Spoilers below for Episode 4 of American Horror Story: Cult, so be sure and watch before reading on.
More so than the previous three episodes of American Horror Story: Cult, "11/9" got right down to business in laying out helpings of character development for many of the show's early antagonists. (They kind of all feel like antagonists at this point, really.) But while it was indeed perversely empowering to witness Kai mentoring Harrison to the point where the latter murders his gym boss, it was far better to watch the single-episode arc for Serina Belinda, the raging super-bitch reporter played by Ryan Murphy regular Emma Roberts. Why better? Because it ended in her brutal death.
Emma Roberts is kind of notorious within the world of American Horror Story, as well as Ryan Murphy's more short-lived horror-tinged anthology Scream Queens, for playing some of the most egotistical, sarcastic and all-around awful characters on TV. So it's great whenever we get a chance to watch these heinous people meet completely earned horrifying ends, which has now happened for three of her four characters. And perhaps it was because Serina Belinda was only meant to be a one-and-done character, but it already felt like the most grating performance yet.
This American Horror Story: Cult episode ushered in Adina Porter's put-upon Beverly Hope, a reporter who was used to covering the big and important news stories before people started tricking her into interviews so that they could yell "Grab her by the pussy!" on TV. And after her nerves got the better of her, sending Beverly into a prankster-smacking rage, she went away for a while, and who swooped in to take advantage of the situation but Serina Belinda, showcasing all of the humility and compassion of a damp cloth. She had zero professional shame in telling Beverly she was just fine with rising up the ladder of success, one dick-gobbling at a time. (Shout out to Dermot Mulroney!) That's perfectly fine in and of itself, I guess, but not when coupled with intentionally fucking someone else over.
Beverly's untethered rage didn't make her get physical in this case, though, and her decision was to slash Serina's car tires. But Serina's fate was sealed (possibly with a penis-breathy kiss) when Beverly let Kai seep into her brain with his thoughts about personal power and responsibility, as well as his claims about his past. I'm keeping like 10% of my brain tied to the belief that Kai and the Clowns have nothing to do with each other, because that's just the kind of WTF twist that this show would drop on us.
All seemed well on the "Kai is the Clown leader" front during Serina's big death scene, though, since the masked killers showed up immediately after Kai and Beverly's big heart-to-heart and stabbed the bejesus out of Serina and her cameraman. And they didn't hear her say "Fuck my life," after realizing she had to hold a small dog, but we bet they would have been even crueler, because that dog clearly had the worse end of that deal. In any case, I'm cool with Serina not surviving long enough to earn any kind of slightly redemptive story down the road.
After all, let's not forget that Emma Roberts' American Horror Story: Coven character Madison Montgomery lasted through the entire season before getting offed. And in Freak Show, her initially scheming Maggie Esmerelda survived the majority of the episodes before coming to a delightfully bloody end via "magic" trick. So at least we can go forward with the season without having to worry about that happening. But there remains the urge to watch everyone else get slaughtered in some way. Well, except for Ivy and Winter, who should be the ones doing the slaughtering.
American Horror Story: Cult airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. If you're still looking for shows to watch on the rest of the nights of the week, our fall TV guide can help you out. American Horror Story is doing well for itself in ratings, and we can only hope that the scares just keep getting more outrageous.