American Horror Story: Cult Episode 9 Recap: Daddies, Dead Cult Leaders, and Our “Fake News” Drinking Game

Cult is finally about real-life cults.


This season of American Horror Story has been rife with historical cameos— Valerie Solanas, Andy Warhol, and the Zodiac have all appeared—but had yet to reference real-life cults. This week, the episode opens on archival news footage that is explained—or, rather, rationalized—in voiceovers by Kai. He begins with the suicides from the Heavens Gate cult led by Marshall Applewhite. “It makes total sense when you think about it,” Kai says.

Next is his take on David Koresh who led the cult of the Branch Davidians. In what appears to be real footage, Evan Peters plays Koresh, who led a sect that believed he was the last true prophet, and had “divine sperm.” Real and reshot footage are intertwined together as Kai recounts the fate of the cult, which was raided by police—and, in retaliation, burned down by the believers, 79 of whom died either in the fire or by gunshot. He saves the story of Jim Jones (again, played by Peters) for last, whose cult spawned the phrase, “Drink the Kool-Aid” (which is the title of this episode). The final moments of the cult before the mass suicide by poisoning are reimagined in graphic detail. “These were great men,” Kai says, now among his followers. The point? Real power, he reasons, is having people loyal enough to die for you. Some of the members are confused about this rebrand—isn’t this a political movement? “All politics is a personality cult,” Kai says. And there you have it: American Horror Story: Cult is finally about a cult.

The cultees largely go along with their new status as die-hard followers. They are also all very attractive, wearing their pajamas while curled up in sleeping bags, and go by nicknames like Sandstorm. At the city council meeting, Kai denounces fake news by name. (Remember the drinking game? Drink!) He wants restricted Internet access for the community, and he’s intimidating and/or harming those who stand in his way. He also announces he’s running for Senate.

Back at the Mayfair-Richards residence, Ally has a question for Ivy: “Why did you join a cult?” Good place to start! Ivy rambles about being confused and scared, needing someone to tell her what to do. As Ally points out, this is quite crazy: “People died.” Winter comes back with Ozzie and also apologizes to Ally. “For what?” Ally asks: “For f—ing my wife, trying to drive me crazy, or trying to kill me?” I enjoy that there is a show on television on which people say lines like this with very little irony!

Winter has lame excuses too (the election, etc.), but concludes the answer is they must run away. She even found a Wikihow on how to do it! It says to pack light and leave as quickly as possible. Unbelievable stuff! Anyway, it’s too late and the cult comes for them.

In Kai’s basement, Beverly is still alive and Kai insists everyone drink the Kool-Aid (yes, that Kool-Aid). A man who refuses is shot. Beverly is forced next; Ally, Ivy, and Winter drink and all the men, including Kai, follow with primal screams as they gulp it down. Except…Kai is running for Senate, he points out, and dead people can’t vote. It was a trick. (Drink.)

Ally and Ivy put their plan to run in high gear, and resolve to leave everything behind. They go to pick up Ozzie from school, their last stop—but their nanny has beat them to it, and she wasn’t alone.

Ozzie was abducted by Kai, who starts to plant ideas that he’s his father. By the time Ivy and Ally arrive, Ozzie has drunk the metaphorical Kool-Aid: he wants to stay with “daddy.” As it turns out, Kai has donated sperm since he was a teenager, and claims to be Ozzie’s biological father. Ally and Ivy can’t do anything to get Ozzie back. At their house, Ivy freaks out while Ally remains calm. Tables have turned!

Ally cooks Ivy a very special meal and picks out some very special red wine, which Ally very strategically does not eat or drink. She begins to explain her time in the psych ward, where she had thoughts of suicide and was in intense pain. Ivy downs her wine, fearful of a newly emboldened Ally, who explains how she took control: she decided to take revenge. Ivy gulps more wine and pasta. Oh, one more thing: Ally put arsenic in the pasta and the wine. She watches cooly as Ivy dies a painful death. Ally has a plan.

There’s a weird interlude cutting back to Jim Jones where Evan Peters as Jesus greets him in heaven as Kai tells his followers the story of how Jim Jones’s followers were reborn. “But I don’t think it’s true. Wikipedia says…” pipes up Ozzie in the corner as he debunks Kai’s theory. Kai calls Wikipedia fake news. (Drink.) Kai responds by smashing Ozzie’s phone.

Plan in place, Ally invites Kai to dinner at her house, but first, she books it to the sperm bank to make sure Kai isn’t Ozzie’s real dad—and he isn’t. But she pays off the assistant for a favor.

At dinner, Ally’s cooking a special sandwich for Kai. But how special? Kai asks where Ivy is. “In the trunk,” Ally replies calmly. “I killed her.” She even tells him she poisoned her. He keeps eating! She whips out Ozzie’s donor file, but now it says Kai is his father. She flatters him: “Something about you spoke to me…divine intervention.” She convinces him that Ozzie is a messiah baby—their son. One assumes she and Ozzie will now stay safe. Crafty! “Now we can be a real family.” Cue Daddy meme.

Related: American Horror Story: Cult Episode 8 Recap

Photos: Sarah Paulson Won’t Be Typecast, On Screen or Off

Sarah Paulson wears an Alexander McQueen bra.

Photo by Mona Kuhn, styled by Patrick Mackie. Hair by Dennis Gots for Kerastase at The Wall Group; Makeup by Jo StrettelL for Lancome at Tracey Mattingly.

Sarah Paulson. Photo by Mona Kuhn, styled by Patrick Mackie.

Mona Kuhn

Sarah Paulson wears an Alexander McQueen dress and bra.

Photo by Mona Kuhn, styled by Patrick Mackie.

Sarah Paulson in Altuzarra at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York, New York, June 2016. Photo by Getty Images.

Sarah Paulson with Holland Taylor in New York, New York, December 2015. Photo by Getty Images.

Sarah Paulson with Holland Taylor in New York, New York, October 2015. Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic.

Sarah Paulson and Cherry Jones during Cherry Jones Reception Hosted by Paula Wagner at CAMPANILE restaurant in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for CW Productions)

Cherry Jones, Christian Slater, Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange


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