American Horror Story: Cult's 10 Smartest Characters | ScreenRant

FX's American Horror Story is a series that has always excelled at exploring the darker side of human nature, and this is especially true of Cult, which takes place in the aftermath of the 2016 election. The characters in this season all have their own burdens and traumas to bear that help to explain their actions, and while some of them are intelligent (sometimes dangerously so), there are also some that are content to let others take the intellectual lead.

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The wide variety of characters and their intelligence is part of what makes this season so disturbing.

10 Detective Jack Samuels

Colton Haynes’ character, Detective Jack Samuels appears, on the surface at least, to be more brawn than brain. However, he shows time and time again that he actually has a shrewd sort of intelligence, which is precisely what allows him to continue masquerading as an officer of the law even though he has already joined the cult and is secretly working with Kai.

He’s so convincing in this masquerade that the revelation that he is in fact a cult member is shocking and horrifying.

9 Harrison Wilton

Cult is full of fascinating and sometimes bizarre personalities, and that includes Harrison Wilton--a role of Billy Eichner's that fans love--who moves in beside the main characters Ivy and Ally.

His exuberant personality, however, disguises a ruthless sort of intelligence, one that allows him to not only murder and dismember his boss without being discovered but also leads to him moving into the Changs’ house after their brutal murder without anyone suspecting who he really is and the horrible crimes that he has committed.

8 Meadow Wilton

Like her husband, Meadow is also more intelligent than she at first appears. For one thing, as she tells Ally, she once worked in pharmaceuticals, indicating that she has the ability to craft a professional life for herself.

More importantly, she is able to deceive Ally into believing that she has left the cult, even though, as it turns out, she has been even more brainwashed by Kai, so much so that she ends up taking her own life in order to further his ambitions. No wonder she ends up being one of the most hated characters in the season.

7 Ivy Mayfair-Richards

Ivy Mayfair-Richards is one of the more morally ambiguous characters in the series, for while she stays with her wife, she only does so because of their son.

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She proves her intelligence by how skillfully she manages to manipulate Ally into believing that she is going insane, all in an effort to gain custody of Ozzy. Unfortunately, her intelligence does have some shortcomings, which leads her to not realize that Ally has poisoned her until it is too late.

6 Rudy Vincent

Cult is all about characters who show one side of themselves to the world and another to those that they knew best, and no one does this more than Rudy Vincent, who ends up revealing himself as Kai’s brother.

The skill with which he manages to create an alternate persona, one that takes in both Ally and the audience, amply demonstrates that he is very intelligent and is willing to use his brain to help others (at least sometimes), even though he’s not quite smart enough to outwit Ally or his brother.

5 Winter Anderson

As Kai’s sister, Winter has a very special part to play in his cult plans. Like so many of the other characters in this season, she proves especially adept at manipulation, especially when it comes to Ivy, who she convinces to leave her wife by seducing her.

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In that sense, she has a lot in common with Kai, and her subtle sort of intelligence allows her to see just what makes people work and how to get inside their heads and get them to do exactly what she wants them to do.

4 Bebe Babbitt

Though she makes only a brief appearance in the series, Bebe Babbitt immediately makes clear that she’s one of the season’s smartest characters. In addition to being part of a radical group in the 1960s, she also was the therapist that manipulated Kai into becoming the murderous person that he is in the present.

The mere fact that she was able to participate in several notable murders, have them blamed on someone else, and then became a therapist says a great deal about how intelligent she is.

3 Kai Anderson

Kai Anderson, played by American Horror Story veteran Evan Peters, is definitely one of the season’s most intelligent characters and one of Peters' most evil characters. Like his siblings, he has an almost uncanny ability to get inside of people’s minds, to know what makes them think the way they do, and he’s more than willing to exploit that to his own ends.

However, he also has a firm sense of the bigger picture, and he never does anything without making sure that the results will lead to the outcomes that he desires.

2 Beverly Hope

It takes a remarkably intelligent person to become part of a murderous cult and yet emerge not only unscathed but also successful, but that’s exactly what happens in the case of Beverly Hope.

From the beginning of the season, she showed extraordinary cunning, and she knew exactly how to use the news media to help elevate Kai to power. However, she was also smart enough to realize when his time was done, which is why she was able to shoot him when he made his final threat against Ally.

1 Ally Mayfair-Richards

Ally is the hero of this season, and she is also its smartest character. It takes a truly intelligent person to be able to endure everything that she did while holding onto at least a bit of her sanity.

More than any of the other characters, she seems to know how power works and how to ensure that she gets what she wants, which is custody of her son and a life without fear. The fact that she manages to outwit the mad genius Kai is, perhaps, the greatest indication of just how intelligent she is, even if in the end she becomes one of Sarah Paulson's least likable characters.

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