As a CW show called Cult about a fictional CW show also called "Cult," which has its own cult fandom, Cult (the real one) can be more than a little confusing for viewers. So whether you're tuning in again or for the very first time on Tuesday at 9/8c, we've compiled a helpful little guide of everything you need to know about the hyper-meta mystery.
Ed Note: To help keep things straight, from here on out we'll refer to the real show Cult as the outside show and the show-within-a-show "Cult" as the inside show.
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The Who's Who of Cult
Matt Davis is...
Outside Show: Jeff Seton, a disgraced ex-Washington Post reporter who believes "Cult" is involved in his brother Nate's disappearance. Since police look at him as a suspect, Jeff begins investigating on his own, with help from Skye. "It's very different than Alaric [Davis's former Vampire Diaries character], although that root of a man looking for answers is very similar," Davis told TVGuide.com. He added that Jeff's journey is very much about "his own credibility, who can you really trust and being cynical."
Jessica Lucas is...
Outside Show: Skye Yarrow, a savvy production assistant on "Cult" who becomes fascinated by the underground fandom and begins working with Jeff. Her own father disappeared 10 years ago while investigating "Cult" creator Steven Rae. "There's always a level of danger to what we're doing, but she's a smart cookie," Lucas said of Skye.
Brains and beauty? Skye seems like quite the catch! Could there be some romance in her future with Jeff? "We're so wrapped up finding our missing relatives, it feels almost inappropriate ... I'm not going to say it doesn't happen but it's more much an investigative show."
Alona Tal is...
Inside Show: Kelly Collins, an LAPD cop who's convinced Billy Grimm kidnapped her sister Meadow and her nephew Andy. She used to be a devoted member of Billy's cult following, as well.
Outside Show: Marti Gerritsen, the actress who plays Kelly and has some secrets of her own. "Marti is still more of a mystery," Tal teased. "There are still more questions about her."
Robert Knepper is...
Inside Show: Billy Grimm, the cult leader on "Cult." While he claims to be "completely harmless," he can't always say the same for his followers. Billy appears to be very sadistic and seems to enjoy playing games with people. He's also a huge fan of vests.
Outside Show: Roger Reeves, the actor who plays Billy and gives off some seriously weird vibes when he runs into Jeff on set. But Roger might not be as influential as his onscreen persona. "You'll realize we're all puppets and some grand puppet-master is working this," Knepper said.
James Pizzinato is...
Outside Show: Nate, Jeff's brother and a former addict who becomes heavily involved in "Cult" fandom and its supposed secret messages. He goes missing after making contact with people connected to the "Cult" conspiracy and used to role play as Billy Grimm. When he disappears, he leaves behind an elaborate journal chronicling his "Cult" knowledge and a blood-soaked chair. The twist: It wasn't his blood.
Jeff and Skye might make an excellent sleuthing team, but finding Nate won't be easy. "The brother will be woven throughout the whole thing. We're constantly chasing him. He's popping in and out," Davis said. "He's a carrot on the stick that we keep bobbing up and down. How that translates in the end, I can't say.
Unknown Actor is...
Outside Show: Steven Rae, the mysterious creator of "Cult" who's never seen in public and doesn't accept any creative consulting. When the new CW executive and Skye's father began inquiring after him, they disappeared. "The overarching question of the entire show is: Who is Stephen Rae?" Lucas said. "Who is the creator of this show? How did he create something that draws people in and is so enigmatic and you don't know who he is?" Is it possible he's actually Billy Grimm — er, Roger Reeves? We'll have to wait and see...
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Other Important Clues
"Well hey, these things just snap right off!"
Inside and Outside Show: A phrase people in the inside show and people in the outside show associated in "Cult" fandom say before they die or kill themselves. The words themselves have (as of now) no known significance, but we're sure that's going to change because "with Billy, every word means something."
Inside Show: Kelly's partner mentions Billy's affinity for boxes, and he apparently wasn't kidding. It's only by locating the hidden box diagram in an abandoned house that she finds her nephew in a secret room trapped, of course, in a box.
Outside Show: We learn that those heavily involved in the fandom, such as the lead investigator on Nate's disappearance, even get the box diagram as a tattoo.
Inside Show: Billy gives them to Kelly to help locate her nephew and "to look beyond what lies in front of her." They are what reveal the hidden diagram in the abandoned house.
Outside Show: Before he disappears, Nate gives them to his brother. They help Jeff see the hidden messages on the "M" CD and gain deeper access to the "Cult" world.
The "M" CD
Inside Show: Kelly finds it attached to a box, inside which is her nephew Andy (who's thankfully alive). When she puts it in her computer, it allows Billy Grimm's people total access to her digital life.
Outside Show: Jeff finds what looks to be the same CD in his brother's journal. Knowing its purpose on the inside show, he puts it in his computer anyway, at which point he receives a frantic call from his brother Nate saying Jeff shouldn't have used to disc and not to find him.
The Red Car
Inside and Outside Show: It appears to be involved anytime someone disappears. Nate sees it before he vanishes, and it's the same car that was used to kidnap Kelly's sister and nephew on "Cult."
Cult airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
(Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams and Robyn Ross)