American Horror Story: Cult “Drink the Kool-Aid” REVIEW

American Horror Story: Cult “Drink the Kool-Aid” REVIEW

1 comment 📅03 November 2017, 22:05

Airing in the UK on FOX, Fridays at 10pm
Adam Penn
Director: Angela Bassett

Essential Plot Points:

  • We open on a news story about the Heaven’s Gate cult. One, worryingly, narrated by Kai. And, as we see, played by him.
  • We see the Waco Cult led by David Koresh. Again, played by Kai. We see Koresh kill his cult and himself.
  • And then we’re off to the horrific mass suicide at Jonestown. Again, with Jones played by Kai.
  • We see Kai talking to a new group of initiates, explaining the lessons these cults give them.
  • Kai tells them all to be ready for a council meeting. They’re taking things to the next level.
  • At the Zoning Board, Kai is in full evil monologue mode. He’s proposing banning a list of websites under the name Kai Anderson Internet Freedom And Integrity Act. Kai muscles it through and then makes an announcement…he’s running for Senate in 2018.
  • At home, Ally is DONE. She demands answers from Ivy and Ivy gives them; she was a mess, the restaurant was far more work than they thought and she needed structure. She admits that she thought she hated Ally. Ally, far more in control than we’ve ever seen her before, points out people died because of her. Ivy sobs, admitting she knows what Kai is now.
  • Winter brings Oz and Ally tells him everything will be better before he knows it. She gives him a Twisty the Clown comic and she is completely unafraid of it. Oz tells her he missed her.
  • Once he leaves. Winter apologizes and admits that she was broken by the election. She hands Ally an article on how to escape from a cult and begs her to agree to escape. She does so and the second she does, the cultists arrive. There’s an emergency meeting. Attendance is mandatory.
  • At Kai’s place, they’re locked in the basement. Beverly appears and instantly starts a fight. Kai arrives and rants about ‘the power space’, the place they must all enter.
  • He brings over a very large pot, and some glasses. Jonestown time.
  • Kai explains the Kool-Aid is for everybody. They will die, resurrect in greater forms and return for Kai’s senatorial run.
  • He orders them all to take a cup. The cultists do so without hesitation. The women refuse to. Until Gary pulls a gun on them.
  • The first cultist is ordered to drink. He refuses. Kai has Gary shoot him.
  • The women drink. Kai orders his men to follow and they do so, screaming with joy.
  • And then Kai reveals that there was nothing in the Kool Aid. After all, dead people don’t run for Senate.
  • The bros are overjoyed. Beverly is straight up broken.
  • Later, Ally and Ivy are almost done packing. They’re only taking bin bags, no suitcases, no electronic cash. They go and pick Ozzy up from school.
  • He’s not there. Winter picked him up 30 mintues ago. And she had company.
  • Kai bonds with Oz at home. He goads him into pinky swearing and offers to tell him a secret.
  • And that’s when Ally and Ivy rock up, storm into the house, punch Winter and get to the basement. Just as Oz is about to drink the Kool-Aid.
  • Oz refers to Kai as ‘daddy’. And he reveals that he donated sperm at the clinic that Ally and Ivy used to have Oz.
  • He may be telling the truth…
  • Backed into a corner, Ivy agrees to have Oz spend the night. They leave their son with Kai. Ivy is furious but Ally is adamant; this is a chance.
  • Their only chance. As long as Kai believes Oz is his son he won’t hurt him.
  • At home, Ally is making dinner. She is glacially calm. She has a plan. She encourages Ivy to eat and, reluctantly, she does so.
  • Ally tells her tonight they’re going to start over. That things will be different now.
  • Ivy notices Ally isn’t eating. Ally explains that her first weeks in the asylum were filled with suicidal thoughts. The only thing that kept her going was the thought of Ivy…and how Ivy ABANDONED her.
  • Ally explains that she realized her fears were filling a hole in her mind and she couldn’t move past them without finding something else to fill the hole.
  • She chose vengeance. Against Ivy.
  • Ivy doesn’t believe her.
  • And then she starts to bleed from the mouth.
  • Ally poisoned her food.
  • Ivy screams in pain as she dies. Ally watches

  • We’re back in Jonestown where Jesus (Also Kai) cures Jim Jones, high fives him and leaves. Then Jim resurrected them all.
  • The cult are entranced. Oz…well Oz has wikipedia. And he is NOT buying it. Kai decries wikipedia as fake news and puts his son in time out.
  • Ally shows up the next morning to pick up Oz. She’s told that Oz left earlier with Kai and invites him to dinner at her place. Ally visits the clinic and begs the nurse for a photo of her son’s biological father. She bribes her and gets the photo.
  • It’s not Kai.
  • That night Kai comes over for dinner. For the first time, they’re equals, for the first time Ally feels in control. She shows Kai the file. And has bribed the nurse to swap the photos out. She tells Kai the story he wants to her; he’s Oz’s real dad. Everything is destined. Kai IS part of a great design.
  • Kai is overcome, weeping with joy. He helps Ally dump Ivy in the same room as his family’s corpses and welcomes her to the ‘family’. She embraces Oz and Kai embraces them both.


