Cult "The Kiss" Review: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Trip

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Mar 23, 2013

Cult S01E05: “The Kiss”

This week on Fake Cult, Creepy Billy roofie-married future arch-nemesis Kelly, and Bizzaro The CW thought the skeevy scene would make a great theme for a party. That actually sounds like something The CW might do.

Skye was perfectly content not to make an appearance at the shindig because a party dedicated to celebrating a fanbase with documented homicidal tendencies just sounded like a bad idea. But then Dumb Jeff got wind that a dude who happened to be in a photograph tacked to Nate's wall was going to be at the asking-for-a-lawsuit soiree, and with the guest list restricted to only the most dedicated of fans, Skye was his only way in since her crew status landed her an instant invite in addition to a handy-dandy plus one. 

So, the seeds of Jeff/Skye were sown and it was definitely more icky than adorbs. Orchestrating your star couple's first kiss while one half is under the influence of drugs she didn't choose to take probably isn't the best foot you could have put forward, Cult. Between Skye's accidental acid trip and Kelly's naked wedding action, I just really needed a shower after this one. Jeff was clearly uncomfortable. Skye barely remembered the kiss and slapped together a disclaimer about how it wasn't really her. We're headed for an awkward phase, and that's disappointing, because up until the date-rape festivities, "The Kiss" was one of Cult's better episodes with regard to highlighting Jeff and Skye's growing closeness as friends who genuinely like each other (as opposed to two people pushed together by crazy circumstances). Skye camping out at Jeff's apartment after he turned up missing really hit the message home, but overall, the Jeff-and-Skye action in this episode was like a sandwich with really good bread and gross, slimy, gas-station-quality insides that require picking off and tossing out the window.

And now let's discuss the good stuff about the episode, because aside from the problematic Skye/Kelly/Marti treatment, as far as the True Believer storyline goes, "The Kiss" was one of the more well-written stories of the season so far. When a deranged fan—and you know it's bad when even the confirmed-to-be-crazy contingent thinks you've crossed a line—attempted to rape Marti in retaliation for her character's treatment of Billy on Fake Cult, Detective Sakelik and her merry band of lunatic lackeys intervened and essentially saved the day. She dragged Jeff into the pedo-van for a suspenseful commercial break opportunity, only to release him into the wilds of L.A. unharmed. She claimed that the True Believers exist to "protect the show," and apparently that notion extends to the actors and actresses involved in it as well. That doesn't tell us much about Roger and Kirstie's relationship, which continues to emit the usual sinister undertones, but it DOES explain a bit. Earlier this season, we saw Roger questioning Steven Rae's very specific scripts, pushing for changes, and generally just hating every aspect of being involved with Cult. A series like Fake Cult would be hard pressed to move forward without its lead actor, so simply killing or maiming Roger for challenging Rae is out of the question. I get the feeling that Kirstie is working toward amassing some quality blackmail material and definitely planning some fun mindgames, but in the meantime, her presence simply makes Roger happy... which has the added benefit of making him less of a pain to work with. 

Sakelik didn't just let Jeff take off without a stern talking-to, though. She scribbled a website address on his palm and told him to go away, and when he got home and punched it into his computer, up came a video of Nate essentially saying the same thing, just with less intimidation and more desperation. It was the usual "blah blah blah stop looking for me" blather we've come to expect from Nate, but this time, Nate revealed that he can't protect Jeff if Jeff keeps looking for him and antagonizing the True Believers. 

Well, okay then. 

What did you think of this week's episode? 


POSTCARDS FROM CRAZY TOWN

– Were the True Believers REALLY having a strangely altruistic night when they saved Marti from the creepy film student, or is there a bigger conspiracy going down? Like, would Detective Sakelik have actually stopped Crazypants if Jeff hadn't basically revealed that he's on to her?

– Any theories about Stuart?

– What do you think Nate is protecting Jeff from? True Believers are the obvious choice, but WHY? 

– I love that we got that glimpse of Roger actually appearing to care about Marti, even if his outrage over her lack of security was cloaked as concern for himself. Is anyone else getting a jackass-with-a-heart-of-gold vibe from him? Okay, "heart of gold" might be a bit generous. But I think he's shaping up to be more interesting than the one-dimensional, grumpy, disillusioned actor-who-is-too-good-for-this-stupid-little-show type. 

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  • KateSullivan Mar 25, 2013

    This was odd...yes, super creepy and kind of gross..but...um...made me kind of like Cult for the very first time. One random thing in the show that they need to work in more is that Jeff has a regular job (while yes, on the set of Cult but we see Skye at work all the time) and giving him another world to inhabit might make him seem less dumb in the whacked out world (so also we are saying, Ric...no he's not Ric anymore so he doesn't have a gun on him).

