Cult Episode (1×04) Review – “Get with the Program”
Last week’s episode of Cult piqued my interest but this week the only thing of interest was Cult Deprogrammer Ross (Sorry Matty D.). Jeff and Skye met a woman from a chatroom whose husband may have disappeared thanks to the True Believers. Since she is afraid of anyone she doesn’t know, the woman hires Ross to check out Jeff and Skye, and make sure they aren’t one of “Cult’s” weirdo fans. The four of them compared clues, and tried to figure out what happened to Nate and the woman’s husband, but whenever anything popped off it was Ross who was a man of action while Jeff and Skye ducked for cover. As they were attempting to learn more about how cults operate and the True Believers, Det. Sakelik tried to run interference.
The audience has known that Sakelik was a True Believer from the very first episode, so it was no surprise when she scooped up the only lead Jeff and Skye had found, in the form of a hacker who was obsessed with the show, and spirited him away to parts unknown. Besides watching her monitor the amateur detectives’ movements, we also learned that Sakelik knows where Nate is being held. Though it’s believed Nate is a prisoner, Jeff and Skye have determined that Nate is willfully going along with his abduction as part of some sort of initiation ritual to becoming a True Believer.
‘This isn’t just one of those little kids making videos for his friends. This is one of the bad guys.”
As shady as Sakelik has seemed to Jeff and Skye, Skye has appeared quite shady to her real co-workers at the network. Last week when that creeper was all in her business, and looking at her phone, I had suspected Skye’s sneaky behavior had caught his eye. Turns out I was right. Not only has her evasive behavior caught the eye of the creeper, but pretty much everyone one set. This week the make-up artist, Lexi, called Skye out for not-so-secretly sexting her new boyfriend Jeff, and sneaking out of work for quickies. Skye of course denied this was the case, but she couldn’t exactly come clean about investigating her employers, either. What I liked about this scene was how Lexi called to attention how obvious Skye’s cloak and dagger act has been, instead of the show acting like none of the other characters were supposed to notice. On a show where anyone could be a True Believer, it would have been a bad move on the writers’ part if they tried to make the secondary characters stupid, when True Believers are portrayed as being master manipulators.
While things in the ‘real’ world were basically uneventful, things in the ‘fake’ world were quite interesting. Billy Grimm ended up kidnapping and torturing his unauthorized biographer, because he didn’t like what the guy was saying about him. What was so creepy about this storyline was that Billy didn’t torture the guy in the most conventional way (i.e. chains, pliers, ropes, etc.), but nailed the guy’s hands to a table, and fed him dinner. The chosen locale would have made for a great romantic dinner date under normal circumstances, and though this encounter was definitely not that, it worked. That, or Billy threatening to murder the guy’s family. Same diff! Anywho, the Professor had a change of heart, and opted not to finish the biography. Though Billy and the Professor seemed very happy with the new arrangement, Kelly wasn’t in the least. She had been hoping the Professor would help her deprogram one of Billy’s followers, whose husband had kidnapped her sister, Meadow. Now that the husband has committed suicide, Kelly believes the wife is the only one who knows where her sister is being held. Better luck next time, Kelly!
Like I said, I really liked last week’s episode, but this one was kind of a letdown. Many elements of this show are interesting, and I love the premise, but I often find I’m more interested in the show within the show, than I am in the show itself. This isn’t a good thing. Part of the reason for this, I think, is that the main story seems somewhat predictable, while the “fake” story isn’t. I believe this is in large part due to Billy Grimm. You never know what that guy is going to do, while I do know that Jeff is going to chat with “Cult” fans on the Internet at Fan.Do.Main, and Skye will act shady at work. I think why I liked last week so much, was that the focus was mainly on Jeff’s investigation, and just used “Cult” to show parallels between the real and the imaginary worlds. Whenever Cult tries to give both worlds equal screen time, it manages to remind the audience that the ‘fake’ show is the more interesting of the two. Maybe one episode they’ll focus mainly on the ‘fake’ world, and less of the ‘real’ one. I’d much rather find out what’s the deal between Kelly and Billy, than find Nate. Sorry Nate, I’m just not that into you. While I adore Matt Davis as an actor, I feel his talents aren’t being adequately used to their fullest potential.
Next week Jeff and Skye go to a “Cult” fan party, and Skye gets roofied just like one of the characters in the series. Based on the promo, one can assume that the title, “The Kiss,” has to do with all of the kissing going on between its characters. Skye kissing Jeff, Kristi kissing Roger, and Billy kissing Kelly. Aside from the kissing, we’ll learn more about Kelly and Billy’s past, which much of the audience has predicted is a lot more complicated that Kelly has previously admitted to her partner. I’m guessing they were lovers. Who’s with me? Whether you are, or aren’t, feel free to sound off in the comments below! Was this show a letdown for you this week as well,or was it just me?
Cult Episode 105, “The Kiss, Airs on March 22nd at 9 EST on the CW