FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 9: “Drink the Kool-Aid”
Directed by Angela Bassett
Written by Adam Penn
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Winter of Our Discontent” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Charles (Manson) In Charge” – click here
Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) narrates the story of the Heaven’s Gate cult, their mass suicide. “Leaving the vehicles of their bodies” to ascend into the stars. All that garbage. About the theories of Marshall Applewhite, whom we get to see Peters play briefly, too. There’s mentions of David Koresh, another cult leader Peters plays for us, and the tale of the Branch Davidians, their clash with the federal government. There’s lots of talk of “divine semen,” men under Applewhite’s rule who had themselves willingly castrated, and all sorts of madness that plays into patriarchal ideology.
The “Kanye of leaders” is Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple. He brought everybody to Guyana, where they formed Jonestown. Afterwards, when a congressman showed up to see what they were doing down there, Jones fed his followers Kool-Aid, killed others, and took them all out with him.
Jim Jones: “And to me, death is not a fearful thing. It‘s the living that‘s fearful.”
The point is: cults are destructive, cult leaders are insane, and all these groups do is bring about death. Kai’s in the basement, telling all HIS followers about these men. Everybody has their nicknames, from Sandstorm to Pus Bucket to Tripod. Their leader’s trying to get through the concept of loyalty. Moreover, we discover further Proud Boys satirical links in that these lads don’t jerk off, afraid to give too much of their power over to women. Hilarious, if it weren’t actually a real group this is based on.
“Wait, are we a cult? I thought we were a political movement.”
At the next council meeting, Kai rants about everything from Candy Crush to “fake news” just as all the good little Trumpites do. He wants to start regulating, or, y’know, censoring views opposing their own, the same these types claim is happening to them. The Kai Anderson Internet Freedom and Integrity Act is passed, not without a large bit of intimidation. Then the Divine Ruler announces he’ll be running for senate, as well.
We jump over to the Mayfair-Richards home, where Ally (Sarah Paulson) demands answers from Ivy (Alison Pill), why she’d join a cult, terrorise her, others, so on. Ivy essentially wanted to be told what to do, after the election loss, to not worry about trying to make her own place in the world. She cries, admitting she hated her wife. Yet it’s all a bit trite, isn’t it? And too late. She’s fed into the cult, she allowed people to die, to let Kai ascend to a god-like status. Ugly stuff.
Ally’s only still in it with Ivy for their boy Oz. Best of all, she’s overcome her fears, even so far as to give her boy a Twisty comic. Then there’s Winter (Billie Lourd), giving more excuses for her behaviour. It took for her brother Vince a.k.a Dr. Rudy to be killed before she saw the darkness. Beverly (Adina Porter) is stuck in isolation, while the women believe to escape the cult they’ll have to run away. But Ally’s done running. A bunch of the cult meatheads show up to take them to a meeting.
They’re brought to the basement, kept there like prisoners until the Divine Ruler arrives, rambling more insanity. He breaks out a big pot, full of Kool-Aid. They’re gonna “do something radical.” He spoons out a bunch of cups. However, they aren’t just for the ladies. Everybody will drink. So the leader points to each member, they must sip the poison. When one guy refuses, Gary (Chaz Bono) guns him down. Bev takes her drink willingly. So do Ally and Ivy, then Winter. The lads follow, screaming like apes.
Although none of them are being poisoned.
It’s just a test, like Jones himself did with the Peoples Temple before their actual suicides. A test of loyalty, commanded by the Divine Ruler.
Kai: “This is not suicide. It is a revolutionary act.”
Back at home, Ally tries getting the women ready for escape, under the noses of the crazy men. When she and Ivy go to pick up Oz, he isn’t at school. The nanny and someone else came to get him already. Cut to the basement, where Oz sits with Kai a while. What the greasy cult figure does is wedge his way into the boy with chauvinism, talking about how everyone “has a daddy.” He uses misogyny to subtly break through the kid’s defences. Moments later it’s onto the pinky game. This is when the parents arrive, looking for their boy. Oz almost drinks a bit of Kool-Aid before they get downstairs. This leads into Kai saying that the boy is his son. He’s been giving donations at the clinic where Ally and Ivy got the sperm. Oz is even calling the guy daddy. Oh, man. This is fucking sickening. And all of a sudden the tables have turned on Ally once more.
How do the women move forward from here? Murder is most certainly on the table, as well as the fact Ally says she’s got a plan. At home, again, the wives eat together, sip on wine. Unfortunately for Ivy, the plan involves a reckoning for her, too. Her wife isn’t so forgiving of all the shit that was brought down upon her. Revenge was her cure. Ivy never suspected there was arsenic in her pasta and wine.
Ally: “I only want two things in this life – I want Oz all to myself, and I wanna watch you die. Halfway home.”
Kai tells of what happened post-mass suicide for Jim Jones. Jesus (Peters) came down and kissed the dead leader on the forehead, returning him to life. A resurrection. Complete with a high five from Mr. Christ himself. After that Jim resurrected everybody, apparently. At least that’s what the Divine Ruler tells his Proud Boys. Although Oz doesn’t believe any of that, especially when he’s searching it all on Wikipedia. The only one smart enough to question this dude’s idiocy is a little boy. But Kai rants at him, that he’s the “only one” who knows the “ultimate truth.” Sound a bit familiar? Herr Trump?
When Ally goes to pick up Oz, she discovers he isn’t there. He and Divine Ruler are off somewhere. So she heads over to the fertility clinic, looking for information on the man who is the father of her child. She’s desperate. The woman at the front desk helps her out: Kai is not the father.
That night, Ally makes Manwiches for her and Kai. They talk about Oz. When they sit for a bit of food, he asks about Ivy, so she tells the truth. He’s impressed. She also plays up to him the idea he IS Oz’s father. She had the woman at the clinic do up a fake file, to look as if he’s the one who fathered the boy. This is what will be the man’s weakness, he believes the “messiah baby” has already been born. Helps that he’s got a place to store Ivy’s corpse, up with his parents. And it keeps Ally close to her enemy, close to her son.
Another wonderful chapter of this wild season! One of my personal favourites so far. Peters is an amazing actor, he can sink into the skin of all types of characters. “Charles (Manson) In Charge” is next week. Can’t wait to see Peters as Charlie.