I must admit that its been a while since I watched an entire season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story anthology series. While I loved Murder House, I was on the fence about the next series because it seemed to rely more on the shock of sex an violence too much after Coven. Anyways, I decided to take the plunge for AHS Apocalypse because it was “the” crossover episode that would finally close the cliffhanger ending of Murder House and the rest of the chapters that I did watch in its entirety. I can’t say if I’m completely impressed or particularly underwhelmed.
Synopsis: The apocalypse has come with the arrival of the antichrist aka Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), the demon child spawned from Tate Langdon’s (Evan Peters) rape of Vivien (Connie Britton) from the first season of the show. As he bids for the complete annhilation of the human race, the last of the witches under the Supreme Cordelia (Sara Paulson) from AHS : Coven unite to stop Michael from his evil plans.
American Horror Story: Apocalype is quite interesting because even though the AHS franchise has always been an anthology with a different storyline for each season, Apocalypse manages to find a common denominator and a connecting thread among all of the chapters to bring about the end of the world in this dark and demented eighth installment.
Actors whom we have all come to love like Evan Peters, Sara Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Taissa Farmiga, who have appeared in multiple seasons of the show also play multiple parts in this chapter of the saga, going back and forth among their characters from the old season and introducing the viewers to even more characters who play a part in the apocalypse. They do it so seamlessly that it leaves audiences with little time to ponder why they even have multiple roles in the first place. Its a fan service for long time fans of the show and a treat for first time viewers to see how talented these actors are.
I loved Cody Fern as Michael, and even though he was trying to destroy the world for 90 percent of the season, I still couldn’t help but sympathize with him. It was true that he had a deep seated evil within him but he makes audiences wonder whether he would have turned out differently if Constance did not whisk him away and raise him like she did the rest of her children (we knew how that turned out). It would have been a good thing to explore on the time jump. I felt for Michael because after all, he did grow a decade physically in one night but mentally, he was still a little boy who needed to be accepted. Too bad he found it with the wrong people.
I liked the Coven arc of the series and how the third season of the show played an important part in Michael’s journey to world domination. I was also a big fan of how he was tied to the Murder House, giving us an excuse to go back and visit with star crossed lovers Tate and Violet. I’ve been shipping these two for seven years and I did find closure for them in Episode 6 #ReturnToMurderHouse. Still, I felt their ending was too abrupt for my long and agonizing wait. Its still better than nothing though. The highlight of this episode though was Michel’s history. It broke my heart to see him so uncertain and facing rejection from whom he believed was his dad. It also pained me to extinguish the brief hope that he could be better with some guidance when Ben gave up on him too.
I felt that the cyborg angle was kind of weak, especially when the nerds tried to manipulate Michael into doing their bidding. And Michael’s single minded drive to destroy the witches, though understandable from an emotional standpoint and his immature state, was kind of lame as well, especially since these happened in the latter episodes. I felt that it took away from the epic showdown that the first half of the show was building to and weakened Michael’s position as a genuine threat to humanity.
I would have wanted too, for Michael to have an epic showdown with Mallory or Cordelia just to illustrate how powerful the antichrist was as part of the finale. It would have made his defeat even more satisfying but the way it played out seemed like a bit of a copout to me just so the show could inject that final twist. I would have preferred for Michael to even go back to the Murder House to terrorize the rest of the ghosts that lived there since it was original purpose of the property. But that’s just me.
All in all, I felt that AHS Apocalypse was a strong installment to the franchise and utilized its well oiled cast very well as it always has. However, I felt at times, that the storytelling was lopsided and forced to accommodate the elements from the previous installments and the sentimentality of this connection kept the show on delivering the finale that it was hyping up for the past eight years.
PS. Thanks to Fox Plus for streaming the show right on schedule.