With only a week remaining before the season finale of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, we know you’re all getting antsy about when we’ll be returning to the end of the world. The bad news is, as the penultimate episode kicks off, we’re still mired in backstory (and if anyone asks “Are we there yet?” about the apocalypse one more time, I will TURN THIS RECAP AROUND.)
The good news is, some of the characters are just as impatient about all this endless scene-setting as the rest of us. We open in Silicon Valley, where Mister and Mister Bowlcut Techbro are sick of waiting around for Michael to bring down the fire and brimstone. They want the world to end right goddamn now, and they’re deeply disappointed in their directionless Antichrist, who still has no idea what he’s doing. But they’re not the only disgruntled employees on campus: Wilhemina Venable, who’s tired of being kept powerless and in the dark by her coke-snorting supervisors, tenders her resignation in a huff… and gives the bros an idea.
We’ll get to that in a minute. But roll credits, and we’re back in New Orleans, where the witches of Miss Robichaux’s are preparing themselves to do battle with Michael Langdon. They think they’re safe inside their Garden District mansion, hidden behind various hexes, auras, and other lines of defense — only as it turns out, all the expert spell-casting in New Orleans is no match for one voodoo queen doing evil crafts on the porch. Michael and Robot Mead infiltrate the mansion and kill almost everyone, with thanks to Dinah, who apparently cares more about her show business aspirations than any sisterhood with the coven.
“Satan just green lit your talk show for 13 episodes,” Michael tells her as the bloodbath concludes. (Sidenote: There is no way this is the first time Satan has facilitated a TV deal. Looking at you, Property Brothers.)
There’s just one problem: Michael is much too fixated on killing the witches, and totally ignoring the part where he’s supposed to bring on the apocalypse, much to the frustration of the techies who are watching this all through Mead’s robot eyeballs. And after Michael reveals that his plan for the end of days is cribbed entirely from the plot of The Omen 3, which is like the worst of the Omens, the guys realize that they need to give him a nudge. They’re the ones who introduce him to the Cooperative (who are actually the Illuminati, just rebranded) and the existence of an easily hackable Russian missile defense system that’ll blast civilization into oblivion. (Not gonna lie, this is a fairly disappointing explanation for how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a bowl cut.) This is also where Venable comes in: having convinced Michael to work with the well-funded and powerful organization, the guys tap their lilac-clad assistant to run an outpost, where she can be as petty and mercurial and authoritarian as she likes.
With the clock ticking down now to the end of days, the surviving witches — Cordelia, Myrtle, Mallory, Coco, and Madison — hide out at Misty Day’s swamp cabin and concoct a last-ditch plan. Mallory, the young Supreme, might be a rare witch with the power to go back in time and alter the past… if she can survive, which nobody ever has. Her test run is a trip back to the Bolshevik revolution, where she’s supposed to save Anastasia Romanov (also a witch, just FYI.) Unfortunately, it only half works; Mallory “pierces the veil” and travels back in time to Russia, but then wakes up screaming and weeping blood, having failed at her task. Cordelia thinks she knows why, and says she wants to commit suicide so that Mallory can come into her power (which presumably she’ll use to travel back in time and… kill the Antichrist as a baby? Is that where we’re going with this?!) But Myrtle persuades her to wait, and return one more time to the underground warlock school — which is where they find all the male witches (manwiches?) dead, their corpses artfully arranged in a pentagram.
Why? Probably because things are moving right along, at last, toward the apocalypse. In the final moments of the episode, Michael goes to Cooperative HQ to meet with the organization’s leaders (all of whom are decked out in futuristic headgear that looks like the result of a sexual encounter between Darth Vader’s helmet and a fencing mask.) He’s ready to end the world, he tells them, just as soon as they finish construction on the outposts that will shelter the world’s richest families through the coming nuclear storm. And the episode ends there, on a massive cliffhanger, of… people in very silly hats flipping to Page 6 of their End of Days marketing binders.
Next week? PAGE SEVEN. (And also the apocalypse, probably.)
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