There’s a struggle, almost immediately, for the series to decide what it wants to be about. Opening as it does with dual perspectives on the election is a clever way to quickly establish the characters, but it also makes apparent one of the series’ primary flaws. Each character, in effect, is written as a parody of how the ‘other side’ views them; Sarah Paulson plays Ally Mayfair-Richards, the embodiment of the stereotypical liberal elite, while Evan Peters plays Kai Anderson, an exaggerated caricature of a basement dwelling 4chan user. In a way, there’s something almost cartoonish about it all – much of the episode wouldn’t have felt out of place in a Saturday Night Live skit. Indeed, Paulson’s character feels almost directly lifted from this specific sketch; Peters’ is played in such an aggressively exaggerated fashion it’s difficult to take him entirely seriously either.
From the first episode of AHS: Cult, it was difficult to tell what the show wanted to achieve. Continuing to watch the show, it was… also, to be honest, difficult to tell where the show was going. Bits of it worked, and it often felt like it was gesturing at some genuinely quite interesting ideas – but for the most part, there was a sense that the show had been written too quickly after the election to offer any meaningful or definitive commentary on it.