Cult

Season 1 Episode 1

You're Next

25
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Feb 19, 2013 on The CW

Episode Recap

In 2009, a video of an interview with cult leader Billy Grimm is released on the Internet., He tells the British interview that his followers come to him looking for love and a sense of family, and that all he does is listen to what they have to say.

FBI agent Kelly Collins and her partner Paz drive out to a storage shed in the woods, looking for Kelly's missing sister Meadow and her son, Andy. Paz wonders what the last victim meant with their dying words when they said that things snap right off it. Kelly figures that the whole thing is a trap set by Billy to get at her because she left him without his permission.

As they approach the shed, Kelly recognizes the old red car parked outside as one Billy's followers used at their compound. Inside they find a workshop filled tools and covered in blood, and semi-religious words and drawings. As the agents study the wall, they realize that a drawing of a man's face is actually a man, entombed within the wall. Kelly pulls him out and realizes that it's Douglas, Meadow's husband. As he lies dying, Douglas looks up at Kelly and says, "Well, hey, these things just snap right off."

The episode of Cult ends on that scene. The viewing audience gathered at a club, Fandomain, groan as they realize that they'll have to wait until the next episode for more answers. One viewer, Nate Sefton, finishes taking notes on the episode and tells a woman, Merriam, that the man in the wall is the clue he needed to go to the next level. She asks what it is but Nate simply tells her to go home to her husband as he walks out.

The next morning, new PA researcher Skye Yarrow is at the Cult studio and approaches the producer, Gary Fisher. She informs him that she's been checking Cult fan websites and has discovered that there are a number of unofficial sites out there. The fans claim that they have special insights into the show and its creator, Steven Rae, and some of them are scared. Gary dismisses Skye's concerns, saying that their just fans, and walks away.

Reporter Jeff Sefton meets with his tabloid editor, Bert, who isn't happy with how Jeff turned an article on parking meters into a political expose. As Bert leaves, Nate calls his older brother Jeff and asks him to meet him at a diner in a half hour because he has a problem. When Jeff gets there, Nate thanks his brother for everything that he's done for him. However, her admits that he'll never be like Jeff. Jeff asks him to get to the point and Nate looks around suspiciously, and then tells his brother that "they" are after him. When Jeff wonders what he means, Nate explains that it involves Cult and that it's much more than just a TV show.

As he tries to explain, Nate looks out the window and sees a red car parked across the street. He points it out to Jeff and then takes out a well-worn binder of his notes. As he starts to ramble on about Cult Episode 9, Jeff tells him not to start and reminds him that he's had problems in the past. Nate gives Jeff a pair of 3D glasses and tells him to find Merriam if anything happen. Jeff reluctantly takes them and leaves, while Nate glances suspiciously at a passing man on the sidewalk.

At the studio, Skye gets a call from a friend who wants her at a party that night. Skye says that she can't and her friend says that she's wasting her time obsessing about the freaks who hang out on Cult websites.

As Jeff stops to get gas, he looks up at the advertising monitor and is surprised to see Billy Grimm on TV. Seemingly talking to Jeff, Billy tells him that his followers are everywhere and that they're anything but harmless... and closer than Jeff might think. Jeff realizes that it's an ad when it ends with a network promo. Nate calls again but Jeff can barely make out what he's saying. Nate says "Well, hey, these things just snap right off" and then yells as someone apparently attacks him. The line goes dead and when Jeff calls Nate back, he gets put into voicemail. Jeff drives there and discovers that Nate is gone... and the desk chair is covered in fresh blood. As the reporter looks around, he sees an episode of Cult playing on the DVR.

After calling the police, Jeff meets with detectives Sakelik and Zavala. He talks knowledgeably about the crime scene and when they wonder about his background, Jeff claims that he's with the Post. Sakelik questions Jeff about how he got along with his brother and he insists that they got on fine. Zavala finds a hidden drug packet in Nate's bedroom and Sakelik suggests that the murder may have intended as a message from a drug dealer. Jeff insists that Nate is no longer on drugs and that the packet is left over from the old days. When Sakelik takes a call outside, Jeff sees Nate's cell phone on the desk and manages to pocket it when Zavala isn't looking. He detective is busy examining Nate's DVR and plays back a recorded episode of Cult.

