We were promised that Apocalypse, the 8th season of FX’s hit show American Horror Story would be the biggest crossover we’ve seen in the series yet. But we didn’t understand the massive scale of it until this most recent episode! The fourth episode of the season featured the return of some of our favourite characters, and flashbacks not just of a certain Coven, but of the residents of the Hotel Cortez itself! A crossover between Murder House, Coven, and Hotel? This is the show’s boldest move yet, and it certainly paid off.
Episode 3 of Apocalypse ended with some major twists. In case you need a refresher, Venable and Mead killed everyone with poison apples, but when they went to Langdon’s room to finish him off, Mead killed Venable instead, revealing her true loyalty. She was made in the image of someone he loved dearly, but who is now gone. And as for the residents of the Outpost? All but three remain dead. Coco, Mallory, and Dinah were brought back to life by none other than Cordelia Foxx, the Supreme. Talk about a twist ending!
Which brings us to an eventful and extremely intriguing 4th episode. It opens with a flashback of a young Michael Langdon sitting in Miriam Mead’s kitchen. Or at the very least, the woman Mead was designed after. And let me tell you, Michael is near the spitting image of his father, Tate. That almost but not quite innocent smile, those blonde curls…but there’s something much darker about Michael, as we later discover.
The kitchen looks innocent enough, but as Mead sits down we see an alter, skull, and occult symbols in the room behind her. In an ominous voice-over, Langdon talks about his love for this woman and though he still has no idea how she found him, he’s forever grateful to her for giving him a true home. This is quite the telling statement, as it proves that Constance was as good of a mother to him as she was to her other children. And we all know how that turned out. Still no word on when Jessica Lange’s original AHS character will pop up, but we seem to be getting closer!
Unlike the controlling and abusive Constance, Miriam is kind, eccentric, and yeah, maybe she worships Satan but other than that she seems nice! Though admittedly, she killed her first three husbands, so maybe not so nice. She refers to herself as a “Devil Mama” and it doesn’t take long for Langdon to become attached. He modeled Miriam Mead after his chosen mother because he needed someone to help him remake this world, someone he never stopped trusting or loving. You see, Miriam doesn’t only look like this woman, she has her thoughts and memories as well. She’s glowing, as he points out, and this reunion of sorts would almost be touching if not for the fact that Langdon is the Anti-Christ. But the reunion is cut short when Langdon suddenly senses the powerful presences of the witches.
Downstairs, Coco, Mallory, and Dinah are coming to terms with their resurrection, and Mallory is by far taking it the hardest. Confused and scared, Cordelia reveals that she put an identity spell on both her and Coco to protect them. Neither are quite who they think they are, which explains why Mallory was so surprised by her abilities. Cordelia not only wanted to protect the witches, but she needed them as well, to save the world from Langdon’s evil. Dinah, however, wants no part in it. She never agreed to or signed anything, and saving the world was never part of her plan. Madison points out she couldn’t even if she wanted to as her “voodoo” isn’t powerful enough. Before she can come back with a retort, they’re interrupted by none other than Langdon himself, who points out that none of them are powerful enough to defeat him, as he’s already won. Just look at the world. Myrtle comes back with one of her classic, epic retorts.
“It’s almost as bad as your dinner jacket, but at least the world can be saved…I always thought the world would end with fire and ice, not witches and warlocks.”
Yet, here we are. The rest of the episode takes place in a series of flashbacks, starting three years before the bomb, though still at the same location as Outpost 3 when it was an all boys school. Not just an ordinary school though, an institution where warlocks could learn to harness their power. Punctuality and fashion mattered just as much then as they do in the present day, it seems. But we meet the warlocks at an interesting time. You see, the warlocks are not as powerful as the witches. No warlock in history has ever had power enough to match a Supreme, and as such, witches have always remained in control. But surprising footage sent to the grand chancellor, Ariel Augustus, may change everything. The Level 3 Warlocks, including Cheyenne Jackson’s new character, John Henry Moore, gather around to watch the footage of the interview, and it’s chilling to say the least.
