In the ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ recap, Armageddon is upon us and only a few survivors have been selected to outlive nuclear fallout…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Let’s just get this out of the way at the beginning — for a season teased as the ultimate crossover between ‘American Horror Story’ Murder House and Coven, there was barely a connection in the debut episode outside of the return of a character last seen as a child.
The anticipation has been high for ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’, especially after creator Ryan Murphy revealed that it would be the long awaited crossover season that he’s been teasing for some time now.
Unfortunately at least through the first episode, Murphy has given into his worst instincts when it comes to his idea for a new version of ‘American Horror Story’.
While the show has never been truly terrifying outside of a few key moments, the show still remained creatively reinvented each season with several standing out ahead of the others. Of course, opinions truly do vary on which ones are best. Perhaps that’s what Murphy does with each new season of ‘American Horror Story’ because he’s never trying to please everybody — nor should he — but there have definitely been stronger seasons than others.
It’s not fair to judge where ‘Apocalypse’ will land on that scale of great (Coven) or down right awful (Freak Show) after just one episode but the debut definitely embraced Murphy’s campier, more outlandish side while he presented his vision for the end of the world.
He’s got Sarah Paulson dressed in her best ‘Dracula’ outfit and he’s turned Kathy Bates into a sadistic prison guard that is ripped straight from the pages of ‘Shawshank Redemption’. He managed to make yet another person for Evan Peters to play while bringing back Leslie Grossman as arguably the most vapid character in the history of the show.
Funny enough the most grounded moments of the first episode — and by far the best — were the introduction of two new actors to the series as genetically chosen survivors who are falling in love in the middle of the apocalypse.
Time will tell over the course of this season if he somehow brings it all back together again while returning to two of the most beloved versions of the show but the first episode didn’t exactly set expectations very high. That being said, there are more than a few people who felt like ‘Freak Show’ was the best season of the entire series so while this particular episode didn’t exactly grab me, it might just be your cup of bloody tea.
With that said, let’s recap the debut of ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ titled ‘The End’…
The episode starts by introducing us to Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt — the queen of excess raised by billionaires who just wants to get more followers on Instagram — and her circle of servants/friends including a hairdresser named Mr. Gallant and her personal assistant named Mallory.
Just seconds into the show an alert sounds that missiles are headed towards Los Angeles — and it’s not a false warning like what happened in Hawaii a few months back. This time around, the end really is near with nuclear bombs already going off in several locations around the world and it’s only a matter of time before L.A. is wiped off the mat as well.
Thankfully, Coco’s father purchased very expensive entry for their family into a fallout shelter for the super elite. Unfortunately the rest of her family is trapped in Hong Kong — and soon thereafter turned into kindling — so that leaves a plane open with four spots for Coco and her friends.
Coco tries to get her husband Brock to join them on the plane but he’s stuck in traffic so unfortunately he’s left behind to suffer amongst the fallout. That leaves an opening for Coco’s hairdresser and his grandma Evie — played by Joan Collins — although judging by the way she was written, he might as well have called her Joan Collins.
Aboard the plane, the four survivors — Coco, her assistant Mallory, Mr. Gallant and his grandmother — are shocked to find out no one is actually flying but instead they are being taken to an unknown destination via autopilot.
Meanwhile 40 minutes earlier before the bombs went off, Timothy Campbell was just finding out that he got into UCLA when the alerts start warning everybody that missiles are headed for Los Angeles. A few moments later, a military vehicle shows up and snatches Timothy, telling him that he’s been genetically chosen for survival after submitting his DNA to an ancestry website. Sadly only Timothy has been chosen by a group called The Collective, thus he can go but his family must stay behind.
He’s taken to a facility where he meets a girl named Emily, who was also chosen and picked up after she was spending the night in jail. After the bombs go off and two weeks pass, Timothy and Emily are put into radiation suits and carried to their new home at Outpost 3 — the survivor shelter where they will outlive the nuclear fallout.
When the arrive in the middle of noxious gas and poisonous clouds of dust, they see two people being executed before they are brought inside and introduced to the woman in charge — Wilhemina Venable or Ms. Venable if you want to stay in her good graces.
After Timothy and Emily are cleansed from the nuclear waste in the air, they are brought inside and given their own private suites. Ms. Venable then tells them that they are amongst the elite, which means they will wear purple while the worker ants just thankful to be alive wear grey and act as servants.
They will be expected to be dressed and at dinner on time and punctuality counts, especially when there’s nothing else to do. They also have to follow some very specific rules like not going outside and not copulating with anybody else in the house. Failure to follow these rules will either cast you out into the wasteland or get you killed.
Timothy decides to clean up before dinner but when he gets out of the shower by candlelight the numbers ‘666’ have been scribbled on his bathroom mirror before a voice says to him to ‘beware Timothy’. Perhaps these are the ghosts of Murder House paying him a visit?
Dinner is Served
When Timonthy and Emily go to dinner, they are finally introduced to the rest of their housemates including Coco and her band of idiots.
They are served a vitamin cube for dinner that is apparently all they need to sustain their bodies and nobody seems to be particularly happy about being here. That’s when Ms. Venable’s right hand arrives — Ms. Miriam Mead — and she’s got some bad news. Somebody has wandered outside and come back in stinking of radiation.
She uses a Geiger counter to discover that one guy named Stu and Mr. Gallant are both showing signs of radiation. They are taken into a Silkwood shower where they are scrubbed from head to toe before Ms. Mead returns to give them one more pass with the radiation detector. Unfortunately, Stu doesn’t pass so he’s shot dead while Mr. Gallant survives.
Stu is later transformed into a special ‘stew’ that’s served to all of the guest in the house and while most of them are disgusted at eating human meat, a few people including Mr. Gallant’s grandmother are all too happy to taste something other than those awful vitamin cubes.
When dinner is finished, Ms. Venable retires to her private quarters with Ms. Mead where they dress in those same purple outfits worn by the guests and then reveal that they’ve been doing pretty much whatever the hell they want since the apocalypse first began. They believe they are out of the reach of the Cooperative and they’ve just been murdering and torturing these people for their own enjoyment.
The Chosen Few
As the group continues to live in exile without much to do, everybody jumps for joy when a song that’s been playing on constant repeat (from The Carpenters) since their arrival suddenly switches to a new tune. They all believe this is a sign that rescue is on the way but 18 months later, this same song is still playing.
During that year and a half, Timothy and Emily have fallen in love but they restrict their passion to one kiss per day so not to allow themselves to copulate, thus risk being tossed out of the compound.
Sadly rations are starting to run short so everybody’s vitamin cubes are being cut between breakfast and dinner and the morale is rather low.
That’s when the alarm sounds that the outer gates have been breached but when Ms. Mead goes out to see who is trying to get into the compound, she’s greeted by a horse-drawn carriage and a man dressed all in black who emerges. He shows off his ID from The Cooperative and his name is Michael Langdon — the child anti-Christ that was born from Vivien Harmon and the ghost of Tate Langdon from the first season of ‘American Horror Story’ and he’s all grown up.
When Michael finally makes his way inside, he introduces himself to the two women running the place and he informs them that he’s there to assess the people living inside to see if they are worthy of being moved with him to a much larger shelter filled with enough food and supplies for the next 10 years. Unfortunately not everybody — or perhaps nobody — will make the cut so it’s up to Michael to decide who lives and who dies.
‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ will return next Wednesday night at 10pm ET with a new episode on FX.