Cult "In the Blood" Review: No Use Crying Over Spilled Kool-Aid

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 27, 2013

Cult S01E02: “In the Blood”

Okay, fine, so it’s a trainwreck. Cult has managed to put me in an awkward position where I know objectively that it’s a not-great show but I don’t hate watching it and I’m even willing to admit that I LIKE watching it. It makes me laugh. Clearly, it’s not Cult’s intention to be seen as an accidental comedy, but whatever gets people to keep tuning in, right C-Dubs? Right?

Or in Cult’s case, just tune in at all. I mean, ouch. You saw those numbers last week, right?

And yet there’s still a part of me that’s recovering from my Kool-Aid hangover, that wants to believe the show could swing around to crazy-in-a-good-way instead of crazy-in-a-WTF-way. It’s just that for every genuinely interesting thing Cult does, it seems to make a lot of questionable narrative decisions to counter the choices that aren’t completely awful. Specifically, at this point, I’m not entirely clear why we need to spend so much time watching excerpts from the fake TV show. It was novel during the premiere because it was initially confusing—what was real? What wasn’t? Then there were the clear parallels between Jeff’s search for his brother and Kelly’s on-screen search for her sister that tied the everything together.

This week, Kelly investigated a former cult member being buried alive upside-down in a mimicry of Billy Grimm’s initiation ritual (COOL.) aaaand... Jeff crashed a funeral and found weird symbols behind some dude’s wallpaper right before said dude threw out that creepy catchphrase and let the crazies kill him. Both victims were revealed to have “betrayed” the cult in some way, earning their gruesome deaths, but now, with the understanding that one storyline is real and the other isn’t, I find myself annoyed that we’re spending time with the fake one when the real one is moving so incredibly slow. In the case of "In the Blood," the clip of Cult-within-Cult wasn’t even really necessary to understand the harsh penalty for screwing over Steve and his gang. A smarmy Hollywood executive showed up and discussed changing the scripts from Rae’s explicit instructions, then ended up abducted, tortured, and (probably) dead. Merriam’s husband accidentally helped Jeff and Skye and ended up dead. The lead actor complained about the script and ended up conveniently running into that hot bartender who keeps showing up at almost every kidnapping and murder and CUE CLIFFHANGER. Pattern established, Cult, and while this week's show-within-a-show stuff was actually kind of more interesting than the real story, it was ultimately just a way to kill time this week and frankly, it needs to be more than a way to kill time and give Alona Tal some lines.

So where DID the real plot take us this week? Dumb Jeff’s Claudia Donovan rip-off of a friend (c’mon, an extraordinarily young, brilliant hacker geek girl with a thing for dying her hair?) reiterated what we established last week: that the man was a moron for sticking that disk in his computer and expecting it NOT to somehow ruin his life. He asked her to analyze it using her magical hacker skills and she came back and told him that it fried his hard drive and wiped itself clean except for a bunch of creepy symbols that mean something we’ll theoretically find out at a later date. One of those symbols appeared on Dead Merriam’s wallpaper, and by some miracle of obvious coincidence it was one that the Claudia imposter, E.J., enlarged so that we could, you know, see it. OH WOW IT WAS TOTALLY ENLARGED ON MERRIAM’S WALL TOO! That’s totally weird and clever and not at all sloppy and/or lazy!
Unfortunately, that development is at a standstill since Merriam’s widower handed over the actual wallpaper to Detective Evildoer (after smacking Nate around on some security footage from one of the filming sites) and then the True Believers burned the rest of the evidence.

Alrighty then, True Believers are a thing and there may or may not be secret messages hidden in episodes of Cult, which means there are TOTALLY secret messages hidden in episodes of fake Cult. Everyone over at fake CW seems to be in on the nefarious influence of their show except Skye and at least one member of the regular fake cast, Roger Reeves. Jeff has done absolutely nothing to rid himself of the title “Dumb Jeff.”

Is anyone else still on this crazy train? What did you think of this week’s episode?  

Postcards from Crazy Town

– There were no mourners at Merriam’s funeral and it was literally held the day after she blew her brains out. Seems planned-ahead to me. – The detective’s smooch was weird. Mind control? Poison? Over-friendly business exchange? – The Cult room at the fandom bar was locked because yet another Cult fan snuck a knife in. I eagerly await the episode that tackles Cult conventions. – So Skye took her job in order to get close to Rae and finish her father’s work. I can’t help but wonder whether Rae’s influence really does extend as far as it seems to, he would know exactly who she is and what she’s up to. – Skye and Jeff outran an explosion this week. Brb lmao.

