[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of American Horror Story: Cult.]
American Horror Story has featured many terrible deaths over the years, but there are certain ones that make you want to douse your brain in bleach and forget you ever witnessed such terror. Tuesday's episode of Cult included one of those deaths.
It's not that this death was the bloodiest or even the most graphic. What this death was, however, was literal torture.
When Beverly (Adina Porter) points out to Kai (Evan Peters) that R.J. (James Morosini) is a weak link in their cult, Kai decides to take her advice and cut the dead weight by, well, making sure R.J. is dead. Kai ties R.J. up and reveals to the cult that they shouldn't be too proud to admit they made a mistake with the cameraman. In order to rectify the situation, Kai instructs, they need to band together and get rid of R.J. before he can turn against them.
However, a simple bullet to the brain isn't enough to serve Kai's purpose, which goes beyond killing R.J.; he wants to use R.J.'s death to further indoctrinate the surviving members by performing the ultimate act of groupthink: groupmurder. That's why he decides that each cult member is going to take turns using a nail gun on R.J.'s head.
Although Ivy (Alison Pill) hesitates initially, she ultimately acquiesces and shoots the first nail. One by one, the other cult members — including Harrison (Billy Eichner), Meadow (Leslie Grossman), Winter (Billie Lourd), Gary (Chaz Bono) and Det. Samuels (Colton Haynes) — follow suit until everyone has had a go. Kai then puts poor, bloodied R.J. out of his misery with a mercy shot to the back of the neck rather than put him through another round of literal torture. But for viewers, the damage was already done. Our stomachs were in our throats. Our heads were aching with phantom nail wounds. The slow, methodical murder was just too much — and that's exactly what American Horror Story should be like.
As hard as it was to make it through that scene, boy was it worth it. It's been a while since American Horror Story delivered a death that was truly blood curdling. This scene was pure horror to watch and at the end of the day, isn't that kind of why we tune in?
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.