    So...I am guessing "Stuart" is actually this Steven Rae person, and I am kind of wondering if he is playing a bit of a real world version of his own show and has been looking for someone to play the Kelly role and seems to have settled on it actually being two people in Jeff and Skye. So, like Nate has realized this (maybe he has seen the full arc of the Cult show) and realizes that Kelly dies at the end when she finally finds her sister. So, he doesn't want the same thing to happen to Jeff.

    I like that the two characters we are getting to like the best in the show are Marti and Roger (I like Skye too and I will trust her judgment for now about Jeff). I think their arcs will depend on how off the rails this show wants to go.

  • Anonymous_A Mar 25, 2013

    This episode was CREEEEEPY!!!

  • emmiegirl Mar 24, 2013

    I agree with @MollyHolzschl that creepy stalker Mike was planning to kill Marti. Mike allegedly teaches (taught?) screenwriting at USC and is obviously a bit of a snob; he was obnoxiously surprised Marti picked up his reference to Saraswati on the taxidermy scene set. He had tried, convicted and sentenced Marti for imagined crimes before he arrived and was using his access to her at the party to carry out his execution.

    I have a theory of Peter, that he is the inside man of the True Believers on the show's set. In the past whenever Skye brought up the topic of obsessive fans or other nefarious extracurricular business of the show going on he has made a point to be casual and brush aside her inquiries, then as her boss to focus her attention elsewhere. I think Peter genuinely likes Skye, and doesn't want her getting involved in something he knows for a fact is dangerous.

    I'm not certain Stuart's Steven Rae, yet, but the camera work was a bit too obvious about highlighting this guy not to feel he will have a more prominent role in coming episodes. He does seem to be a shot caller within the True Believers, even Sakelik appears to answer to him, but it seems an unlikely time to give up the big reveal on the whole "Who's Steven Rae" mystery.

  • MollyHolzschl Mar 24, 2013

    Mike was not attempting to rape, but rather kill Marti. He was choking her to the point of near-death when he was stopped. What's more, he isn't a student. He is a teacher - Marti asks him how he got into teaching right before he attacked.

    Why are so many TV.COM reviews sloppy like this? Where's the due diligence? Or are there too many demands on reviewers so they can't take the time to do basic fact-checking? Doesn't TV.COM have enough money for a research department to ensure these things? What about spellcheck and grammar? I find so many typos.

    SLOPPY SLOPPY SLOPPY CHILDREN! Go clean your rooms!

    It's frustrating enough when there's no consistency in a serial. Reading reviews that make me wonder if I actually watched the same episode of the same show as the reviewer is really not very satisfying. I get more out of reading the comments, or leaving an occasional snark such as this one.

  • atjp Mar 23, 2013

    Stuart is probably the "real" Billy as well as Steven Rae.

  • BereniceAndrea Mar 23, 2013

    I think this Stuart guy might be Steven Rae. I have a feeling nobody knows the guy. Either that theory, or he actually doesn't phisically exists...

  • AbhishekAind Mar 23, 2013

    Excellent episode. Yeah the scenario of Skyff pairing with one side under trip is shady but the last scene of genuine worry was worth it. :) [And it is obvious that under influence heart's darkest desire manifest :P]

    I believe there are three groups... Cult 1 who are fan of TV show and think it is reality.
    Cult 2, who are pre TV group made and managed by Steven Rae.
    Cult 3 who opposes pre TV group and try to sabotage [in a sense the Billy/Kelly dynamics is a war between Cult 2 and 3 shown on TV like an open challenge]
    I know this assumption is as crazy as the show but it is what I suspect.

    Nate's behavior suggest an leak of identity of SR or may Jeff's earlier shenanigans at DC is somehow connected. May be Skye's father is in this mess too. I don't have single hypothesis yet... it is too early.

    Who knows may be there would some Supernatural angle to all of it. :D

    Crazy theories aside I def. like the pace and crazies episodes are belching on one night alone. Keep it coming :D

  • Gully_Foyle Mar 23, 2013

    Stuart kind of looks like a slightly younger version Roger, and in a conspiracy show that kind of casting isn't going to be accidental.

    The Roger\Kristie plot is probably the best exectued part of the show mostly because I can't think anyone else who'd better be a Roger or Billy than Robert Knepper. Partly because all Krisite has to do is look hot or look hot while giving off a certain low menace both of which Marie Avgeropoulos does very well.

  • Gislef Mar 23, 2013

    Did kind of wonder why nobody but Skye was tripping during the kissing scene.

  • radiumgirl Mar 24, 2013

    Oooh. Good point. I didn't consider that before, but it's definitely something to think about, especially since her co-workers seem to be getting a little suspicious.