06th Nov2017

‘American Horror Story – Cult 7×09: Drink the Kool-Aid’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

ahs-cult-709

Last week American Horror Story: Cult managed to become a parody of itself, and became more the American Comedy Story. This week something needed to change, to get it back on track. Thankfully, with the season heading towards the end game, things began moving in the right direction…sort of.

In an act of faith Kai (Evan Peters) decides that his follower should ascend to the next level, and channels some Jim Jones style kool-aid. Ally (Sarah Paulson) puts her plan of revenge in action, and makes moves to protect her son Oz (Cooper Dodson) from danger.

This is the point where there is no getting away from it, Kai is just a boy living his little dream of being a leader. Marching along with his little gang of bros. he constantly puts tests in front of both them and the females of his cult to make sure that they are following his rules. This is his weakness, and this is what Ally sees. This is why in this episode she becomes empowered, and in many ways as dangerous as Kai.

In this episode we get to see the Ally confront Ivy (Alison Pill) for her actions, and it is very revealing what we see. While Ivy is meant to be the strong one, she is now portrayed as a woman with daddy issues. This is a little disappointing, but seeing Ally finally show her strength does soften the blow. It is fair to say though that if you are looking for female empowerment in this season of American Horror Story: Cult, then you won’t find it.

While I’m sure that Ally’s journey to a strong and dangerous person bent on revenge could be painted as a woman becoming empowered, but what about the rest of the females in the cult? Ivy has been shown to be week, Winter (Billie Lourd) does everything her brother tells her to, and Beveryly Hope (Adina Porter) is being broken down bit by bit.

What we are left with is a fairly insufferable cult of annoying brattish men who are on a power trip. The fact that it feels like something out of Fight Club isn’t a surprise really, these characters probably use it as their blueprint of Kai’s cult.

While there is a lot wrong with American Horror Story: Cult, Drink the Kool-Aid also does a lot right. In recreating the Jim Jones suicides it creates an unpleasant experience, but also reveals a lot. When Kai lets his followers in on what happened next to Jim and his followers, it looks fake. This is because it is Kai’s made-up version, made to manipulate people to believe his truth. It is telling that when Oz questions Kai’s story, weakness is shown. I’m sure like me, there were a few people looking at Oz’s cynical look he gives and thinking “Oz is the whole audience right now”.

The problem that American Horror Story: Cult has is that you have to drink the show’s kool-aid to ignore its weaknesses, and really you can’t. This episode has set the end of the season up well, and with Manson being the theme next week, it will be all about family. How will this end? No doubt in a hail of bullets of mass suicide with only a few people surviving. Isn’t that the stereotypical way to end any cult?

**** 4/5

American Horror Story: Cult airs in American at 10pm on FX and in the UK on Fridays 10pm on Fox.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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