Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cult Season 1, episode 3: Being Billy

 It’s the TV show, with a woman, Libby, in a car on a level crossing with Billy assuring him that she didn’t tell the police anything. He says he knows she was going to. As they talk you can hear a train approach. He gets out of the car and locks it behind her, leaving her stuck inside with a train approaching. As Billy walks away we see her hands are tied to the steering wheel – and the train hits the car.

The show is being watched by three young men on a smart phone, they’ve watched it over and over. They interrupt it because a woman is coming – they’ve been waiting for her. They grab her, kidnap her and when the lights come up again she’s in the front seat of a car, hands tied to the steering wheel with the episode playing. And she’s on a level crossing and the train’s coming.

Or not – it’s a car with a large light on its roof playing train noises. It’s a game “Being Billy” involving re-enacting scenes from the show; and the girl, Gillian, was in on it.

To the Fandom café/club/bar/thing where we join Jeff who is meeting EJ who finds Jeff hanging around in the club slightly weird. He’s asked her to hack his brother’s email before he died since he can’t trust the police. She did (despite ethical complaints) but the email was wiped the day Nate died. There’s only one thing left – and showing Jeff she asks Jeff if he’s considered that Nate may be playing him

To the studio where Peter tells Skye about Stephen Rae’s new wish to have a special graffiti added to the background of several new scenes – he shows her the picture, it’s the Triskele of hands holding swords. The same one she saw in Jeff’s wiped computer which shakes her a little and gives Peter another chance to warn her how paranoid people on the show are about spoilers.

Jeff calls her and they exchange news – and Jeff adds that that morning Nate’s email account sent a group email “Billy says- It’s starting again. Tonight.”

Move on to a party at Fandomain where they’re showing the fanvideo they made – all praising Laura who apparently came up with the idea. But she says she didn’t run this round of the game, it wasn’t her. And the only other person who has a list of all the players is Nate.

Gillian leaves the party and gets a phone call from Billy, sounding like it’s been cut from different clips of the show. It says that he doesn’t know how many followers he has out there – but you’re next – followed by a car running Gillian over.

Nate returns to Nate’s flat and finds the door open and Laura inside going through Nate’s papers. She says she sued to live there, she was Nate’s girlfriend, for over a year. She tells him Nate was getting things together – even taking classes but she hasn’t seen him in a month since he dropped out when he became more and more obsessed with Cult. She also tells Jeff about the game, Being Billy, how they plan a scene and then drag one player who doesn’t know about it into the scene for total immersion (like Gillian in the opening scene). And that Nate has now started the game without her. And that Gillian died in an apparent hit and run

Next day Jeff and Skye go to check the college campus where Nate’s email came from and Jeff tells Skye about how Nate has run off before, shortly after their parents died.

Cut to the show, Kelly and her partner Oz watch Andy, Kelly’s nephew. Oz gives Kelly the file on Libby, the girl dead at the train tracks. Kelly tells him she was close to Billy and she was planning on giving information on Billy to Kelly before she died.

In the real world, the actor who plays Billy has invited Kirsty the Creepy Eyed Fan to come see the set. She makes sure she has everything she needs, her purse and a great big knife. He shows her round set and introduces her to Marty, the actress who plays Kelly (who snarks to him about showing his “niece” around). Creepy Eyed Fan Kirsty is unsurprisingly creepy to the woman who opposes Billy

Jeff and Skye continue to investigate, with Laura showing Jeff some home videos of how happy Nate was when he was with her. They then go to see Kerry another player in the game who gives them locations of where it was played and tells them how popular Nate and Laura became with the game – and how much Laura loved being centre of attention. But how Nate became unhappy with Laura turning it into a glorified drinking game when he grew obsessed with Cult. Laura returns disturbed by people connecting the game to Gillian’s death and wondering if Nate was right.

Jeff angsts about it and adds extra angst for possibly screwing up with Nate since he raised him after their parents died when he was only 18; maybe Nate is behind it. Skye returns with a story of her own childhood and missing father and how she has faith in him even if he isn’t there – and Jeff can have faith in Nate. Which is when they get a message saying Nate’s account has emailed Laura, demanding to meet with her, alone.

