Over the years, American Horror Story has jumped decades and locations, indulging in ghost stories and vampires and witches. Though the show has always preyed on very real fears, it usually does so through the lens of something distancing, like a long-ago time stamp or supernatural creature. Season 7, is different. It's set right now, picking up after the 2016 election to explore current anxieties in the country as unambiguously as possible. But what is American Horror Story: Cult about, exactly? Politics is only part of the story.
It seems like the primary protagonist and antagonist of Season 7 are played by AHS alums Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. Paulson plays Ally Mayfair-Richards, a woman whose anxieties and phobias (specifically when it comes to holes, blood, and clowns) are exacerbated by Donald Trump's presidency. She's married to Alison Pill's Ivy, with whom she has a son, but has increasing difficulty holding onto her personal life as her paranoia takes over. Meanwhile, Peters portrays Kai Anderson, a Trump-loving opportunist looking to exploit the atmosphere of fear in the country for his own personal gain. Meanwhile, mysterious, murderous clowns are descending upon the community and blurring the line between reality and Ally's fearful delusions.
The relationship between Ally and Kai also appears to become more complicated as the season progresses, with Ryan Murphy calling them "a love story for the ages" on his Instagram account. But their story isn't the only one being told on AHS: Cult. Cheyenne Jackson also co-stars as Ally's therapist Dr. Rudy Vincent. Billie Lourd appears as Kai's sister Winter Anderson, who also seems to be the nanny to Ally and Ivy's son.
Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman are neighbors to the Mayfair-Richards with an unusual marriage (and a bee colony of their very own). Then there's Lena Dunham's guest star turn as the real life Valerie Solanas, and Peters taking on a number of cult figures from Andy Warhol to Charles Manson to Jim Jones. Season 7 will definitely have its fair share of side stories to provide a diversion from the main conflict.
Trailers for AHS: Cult indicate the season will focus most intensely on the different sides of the political divide seemingly represented by Ally and Kai, but there are sure to be many more unpredictable twists in store. Things are never quite what they seem with AHS, so the only things fans can do is expect the unexpected.