The series premiere of Cult
titled "You're Next" was quite the hour-long journey. I'll admit flat out that I will be watching future episodes with the light on. It's equal parts horror, mystery and psychological thriller.
Cult is a show within a show, and it tackles a television show's fandom. Even in the shows that you and I watch, there are fiercely loyal followers. But what if some of these followers take part in role playing the show, and it leads to disappearances of the "characters"? Pretty freaky things, apparently. That's Cult.
Let's take a look at this episode by breaking down the characters:
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Jeff is a reporter who was fired from the Post for fabricating sources for a story that ultimately led to police officers being jailed. Even though they were dirty cops, Jeff apparently exposed them with a fake source.
The Missing Brother
Nate's the one whose obsession with the show has taken a life of its own. He and the extremely hardcore followers of the show, appropriately named Cult, believe there are hidden messages within the show. Some even dress up as the characters and do ... what exactly? Not isn't totally clear.
In a photo, Nate is seen as Billy, the cult leader of the show within the show. And to top it all off, they're both on The CW! It's not as confusing as it seems on text. You won't be confused while watching whether the scene is the show or the show within the show. But for future recaps, there has to be an easier way to differentiate.
Anyway, Nate turns to his brother for help, clearly nervous, agitated and paranoid. But Jeff, of course, thinks it's all a load of crap -- until Nate goes missing.
The Production Assistant
Jeff turns to the people in charge of the show to see who might be able to shed some light on his brother's disappearance. While no one seems to think there's anything out of the ordinary with some of the show's hardcore fans, Skye, the production assistant, believes Jeff and offers to help.
Skye is not only there to offer insight into the show that could help Nate, but she'll be Jeff's love interest. That longing gaze while she got into a car -- yeah, that was pretty obvious.
Cast of Cult
Kelly and Billy are the characters of the show within a show. Billy is the creepy cult leader, and Kelly is the detective looking for her missing sister. It runs parallel to our show with Jeff and his own missing brother -- since our show's people are acting out the show within the show.
In our show, those two are Marti and Roger. As our show moves on, it'll be interesting to see these characters be Marti and Roger and Kelly and Billy.
You're Next ...
While looking for clues at his brother's apartment, Jeff finds a CD -- the very same one he had seen on screen as he watched an episode. Skye tells him the CD takes over the computer -- but she doesn't know what happens next since that part of the episode hasn't been revealed.
When the CD's popped in anyway, all these images from Cult flash on the screen. Remembering that his brother gave him a sweet pair of 3D glasses, and because he saw the scene where Kelly does the exact same thing, he puts them on. That leads to him typing a phrase his brother told him, and that we've heard quite a few times, from victims: These things just snap right off.
Then, the phone rings. It's Nate! Except he's sounded annoyed and angry because Jeff should've never put in the CD. He also warns Jeff to walk away and that he doesn't want to be found.
Suddenly, Jeff's driver's license pops on the screen. And then we're left with Billy taking up the screen saying over and over: "You're next." So creepy.
Twists in the End
As our show closes, two things happen: One, the detective on Nate's case has the symbol of the show within a show, which reminds me of QR codes more than anything, those bars in magazines and other places where you're supposed to scan your phone, but no one ever does. So the detective is involved in the cult somehow.
Two, the show within the show's network boss gets kidnapped -- by the same car that both Nate and Jeff saw when they first met up.
Whew, that's enough for one hour. While the show -- and the show within the show -- have me hooked, I'm interested to see whether that intrigue and mystery is sustainable. There's a lot going on here, with different layers and dimensions. While it's not terribly difficult to follow (save for the opening scene, which was made for you to believe the show within the show was the actual show), I hope it doesn't get old or become to hard to follow.
(Image courtesy of The CW)