After the announced presidency of Donald Trump, the lives of multiple residents of Brookfield Heights, Michigan will never be the same.
The history of the American 2016 Presidential election unfolds in the media, and comes to a climax on Election Night. Watching horrified, Ally Mayfair-Richards is incredulous. Elsewhere, Kai Anderson is elated that "the revolution has begun". Ally's wife Ivy comforts her; their son Ozzie is concerned that his mothers will no longer be able to stay together with him as a family. Kai covers his face in powered Cheeto in tribute of Trump's victory. His sister, Winter Anderson is depressed, having campaigned for Clinton. Kai enters her room, and they bond over the idea that everyone is scared in the wake of the results.
A contemporary man and woman are getting intimate, and are set upon by Twisty. Despite the man shooting Twisty multiple times, Twisty slashes the man with shears and chases the woman into an abandoned bus, where he severs her tongue. This tale is inscribed in a comic book Ozzie is reading. Allie confronts him and is triggered by her coulrophobia.
Kai delivers a speech to the Brookfield Heights City Council, of which Ally and Ivy's neighbor Thom Chang is a member. Kai emphasizes that chaos should be encouraged so that fear can help the community organize. Kai is rebuked and overridden on his motion to suspend a police presence protecting a community center.
Ally lists her many triggered phobias to her therapist Rudy Vincent, from clowns to small holes. He reminds her that she overcame these and more (including agoraphobia) before. She credits Ivy and President Obama's term, and her therapist prescribes her medication and a social media purge.
Later, she interacts with a MAGA-hat-wearing Trump-supporter cashier at the grocery. She becomes increasingly paranoid and affected the longer she spends shopping. In the produce section, she envisions a pair of clowns having sex among the melons. She's pursued by more clowns in the aisles, holding a bottle of Rosé to defend herself, until she runs terrified into her car. She calls Ivy for comfort, but realizes that there is a remaining clown in the back seat. In a panic, she drives into a stanchion and passes out.
At home, Ivy relays that there is no evidence to support Ally's experiences in the store. The next day, Ally and Ivy discuss the state of their shared business (a restaurant) and their marriage. Ivy feels like Ally has been obsessed with the election to the exclusion of their lives. Ivy reminds Ally that for all her political protests that she voted for third-party candidate Jill Stein, not Clinton, thereby contributing to Trump's victory. They encounter Kai on the street, who unapologetically spills hot coffee on them. Later, Ally and Ivy interview and hire Winter as Oz's new nanny. Privately, Kai interviews his sister, who among her other secrets reveals her deepest fear is of him.
Kai taunts a gathered group of Hispanic men, who beat him; unbeknownst to them they are being recorded. While the wives spend a night at the restaurant, Winter bonds with Oz over his fascination with Twisty; she even shows him a dark web site of horrors to desensitize him to violence and mayhem. In a moment alone, Ozzie peers through the window and observes a group of clowns (the same Ally saw in the grocery), exiting an ice cream truck and gazing at the house. Meanwhile, the date at the restaurant falters quickly when Ally sees a clown in the restaurant (and has further hallucinations about the food Ivy prepared).
The wives arrive home to a cordoned crime scene. The neighboring Chang family was murdered by the clown gang while Ozzie watched (guided by Winter). Winter disputes Ozzie's recollection of events, and Detective Samuels tells the wives it was a murder-suicide. Later that night, Ally calls out for Ivy but encounters a clown instead.
Thom Chang was one of Ally and Ivy neighbors and a friend, as well as Marylin Chang's husband. He was a member of the Brookfield Heights City Council and attended a meeting where Kai Anderson presented a motion. Since Kai's speech had disturbed the members of the council, they voted against the motion. As a retaliation, a gang of assailants masked as clowns invaded into Thom's house and slaughtered him and Marylin.
Marylin Chang was one of Ally and Ivy's neighbors and a friend, as well as Thom Chang's wife. During the revelation of Trump's victory, she and her husband were together with Ally and Ivy and she was verbally attacked by her husband, who blamed her for being partially responsible for the Trump's victory. Marylin, in fact, had not gone to vote preferring to spend her time on Etsy.
Several months later, Marylin was tortured and killed in her own house by a gang of assailants masked as clowns.
- Kai Anderson (to Winter): "Was there blood? And poop?"
- Kai Anderson (to Winter): "What was the most physical pain you have experienced?"
- Kai Anderson (to Winter): "What's the thing that scares you the most?"
- Kai Anderson: "The revolution has begun."
- Kai Anderson: "La cucaracha, la cucaracha!"
- Ally Mayfair-Richards (to Ivy): "I know what I saw!"
- Ivy Mayfair-Richards (to Ally): "Are you insane?"
- Winter Anderson referenced Lena Dunham, an actress who will appear in an upcoming episode of Cult.
- Clown Assailants are credited as "Pentagram" (Kholee Campbell), "Ballgag" (Kimberly Dawn Guerrero), "Holes" (Zay Harding), and "Kooks" (Bo Roberts).
- Who is part of this killer clown gang?
- What are Kai's intentions?
- What is the pinky promise and how is it significant?
- Is this gang real or is it in Ally's imagination?