Back in Season 1 of American Horror Story, I remember finding out the series was actually an anthology; now I can't imagine it any other way. While each season is placed in a different universe, Ryan Murphy has used many of the same actors over the years. In AHS: Cult, for example, Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson play main characters as they have in several iterations. Actress and AHS alum Mare Winningham will make her debut on Tuesday's episode, so who does Mare Winningham play on AHS: Cult? Her character appears at odds with Kai.
Winningham has appeared in three other seasons of AHS, ranging from guest star to recurring throughout the season. In Coven, she played the mother of Evan Peters' character, Kyle, in one episode. In Freak Show she also had one appearance, as Pepper's alcoholic sister, Rita. Finally, in Hotel, Winningham portrayed Hazel, ghost/maid/servant of Peters' James March. Hazel was Winningham's largest role on AHS yet, having appeared in a majority of the episodes. Hazel was not a family member of a main character; she had a rich backstory and viewers were able to see Winningham shine. Interestingly, in Coven she played Even Peters' mother, while in Hotel she was in (unrequited) love with his character... I'll just attribute that to Ryan Murphy's antics.
But who does Winningham play in this latest AHS installment? IMDB doesn't list her character name, and it only looks like she's in the upcoming episode "Mid-Western Assassin." While this doesn't mean she definitely won't appear in other episodes, she certainly will not play as significant a role as she did in Hotel. From the latest AHS promo, she appears to be playing a local town citizen. She's going after Kai, who's running for city counsel member. His plan is to terrorize his town with the clown murders and then get elected. From there, he plans on taking over the world (which is a long journey for a city counsel member, but he seems to be in it for the long haul). Once again Peters' and Winningham's characters are linked, but this is the most sinister connection yet.
Winningham's character can tell that something's not right with Kai, even if he claims to want to help his town. While in what looks like a town hall, she declares that Kai is "just trying to make these people scared" (True! Finally, a voice of reason). In another scene, she says he needs to be stopped. The clowns appear to enter her home, where she's forced to use her gun. I'm afraid Winningham's performance will go the same route as Emma Roberts' did this season, and the clowns will take her down in one episode. Though, Winningham looks like she could hold her own (at least more than Roberts' Serina), so I wouldn't count her out yet.
I hope that the presence of this new figure is the beginning of the end for Kai. Throughout the season so far, he's literally getting away with murder. Not only does he have a detective on his side, but he has a local news reporter following him as well (and there doesn't seem to be any other journalists still alive in their town). Winningham's character may be killed in "Mid-Western Assassin," but I'll cross my fingers that she'll pull through and help others to see him for the evil monster he truly is. Regardless, I'm glad that she's making another appearance in the AHS universe, and hope one season Murphy finally gives her a starring role.
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