Cult Review: Thy Fandom Come

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What do T-Bag and Alaric Saltzmann have in common? Well, okay, not a lot. But the men behind those characters? They have Cult in common, as the leads for the CW's chilling new series about what might happen when the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred.

As a show within a show, Cult is unlike anything on television right now.

Cult Premiere Pic

Cult's Pilot was a little confusing at first. It began with a scene from the show within the show. Kelly (Alona Tal), a former member of the cult led by Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper), has become a police officer. She and her partner are searching for her sister whom she believes to have been kidnapped by Grimm's cult. Kelly finds her brother in law plastered into the wall but he is unable to tell her where she can find her sister and nephew before he dies.

Then we're brought into the Cult's reality where we realize that what we've just been watching was part of a show new to the CW. 

Are you confused yet? Because I'm confused trying to explain that. 

Nate Sefton is an obsessed fan of Cult. He sits at a computer in the Fan.Dom.Ain Cafe and believes he's found a clue to unlock a new secret about the show but becomes paranoid and meets with his brother, Jeff (Matt Davis), to ask for his help. Jeff wonders if his brother is back on drugs until he receives a mysterious phone call from Nate and goes to Nate's apartment to find a chair covered in blood.

The police are reluctant to help Jeff, also believing that Nate was on drugs. 

Skye, a researcher on the set of Cult, begins looking into the various fan sites surrounding the hit series and discovers that some of them seem designed to keep people out rather than let them in. She feels that some fans of the show seem scared by what they see. Scared of coming to actual harm.

When Jeff arrives on the Cult sound stage to ask for a meeting with the show's producer, Steven Rae, the two team up. Skye is the only person so far who believes Jeff's story. Jeff is the only person who will listen to Skye's thoughts about the more obsessive fans of the show.

Skye is no stranger to disappearing relatives. Her father vanished without a trace 10 years earlier. Because of that, she is interested in seeing Jeff's quest to find his brother through to the end. 

Interspersed with the scenes of Jeff and Skye's search for Nate are scenes from the TV show. They mimic events happening in Jeff's world. When a character on the show commits suicide, so does Merriam, a friend of Nate's. Billy gives Kelly a pair of 3D glasses. The same glasses Nate gave to Jeff before he disappeared. 

And then there's the repetition of the phrase: "Well, hey, these things just snap right off."

That phrase is deliciously creepy. As is every word that falls out of Billy Grimm's mouth. Knepper plays twisted and creepy like no one else.

If the bizarre Cult followers and their kidnapping of those who know too much weren't enough to draw me in, the final scene, with Jeff's information being transmitted and Nate's warning phone call, definitely did.

Consider my curiosity piqued.

While there are some confusing moments that will take an episode or two to get used to, Cult promises a wild ride of twists and turns like no other, and begs the question "what happens when fans take a show too far?" The idea that Billy, or Roger Reeves, the man behind Billy Grimm, has brought his fictional cult to life is eerily fascinating and fun to watch.

And if nothing else, it's always good to be able to ogle Matt Davis again, right?

What did you think of the Pilot of Cult? Are you as intrigued by the concept as I am? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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    15 Comments New Comment Subscribe

    Liamera

    Robert Knepper and Matt Davis, love :)

    This show seriously GOT ME! I've only seen the pilot and I'm intrigued on so many different levels. The whole creepy and sick idea of this show is brilliant. Actually I'm beyond words right now. Hopefully later I'll have something better and more profound to say.

    CW better give us a full season.

    Liamera

    Robert Knepper and Matt Davis

    Avatar

    I didn't watch the first episode until today, but HELL - I'm in!! It's creepy, it's something new entirely, it's nice to have Matt Davis on the screen and Robert Knepper is just great in portraying someone scary. Hope it continues this way, I was sucked in this series!

    Marisa1983

    I wasn't sure before watching, but I gave it a try because of Matt Davis and Robert Knepper. And I am glad I did! I was disappointed to see the poor ratings they got. People should really give it a try. It's intriguing, this show kept me on the edge of my seat. Very well made too, you know when it's produced by Shwartz and Savage you'll get a good show.

    Marissa

    Wasn't sure about the show but just watched it and am now very interested in it. The waitress at the cafe was creepy just watching everyone then she helps kidnap that dude from the shoestring the end proving she's definitely involved. The cop doesn't seem to believe anything Jeff says and now that we know of the tattoo on her arm like the symbol in the show shows us why she doesn't believe him because she's most likely involved to. So far it seems like Skye can only trust Jeff and Jeff can only trust Skye because it looks like almost everyone is involved some how. Can't wait to see what happens next.

    Avatar

    I´m in, I´m sold, I´m cult!!! When are they coming for me?
    I was at the edge of my seat the entire pilot. I think the last pilot that did that was game of thrones.

    Sarah-silva

    I thought this was a good pilot. I hear the episodes get better and better.
    The cop is a crazy fan as she has the same tattoo that Billy Grimm has on the show.
    I hope Matt Davis will be happy with this show, he was unhappy on TVD for awhile as I read in an interview yesterday. He is the lead this time and I think he will like that better.

    Avatar

    I loved it, consider me a full-time viewer

    Miranda-wicker

    @Sa'ad--I follow his Twitter feed and can definitely see where you're coming from. He's very...firm in his beliefs and has no qualms saying what's on his mind. I loved his portrayal of Alaric on TVD which influences my like of him significantly.

    Avatar

    Oops, forgot to record this last night :(

    Robert Knepper plays SUCH a good creep--I think I last saw him on Heroes? I hope this show lasts a bit.




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