American Horror Story
The best thing about this entire episode is when Ivy finally smacks Ally across the face. I have never wanted to slap a person more in my life, and I once spent an entire afternoon watching videos of Ted Cruz on the internet. All it took for Ivy to finally lash out was her wife freaking out about the election, voting for Jill Stein, finding a dead body in their restaurant, shooting an innocent man on their porch, screaming about killer clowns, deciding that the disco garbage truck driving through their neighborhood was poisoning them, and storing a Ziploc bag of microwaved guinea pig meat in the freezer. Oh, you know, no big deal!
Ally is really getting on my nerves, but I think that’s the point. Between her outsized reactions to “cis-normative pet names” and throwing herself in front of a truck while demanding to know how it is poisoning her, she is the snowflake social-justice warrior that Breitbart is always shouting about. The same goes for her annoying neighbors, Harrison and Meadow, who show up at her door with sombreros and a handful of Taco Bell coupons, so that Ally can continue to appropriate and exploit Mexican culture.
It’s fun to make fun of the left, and it’s really easy to do. Ally is far too sensitive to exist in the real world, and the squabbling between her and her similarly liberal neighbors is a bit like the infighting among liberals that resulted in Donald Trump’s victory. Ally is everyone who screwed the election up. She thinks she can make things better by talking to the people protesting her after she kills Pedro. By showing off her liberal bona fides, she thinks people will understand that what she did was self-defense.
The only person who seems to understand Ally is Kai, the right-wing goofball whose blue hair looks like a raspberry Slurpee filled with baby diarrhea. He keeps popping up unexpectedly and telling Ally that he is going to take care of her. Is his plan to somehow drag her across the political spectrum so that she will finally understand his point of view? Possibly.
What I like about the two of them is that they show how the election radicalized people on the left and the right, but in drastically different ways. Ally is so afraid that her worldview is under attack that she’s acting in irrational ways, lashing out about the smallest signs of disorder in her liberal utopia. On the flip side, Kai has been emboldened by Trump’s victory to take his fascist fear-mongering out of the basement and make it manifest in the real world.
But what the hell is going on in this crazy Michigan town? Well, everything is slowly coming together in “Neighbors From Hell.” We start the episode with a couple named Mark and Rosie as they finish up a therapy session with Ally’s doctor, Dr. Rudy Vincent. It seems Rosie is getting over her fear of being trapped in a coffin. When they come home, however, they find the Insane Clown Posse waiting for them, ready to drag them into coffins and lock them inside.
This opening sequence does a couple of things for the season: It confirms that the clowns Ally keeps seeing are, in fact, real and not a figment of her phobia-bent mind. It also proves that the clowns are on a killing spree, first with Councilman Chang and his wife, and now with this other couple. But how exactly did they know about Rosie’s specific fear? Dr. Rudy, of course! He later acts strange when talking to Ally on the phone about her trauma with the neighbors. What if he is the one behind it all? He would know just how to drive all of his patients insane, thanks to what they talk about in their sessions.
This episode also gives us other connections between previously unrelated characters. We see Kai having “pinky-swear” sessions with both Harrison (talking about how he wants to see his wife dead) and Meadow (talking about how she thinks that The Real Housewives of New York’s Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Zima Malt Liquor Beverage Morgans has a drinking problem). That means he knows them both somehow. We also see Harrison and the hunky, gray-haired Detective Samuels making eyes at each other, and Meadow thinks they’re having some kind of relationship.
In other words, everyone in Ally’s life who terrorizes her in some way or another is connected. Everyone is quick to suggest that Ally has some crazy paranoid conspiracy theory, but what if they are really plotting to take her down? I think that Dr. Rudy is the lynchpin to this whole thing. Here’s my theory: Dr. Rudy is the leader of some sort of insane clown cult. (Maybe he’s Twisty’s son?) Not only is Kai a member, but so are Winter, Meadow, Harrison, and Samuels. They’re all in on the plan to drive Ally crazy. They’re the ones in the clown costumes, and they’re also the ones spraying weird, bird-killing toxins on Ally and Ivy’s front lawn. Why they’re doing this is still murky, but given the tenor of the season, it’s probably politically motivated.
That doesn’t mean that they’re responsible for everything, though; they’re just responsible for the setup. When the power went out, Harrison came over to scare Ally and give her a gun. He didn’t make her shoot Pedro, because they had no idea Ivy sent him over to the house. But they did know Ally was so scared she’d shoot someone. The fact that he was a Latino man just gave them a nice, racially charged framework to drive her even more insane.
The same thing is true when Ivy leaves at the end of the episode. The Insane Clown Posse definitely filmed Ally and Winter getting it on in the tub, but they couldn’t have known exactly how Ivy would react. Anyway, they had another plan in mind: When Ivy goes to leave, we see the cops outside and Harrison in his underwear (damn, Billy Eichner is looking good), screaming about how he didn’t kill Meadow. It all furthers Ally feeling unsafe in her own home, especially when she sees the weird smiley face in the neighbor’s living room — the same mark that is on their front door.
But what if Meadow isn’t dead at all? What if this is just another ruse to scare Ally, and Samuels got his cop friends to show up to make it look like it was actually happening? We finally know that the clowns aren’t a figment of her imagination, but what if everything else really is?