A boy is questioned vigorously about the killing of a man, but the boy admits to nothing, crying and shaking out of intimidation. The officer in the room picks him up out of the chair and throws him to the floor. That’s when things get interesting. The officer flies into the air and onto the ceiling. One by one, his arms and legs break, slowly and excruciatingly. He falls back to the floor, looks to the camera as his body contorts in an unnatural angle and says, “save me”, before his head explodes. Moore is positive that it’s a classic case of demonic possession, but others aren’t so sure, clouded by their hopes that this boy could be the Alpha, the warlock powerful enough to overthrow the Supreme.
Despite Moore’s misgivings about the boy’s seemingly dark magic, Ariel pays Langdon a visit in his jail cell, promising that he can help him control his powers and take him to a place where he will finally belong. Langdon promises he never intended to hurt anyone, but we can plainly see that’s a lie. We watch as the man behind a butcher counter insults Langdon’s so called “Devil Mama” and as a result, he lifts five knives into the air and stabs them through his stomach, chest, and head, without ever touching a single one of them. He plays innocent with Ariel, pretending to be a tortured soul. But we know better. As they leave the jail, one of the officers tries to stop them, so Ariel temporarily paralyzes him. When Ariel isn’t looking, Langdon snaps the officer’s neck. His Mama watches them drive off with pride.
They arrive at the school, where we learn of Ariel’s bitterness for Cordelia. When she outed witches and warlocks to the world, it seems many weren’t happy about it. Nearby residents of the school burned the place down, forcing them to retreat underground underneath a garden statue, the only thing that remained. He is welcomed by the other boys with open arms, by everyone but Moore. He senses Langdon’s darkness, and isn’t about to pretend otherwise. No matter. The others are anxious to begin testing Langdon’s powers, starting with Level 1. They ask him to look into a mirror and tell them where they hid a particular first edition book. Not only does he know the title of the book before they have a chance to tell him, he actually plucks it out of the mirror. An impressive skill for a warlock with no training.
Next, they test his ability to transport himself throughout the room, which he does with ease, moving to the top of the stairs and then to the ceiling in the blink of an eye. Finally, they ask him to manipulate the water molecules in the air in the room and make it snow. Again, a task he completes with ease. But before we know it, he slips into a trance and shifts the entire temperature of the room. Soon, the warlocks are shivering, barely able to breathe. They scream, shifting Langdon out of his trance, where he looks surprised as blood drips from his nose. Moore looks scared, while the others are nothing short of impressed. Later, at dinner, Moore begs the other warlocks to see reason. He has an extreme darkness within him, something they should not associate with. But the warlocks are desperate to overthrow the witches and will do anything to make it happen. Even if it means being blind to Langdon’s evil. It’s time to call a meeting. It’s time to summon the witches.
Finally, after literally years of waiting, we get to visit our favourite Coven once again. And now, Zoe is one of the teachers, demonstrating to the young witches how to turn a rose’s color. Cordelia watches with pride as Zoe teaches as she was once taught, and she does seem born to it. She’s all about empowerment and encouraging women to embrace and use their strength. She says it best.
“One thing is certain. Nothing is immutable when the will of a strong woman is applied.”
One of the witches she teaches is none other than Mallory, though she looks much different, happier, than we’ve ever seen her. Zoe tells Cordelia to watch her closely, as she believes she has a strong gift. They look on as Mallory turns the rose a vibrant blue, and then she makes each petal fall onto the table. She then makes them join, turning them into bright blue butterflies, fluttering around the room. As one falls into Cordelia’s hand, it turns white once more. She certainly does have a talent, but before we can see more, Myrtle arrives, telling the two witches that they’ve been summoned to see the warlocks. They don’t relish the thought of flying out, but know it must be of the utmost importance. How surprised they are when they find out the real reason.
