Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched through episode five of “Apocalypse,” which aired on October 10, then the following review will probably ruin it for you.
By Ellie Coggins
The newest season of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” premiered on FX on Sept. 12 with the anticipated crossover of season one, “Murder House,” and season three, “Coven.”
I’ve been a devoted fan for about four years now, having watched all the seasons on Netflix and on cable starting with the fifth season, “Hotel”. While last season’s “Cult” had me worried about the show losing touch with its supernatural roots, this season has me fully believing in the power of AHS again.
This season has me fully believing in the power of AHS again.
Apocalypse opens with the end of the world and complete chaos. It introduced new characters like Mrs. Meade (a robot) and Venable, played by AHS favorites Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson, respectively. The early episodes centered around the survivors of the apocalypse at a safe house called Outpost 3 run by Venable and Meade. Other survivors include Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters), Mallory (Billie Lourd), Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter) and Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), to name a few.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated character returns is that of Michael Langdon, who makes his first appearance at the end of episode one. In episode two, he claims he is from the Collective and is the judge to decide who lives. Since the rest of the safe houses have fallen, he delivers a series of tests and interviews for those at the safe house.
We last saw Michael, the half-spirit, half-human son of Vivien Harmon and Tate Langdon, in the season finale of “Murder House” as the toddler who killed his babysitter. This season, he’s played by Cody Fern and is all grown up, embracing the end of the world. He’s exactly how I would have pictured little Langdon to be as an adult: dressed in sleek, black clothing; sharp blue eyes; long blonde hair; an angular face – overall, he’s scarily beautiful. In episode four, we learn more of Michael’s backstory and how he ended up as a warlock at the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men, which is basically the male equivalent of the witches’ school from “Coven.” The boy’s school is also the setting for the safe house after the apocalypse.
The first few episodes were slow, which I’ve seen with AHS in past seasons. I was annoyed at the snobby, rich people who made it to the safehouse and only started to get excited once the notorious Rubber Man of season one showed up in episode two, ready to mess things up. We never, or at least haven’t yet, discovered who he is or how he got into the safe house, but his arrival sparked the first major murder of the season – Mr. Gallant’s grandma, Evie (Joan Collins) – by Mr. Gallant himself.
In true AHS fashion, it only took until episode three for almost the entire cast to be murdered. Only Mrs. Meade is saved, and Michael tells her that she was designed after his beloved caretaker and was meant to survive.
The mass murder was followed by the fashionable return of the Coven witches, Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson), Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), and Frances Conroy (Myrtle Snow), who bring back Coco, Mallory, and Dinah from the dead and reveal their identity as sister witches.
Episode five – the halfway point for season eight – is a flashback episode back to a time before the end of the world. It shows Michael proving himself as the next Supreme by bringing back Madison, Queenie, and Misty Day and undergoing the test of the Seven Wonders. Cordelia also has a startling vision of the end times. On a lighter note, Stevie Nicks makes a musical return to welcome Misty back to the living. We also discover that Mallory and Coco used to be students at Miss Robichaux’s Academy under Cordelia.
Most importantly, episode five sets the stage for what the second half of the season looks like – a fight between good and evil to save the world from the end of times. This is truly a “Coven” versus “Murder House” showdown. The preview for episode six shows Madison and Behold Chablis (played by AHS newcomer Billy Porter) at the famous “Murder House” to discover who Michael Langdon really is, which is giving me all sorts of nostalgic feelings.
As a fan of the witches and all the feminine power of season three, I’m hoping for the witches to come out on top. Also, it would make a powerful pop culture statement amidst the current political climate. But, I know Michael is going to make it a challenge, and I’m excited to see more of how he went from a killer-toddler to a grownup-antichrist. Most importantly, I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Jessica Lange – AHS hasn’t quite been the same without her.
“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” airs on FX every Wednesday at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.