Episode 2 of American Horror Story: Apocalypse was nothing short of jam-packed in its final moments. The Morning After ended with three major events/reveals to take note of. One, Gallant stabs his grandmother repeatedly until he kills her, tricked into thinking she is the rubber man! We’d feel bad for him, except for the fact that he admitted earlier in the episode that he hated her guts. Two, Timothy and Emily have sex for the first time and are discovered and sentenced by Venable and Mead. And three, when Mead attempts to execute them, Timothy is able to grab the gun and shoot her instead. She looks down and sees not blood, but a milky white substance. Yeah…that’s a new one on me, too.
Episode 3 begins shortly after the events of the last episode, with Langdon talking to/questioning the guests of Outpost 3. Timothy thanks Langdon for saving him and Emily, but Langdon simply shrugs it off. The punishment for sex should not be death when the re-population of the Earth is on the line. And as for Gallant? Langdon is acting as if nothing happened, telling him that his grandmother died peacefully in her sleep, even though he saw Gallant crouched over his grandmother’s fresh corpse. This would seem curious, and certainly does to Gallant, but we know who Langdon truly is. He is, quite literally, the Anti-Christ. Despite what most of the guests believe, he isn’t looking for the most pure of heart. The old world’s foundations rested upon the idea of purity and goodness, after all, and look where that got them.
“You’ve made the assumption that I’m looking for people who are pure of heart, unblemished, pure lily white. The old world lived under a set of rules. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt love they neighbor, etc. etc…I want a world without the hypocrisy. With the kinds of people who wouldn’t just eat from the fruit of the forbidden tree but would cut the fucking tree down and burn it for firewood.”
So, that’s what Langdon is looking for, but who meets those requirements? As he points out, Coco lacks the depth to have any real darkness. But what about some of the others that we don’t know so much about, like Dinah or Mallory? Well here’s a twist for you. Both women are witches.
At least, that what is hinted at, though Mallory may very well be something more. Langdon and Dinah have crossed paths before, and Langdon was surprised to see her at Outpost 3, concerned she may try to make things difficult for him. But she assures him that she isn’t strong enough to overthrow him or be a danger to him in anyway. So..she’s a witch but doesn’t have the full use of her powers? Or has never been properly taught how to use them? Why she isn’t strong enough remains to be seen, but she’s most definitely a witch. Mallory, on the other hand, is a little more complicated.
Langdon can see her inner struggle to embrace who she really is, what he claims is the darkness within her. And she admits that it’s because she doesn’t know who she is. He tries to coax it out of her, slowly getting more and more intimidating until she tries to run out. He grabs her arm and refuses to lessen his grip. And that’s when we see her unleash her power. She screams for him to let her go, and in doing so, without touching him, launches him off his feet and knocks over everything in the room. He stands quickly, screaming back at her and revealing his true form, a pale, cracked face. The face of the Anti-Christ. She controls the flames from the fireplace and engulfs the room with her fiery vengeance. When they both return to themselves, he asks her who she is. And once again, she tells him that she doesn’t know. But it seems he might.
After this encounter, Langdon performs a blood ritual, calling upon his dark father and the dark magic. His eyes turn pitch black as he asks for guidance, pulling snakes from his own blood that pools around him. He says, to whatever entity he prays to, that he thought he killed them all, but one somehow survived. Clearly he’s referring to Mallory, but then, what is she? She can’t be just a witch, because he knows there is more than one. Is she perhaps something more than human, something that could combat the Anti-Christ? Something of Heaven? It’s the only thing that really makes sense, but for now, we’re still in the dark. All we know for sure is that Mallory is powerful, and possesses supernatural abilities.
Meanwhile, Miriam Mead is going through a bit of an existential crisis, and despite the fact that she’s in league with Venable, we can’t help but feel bad for her. After the events of the last episode, she’s now realized that every memory she has was programmed into her. She questions everything she feels, if she can actually feel. Is she anything close to human, or nothing more than a machine?
We know she was programmed/made by the Cooperative, no doubt to carry out their orders. But some of the memories she has feel too real to be fake. She remembers a young, blonde boy. A boy she loved more than anything in the world, but she must have lost him, for she feels sad when she thinks of him. Not knowing what’s real and what’s not has left her questioning her entire purpose. But as always, Venable is there, assuring her that she is her family, and that her purpose is protecting the Outpost, just like it’s always been. Venable confesses that her entrance to the Sanctuary has been denied by Langdon, and Mead is stunned. She suggests an alternative. Kill everyone in Outpost 3, included Langdon, find the location of the Sanctuary on Langdon’s laptop, and head out on their own. She’s a machine, so I doubt radiation is really a thing for her, and as for Venable, well, Mead says it best. She’s mean and tough enough to survive anything. And so, a plan starts to take shape.
While Venable and Mead conspire inside the Outpost, we finally get a glimpse of what life has been like out in the world since the missiles hit. And it’s not pretty. The world is covered in smoke and ashes. Corpses litter the ground, along with people who are too sick to move, but can’t quite die either. We come across three men, all covered in cancers and sores, who roast a human leg on an open fire, waiting for it to be cooked enough to eat, when they are happened upon by a stranger. The stranger, also covered in tumors, tells them that he’s tracking his girlfriend. He’s been on her trail for about a year and heard about a shelter for rich people nearby. The men don’t know anything about a shelter, but offer to share their meal, hoping to catch the man by surprise and kill him. No doubt for food. But this man is clearly no stranger to these tactics, and instead kills every one of them with a shotgun. Just as he’s about to leave, a black carriage comes zooming past, the same kind that Langdon arrived in. Talk about good timing.
