And we’re back! Last week’s premiere of American Horror Story: Apocalypse was filled with mayhem and destruction. The world we know is now gone, and only a handful of people survive in what are called Outposts, with barely enough food left to survive. But fret not. Michael Langdon, AKA the son of Tate Langdon and Vivien Harmon, AKA the Anti-Christ, has arrived, here to decide who at Outpost 3 is worthy enough to be taken to the Sanctuary, a place that cannot be overrun and has enough food to last a decade. But who will be chosen?
Episode 2, appropriately titled The Morning After, begins with Emily undressing for bed, no doubt after stealing a kiss with Timothy. The two have not had sex, following Venable’s strict policies, but they still do what they can when they can. As Emily is undressing, the lights suddenly flicker out. Odd considering that everything is lit by candles, and down here, there’s no wind. But things get even weirder when her closet door mysteriously opens on its own. She relights the candle and peeks inside, relieved when someone doesn’t jump out at her from the shadows. But that relief is short-lived as countless snakes slither from the closet onto the floor.
Luckily, her scream draws the attention of not only Timothy, but of Miriam Mead as well, and she makes quick work of beheading the snakes. This, in truth, is a wonderful thing. After all, the snakes weren’t infected, so they now have a fresh supply of meat for a nice steamed snake soup. And while some of the guests aren’t too happy about the idea of eating snakes, others are just happy they’re getting more than half a cube. But when they each take off the lids of their bowls, the snakes are no longer cut up, but alive. Screams erupt from our guests as the snakes slither out onto the floor. No one knows how they did it, or even what they are. But honestly, they have bigger things to worry about.
All Purples, Grays, and Venable, Miriam, and their workers gather in the dining room to collectively welcome/meet our new guest, Mr. Langdon. And he certainly has no hesitation about showing his power, simply staring Venable down until she moves to the side of the room, letting all eyes fall on him. He also wastes no time in telling everyone why he’s at Outpost 3. He represents the Cooperative and is there to determine who is worthy to be moved to the Sanctuary, since, to their knowledge, all other Outposts have been overrun. The Sanctuary has certain security measures that make it impossible to be overrun, and while he tells the guests that the measures are classified, we already know what he’s talking about. I mean, what’s a better security measure than a coven, right?
He will make his decision after an intense questioning session for each of them, but some, like Coco, aren’t too happy about this. She paid her way in, after all, she should automatically get into the Sanctuary! Langdon politely lets her know that she is welcome to refuse the questioning process, but if she does so, she will be left there to die. But the worst is not to fear. If you are not chosen, Langdon will leave you a small pill that will put you in a deep sleep that you will never wake up from. Certainly better than the alternative…getting attacked and eaten by cannibals.
The tension in the room is palpable, everyone is scared out of their minds that they won’t be chosen. So Gallant volunteers to go first and get it over with. And the questions are nothing short of interesting. After a little monologue about how if Gallant lies or tries to trick him, he will know, and as a result he will die here painfully, Langdon asks him about his sexual orientation. Nervously, Gallant admits he’s gay, but he has been with a woman before and finished, in case that’s important to know for procreation purposes. Langdon shrugs this off, saying that they have other ways for procreation, and proceeds to ask Gallant about his grandmother, and his anger towards her. He’s taken aback, but admits he hates her guts. She’s always wanted him to be the perfect gay, but what she expects is just not who he is. He’s never been good enough for her, and it’s always bothered him. She used to throw dinner parties, inviting her idea of “the perfect gays”, but the last time she did, Gallant came downstairs in a leather outfit and mask, putting on a somewhat sexual performance.
After admitting this, Langdon, in almost playful way, asks if he likes leather. Gallant says he likes a lot of things, and asks Langdon if he’s gay, admitting the idea excites him. The questioning has turned to flirting, but when Gallant asks what Langdon’s going to do about it, he simply dismisses him, saying the questioning is done for now. If you’re thinking that seems too easy…you’re right. Shortly after the questioning, we see Gallant back in his room, masturbating while thinking of Langdon when someone knocks at the door. When it swings open, he sees a man in a rubber latex suit, a man he assumes is Langdon. But we know better. As they proceed to have rough sex, we can’t help but think back to Murder House. The only question is…could it somehow be the ghost of Tate in that suit? Or is this something more entirely?
What Gallant doesn’t realize is that they have company. His grandmother overhears the two of them and, curious, she props open the bedroom door as the two men (or man and ghost) climax. She closes the door and clutches her chest, shocked at what she’s just seen. But then she gets an idea. So, she pays a visit to Miriam Mead and informs her of what she’s just seen, revealing she is only truly loyal to herself. She’ll do anything to make sure she is chosen to enter the Sanctuary, even if it means giving up her own grandson.
Meanwhile, Timothy and Emily steal another kiss, but Emily is getting fed up with only one kiss a week. And while Timothy agrees that it’s torturous, it’s far better to the alternative. But she’s at her wits end, and suggests that they steal a couple of radiation suits, get some food, and take their chances out in the world, maybe even find the Sanctuary themselves. Don’t worry, Timothy thinks it’s a stupid idea, too. He reminds her of the world out there, they wouldn’t last two days. So, she suggests an alternative: breaking into Langdon’s rooms and finding out where the Sanctuary is and how to survive out there.
