Cult leader Billy Grimm is featured in a documentary, Cults in America
, dated 08/13/09. In it he talks about his followers and how they come to him because they are looking for love and to be part of his family. Billy insists that he simply listens and people come to him for answers.
FBI agents Kelly Collins and Paz are driving to the location where Billy is holding Kelly's sister Meadow and her son Andy. Paz reviews what the last victim said, about things that snap right off. Kelly figures that Billy wants her to come to him because he's never forgiven her for leaving him.
The agents arrive at an old country home and Kelly recognizes the red car outside from Billy's compound. They go inside and find a workshop filled with tools and bloody instruments, and writing on the wall. When Kelly studies the wall, she sees a face move and realizes that a man is interred inside. She rips the man free and realizes that it's Meadow's husband, Douglas. Douglas recognizes her, mutters, "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," and dies.
At an Internet bar, Fandomain, the audience is watching the Cult
TV show at an Internet café and complain as the show ends on a cliffhanger. Nate Sefton is among those watching and makes note of the scenes shown in the end credits. He then tells a woman, Merriam, that he's realized that the man in the wall is a clue to the next level. Nate tells Merriam to go to her husband and leaves.
The next morning on the set of Cult
, new PA researcher Skye Yarrow approaches producer, Gary Fisher. She says that she's happy to be there and then asks Gary that she's been checking Cult
fan sites and discovers that there are some unofficial ones where the fams claim to have a special connection to the show and are scared. Gary has no idea what she's talking about and tells her that they're just fans.
Jeff Sefton meets with his editor, Bert, and insists that he wrote the article just the way he wanted. Bert isn't happy that he wrote it as an expose piece. As Bert walks away, Jeff gets a call from his brother Nate. Nate is frantic and says that he has to meet him at the diner. Jeff reluctantly agrees to meet him in a half hour. When they get together, Nate admits that Jeff has done his part and more after their parents died, but admits that he'll never be like him. Jeff tells him not to think like that and tells him to describe his problem. Nate glances over at a passing waitress and then tells Jeff that he thinks "they" are after him. He explains that it's about the TV show Cult
and insists that it goes way beyond being a TV show.
Nate glances out the window and sees a red car parked across the street. He points it out to Jeff, takes out a binder of notes, and starts to describe what happened in episode 9 between Billy and Kelly. Jeff tells him not to start and Nate tells him to find Merriam if anything happens to him. He then gives his brother a pair of 3-D glasses, and Jeff takes them but then walks away. Nate glances at a man walking by and ducks nervously back.
At the studio, Skye calls her friend and says that she can't make it to the party. Her friend worries that she's obsessing about Cult
fan sites and dismisses them as freaks.
As Jeff stops to get gas, he looks up at the TV monitor and sees an ad for Cult
. On it, Billy says that he's harmless but admits that his followers aren't, and warns that they are everywhere... even in people's families. Once the ad ends, Jeff gets a call from Nate but can barely make out his voice. Nate sends something about having it, says "these things snap right off," and then yells. The line goes dead and when Jeff calls back, he gets his brother's voice mail.
Jeff drives to Nate's home and discovers that his brother is gone. He sees a pile of papers on the desk and when he goes over to check it out, discovers that the chair is covered in fresh blood. On the TV, a recording of Cult
When the police arrive, detectives Sakelik and Zavala interview Jeff, who describes what happened. When Jeff talks in detail about the crime scene, he explains that as a reporter he covered homicides in Boston. Sakelik asks if Jeff got along with his brother and he assures her that they get along fine. Zavala finds some hidden drugs and Sakelik suggests that a drug dealer may have decided to leave a message. Jeff insists that it isn't about drugs. When Sakelik is called out of the room, Jeff notices his brother's cellphone on the desk. He manages to pocket it while Zavala notices that the TV is playing a recording.
Kelly comes to see Billy at the cult's farm. When she asks where Meadow and Andy are, Billy offers his sympathies but Kelly figures that he sent one of his followers, Joey Keller, to abduct Meadow to protect the cult. The cult leader reminds Kelly that she used to do what he asked and points out that she's always been obsessed with him. Kelly tells him to order Joey to bring his family back, but Billy warns that he doesn't know how many followers he has. He wishes her luck in finding them and hands her a pair of 3-D glasses.
Jeff takes out the glasses that Nate gave him and realizes that they're the same. The episode ends and the reporter notices the creator credit for Steven Rae.
The next day, Gary meets with a studio rep, Marc Segal, who assures him that the CW Network likes the fan response but wants to make a few changes. Skye hears them talking as Gary warns that Steven, a man of mystery, has his unique vision for the show. Marc wants to talk to Steven personally and Gary says that he'll pass on the message.
Jeff shows up on set, claiming he's doing an article for the Post
, and speaks with the show's publicist, Terri McNabb. She's glad to have someone covering them, but has no idea what Jeff is talking about when he asks about the show's influence on the fans. Skye overhears them as Terri's assistant Anna comes over and informs Terri that she checked Jeff's email address and confirmed that he's no longer with the Post
. Jeff asks to speak with Steven, explaining that his brother has gone missing, but Terri tells Anna to handle it. As Jeff leaves, he bumps into Roger Reeves, the actor who plays Billy on Cult
. As the actor walks away, Jeff notices them wheeling a red car onto the set that matches the one that was following Nate.