The carriage quickly makes its way to Outpost 3, and its carrying nothing but a sealed box. Or so Mead thinks. No one realizes that the man from earlier is clinging to the underside of the carriage, just waiting for an opportune moment. They head back inside to open the box, and lo and behold, it contains ripe, red apples. Eden has come to Outpost 3, it seems. Venable takes a bite, relishing in its freshness. And then she and Mead get an idea. What if they were to host a party? It’s near Halloween, and it would be a perfect time to celebrate and come together, to unite the Grays and Purples and rejoice that they have all survived. At this party, each guest could be given an apple. But each apple will be laced with snake venom, causing death almost instantly.
As Venable and Mead plan the murder fest, one of the workers heads outside to deal with the horses. But she’s attacked by the man underneath the carriage. He stabs her in the neck and steals her access card. This man, diseased from the radiation, has now entered Outpost 3. And no one knows.
Meanwhile, the guests get ready for the party, with Gallant perfecting Coco’s hair. And, as per usual, Coco is nothing short of rude to Mallory. And it gets worse when they start talking about the Sanctuary. Gallant alludes to something strange happening during his talk with Langdon, and Mallory perks up, revealing what went down during her visit with him, flames and all. They both seem pretty taken aback, but Coco decides to get cruel, taunting Mallory to use her powers in front of them, now. When she can’t control the flames, Coco laughs and tells her that some people will never be special and she just has to accept that. And while she’s at it, start working on her costume for the ball. It’s not going to make itself.
And yes, it gets better. After Mallory finishes Coco’s costume, she also has to announce her arrival to the party that night. When it’s met with silence, Gallant tells everyone to clap, and while everyone rolls their eyes just a bit, they oblige. Venable arrives shortly after, as Mead reveals the apples. This will be a night of festivities, of dancing and bobbing for apples, and as Venable puts it, a night that should be treated as if it were their last. If only they knew…
The party is a masquerade, though some have gotten more into the spirit than others. And suddenly a newcomer appears, completely hooded, and starts dancing with Coco. She’s convinced that it’s Langdon and begins to sweet-talk him. She tells him she wants just as much of a say in who comes with them to the Sanctuary. That people follow her because she has great taste, she’s an influencer. And to keep this position, she will please him in any way he wishes. She’ll do things to him she wouldn’t even do with her boyfriend.
She leads him upstairs and as she warns him of her gag reflex, he takes off his mask. It isn’t Langdon, but the man from outside. And we’ve actually seen this man before, though he looked very different at the time. This man is Coco’s boyfriend, the one she left in Los Angeles as she boarded the plane without him. And you can bet he’s angry. She tries to look relieved, happy, but her disgust at his diseased appearance is obvious. And it just makes him angrier. “Happy Halloween, bitch”, he says as he drives a knife through her skull. She gasps as the knife enters, and falls to the floor as soon as he lets go, dead. Oh! And it’s worth noting that no one else knows this guy is in the Outpost.
Down at the party, the guests have begun bobbing for apples. And it’s not just the Purples! The Grays participate too! After each of them have gotten an apple, they all take a bite together, while Mead and Venable watch on, smiling. Within moments, they all begin to choke. Falling over, vomiting, gasping for air, they each soil themselves and cover the room in sick as they try to fight the poison to no avail. A minute later, they all are dead. And now, it’s Langdon’s turn.
The two ladies head up to his room and inform him that Venable is not staying here to die. She’s going to the Sanctuary. But he isn’t. Mead pulls a gun and points it at Langdon, who tells her she shouldn’t do that. He stares deep into her eyes and soon, her aim changes. The gun is now pointing at Venable. And Mead pulls the trigger, hitting her square in the chest.
Mead is more confused than ever. She didn’t want to do that, she thought she was loyal to her! But Langdon informs her she’s just doing what she’s always done, obeying his orders. He reveals that poisoning the guests was his idea. It was all him. Mead bows her head as she admits her confusion, despite the fact that she’s just a machine. He pleads her never to say that again. He reveals that when he had the Cooperative commission her, he based her off of someone he knew, someone very close to him. The only woman who ever loved him. It doesn’t take much to figure out who that is. Who cared for young Michael but Constance? That’s right. Jessica Lange is coming back! Langdon reveals Constance is gone, so we most likely will see her through flashbacks alone, which also would confirm the return of the Harmons and Tate. No word yet on whether this will be in the next episode or not, but start counting down, because it’s definitely coming.
So, where does that leave us? A house full of dead guests, and Langdon, Mead, and Coco’s ex-boyfriend somewhere in the house. And who should approach the perimeter of Outpost 3 but 3 witches, at this very moment? Without radiation suits or any visible protection, they walk among the smoke and ashes as if nothing touches them. Cordelia Foxx, Myrtle Snow, and Madison Montgomery enter the Outpost and on Cordelia’s orders, gather their sisters. Dinah, Coco, and Mallory are laid before them, and Cordelia works her magic (quite literally), breathing life back into each of them. They awake in shock, and Madison crouches over Mallory, smiling.
So many questions! How do Madison and Mallory know each other!? What’s going to happen with Coco’s ex-boyfriend!? Or Langdon? Or anything? And Coco is a witch? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out!
For more on American Horror Story, including previous recaps of Season 8, visit our official American Horror Story page.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse Airs Wednesday Nights On FX.