Kelly goes to see Billy at his farm and demands to know what he's done with her sister and niece. Billy denies having anything to do with the disappearance but Kelly accuses him of sending one of his followers, Joey Keller. When the agent says that Joey would do anything he asked, Billy reminds her that she used to feel the same way, and even now she's still obsessed with him. Kelly tells him to order Joey to bring Meadow back but Billy says that he doesn't know where Joey is and he has no idea of keeping track of all the followers that have gathered under his name. He does wish Kelly luck and gives her a pair of 3D glasses, saying that she might need them.

Jeff realizes that the glasses on the show are the same ones that Nate gave him earlier. When the episode ends, Jeff notices that Steven Rae is the show's credited creator.

The next day the network representative Marc Segal visits the Cult set and assures Gary that The CW is happy with the fan response. However, the network wants to make a few changes and has put Marc in charges. Marc wants to meet with Steven Rae, but Gary warns him that he has a unique vision and plays the part of a recluse. Skye overhears them talking as Marc asks to talk to Steven personally and Gary says that he'll pass along his message.

Jeff arrives at the set with Terri McNabb, the show's producer, and Skye notices them talking. He says that he's a reporter with the press and they're doing a feature story on the show. However, when Jeff starts asking about the fans and rumors of strange behavior, Terri tries to redirect the interview to safer ground. Her assistant, Anna, comes over and tells Terri that they've checked his email address with the post and confirmed that he' no longer working there. Jeff asks to meet with Steven, saying that Nate has gone missing, but Terri isn't interested and walks away. As Jeff leaves, he bumps into "Billy Grimm," the man he saw on the advertising monitor, and realizes that he's actually Roger Reeves, the actor on the show. As Roger leaves, Jeff notices them wheeling in a red car... a car identical to the one that Nate pointed out the day before.

Skye comes over and talks to Jeff, saying they should talk privately on the storage shed set. He wonders if Nate's disappearance had something to do with Cult and Skye admits that she doesn't know. Jeff shows her Nate's phone and explains that someone wiped the text messages. Skye knows enough from her research to be able to pull the list up and discovers that there are several warnings from someone named Meadow. She tells Jeff that Meadow is a character on the show who was abducted by the Cult. Jeff asks for her help and Skye offers to take him to a place where they can find something out.

That night, Sky and Jeff go to Fandomain and she talks about how there are hardcore fans who study everything about the show and look for hidden messages. As they talk, a waitress named Kirstie watches them. They go to the Cult viewing room and finds fans busy on the Internet, and Skye explains that they believe that there's a real-life mystery hidden within the show. Jeff looks at a wall of clippings and spots a photo of Nate, dressed in farm clothing like Billy's followers wear on the show. He's standing next to a woman in a green dress and they figure it's Merriam, the woman who sent the text messages to Nate. As Skye checks the Internet, she tells Jeff that Merriam is wearing the same cult dress that the missing Meadow wears on Cult. The research then starts checking role-playing websites, explaining that some fans dress up as characters from the show and gather for rave-like events. As they talk, Jeff watches an episode playing on a screen.

Kelly finds Joey at a hotel and tries to get him to give her Meadow's location. She offers him her protection and he finally tells her to go back to the shed and look beyond what's in front of her. After insisting that he doesn't want Billy mad at him, Joey takes out a gun, says, "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," and shoots himself in the head.

Skye finds the roleplaying site for the night and tells Jeff that she's going with him. As they drive there, Skye tells Jeff that her father, Quentin Yarrow, was a LA reporter who disappeared when he refused to back off of a union corruption story. Given her background, Sky assures Jeff that she knows what it means to have a family member disappear. They arrive at the motel where the role-playing rave is taking place and recognize it as the same motel from the episode where Kelly interrogated Joey. As they pull up, people dressed like characters from the show run out of a cabin and drive off in their cars, screaming that the woman inside is crazy.