Skye comes over and pulls Jeff off into the cabin set. Jeff asks if Nate's disappearance has anything to do with the show. He shows Skye the phone and admits that someone deleted the text files, but the PA manages to pull up the deleted list. There are several message from someone called Meadow asking Nate where he is and warning him that he's in danger. Skye tells him that Meadow is a character on Cult
and she's missing in the show. Jeff explains that he's all that Nate has and Skye offers to take him to a place he'll want to check out.
That night, Skye takes Jeff to Fandomain and explains that Cult
gets under people's skins. She takes him to see the hardcore fans, unaware that a waitress is taking note of them. In the Cult
fan room, Skye explains that there's a mystery within the show that the fans love,. Among the wall of notes and photos is one of Nate, dressed like one of Billy's followers on the show and standing with Merriam in a green dress.
As Skye goes online, she tells Jeff that the green dress Merriam is wearing is just like the one Meadow wears on the show. The PA brings up a role-playing website and explains that some of the fans dress up like the characters and get together for underground events. As they talk, one of the episodes plays on a nearby screen.
Kelly tracks down Joey to a cheap motel and offers him protection in return for Meadow's location. Joey, sobbing, finally tells her to go back to the storage shed and look beyond what's right in front of her to find Billy's answers. He then takes out a gun, says he doesn't want Billy mad at him, and kills himself.
Skye finds the roleplaying location for that night and insists on going with Jeff. As they drive there, Jeff admits that he is a reporter. She says that her father, Quentin Yarrow, was a local news reporter. When he refused to back off a story on union corruption, and one night he just disappeared. Skye assures Jeff that she knows how it feels to have a family member go missing. They arrive at the motel where the event is taking place and they realize it's the motel from the episode. As they pull up, people run out of Joey's room, screaming that a woman is crazy, and drive off.
Jeff and Skye go in and find Merriam in a green dress, sobbing. She insists that she doesn't know them and says that no one can help her, and Jeff asks if Nate is all right. Merriam says that Nate isn't all right and warns that they'll be coming for her next. She then says, "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," takes out a gun, and kills herself.
When the police are called in, Sakelik questions Jeff and Skye, who explain what happened. Zavala is talking to Merriam's husband, who claims that Merriam never watched Cult
. Jeff and Skye figure that he's lying, and Sakelik points out that Jeff used to be a highly regarded reporter until he fabricated a source. Because of the story, six DC cops went to jail. Jeff insists that they were dirty but Sakelik figures that he's lying again. After the detective walks away, Jeff tries to explain but Skye says it isn't necessary. As Skye catches a taxi, they go over Merriam's last words and Jeff points out that Nate said the same thing. Jeff thanks her for helping and Skye admits that it's been interesting.
Jeff goes back to Nate's house and looks for clues among his notes. He brings up episode 14 on the DVR, which has a scene of cult members in a red car abducting Meadow and Andy. Jeff fast-forwards to the scene with Joey and then the scene after that.
Kelly and Paz go back to the cabin and Kelly notices a mannequin wearing the same glasses that Billy gave her. When she puts them on, she's able to see a drawing of three squares within each other drawn in ultraviolet chalk. They mark the location of a door, and inside is a metal chest with a DVD taped to it. Andy is inside the chest and Kelly hugs her nephew.
Jeff freezes the recording on the disk, which has a distinctive M on it. He goes through Nate's notes and pauses briefly when he finds a photo of the two brothers when they were children. Jeff then finds Nate's notebook and discovers that it has the same three squares on the back. Flipping through it, he finds the disc taped beneath a sketch Nate made of them as children.
Later that night, the Cult
crew is filming an outdoor scene as hordes of fans look on. Marc is on the phone to the studio, telling them that he plans to take charge. Jeff calls Skye and asks to meet with her, while Marc gets a call and says he'll meet the caller at the club. As he walks away, a woman in the crowd, Kirstie, watches him carefully.
Sakelik and Zavala are called in when a man's body turns up dead in a dumpster. He's wearing a t-shirt with the three-square design and has been suffered massive blood loss. The body was moved to the dumpster, and they figure that it's connected to the blood they found at Nate's house. The DNA tests have confirmed that the blood isn't Nate's and they wonder if the blood belongs to the dead man. Sakelik figures that Jeff will connect to all of it.
Skye arrives at Nate's house and Jeff shows her the disk. The PA explains that on the show, Kelly puts the disk on her computer and it uploads all of her personal information to Billy's people. Skye doesn't know what happens next because Steven hasn't set them the next part of the script. Jeff figures that Steven has the answers but Skye warns him that no one gets to the show's creator. He takes the disk and puts it into his laptop, while Skye finds the photo of the two brothers. Images begin to run on the laptop and Jeff takes out the 3-D glasses. They let him see a bunch of blank spaces on the screen. Jeff types in "Well, hey, these things just snap right off," hesitates, and then hits Enter.
The program starts uploading Jeff's personal information and his phone rings. It's Nate, who knows that Jeff put in the disk and says that he shouldn't have done it. He tells Jeff to walk away and then is cut off. Jeff's driver's license appears onscreen and then an image of Billy comes up, saying, "You're next" repeatedly.
Sakelik goes to her car and reaches for her notebook. Her sleeve pulls up, revealing a tattoo of the three-square mark, and she quickly pulls down the coat sleeve before anyone sees.
Marc goes to the club near the gas station where Jeff was at several nights earlier. He passes Kirstie, who distracts him long enough for another man to grab Marc, tie and gag him, and throw him into a red car.