Timothy is visibly hesitant, but Emily won’t be persuaded against it, so he comes along. And in his room, they find an actual working laptop. One that has emails sent from a week ago! Whether Langdon has some sort of a satellite set up or what, the emails are going through. And what they read shakes them to their very core.
For the past eighteen months, they haven’t had sex because Venable told them it is against the Cooperative’s rules. But an email from Langdon claims that rule was enforced by Venable alone, and that leading by her own whims is in fact punishable by death. Well, this changes things, for the two of them, at least. But what else have they lied about?
While the two are in his room, Langdon is in Venable’s, confronting her about her dereliction of duty. She shrugs off the accusation, claiming that the Cooperative simply doesn’t trust him with as much information as she has. But he is an instrumental part of the Cooperative, and cannot be played. He admires her strength, her stubbornness. But it isn’t enough. He tells her exactly what’s going on outside Outpost 3. That on his way there, he came across a mother with her two children. All 3 were covered in sores and tumors, and he realized that the child in her arms was already dead. She begged Langdon to kill her other child, as an act of mercy, because she hadn’t the strength. Venable asks if he did, if he killed the child. “No,” he says simply, as if surprised it’s even a question.
He leads the discussion back to the residents of Outpost 3 as if nothing happened, asking who she thinks is worthy to join the Sanctuary. She has nothing good to say about anyone, so he turns the questioning back to her, saying that it’s time for a physical examination. She insists on not removing her clothes, that he can read her file, but her file isn’t what he wants. He wants to see her shame. He unzips her dress and lays eyes on her back, of all things. Her back, where we see that her spine protrudes in an unnatural way. He seems so pleased to see it, and when she asks if she’s passed the test, he seems even more pleased to inform her that she failed.
It’s at this moment that Miriam interrupts. She needs Venable to help take care of Gallant, to punish him for his sexual misconduct. But it doesn’t quite go the way they planned. They chain him to the ceiling and whip him every time he refuses to say who he had sex with. But as they quickly discover, Gallant likes pain. It’s almost pleasurable to him. Not quite the effect they were hoping to have.
After they leave, he receives a visit from Langdon. Gallant swears that he never would’ve given him up, no matter how much they tortured him. It would be a romantic statement if Langdon was actually the one he had sex with. But he confesses he’s never been to Gallant’s room.
“I wouldn’t fuck you if you were the last man on Earth…and you almost are.”
He chuckles slightly as he proceeds to tell him how needy he is, how desperate for love. How his grandmother hates him because of it, and who could blame her? Gallant tells him it’s not possible, but Langdon reveals it was his own grandmother, after all, that turned him in, knowing what it would mean. He leaves after telling him that he should ask her himself, and as the door shuts, his chains magically unhinge. Gallant isn’t about to waste this opportunity.
He gets dressed and heads down to the dining room, where his grandmother and the other ladies sit, discussing who should get chosen and why, who deserves it and who doesn’t. His grandmother looks more than a little surprised to see him, but simply says that there shouldn’t be any hard feelings. She wants to live. He yells that she has lived, he’s the one who hasn’t. But she vehemently disagrees, claiming he has lived ten lifetimes of failures and mistakes, and she’s always been the one to clean up after him. She should be the one to live because of her age, because she is the bridge between past and future with all of her knowledge and wisdom. And though she has a point, selling out your own grandson is pretty cold, and it’s kind of hard to look past that. Especially when she tells him it’s not in her nature to love.
Gallant is left feeling unloved and unwanted, more lonely than ever. But soon, the rubber man appears again. He still firmly believes it’s Langdon, so he follows him upstairs to a bedroom. But this time, he’s taking charge. He climbs on top, being forceful and rough with him, and grabs a pair of nearby scissors. He plunges them down into the rubber man’s chest over and over again. He’s covered in blood as he sits on top of the dead body when the door opens. It’s Langdon, standing there with a little smirk. Gallant, shocked, looks down and discovers it isn’t the rubber man underneath him. It’s his grandmother.
Meanwhile, Timothy and Emily are making the most of their time together. Now that they know it isn’t actually against the rules to have sex, they’re finally doing what they’ve wanted to do for eighteen months. And while it felt good while they were doing it, they are discovered shortly after by Mead, who drags them before Venable. They confront her about her lies, but she barely blinks at the accusations. Her Outpost, her rules. They will be punished.
They’re taken to an empty chamber where Mead and one of her workers plan to kill them, but things go awry when Timothy manages to knock the gun out of the man’s hands and shoots Miriam just under her chest. She stumbles out of the room, clutching her wound, but when she pulls her hand away, it isn’t covered in blood. It’s covered in a milky white substance. She looks down in horror as she looks at her own rotten insides leaking out of her.
Talk about a cliffhanger! The introduction of Michael Langdon has unquestionably complicated things for our residents of Outpost 3, but will he take any of them with him back to the Sanctuary? Only time will tell.
For more on American Horror Story: Apocalypse, including previous episode recaps, visit our official American Horror Story page.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse Airs Wednesday Nights On FX.