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  • Mjuh Mar 16, 2013

    I kind of want to know what happens next. Then again I found myself checking my phone and starting to wonder when the episode is going to end. It's just too slow. And chuckling when there's not supposed to be anything funny happening is never a good sign. Not in a show like this.

    Still I need to watch more. If it doesn't get worse, it's still not the worst way of spending time.

  • Hija Mar 04, 2013

    I have a feeling that if this was aired at a different time (summer season maybe??) this would have more followers. The time they started was bad with college students doing Midterms and whatnot, they don't have time to start (another) TV show. That and I feel that Steven Rae wants the watchers to find the messages in the show (if there are any) like how the "True Believers" and regular watchers do for Fake Cult to get them more engaged. Once again, "Aint nobody got time for that!"

  • JonSavvy Mar 03, 2013

    After watching the pilot I figured I'll just completely ignore this show till the season finale if it makes it that far..considering CW has a knack for keeping some utter tosh shows around

  • Uma Mar 01, 2013

    The actress who plays Skye along with Matt Davis keep the show from being completely unwatchable. They should have just kept Alaric on the Vampire Diaries, I honestly TVD has been really iffy since they killed off his character.
    I really find myself liking Skye, she is exactly the type of actress CW needs to employ more, an ethnic person who isn't just a plot device or the person used to interject comic relief at random moments. I hope she makes her way to another show when this is cancelled.

  • bleumystique Mar 03, 2013


  • Montana_Katana Mar 01, 2013

    Fake-Cult >>> Cult

  • Anonymous_A Feb 28, 2013

    Rae might not know who Skye is because maybe Skye isn't her real name? Idk, I'm just shooting a theory out there.

  • badugi Feb 28, 2013

    For me, I was a little excited about the show because:

    -T-Bag from prison break is in it, and he looked like a scary cool character

    -Alarac from VD is in it and he's cool too

    -People that follow cults are crazy and a show about crazy people are cool.

    Now after watching these 2 episodes

    -T-bag, as it stands now, is just a fake character and isn't the crazy character as depicted in the commercials for this show (but this could change?)

    -Alarac's character is kind of dumb

    -a show about crazy people who follow a show is not cool

    -the acting on this show is questionable

    So my expectations were too high for this show and now that I've seen 2 episodes, I will have to say it has a small chance of survival.

  • mekare06 Mar 01, 2013

    lol alaric

  • Interestingtv Feb 28, 2013

    The music?...sound? before the opening sequence reminds me of Castle (I was excited!)

    I fell asleep after that so I can't really comment on anything else.

  • JensPeterTop Feb 28, 2013

    Boring episode! I'm out.

  • Anonymous_A Feb 27, 2013

    I love this show and can add Cult to the ever growing list of favorite CW shows which includes: TVD, SPN, Arrow and Nikita. Though with the ratings severely low, I have to ask

    the question of why there aren't more people watching Cult. I had such high hopes that it will do well ratings-wise at the start and now I'm pretty sure that it'll be cancelled. I'll keep on hoping that it'll be renewed even though I'm bracing myself for when the shoe drops. Seriously, more people should be watching this since it's ambitious and different from all the usual cop/doctor/lawyer shows. I've had such bad luck with shows in recent times with the cancellations of my beloved TSC, 666 PA and Alphas and I really don't want that fate to befall on Cult. So I'm begging for the network and people to GIVE A CHANCE to this awesome show. Also, putting it with HOD on Tuesday is a bad idea since it's up against NCIS so maybe putting it at a different time slot may help its ratings. Maybe putting it behind TVD and dumping BATB on Friday is a good idea. Also, I love both Matt Davis and Alona Tal and want to keep seeing them in this.

  • radiumgirl Staff Mar 01, 2013

    I was hoping they'd move B&B; to Friday and stick this with TVD as well. I'm torn on the Friday move because UGH FRIDAY, but then again, it could benefit from being paired with Nikita. :/

  • Anonymous_A Mar 03, 2013

    But if they did pair it with TVD, then it'd be up against Person Of Interest, Grey's Anatomy and Glee. Seriously, there has to be a perfect timeslot for this great show!

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