The ninth episode of American Horror Story: Cult, “Drink The Kool-Aid,” opens, appropriately enough, with Kai regaling his dude militia with stories of notorious cults and cult leaders: Heaven’s Gate, David Koresh, and Jim Jones — a semi-harbinger of things to come. I say semi, because a few scenes into the episode when he actually does command his following to literally drink Kool-Aid, it ends up being merely a test of loyalty, as one cult member who refuses to drink learns the bullet-y way. In the grand scheme of things, the whole Kool-Aid plot device doesn’t make immediate sense to the overall arc of this season, other than in a ham-fisted “here’s a cult thing” way, and of course to have Evan Peters play Koresh and Jones in flashbacks.
Making the mass suicide fakeout even more baffling, is that right before it takes place we’re given some more insight into Kai’s overall master plan. Short term, he bullies his fellow city councilmen (one seen with a black eye and arm in a sling) into passing the “Kai Anderson Freedom and Integrity Act,” which would effectively control what websites the town’s citizens are permitted to access. Long term, Kai reveals to the council his aspirations to run for a Senate seat, despite the fact that the position is currently held by a popular incumbent serving a third term. Kai naturally doesn’t see this as an obstacle because it sounds like a certain Michigan senator is about to have an accident!
Elsewhere, Ivy is now forced to reconcile with her no longer estranged wife Ally about why she joined a cult and drove her crazy and killed a bunch of people. You know, regular old marital stuff! None of Ivy’s explanations seems to wholly justify any of those actions, but that’s beside the point because Winter shows up with Oz to remind them that they should, oh, run — since Kai stabbing their brother in the neck was enough to put even her over the edge. (Because a creepy incest threesome apparently wasn’t enough to do it.)
The three women briefly plan their escape, however they don’t get far before the militia members show up and force them, along with Oz, back to the cult’s headquarters. There they’re briefly rejoined with Beverly (who is not exactly happy to see Winter for framing her for the detective’s murder) for the aforementioned Kool-Aid scene, where Kai forces the four of them to drink.