TV Review: Cult Season 1 Episode 6
So remember when I praised the inclusion of proper plot lines for Marti and Robert? And the introduction of juicy, new conspirators?
Yeah, that’s not here.
But at least we get a drug-addled fantasy.
That’s cool, right?
TL;DR It turns out to be passable. Skye affirms her convictions, Jeff fights for her wellbeing, and EJ is back.
But sadly, no Evil Waitress. I do enjoy that bitch.
The plot picks up the morning after the party from last episode. Skye, following in her CW peer Elena‘s footsteps, is a special fucking snowflake who has a unique reaction to the drug she took. She passes out and enters a fantasy realm where she is inside Billy’s cult. She is constantly pressured into accepting the inevitable and giving up on her search for clues on her father. Apparitions of Kelly and her father try to bully her into it. She eventually defeats them (having realised they are merely manifestations of her own self doubt) and returns to the waking world. Meanwhile, Jeff worries over Skye in the hospital. He faces awkwardness from Skye’s mum (Erica Gimpel, aka Wallace’s mum from Veronica Mars). He gets help from EJ and her boss in tracking down a sample of the drug from FemCop’s house, which the hospital needs in order to treat Skye. In retaliation for this, FemCop shoots EJ’s boss.
Although I am pretty pissed off that Cult has taken a step back from the stuff it brought in last episode, having a more personal plot line, particularly for the otherwise dull Skye, was important. World building requires personal context, too.
But that doesn’t stop it from being almost intolerably boring. Skye spends the whole time just whingeing around until making the not-so-groundbreaking decision to keep searching for the truth. It was inevitable. There was very little tension.
But hey, any depth that Skye can get is worth holding onto.
Why I hate this episode:
Jeff doesn’t have to put a whole lot of effort into obtaining the drug sample. He pretty much just calls EJ up and gets her to look into it. Her boss then stops her from doing it, then offers to help Jeff himself. Cue them immediately finding and breaking into FemCop’s house, where Jeff encounters zero resistance in getting the sample. The only repercussion is Boss Man getting shot, but who gives a fuck about him?
FemCop seems to think that shooting Jeff’s friend’s boss is a big enough deal for him to take the True Believers seriously. Nuh.
Last episode I said that I was impressed with the discipline and awareness the True Believers’ showed in not hurting Jeff. This episode it comes off more as a little deus ex machina to keep our main characters from any legitimate harm. Jeff has an almost pleasant conversation with FemCop, ffs. Why are we supposed to be scared of them, again?
FemCop is hilariously banal in her home life. She’s seen hosing her garden in her regular-ass suburban home. Absolutely terrifying.
There is no Marti or Robert at all in this episode. Or Evil Waitress. Or that new, handsome guy named Stuart.
Erica Gimpel is underused as the “I’m only here to mildly disapprove of my daughter’s love interest” stereotypical mother character. Veronica Mars alumni deserve better. Go get in the movie, girl. If you’re on Cult, you’re clearly not busy doing anything else.
Oh, and part of Skye’s thing with her father is feeling guilty because the last time she saw him she was mad that he wouldn’t let her go to a party. Clichéd.
Reasons to watch:
Despite it being super easy, Jeff does know how to get shit done. You’ve gotta admire his efficiency. That main character privilege can come in handy.
He does show some heroism when he and Boss Man arrive at FemCop’s house. She’s there, and Boss Man says it’d be too risky to sneak inside, but Jeff don’t give a fuck. He slips in there and finds that shit.
His persistence with Skye’s mother is also super sweet. He goes from dismissing their kiss last episode to fighting for his woman’s life. He’s a keeper.
And he even goes to FemCop for help. She turns up at the hospital and he straight-up asks her for a sample of the drug (which she confiscated at the party). Dat swallowing of pride.
FemCop informs Jeff that Nate is the reason she won’t hurt him or Skye. So Nate has/can do something for the True Believers that is evidently valuable. Intrigue.
Dream Kelly makes a good point to Skye about how she’s putting her life on hold to investigate her father’s disappearance. True.
The fact that Skye faces so much opposition from her own subconscious displays an impressive level of self-awareness. I love me some self-awareness.
Skye’s mum eventually comes around to both Jeff and Skye’s pursuit of the truth. She makes it clear that she doesn’t approve, but she does understand. Aww.
Oh, and best line goes to Skye, who has fooled Dream Billy into thinking she’s given up:
Dream Billy (while they’re hugging): “I am so thankful.”
Skye: “Don’t be.”
She then totally shanks his ass. She shanks him good.