As Cult sprints into it’s final episodes, it’s becoming clear just why Ally spent the entire first half of the season being a doormat. Because the fight back, which definitely hits this week, will be all the more intense as a result.

Paulson, after a half season of running in place, is given free reign this episode and it’s magical. Ally’s new found, hardened attitude and her blistering homicidal fury are electrifying to watch and Paulson lands the scene that no one else could; Ivy’s murder. The way the power dynamic shifts between them is chilling and the scene’s emotional trajectory goes everywhere. Hope, love, caution, rage and terror all in the space of a few minutes. We can’t say we aren’t sorry to see Allison Pill go, but given the show’s fondness for re using stars we’re guessing she’ll be back.

But that isn’t the only really impressive trick this episode pulls off. It finally reveals Kai for who he is; a brilliant but unfocused, pathetic young man who is so desperate to want to belong that he’ll do or say anything. He genuinely seems to believe the stories he tells the cultists, and there’s a tangible desperation to him that wasn’t there before. That’s the pivot Ally uses to throw him off balance, proving him right, giving him everything he thought he wanted so he can finally let his guard down. Kai desperately needs to win, constantly. By handing him a ‘victory’ Ally’s also handed herself an opening. She just has to survive long enough to use it.

What she does with that, and the price she pays for her murder of Ivy remains to be seen. But, after a desperately uneven start, this season of American Horror Story is finally going all in and it’s really starting to pay off. A fiercely strong episode in a season that’s needed far more work of this quality.


The Good:

  • ‘This is not suicide. It’s a revolutionary act.’
  • ‘Well we know for sure YOU’RE not the father.’
  • ‘The only answer is murder.’
    ‘That’s exactly what I was thinking.’
  • ‘I only want two things in this life. I want Oz all to myself and I wanna watch you DIE….Halfway home.’
  • ‘Bed’s for family.’
  • The Evan Peters/Kai stunt casting is really nicely done. It not only gives those scenes a needed shot of jet black humor but puts us inside Kai’s delusions of grandeur. Plus he makes a weirdly endearing Jesus.

  • Winter not knowing who Jim Jones is is a great touch. It tells us a lot not only about her, but about Kai.
  • Ivy’s death scene is chilling. After half a season of being utterly miserable, Ally is in control and she’s never been more terrifying.
  • The Kai and Ally dinner scene is amazing, The little micro expression when Kai finds out Ivy poisoned Ally, and the relish with which he takes another bite is one of the nastiest moments in the show so far.

The Bad:

  • This is tiny and fussy but Gary, especially for a one armed man, really should feel way more recoil than he does.
  • The cultbros are AWFUL. Not quite last season’s rednecks level but damn close.

And The Random:

  • The Heaven’s Gate story that opens the episode is both completely horrifying and true. The news footage of the Waco assault, from the outside, is real too. As is the Jonestown footage.
  • Angela Bassett! Back in the director’s chair! The legendary actress is a hell of a director too, and she handles the constant shifts in time and location here with real flair and wit. Jesus descending on deliberately school-play like ropes is especially fun. It’s especially impressive given this is only her third time in the chair, along with episode six of last season and the TV movie ‘Whitney’.
  • Writer Adam Penn has been a Ryan Murphy collaborator from the get go. He’s edited Scream Queens. Nip/Tuck and 15 episodes of American Horror Story and written for AHS and Mr Robot.


Review by Alasdair Stuart

1 Comment

  1. Sawyer
    08 November 2017, 04:32 Sawyer

    As the truth about Ti and Do’s Heaven’s Gate fades, the media participates in the development of myth, which gives us a picture of how greek and roman mythology developed, so that the fiction then becomes the basis of pseudo cults and they become seen as common place and lose any way to distinguish the One Most Real Sub-CULT-ure from the myriad of frauds. Ti and Do proved to be 100% above board and 100% identical with all the teachings of the real historic person of Jesus. Christianity is the full distortion of what Jesus taught and today we see the development of the full distortion of what Ti and Do taught. Since this broadcast puts Ti and Do’s Heaven’s Gate story on par with the likes of the clear cut murdering Jim Jones and his cronies here is a little comparison I made of the two cults for anyone with any interest:

    Reply to this comment

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