Jeff and Skye go to the store room mentioned on the email and find no-one inside. They do find an earring – identical to the ones Libby wore on the show and the ones Gillian wore during the game and the party afterwards. On a desk they find all the props for the last game – and pictures of Gillian during the accident and her body afterwards

Back on set Creepy Fan Kirsty is still being shown around, including one of the creepier, more horrifying sets. She asks how he manages to portray such extreme emotions and he talks about finding an incident in your life that fits. She starts talking about an incident from his childhood when he was trapped, asking about it, if he used it. He becomes a lot less amused and asks how she knows about that. She brushes it off as some old local news article she found – and how the story made her “fall in love with him a little.” She puts her arms in one of the set manacles and encourages him to close it and kiss her. Then she draws the knife. He backs off in shock but she hands it to him. the knife is a duplicate of the one Billy uses on the show; she says it’s his. He uses it to cut open the buttons on her clothes.

Jeff and Skye go to see Kerry and Laura with the box of props. Laura isn’t there, she left in a hurry -  they’ve received and email saying there’s a new game happening – and Kerry says all the players are leaving campus in case they’re the next victim. Kerry leaves and they check out Laura’s lap top, on it they find a video. It’s a clip from Cult, showing Kelly finding her brother Douglas in the walls followed by clips of the re-enactment Gillian did, the party afterwards, her leaving and then her dead body with the numbers: 12-03-07 overlaid on the screen. Then a number 2 and the same kind of shots – only this time with Laura and a new set of numbers 05-15-11. But the last shot is missing – Laura’s the next victim.

Cut to the show, Kelly confronting Billy. She accuses him of killing Libby. He denies it says it was an accident. Then gives her a gift – Libby’s earrings. Libby’s blood stained earrings. He talks about how close Libby and Kelly where, how Kelly was the one who recruited Libby, handled her initiation and they treated each other like family and Kelly sued that love to make Libby betray her family

Back in reality Jeff and Skye trying calling the police and Laura’s friends but they all think it’s part of the game and don’t take them seriously. But Skye has an epiphany about the numbers – they’re time codes for moments on the show. Episode, minutes, seconds. And 05-15-11 covers someone being buried alive in a greenhouse.

They hurry to the horticultural centre and find Laura neck deep in a bin full of soil and a hooded figure shovelling more on top. Jeff tackles the figure turns them over and reverals… Kerry. Skye removes Laura’s gag who starts screaming about Kerry being crazy. Skye starts to call 911 but Kerry yells at her to hang up – if she hangs up she will tell them about Nate since she was the last to see him alive. Jeff agrees

She says she saw Nate a week ago looking for Laura. He said he’d made contact when they ask what that means she says you either see it or you don’t – messages in the show. She’s seen some, Nate’s seen more- and she calls Laura a poser for making the game into a drinking game. Nate wouldn’t tell Kerry what he saw but she has decided to re-enact the scenes including the deaths to show how much she is willing to do to be one of them – one of the True Believers. Then she smacks Jeff and manages to make a run for it – dropping things in her wake so Jeff can’t keep up and she escapes.

At the set the next day, Creepy Kirsty says goodbye to the actor who plays Billy and they arrange to meet again. As soon as he’s gone she makes a call saying “it was perfect” and it went exactly as it was supposed to.

Back with Laura and Jeff, Laura says she’s leaving she no longer wants anything to do with the show. Jeff and Skye have found out that Kerry was the one who hacked Nate’s lap top and how happy Jeff is that his brother isn’t a murderer. And Skye has been doing some digging; Kerry referenced a line from the scene of Libby’s death where Billy says “as it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end”. So she checked the audio track of the first words of the episode and the last and played together quickly they say “True Believer”.  She also wondered why the video Kerry made included Kelly finding Douglas. The sound design is also odd, but when played backwards and slowly it sounds like “kill for us.” Jeff asks if this means there are hidden messages in the show, but Skye points out it can just be unbalanced fans like Kerry could find messages in any show – but cult isn‘t any show.  They have to keep digging.

Cut to Kerry hiding in the woods, getting picked up by a man in a white van – with a cult symbol tattooed on his arm.

I am still very much on the side of the curious and intrigued and slightly creeped out. I don’t really have more to say than that except creepy creepy creepy