TV Review: Cult Season 1 Episode 3
Eh, it’s kinda gettin’ there.
TL;DR Still a dull chore, Cult seems to be making a sincere effort to build its world. But it continues to suffer from an unshakeable, vague blandness.
The plot actually sees the thankful introduction of some new characters this episode. Jeff meets a girl named Laura, who happens to be both his brother Nate’s former girlfriend, and the organiser of some college-based Cult fan game thing. She and Nate used to put together “games” based on some of the crazy shit Billy did in the show. This episode sees one of those games, supposedly initiated by the missing Nate, take a turn for the fatal. Turns out that one of the other players (Spencer Locke. Woo) did it to ingratiate herself to Cult’s “true believers.” Shit’s real. Meanwhile, Skye does nothing of value. Meanwhile, Evil Waitress puts the moves on Roger (Billy’s actor). And this week on Cult, Billy kills a girl from the cult. Kelly feels responsible because she originally recruited her.
You know, it’s an improvement on the first 2 episodes.
But, and I fucking despise myself for saying this, I think what’s missing is some context away from the main mystery. Yeah, you see me screaming every week that PLL is drowning in soap opera bullshit that’s detracting from the real plot, but you gotta remember that PLL is deep in its 3rd season. Cult is just beginning, and I’m finding it hard to care about this humdrum disappearance plot when I barely know anything about our protagonists.
Skye is particularly at fault here. Both because the only snippet we’ve really had about her was that her father’s disappearance could be connected to Cult, and because Jessica Lucas is basically ornamental. She sure is pretty, but she can’t do much.
At least we’re starting to get some scenes with Robert and Marti. Flesh this shit out, show.
Why I hate this episode:
Jeff hasn’t got much meat to him either. He’s just a handsome, decent acting human being with a missing brother. I just don’t care about him or Skye yet. It’s simply a fact.
Despite this episode including a murder and an almost-murder, there’s nothing properly at stake. The blonde girl who dies is a nobody, and we only met Laura this episode (and IMO, she’s still a bit sketchy), so I don’t care about her enough for her near-death to matter.
Also, she’s pretty inferior to Spencer Locke. So I totally didn’t give a shit about her at all.
Skye’s contribution to the plot this episode is appalling. There’s, like, 1 scene of her talking to Creepy Coworker, then she talks about her dad’s disappearance again, then does some random fiddling with an audio file (that’s EJ’s job, bitch). Maybe it’ll be her time to shine next episode.
Contrary to his depiction last episode, Roger seems a lot more normal this time out. Which makes his reactions to Evil Waitress’ fucked up sex games a tad bizarre. Bitch fucking pulls a knife on him when they’re making out, but his dick just pushes on. Dude, you’re a famous actor who is way too easily getting into the flaps of a much younger groupie. Clearly this girl is unhinged. The knife is a blatant warning: run!
She also brings up a traumatic childhood experience of his which he is fairly certain he’s never told anyone about. But the penis is mightier than self-preservation.
Spencer’s kind of a dumbass. She leaves Skye and Jeff in her apartment. Alone. She knows they’re snooping into the games and Nate’s disappearance, but our heroes easily stumble across the incriminating evidence sitting in her laptop. Absurd.
Oh, and who keeps that kind of shit around anyway? You’d think a Cult fanatic who is devoted enough to kill would have some concept of the need for discretion.
Reasons to watch:
On the other hand, I supposed the poor dear is just a groupie/wannabe. Luckily for her, her actions do earn the approval of the “true believers.” She is seen getting picked up by them at the end of the episode.
She does a decent job of weaseling out of her attempted murder of Laura, too. She stalls Jeff by offering him information (which may or may not gave been genuine) on Nate, then smacks the guy with a shovel, jumps through a glass door, and legs it into the night. That’s commitment.
The episode does a respectable job of rationalising a section of the fandom. Laura and co (minus crazy Spencer, obv) are just a bunch of college kids who enjoy the pranking side of things.
We get some interaction with Marti and Robert off-screen. Marti makes fun of the age gap between Robert and Evil Waitress. He hits back by calling her self-righteous and judgemental. I’m liking that the (supposed?) villains of this show aren’t stiff robots. Keep partying.
Roger seems taken aback when Evil Waitress says the knife is his. He’s like, “No, it’s Billy’s.” So maybe he isn’t so evil.
The in-universe Cult plot isn’t the most heart-pounding, but it’s still some more intrigue on Kelly. Recruiting and initiating members and shit. I’m still keen to know when she decided to leave the cult and how she found out about Billy being a murderous bastard.
Skye says the police theory on her dad’s disappearance was that he got paid off by the mob to disappear. She says how she had enough faith in him not to believe it, but Jeff says he isn’t sure he has the same faith in Nate. Fair point.
Best line goes to Spencer, who begins her rant against Laura (once she’s busted trying to kill her) with this: “You’re a poser!” Cult’s fanboys apparently have tiers.
Oh, and Skye finds a piece of audio from a Cult episode that, when played backwards, sounds like “kill for us.” Subliminal!