics may be well known, but that doesn't mean he's writing for an audience of clones. Give the man some credit.
In fact, one of the scariest things about the politics in Cult is how you'll be laughing at the "other side," if you will, while you also find watching your "own side" makes you a bit queasy because everybody doesn't come out of this looking like they're the picture of sanity.
Comparing the worst of Cult to a social media frenzy, for example, is a hell of a lot more frightening than Ryan may have expected, but it works.
It gets into your head
You probably don't know you have a phobia. I know some things freak me out. Like when a talking tree is on TV or a disgusting flappy thing made out of dollar bills. Another thing?
Hey, I have trypophobia. The fear of small holes. That poster? No thank you. All the advertising lately skeeves me out.
The same is true for Sara Paulson's character, who suffers from more phobias than any poor soul ever should. It's what her phobias make you realize about yourself, though, that is the real fright.
Sarah Paulson is getting another Emmy
The star of the show is Sarah Paulson. As the AHS Season 7 trailer showed, she plays a liberal with severe phobia issues who suffers a melt down after the election. She's harboring a devastating secret that plays incredibly well to current times but only further complicates her day-to-day living.
As a wife and mother, Ally struggles to pull herself together in a world she no longer recognizes. Is it real or is it in her head? Watching her cling to reality and what she thought she always knew about the world is terrifying and delightful.
The new supporting cast is refreshing and unexpected
There are so many fresh faces on Cult that it makes the segment feel like a series we haven't seen before. Allison Pill as Ally's wife, Ivy, is a strong new addition to the cast and compliments Paulson's frenzied portrayal of a woman on the edge.
Billie Lourd is a perfect counterpart for Evan Peters, and Lourd's Winter Anderson interacts well with the married couple. She brings to them an Adaam's Family vibe that's very cool and quite unsettling.
Billie Eichner and Leslie Grossman (Mary Cherry!!) are perfectly cast as the Neighbors from Hell. Frankly, it took me a while to determine their place in the political spectrum they are so damn diabolical.
There's little doubt we'll be seeing these faces again and again as American Horror Story moves into double digits.
Twisty the Clown returns, but you won't believe how
If you are afraid of clowns, you will be squirming in your seat while watching American Horror Story: Cult. While the most significant scares are psychological, you'll find the presence of these guys incredibly intimidating.
But it's the return of our old friend Twisty that has everybody talking, and he doesn't disappoint. No spoilers!
An unlikely alliance
One of the most exciting developments as first three installments plays out is how an unlikely alliance plays out between two of the main players.
It's very unsuitable and even more unstable, but the imagination runs wild at the possibilities of the two characters moving forward.
When two opposites are at the end of their ropes, can they possibly be pushed so far in their beliefs they see the other side? Talk about a nightmare!!
Get your psychological, physical, and homage horror here
This is the first season of AHS in a while that hasn't played for schlock value right out of the gate.
There is traditional horror by way of slasher type films, psychological horror that plays like a (successful) nod to Hitchcock and there's the homage to other films you can spot here and there, like Straw Dogs, The Purge and even IT.
Unlike American Horror Story Season 6, which was shrouded in secrecy until the moment it was released, American Horror Story: Cult has been food for fodder for months.
People have formed as many opinions on it as they had on the election after which Ally's world begin's to crumble on American Horror Story Season 7.
Nobody guessed exactly what was at play here, and Murphy surprises again with a smart, funny and frightening look at what getting too far into our own heads and following the collective mind can mean to our survival as a species. Think about the bees!!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.