‘American Horror Story: Cult’ – Who is the real cult leader?

There's a few candidates...

We’re halfway through American Horror Story: Cult now and we still don’t really know which of the characters is the brains behind the clown cult. While a few have ruled themselves out (some by dying), there are still plenty of people who could be the ultimate psycho killer. Let’s round up the suspects.


Kai Ally Cult

Evan Peters as Kai Anderson

Kai Anderson

Who?: Blue-haired Mensa member motivated by Trump’s fear-mongering.
The evidence: On the surface, Kai looks like the likeliest candidate. He’s been involved in every move so far, be that whipping up fear via tricking a group of immigrants to beat him up while Meadow and Harrison film it, or using his silver-tongued ways to earn everyone’s trust and manipulate them into doing some truly twisted things. He is the one giving the orders and leading the charge on each barbaric murder, but is he the puppet-master or just a slightly more senior puppet?

Winter Anderson

Billie Lourd as Winter Anderson

Winter Anderson

Who?: Hillary campaigner with a dark side.
The evidence: Bad things seem to happen when Winter’s around. After bagging herself a job as Ally and Ivy’s nanny, their neighbours the Changs are murdered. Instead of keeping the couple’s child, Oz, safe inside the house, she takes him over there to see what’s going on, even lifting him up to the window to witness the murders. She also shows him how to access the dark web and videos of brutal killings and, later, abandons him and Ally during the blackout, which no doubt increases Ally’s anxiety even more. As a Hillary campaigner, she might feel it easier to recruit members and manipulate the world with a man as the face of the cult, leaving her to control its operations in secret.

Dr. Vincent

Cheyenne Jackson as Dr. Rudy Vincent

Dr. Rudy Vincent

Who?: Your friendly neighbourhood therapist – and Kai and Winter’s big brother.
The evidence: In episode three, Dr. Vincent was seen playing about with some buttons adorned by various smiley faces, which many took to be a nod to the cult’s calling card – a bright red smiley. The good doctor being at the top of the pack would certainly make sense – how else do the clowns know about their victims’ deepest fears, like the lady and her husband who are sealed in white coffins to die just as she feels she’s conquered her fear of that very thing? If Vincent isn’t the leader, then he’s definitely feeding information to the cult.

Then there’s what Kai tells Beverly of his past in episode five. In the flashback scenes, Dr. Vincent is shown when Kai talks about his big brother. This is important – Kai never uses Rudy’s name, so it seems unlikely this visual information is wrong. As the therapist convinces his sibling to preserve their dead parents’ rotting bodies in their bedroom, he holds out his hand to him, gesturing for him to link pinkies – just like Kai does when he recruits a new cult member and wants to find out all their darkest secrets. Coincidence? We think not.

Chemical trucks

Sarah Paulson as Ally Mayfair-Richards

Ally Mayfair-Richards

Who?: Sarah Paulson’s long-suffering, phobia-ridden liberal, who appears to be one of the cult’s targets. But could she be or once have been its leader?
The evidence: Fans have been theorising since the start of Cult about all the ways Ally could be its queen bee. Was she once the leader, a fact she’s since forgotten after being overwhelmed by increasing anxieties and phobias? Is Kai trying to gain her trust so he can manipulate her into joining the cult and making him his leading lady? Right now, it seems unlikely – in episode six, Ally truly stepped up to try and stop the cult – but stranger things have happened in American Horror Story.

There’s also a theory that there could be a clue in the way Ally’s name is spelt – the same way as the word ally. Is she about to become the cult’s greatest ally of all and lead it to total world domination?

Ivy Mayfair-Richards

Who?: Ally’s not-so-loving wife.
The evidence: This one was more convincing in the earlier episodes of the season, before it was revealed Ivy was part of the cult. Ally’s clown sightings and the weird things that happened to her suspiciously happened when Ivy wasn’t around, likely so her wife couldn’t back her stories up. This led to the theory that she was behind the plan to drive Ally slowly crazy – or least make her appear crazy. Her reactions to her first murders as part of the cult definitely don’t suggest she’s more than a pawn in the game, though – after all, would you want to be in a cult headed by someone who gets queasy at the sight of a hook ripping through flesh?