Top Shows

The Cult


Writers' blog - Episode 3

In the third writers' blog, Peter Cox examines Gina and Andy and the chemistry between them as well as looking at how cults exploit the vulnerable side of people.

Hello and welcome to our 3rd writer's blog! Hopefully you've just seen episode 3, so I won't be revealing any spoilers!

Okay, ep 3. We're getting into things a little bit more now after our initial setup. It's been a pretty fast ride, and I hope everyone's been keeping up, because - I promise - it's all going to pay off.

Gina and Andy are the focus of our third episode. And it's a love story of sorts. Through the flashbacks, we begin to see a new side of Gina - the supposed party girl - whose clearly someone trying to do the right thing by Andy - who, for his part, seems to be the source of a great deal of pain in her life. Gina's desperate for Andy to clean up and change, though once he does, Gina finds the 'new Andy' to be not all she hoped for. And we see her reaction to this feeding the guilt she feels over Andy's disappearance and her desperation to get him out from Two Gardens.

Like the previous episodes, we wanted to continue to explore the different ways people become involved in cults; what attracts them? What do they expect to get out of it? A concept we came across early in our research was the metaphor as a cult as an 'onion' - the idea of truth behind a cults ideas being like layers that slowly get peeled away. What seems reasonable and innocent on the outside is stripped away to have a completely different motivation underneath. A Cult, for example, won't come right out and suggest that that they believe our psyches have been infected by aliens from a distant planet; instead they focus on 'self improvement', 'personality tests' and the like. Sometimes even guilt works: 'Hey, we gave you this free dinner, the least you can do is listen to our ideas'. And they sure as heck won't call themselves a Cult, or anything like it: instead they're a 'Support Group' or 'A Life Enhancement School' or a 'Retreat'.

Inevitably, Cults focus on people's fears and vulnerabilities: 'you're not good enough as you are', 'the world is in trouble, you need to do help'. Simple answers to life's hardest questions and the promise 'increasing personal potential', it's easy for an otherwise sensible person to become sucked into gradually accepting ideas that outwardly seem to lack any kind of common sense. If you're inside a Cult long enough - away from your friends, family - it's  the people on the outside that start to look like the crazy... and let's face it, pretty often, the real world can be a scary place anyway.

So Cults will tend to focus on the lost, the vulnerable. People looking for answers.

This is part of the reason for exploring Andy's character. Through Andy - a person at his most vulnerable - we see one of the classic cult strategies: approaching people through otherwise innocent support groups - such as Alcoholics Anonymous - and gaining their fellow member's trust, before slowly introducing them to some stranger ideas. This is Andy's story - he's desperately looking for answers to his problems - and through the episode he finds them - though whether he's any better off by the end of the episode remains to be seen...

Of course, there's a little more to it than that, and we wanted to make sure that by the episode that it was being pretty strongly hinted that something more than we first expect is going on. Is it Andy that's being targeted deliberately? Why? And why do they seem so interested in Gina? Like the onion, there's a lot more going underneath that will slowly be peeled away before we get to the real Truth of what Edward North, Momentum, and Two Gardens is really all about.

If you have any questions for the writers, then submit them on our message board here.


Are you with The Cult?