American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 10 Review: Charles (Manson) in Charge

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It was the end for one major character on American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 10. While I can't say I didn't see it coming, the death was still an incredibly brutal moment.

Kai continued to unravel on "Charles (Manson) in Charge," while Ally came into her own and proved she's a force to be reckoned with.

Billie Lourd as Winter — American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 1

This season has been a study in cult leaders. From Andy Warhol to Jim Jones, Evan Peters has done a magnificent job of embodying each of these very different, but all very charismatic, figures.

American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 9 was particularly impressive. Peters portrayed several famous cult leaders, one after the other.

But I don't think he's done a better job with any of the cult leaders than he's done with Charles Manson.

The actor's portrayal of the infamous "Helter Skelter" cult leader was pitch-perfect. He affected Manson's mannerisms without verging on caricature or parody.

The scenes where Kai and Manson conversed were particularly amazing. I almost forgot that it was Peters playing both roles!

This hour dealt heavily with the particulars of Kai's motivation and what got him started on his mission. I guess the penultimate episode of the season is as good a time as any to learn these things.

We're sitting on the biggest bomb the universe has ever seen. Do you know what it is, Mr. Anderson? Female rage. The patriarchy has dammed it up for millennia. And Donald J. Trump is the first world leader to start hammering away at that dam. With every tweet, every eye roll, every pussy grab, he is slowly releasing the fury.

Bebe

The flashback to the night of the final presidential debate, prior to Trump's election, was very illuminating.

Kai and Winter's unnamed friend succinctly demonstrated the two major positions of pro-Hillary and pro-Trump supporters. Importantly, neither of the two were particularly likeable during their confrontation.

But it was Kai who resorted to unnecessary violence – and, as a result, wound up coming into contact with Bebe Babbitt, Valerie Solanas' protege and girlfriend.

Francis Conroy as BB — American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 7

I figured we would see Bebe again, based on how American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 7 ended. But, to be honest, with everything else going on, I'd basically forgotten about her during her several episode-long absence.

This installment revealed that it wasn't Bebe who was answering to Kai. Initially, at least, it was Kai answering to Bebe.

Frances Conroy was absolutely incredible during her scene as an anger managment counselor assigned to Kai. Conroy truly has the ability to take any dialogue and make it sound powerful – hell, it was practically Shakespearean!

The "twist" revealed here was that Kai's purpose (in the beginning) was actually to be a martyr to unleash female rage upon the world.

Bebe's "thesis statement" is that women's rage has been suppressed for eons, but men like Donald Trump are beginning to wear down that wall keeping the rage at bay. Bebe, like Valerie, wants an all-out war and extermination of men, as righteously angry women rise to power.

I'm an old-school, OG feminist. And do you know who my favorite politician of all time is? Donald J. Trump.

Bebe

This, of course, is radical (and I mean, super radical) feminism in a nutshell. Too bad Bebe didn't take into account that Kai would become harder to control.

Kai's paranoia began to crop up on American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 9. But it was in full bloom during this installment.

He became convinced that the government was spying on him and that there was a secret mole out to get him.

Even worse, Kai became delusional, hallucinating first Vincent and then the not-quite-dead-yet spirit of Charles Manson giving him the misogynistic pep talk he so badly needed.

Kai's drastic unhinging had a few serious consequences.

First, he definitively split from Bebe once he revealed that he'd no longer be her pawn.

To her disappointment, Kai pulled the very predictable maneuver of deciding to piss off everybody (not just women), and use his newfound position of power for his own means.

Essentially, the megalomania really got to him, and he bought into the line of crock he's been selling.

Secondly, and most importantly, Kai brutally murdered his sister, Winter, with his own bare hands.

This was a direct result of Hallucination Manson's advice not to trust "the bitches."

Kai became convinced that there was a mole in this house. This initially seemed like just a symptom of his paranoia. When Ally started turning up "evidence" of there being a spy, I automatically assumed that she was just out to frame Winter.

I still do think that's the case. And if it was Ally's doing, her plan worked flawlessly.

The confrontation scene between Winter and Kai as she was shaving him was deliciously tense. Billie Lourd has done an impressive job as Winter all season long, but this was a particularly strong moment.

Though, to be frank, I don't fully understand why she didn't just cut his throat right then and there. I get that she still had some affection for her brother, but he's literally a serial killer at this point.

Regardless, Kai turned the tables on Winter in a chilling moment, by handing her the very same train tickets she'd tried to give Beverly to help her escape earlier. You could really feel Winter's tangible dread when that happened.

In the end, Winter didn't seem to truly believe that her brother would hurt her.

But his brutal murder of her – strangulation with his bare hands, a far more intimate method than all of the murders using guns and knives this season – proved that Winter no longer knew Kai at all.

Ironically, there was a spy, but it wasn't one of "the bitches" at all – it was one of Kai's bland male followers, Speedwagon, who was cornered by Ally in his truck as he was taking off his wire.

The most interesting development had to do with Ally herself. Namely, her casual murder of Bebe.

Ally Mayfair-Richards - American Horror Story

I've actually found Ally's gradual transformation from sobbing mess to certified badass to be well-explained and extremely satisfying. But the idea that she has fully turned to the dark side, and isn't just playing a long con with Kai, is most intriguing.

I couldn't help but laugh when Ally shot Bebe as she was threatening Kai, then asked who she was and criticized Bebe's abilities as an anger management counselor.

Stray thoughts:

  • The dead Vincent makeup was very impressive.
  • Kai's murder of Winter reminded me a bit of Othello's murder of Desdemona. Obviously, that was a different set of circumstances, but the theme of betrayal was common among both this installment and the Shakespeare play.
  • What's up with Beverly? Has she really been so broken down that she intends to stick with Kai? Or does she have something up her sleeve?
  • On that note: will Beverly or Ally be the last woman standing? Somehow, I don't imagine that both will survive.
  • In addition to Bebe and Winter, Gary also died. RIP, Gary! It was actually kind of a sad moment.
  • Those clown masks really are awesome and terrifying.
  • The recreation of the Manson murders was terrifying, but I loved the return of other actors this season as characters in that recreation. Sarah Paulson as a particularly enthusiastic Manson acolyte was flat-out terrifying.

What did you think of "Charles (Manson) in Charge"?

Share your thoughts by commenting below, and don't forget that you can watch American Horror Story online here at TV Fanatic!

Charles (Manson) in Charge Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 10 Quotes

Stroking my brother’s paranoia is going to come back to bite you in the ass.

Winter

I'm an old-school, OG feminist. And do you know who my favorite politician of all time is? Donald J. Trump.

Bebe