Kai finally got his comeuppance on American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 11 – but did it make for a satisfying season-ender?
The season finale of American Horror Story Season 7 was full of twists and turns. But in the end, one thing was certain: Ally Mayfair-Richards emerged alive, relatively unscathed, and definitively victorious.
In many ways, “Great Again” fulfilled Bebe’s initial, demented goal.
Kai, however deeply off-course he went in the end, actually inspired an outpouring of female rage, just not on the apocalyptic, global level that Bebe hoped.
He unlocked Ally’s rage, and in turn, created a powerful, violent, flawed female leader.
I have to applaud Ryan Murphy and the writers for creating a deeply complicated and unpredictable character like Ally.
Now, don't get me wrong – she was by no stretch of the imagination likable or any kind of protagonist I was willing to root for. But that's just what made her so interesting.
Right up until she walked out of Kai’s headquarters (“to get some snacks”) before the FBI raid, I legitimately didn't know whether she'd really bought into Kai’s mentality or if she was planning to turn on him. When the latter was revealed, it was enormously satisfying.
As dark as Ally had gone following the reveal that Ivy was in the cult back on American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 6, I didn't imagine she was so far gone that she would allow the “Night of 100 Tates” to happen.
However, there were a few shoddily-plotted details about the FBI twist that bothered me.
I couldn't overlook the massive plot hole that Ally was just standing out there, in plain sight, while the raid was happening. I don't claim to be any kind of expert on FBI protocol, but I just feel like, logically and for the safety of their informant, they would've waited until Ally was far enough away.
Sure, Kai likely could have figured out that Ally was the one who betrayed him. But at that point, there was still the possibility that he might've believed it was Speedwagon and that Ally had only coincidentally left the house in the nick of time to miss the raid.
Anyway, my problem is that it was all too obvious that Kai needed to immediately know Ally was responsible for plot purposes. It didn't make a ton of logical sense for her to be standing outside watching him dragged out in cuffs.
(Of course, the alternative argument here is that Ally wanted Kai to see her, so he would know that she'd defeated him and won.)
Similarly, the reveal that Kai’s prison guard lover/follower/escape helper was an Ally plant (or had been turned by Ally) was a little weird and brusque.
It was an incredibly satisfying moment to realize that a woman Kai believed he controlled had betrayed him yet again. But it also didn't entirely make sense.
There were a lot of details left out, for the sake of runtime. In general, I'm not sure how we're supposed to believe that Ally amassed such power and influence to be able to convince a prison guard to pretend to be Kai’s lover and help him bust out of jail – specifically so that he could be killed in a very public, triumphant way.
There were a lot of moving parts, and I just wasn't convinced enough that Ally had it in her to pull all that off. Sure, she improved a lot and became more of a badass as the season went on – but we didn't see anything that established her as a mastermind on par with Kai until this last hour.
Despite these nitpicks, I liked the finale very much overall. There were many small details I loved.
It was great that Ally didn't just plant the evidence to frame Winter as the informant and then let it go. She wanted to hurt Kai as much as possible – which she did by revealing that Speedwagon was the real informant and Winter was innocent.
It was pretty clear that Speedwagon hadn't framed Winter – that was all Ally. By getting Kai to kill Winter then breaking his heart by confirming that he'd killed his loyal sister for no reason, Ally managed to take out one enemy (Winter) and break down another (Kai).
It was exactly the cold, calculating, cruel kind of maneuver that proved to me definitively that Ally was not the hero.
Ditto Ally making sure that a jailed Kai would know that Oz isn't his son after all.
Now, you can truly see how over you are. Oz is not your son. Your gang of circle-jerking fascists are dead. Your brother and sister are dead. And you are trapped in a cage with nothing but other men. Your sick, ugly, necrotic DNA will rot in prison until you die. And then it will be gone from the world forever.Ally
The above quote was a particularly incisive way to get at the root of a stereotype of what many men fear: their lineage and DNA not proliferating, and ceasing to exist in the world. Kai was all about his legacy; for Ally to "deprive" him of that was her highest punishment.
It might seem like mixed messaging from the writers given how Ally wound up ultimately victorious in the end. But instead, I believe it cleverly parodied exactly what Hillary Clinton’s most vocal critics and haters thought of her, the original “Nasty Woman.”
Another great detail shedding light on Ally as a Clinton stand-in was the senatorial election debate scene between Ally and the sitting senator right before Kai interrupted.