When Ariel tells the three witches of Langdon and how they believe he has a power that rivals that of a Supreme, Zoe looks shocked, Myrtle looks skeptical, and Cordelia simply laughs, telling them it isn’t possible. No man has ever come close to that level of power as testosterone greatly inhibits abilities. But Ariel is not so easily swayed, and asks Cordelia to administer the test of the Seven Wonders. She refuses outright, telling them that she sanctioned a young witch, Misty Day, before she was ready, and she lost her life because of it. She takes care of her own, and she won’t condemn this boy to death just for the whims of the warlocks. They accuse Cordelia of only looking after those she cares about, leaving others to suffer, such as Queenie, who they claim she abandoned. But Cordelia puts them in her place.
She searched for Queenie, for her life force, and when she finally found her in the Hotel Cortez, she wasted no time in travelling there, determined to get her out. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but what she didn’t realize was exactly what the Hotel Cortez was. In a fantastic flashback, we watch as Cordelia walks in on Queenie and James Patrick March himself playing a game of cards. Queenie looks not only bored, but sad, and is relieved when she sees Cordelia in the doorway. After a tight hug, they grab hands and walk briskly down the stairs and through the front doors, all the while March laughing in the background. For while Cordelia is free to leave, Queenie disappears, landing right back in the hotel room, sitting across from March. They tried over and over again to no avail, until Queenie told her it was okay, that the others needed her more. It was then Cordelia realized that the Hotel Cortez wasn’t just haunted, it was a hell mouth. An entryway to all things evil.
Cordelia cries, her voice shaking as she tells the story, and while the warlocks are moved, Ariel is not, insisting that Cordelia is merely scared of the idea that a man could be more powerful than the Supreme. But as the Supreme, she has final say. This meeting is adjourned. If only she knew that just a few floors above, Langdon is in another trance, searching Cordelia’s memories for images of the Hotel Cortez. He will prove his power to her.
He arrives at the hotel as Queenie and March play over their 56,000th round of gin. Queenie still looks bored, but March looks, dare I say it, scared. And if you recall, this is a man not easily unsettled. Langdon offers Queenie his hand, telling her that he’s here to get her out of the hotel. She’s skeptical, but heads down to appease him, telling March she’ll be right back. But a master of darkness himself, he knows he’ll never see her again. With Langdon’s help, she walks into the sunlight as if she never entered the hotel in the first place. It makes sense, of course, that the Anti-Christ can walk into the hell mouth and take who he pleases. And they have one more stop to make: Madison Montgomery’s personal hell.
Madison’s personal hell looks all too familiar to retail workers. She gets yelled at, demeaned, has the manager called over, and folds towels for the millionth time. But this time is a little different, as who should appear, but Langdon. He tells her he’s here to help her escape her hell, which she laughs at. He doesn’t budge. She looks more than a little hesitant, asking what the catch is. Does she have to blow him or something? He shakes his head and chuckles as he tells her that there’s no catch. In true Madison form, she looks almost disappointed, asking if she can blow him after they get out of there. Queenie appears and rolls her eyes. Still the same old Madison.
Both girls are happy to come back to the world of living, so much so that Madison promises to be good if she gets another chance. Langdon asks why she’d want to do something silly like that, and even Madison looks a little unsettled from the comment. But if it’ll get her out of hell, who’s she to argue? Back at the school, Cordelia feels a little uneasy, sensing new presences as they leave. In a positively breathtaking, stunning sequence, the three witches walk through the door, outside of the statue, and come face to face with Langdon and the proof of his powers: a very much alive Queenie and Madison. Cordelia faints at the sight of them. Queenie rushes over as Myrtle and Zoe kneel to her aid, and even Madison walks over, rolling her eyes the whole time. Langdon, however, looks tickled, pleased that his display worked.
This was, by far, the boldest crossover American Horror Story has ever done, and it certainly was one of the most enjoyable episodes! We love having our witches back and can’t wait to see what happens next! For more on American Horror Story and previous episode recaps, visit our official American Horror Story page.
American Horror Story Airs Wednesday Nights On FX.