[Warning: This post contains spoilers from Episode 5 of American Horror Story: Cult, "Holes."]
After offering up conflicting backstories to his followers, we finally know the truth about who Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) really is. As it turns out, he's probably not the child prodigy who served in Iraq and studied feminism in college as he previously boasted. Tuesday night's American Horror Story: Cult revealed that while he's a master manipulator who doesn't bat an eye at cold-blooded murder, he's also a vulnerable guy with two glaring weaknesses: Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) and his parents.
Beverly, who only joined Kai's cult after he proved himself to be a man of his word, learned the real backstory simply by asking the right questions. In the chilling scene, in which she got him to open up by bringing up his parents, Kai reveals his traumatic past. "They died three years ago," he begins.
We soon find out that his father, paralyzed from the waist down after a terrible motorcycle accident, became emotionally abusive to both him and his mother, disparaging Kai's choice to study religion in college and nitpicking at his mother's cooking. In the flashback, Kai appears to have found solace in a Reddit-like website called the Red Pill, likely where he also picked up those radical views.
But then things took a horrific turn and he soon found himself an orphan. One night, after growing tired of her husband's unrelenting complaints and insults, his mother shoots his father in the stomach and then turns the gun on herself.
Kai, who witnessed the murder-suicide, called his brother — who, in a shocking twist, turns out to be Ally's therapist, Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) — instead of the police. That's when Vincent convinces him to cover the brutal act up (and not call the authorities) as a way of dodging the death tax on their dad's million dollar settlement and to avoid the scrutiny that would follow his newly-opened practice.
He would later convince his sister Winter (Billie Lourd) to not report it to the authorities. "This is the end. But it's also the beginning of something, the Omega and the Alpha. We're free now," he tells her.
Despite getting through the traumatic experience and presenting himself as an invulnerable leader, it's clear that Kai still hasn't gotten over the loss of his mom and admits to visiting her body — which rests in the room behind that white door adorned with a flower — to occasionally speak to her. Even more revealing, he breaks down in front of Beverly while telling her this.
Though we still have more to learn about Kai, this major revelation certainly explains his tolerance for brutality as well as his thirst for chaos. However, it doesn't make him any less terrifying.
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.