The debate was clearly meant to evoke the presidential debates between Clinton and Trump. But in this fantasy version, Ally calmly and confidently trounced her opponent and berated him for interrupting her and mansplaining to her (while wearing a pants suit, naturally) – as the crowd cheered.
It is obviously not what happened in real life. Ally's version of the debate was a pure triumph, particularly in that she defeated Kai immediately after he gave his epic, misogynist monologue.
You're not a hero. You're a symbol. One I created! Killing people doesn't get the men hard and the ladies wet anymore. But Americans lose their ever-loving shit when you destroy their symbols. Statues, flags, pledges of allegiance, twenty dollar bills, white Jesus, and Merry Fucking Christmas. You come for any of that stuff, you've got writhing in the streets and domination of the news cycle for weeks. You symbolize the hope that women will one day win an argument with their husbands. That they won't be cat-called when they walk down the streets. That their bosses won't talk about their tits anymore. That they'll make just as much money as men make. That the fight is winnable. When I kill you, they'll see that there is no hope. Women can't lead. Women can't win. They will always be outsmarted and outmuscled. They need to finally understand that what they can and should do is shut up, know their place, and make me a goddamn sandwich.Kai
A moment which, by the way, Evan Peters should win all kinds of awards for alone.
But Ally’s carefully plotted senatorial win (right up to orchestrating the death of Kai on a literal stage – the ultimate moment of a woman overcoming and defeating her male oppressor) is coded in so much darkness that it is simply not possible to consider her the hero.
And that's the point.
In many ways, by the end of the season, Ally reminded me of Lee from American Horror Story Season 6. Both women were flawed and complicated figures who did terrible things and murdered their enemies and rivals.
But whereas Lee paid the ultimate price and found a sort of redemption at Roanoke’s end, Ally pays no such price.
You were wrong. There was something more dangerous in this world than a humiliated man. A nasty woman.Ally
In the end, Ally has exactly what she wanted. Ivy and Winter are dead, Kai has been defeated, Oz is all hers, and she's got a hot new girlfriend. The final shot at the mirror, as Ally put up her hood, suggested that she's the leader of a brand new cult.
Or, more specifically, the resurgence of an old one: followers of Valerie Solanas’ SCUM manifesto. (Green robes, like Ally's in the closing shot, are exactly what Valerie and her followers wore on American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 7.)
This, of course, is ironic, given that Ally’s entire campaign hinged on breaking down the cultish two-party system. All she's done, in reality, is take her cult underground.
It's an unbearably dark, anarchic, and enigmatic ending. It's clear that Ally has great and terrible things in store for her.
The end left off with an uncomfortable reckoning: is this really what it takes for a woman to succeed? To become a villain in pursuit of her own freedom and greatness? In the dark world of American Horror Story: Cult, that's exactly it.
Isn't it sad when a strong woman scares people more than clowns?Ally
There are no heroes. There are only villains and other villains struggling against them – both sets all too human.
- I get that Ally had immunity but did that excuse her from murdering State Police informant Speedwagon? Or did she not actually kill him, as she told Kai? Regardless, Ally definitely killed Bebe while an FBI informant (which started when she was in the psychiatric hospital). How does that work?
- The shadiness of keeping her and Ivy’s restaurant open – and hiring her new girlfriend to work there! – after murdering Ivy is some next-level coldness on Ally’s part.
- We didn't see much of Oz in the finale. But he didn't seem all that broken up about Ivy’s death from the brief glimpse we got of him, did he?
- I continue to love that Lana Winters is the one overarching figure in the entire American Horror Story universe. She didn't actually appear (bummer), but she did get a shout out when it's mentioned that Ally turned down an interview with Lana (and also with Rachel Maddow).
- If this season was good for anything, it was chock full of darkly comic moments. Kai inviting his nazi-bro followers to “fortify” themselves with vitamins prior to setting off on their pregnant woman murdering spree really got me laughing for some reason.
- We got one last glimpse of Kai’s Charles Manson hallucination (“Chuck”) in prison. It reminded me just how excellent Evan Peters was at portraying all of these very different roles this season.
- I wasn't thrilled with the use of Adina Porter this season, but I do like that (contrary to my expectations) Beverly survived, got to kill one of Kai's minions during the raid, and got the final kill shot to take out Kai. I also thought it was interesting that she implicitly told Ally it was OK if she had killed Ivy herself (which Ally continued to lie about).
What did you think of the season finale?
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Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.