Inside, Merriam is wearing a green dress and sobbing hysterically. When Skye and Jeff come in, she tells them that no one can help her, and Jeff asks if Nate is all right. Merriam says that he isn't all right and warns them that "they" will be coming for her next. She then takes out a gun, says, "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," and shoots herself in the head.

Jeff and Skye call the police, and Sakelik asks why they were there. Zavala talks to Merriam's husband, who has been called to the scene, and the husband claims that Merriam never watched Cult. Jeff and Sky accuse him of lying, but Sakelik points out that she's checked on Jeff's background and discovered that he lied on a news article that sent six DC cops to jail. When Jeff insists that his story stood up under investigation and the cops were dirty, Sakelik says that they would never have gone to jail except for him. As she walks away, Jeff tries to explain to Skye about his fake story, but she tells him that it isn't necessary. She calls a taxi and as Skye gets in, they try to work out what Merriam meant by her last words. Jeff tells Sky that Jeff said the same thing and thanks her for her help, and Skye admits that it's been an interesting evening.

Back at Nate's house, Jeff looks for clues among the debris. He turns on the DVR and brings up episode 14. It starts at a scene where Joey and two of his men, driving a red car, abduct Meadow and Andy. Jeff fast-forward to the next new scene.

Kelly and Paz go back to the shed and Kelly notices a mannequin with the same glasses that Billy gave her. She puts them on and they reveal a distinctive three-square concentric pattern on the wall. When Kelly examines it more carefully, she realizes that there's a concealed door. Beyond is a chamber containing a metal chest, and a DVD taped to the outside. Kelly opens the chest and finds her nephew Andy inside, and hugs the boy in relief.


Jeff freezes the playback and studies the disk, which has an M on it. The reporter goes through Nate's desk and finds his brother's notebook of information on Cult. When Jeff thumbs through it, he finds a hand sketch that Nate made of them as children. Removing the drawing, Jeff discovers that there's a disk with an M on it taped beneath.

Later that night, Skye is on a street scene helping with the filming. Fans have gathered to watch the filming, including the waitress from the club, Kristie. Nearby, Marc is talking with the studio and telling them that he'll make sure that the crew knows that he' snow in charge. As Jeff arrives and asks Skye to meet with him, Marc gets a call from a girl and says that he'll meet her at the club.

Sakelik and Zavala are called to the scene of a new murder: a young man who was killed and tossed into a dumpster. He's wearing a t-shirt with the three-square design and suffered massive blood lost when he was killed. The CSI team confirms that the body was dumped there after the murder and Sakelik suspects that the dead man's blood will match what they found at Nate's house. The detectives have just received a report that Nate's blood wasn't the blood on the chair.

Jeff calls Sky and has her meet him at Nate's house. He shows her the disk and Skye explains that on the show, Kelly puts the disk in her computer and it uploads all of her personal information to Billy's followers. When Jeff wonders what happens next, Skye tells him that she doesn't know because that's where the current storyline ends, and they're waiting for more scripts from Steven Rae. Jeff wants to talk to Steven but Skye warns him that he's a recluse and no one ever sees him. After a moment's consideration, Jeff puts the disk in his laptop computer and activates it.

A montage of images runs on the laptop and Jeff puts on the glasses that Nate gave him. Using them, he can see a series of blank spaces for words. He types in "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," hesitates, and then hits Enter. The program uploads Jeff's personal information and his cell phone rings. It's Nate, who tells Jeff that the disk wasn't for him and that he shouldn't have activated it. He tells Jeff to walk away and then the phone goes dead at his end. On the laptop screen, an image of Billy appears, saying "You're next" over... and over... and over again.

Detective Sakelik goes to her car and grabs her notebook. As she does so, her sleeve pulls up, revealing a three-square tattoo. After making sure that no one saw it, Sakelik pulls her sleeve back down.

Marc goes to the club to meet his date, walking past the gas station where Jeff was earlier. When Kirstie approaches him, Marc stares at her appreciatively and a man grabs the studio exec, ties and gags him, and throws him into a red car. Kirstie gets into the car with the man and they drive off together.

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