The latest episode of American Horror Story: Cult is…a lot. So I’m going to spare you a long intro and jump right in. You should know that most of this episode happens in flashbacks.
It looks like Kai Anderson’s (Evans Peters) campaign for city councilman is picking up some steam. He's holding a rally in a town square and he draws a pretty great crowd. Someone starts shooting as Kai speaks and all hell breaks loose. This scene was edited by FX on the live episode out of sensitivity for the recent shooting in Las Vegas, but I saw both and the sentiment is still the same. It’s horrifying. Ivy (Alison Pill) is caught in the middle of the chaos, trying to run. Harrison Wilton (Billy Eichner) grabs her and dives to the ground, but then he runs as soon as he gets the chance. Ivy is stuck hiding behind a fountain when the SWAT team rushes in. They surround someone, ordering to drop their weapon. It turns out to be a teary-eyed Ally (Sarah Paulson). There is carnage around them, including a wounded Kai, bleeding onstage.
After the credits, we see what happened after Meadow (Leslie Grossman) was kidnapped from outside Ally’s window just after she told her about the cult in last week’s episode. She called Rudy Vincent Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) to share this new information. He thought she was paranoid and worried that the court would view this as an excuse to take her son away since she and wife Ivy were separated. Dr. Vincent told her to get some sleep, but Ally had other plans. She broke into the Wilton home, where Harrison and Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) were having some pretty intense sex and Meadow was tied up in the garage. Ally helped her narrowly escape.
The two women hid out at the Butchery on Main where Ally demanded to know more about the cult. Meadow spills everything, including the fact that Ivy has been involved and how she has been helping them terrorize Ally. She even explains Kai’s mission of getting people afraid and ripe for a takeover. Ally is inexplicably still in doubt that Ivy would is involved, insisting that her wife is not a “follower.” But Meadow drops a bomb that if Ivy” already believed in something there wouldn't be any room for him.”
And Kai is taking up a lot of space. Apparently he paid the protestors to be outside of Ally and Ivy’s restaurant after she accidentally one of its workers. He’s putting his disposal income to good use. And he’s very selective about who he lets in. In another flashback before the election, Kai is complimenting Meadow’s art and wooing her with sweet nothings about her needing to shed her skin to shine bright. She fell in love with him because she didn’t feel like a boss bitch. But when she overheard Kai sharing the same sweet nothings with Ivy, she was over it. When she confronted him and tried to leave, Kai had Detective Samuels and Harrison tie her up. This was the night she went “missing.” After Kai tells Meadow how worthless she is, the new male lovers throw her in the backyard grave.
Back in the present, Kai’s grandstanding about Brookfield Heights citizens embracing fear is interrupted by Sally Keffler, who sees through his antics. She calls him a reactionary who uses fear and the fantasy of a time that never was. He is the fly that the trash like Trump attract and she is running against him for city council to “take out the trash.” I don’t think this is going to end well for her.
The day after 2016 election, Ivy was freaking out that Gary (Chaz Bono) still made it to the polls after they locked him in a cellar. He was at the polls with a severed arm. Ivy thinks they are going to be found out by the police and tells Winter (Billie Lourd) so as she paces Winter’s porch. Winter thinks Ivy should talk to her brother who can fix anything. This is how Ivy met Kai. Taking advantage of Ivy’s fear of arrest, Kai gets her to play the pinky promise game. It turns out that what fills Ivy’s heart with dread is the thought of laying in bed next to her Ally. She is resentful that Ally birthed their son, while Ivy’s endometriosis prevented her from doing so. Ally’s phobias and official vote for Jill Stein only made things worse. Kai suggests that Ivy move on with Winter, and since Ivy doesn’t want to lose custody of her son, he suggests that they make her look like an unfit parent.
Once more in the present, Ally has clearly hatched some kind of plan to stop the cult. She drops Meadow off at Dr. Vincent’s office. (I have no clue why she still trusts him.) She orders him to document what Meadow says and act as star witness when the moment comes. Then she hurries out. She show up at Sally Keffler’s home, who is busy making campaign materials when Ally shows up. After being told about the cult, Sally rolls a joint and is surprisingly open to the idea. The local politician gives a speech about cult leaders going against powerful women. She thinks Kai is “no good” and looks forward to taking down his campaign. Just when Ally suggests that they do a press conference with Meadow, the clowns walk in.
Ally runs upstairs, unseen by the cult members, but Sally calmly gets her gun. Her mistake is that she doesn’t fire it. Kai, adorned in his clown mask, disarms her. And he knows exactly how to leverage her death. Instead of letting the group violently kill her, he goes for a more subtle outcome. He writes a fake and politically charged suicide note on her Facebook account and then shoots her in the chest. Ivy sneaks upstairs to look for Ally. She finds her hiding in a bathroom and hesitates just enough for Ally to recognize her. Before either of them can react, Kai summons her and she leaves.
Back Dr. Vincent’s Ally discovers that Meadow has left. She got a call from Kai while Ally was gone. So when Dr. Vincent questioned whether or not she was in a cult, Meadow insisted she was fine. Dr. Vincent thinks this is further evidence that Ally is hallucinating and insists that Ally check herself into a facility. She refuses with a “fuck you.”
The next time we see Ally is at the rally. She is searching for Meadow in the crowd and when the latter starts firing into the crowd, Ally tries to stop her. Meadow shoots Kai in the leg and takes out several more people in the crowd before Ally seizes the gun. But Meadow maneuvers the gun to kill herself, while Ally is still holding it. This is how she ended up surrounded by cops.
Apparently it was a set up. Meadow being kidnapped and dumped in a grave was all a ploy. When Meadow wanted to leave, Kai didn’t discard her. He gave her an even more serious job to do. He wanted her to tell Ally the truth, and in the process, make him a martyr, hence the gunshot to the leg. He knows no one is going to believe Ally, but they’ll be afraid nonetheless. Ally, you got played girl.