With only a few episodes left, there is a lot to discuss about the current season of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse.” “American Horror Story” has become a classic, must-watch show during the fall for freaks and witches alike. The show first aired on Oct. 5, 2011, on FX and has been doing very well since.
Three million tuned into the premiere on Sept. 12, though “American Horror Story” is not for the weak. It is known for its gory, sexual content that gives the viewer a fright they will never forget. Many die-hard “American Horror Story” fans agree that “Apocalypse” might be the best season since “Coven.” For the eager ones who have not watched the season yet, proceed with caution. There will be spoilers.
The current season is the show’s eighth and is set in 2020 during a nuclear apocalypse from World War III. Only the worthiest with superior DNA are chosen to survive the apocalypse; the lucky few are the cast for the season. The chosen ones live together in Outpost Three, a haven from the toxic outside world run by Ms. Wilhelmina Venable, played by “American Horror Story” veteran Sarah Paulson.
The Outpost is a former school for warlocks that separates its residents into two groups: the Purples and the Greys. The Purples are the respected residents who dress in purple Victorian garb and have virtually no responsibilities. The Greys, unfortunately, are slave-like, dressed in grey and tasked with keeping Outpost Three ship-shape and the Purples happy. Both colors endure a strict status quo created by Wilhelmina, calling for abstinence and a controlled diet of only the vitamins the human body needs.
All is in order until Michael Langdon, played by Cody Fern, infiltrates the haven and takes it over. He explains to the Purples and Greys that there is an even more exclusive outpost for those of his choosing. Wilhelmina and Ms. Miriam Meade, her henchwoman played by Kathy Bates, another veteran of the show, conspire a plan to kill everyone, including Michael, by throwing a Halloween soiree at which she has them bob for poisoned apples.
The Purples and Greys all die a painful death, and Wilhelmina joins them when she is shot in the head by Miriam. The viewer hears the familiar melody from Season 3, “American Horror Story: Coven,” as Cordelia Goode, also played by Sarah Paulson, enters the outpost to revive her fellow witches for some unfinished business.
Cordelia, the current Supreme, returns to the outpost to awaken her coven sisters, Mallory (Billie Lourd), Coco St Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman) and Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter). Their return is beckoned as they must figure out who the next Supreme will be. The Supreme is the head witch of a coven, or a group of witches.
Michael is sought to be the first male Supreme, a feat previously thought impossible. As the potential Supreme grows stronger, the current one becomes weaker until she passes away. Witches like Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Misty Day (Lily Rabe) are in hell, unable to be rescued by their Supreme Cordelia. Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) is forever stuck in the Hotel Cortez from Season 5.
Before Michael can be come the Supreme, however, he must undergo a series of tests called the Seven Wonders. Michael successfully completes the tests and is challenged with a final task: to save Cordelia’s coven sisters. The story takes a jump back in time to fill in exposition to explain where the story is set currently. This can only mean one thing: a crossover.
The fans get not one, not two, but three crossovers into previous “American Horror Story” worlds from Seasons 1, “Murder House,” 3, “Coven” and 5, “Hotel.” Michael takes his first world-jumping adventure to the Hotel Cortez, the setting for “American Horror Story: Hotel” in Season 5.
There, Queenie is in an eternal game of Gin Rummy with the villainous James March (Evan Peters). While Cordelia had tried a million times to get out with no success, Michael was able to rescue her on his first try. After saving Queenie, he travels to hell to save Madison and Misty. Cordelia is thankful yet cautious. She sends Maddison and previous warlock member Behold Chablis, played by Billy Porter, on a mission to the Murder House to learn the origins of the evil Michael Langdon.
“American Horror Story: Murder House” is the first season of the series. Madison and Behold pose as a couple in the market for a house to start a family. They buy the house and meet the ghosts occupying the it like Constance Langdon, played by Jessica Lange, mother of Michael. She smokes her Virginia Slims and shares the story of how Michael came to be the Antichrist.
Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton), the previous owner of the murder house, thinks she is having sex with her husband dressed in a black leather suit, but it is really Tate (Evan Peters), Constance’s son and a ghost. She couldn’t take the darkness she saw in Michael, so she took her own life and has been living in the murder house ever since. Three Satanists came to the house to show Michael his true powers, and one of them happens to be Miriam Meade. The two have been close, working in the dark arts together. Michael was arrested after getting into an argument with a butcher and killing him with his powers.
The warlocks practicing in the current Outpost break him out of jail to put his powers to good use in the school for warlocks. The Coven meets back up at the beloved Coven house from “American Horror Story: Coven” (Season 3). The group still needs outside help to overtake Michael.
Cordelia pays a visit to Dinah, the new Voodoo Queen, to ask for her help. For $100,000, Dinah agrees to get her a meeting with Papa Legba (Lance Reddick). Dinah calls upon Papa and he answers her. Cordelia wants him to open the gates and trap Michael in hell. He agrees on one condition: Cordelia must give her entire coven of witches to him. She denies, so he does as well. Cordelia calls a dinner with the coven to discuss their next moves.
She sends Madison Montgomery to recover Bubbles McGee (Dame Joan Collins), actress and witch with a special power: Bubbles can read the minds of men. Bubbles and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), right-hand woman to Cordelia, invite Ariel, the Grand Chancellor of the warlocks (Jon Jon Briones) and Baldwin (B.D. Wong) over for a cordial dinner. Bubbles reads the warlocks’ minds and discovers they are planning to kill the coven. Bubbles and Myrtle tell Cordelia, and the warlocks are sent to the stake to be burned for conspiracy.
While that’s being taken care of, Coco is used as a pawn in kidnapping Ms. Meade, who joins the two warlock traitors at the stake. The witches, dressed in all black, walk away from the scene, leaving the viewers with the burning question: What happens next?
“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” has been called “Coven” 2.0. The fate of the world is left to the witches to destroy Michael. The show makes a risky but smart move leaving the story on pause to take care of exposition. It is better they address backstory now then leave the viewer confused until the very end for a “big reveal.”
As of right now, Michael and Miriam have taken full control of destiny. According to the rules, Michael is in line to become the Supreme because he completed every test of the Seven Wonders, but allowing so will lead to further destruction of the already-destroyed world they live in. There is a big statement being made with this season: Men ruin everything. Given the chance, men can rule but have an evil, hidden agenda, which is shown through Michael’s character.
There is something very interesting and promising about Miriam. Although she killed Wilhelmina, she is very faithful in nature. She even exclaims after shooting her, “I don’t know why I did that.” Whether Miriam has dementia, is controlled by Michael or both, there is some type of inexplicable weakness with the potential to be a secret weapon. Maybe she forgets she is loyal to Michael and teams up with the witches. Unlike Michael, maybe she wants to use knowledge for something useful.
One thing the fans are not ready to accept is the inevitable death of Cordelia Goode. Since the death of Fiona Goode (the supreme before Cordelia), she has exhibited exemplary maternal guidance and care for the witches under her. Without her, there would be no successful coven. Destroying Michael is a sacrifice of herself for the future and well-being of her sisterhood. The best-case scenario is Cordelia’s star pupil, Mallory, will get her shot at becoming the next Supreme. She has performed exceptional spells beyond what the eye has ever seen before. She is special and will be the coven’s biggest force against Michael.
“American Horror Story” is fantastic at leaving the viewer in a state of discomfort leading to theory and questioning. As the witches’ second-tier foes are out of the way, how will they come to defeat the unstoppable Michael Langdon? Will they have to travel into other “American Horror Story” worlds for more help?