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October 10, 2018 at 11:42 PM EDT
We gave it a B

If last week’s episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse contained too much exposition, this week’s installment gets right to the point: ZOMBIES.

At least, that’s the major takeaway in the cold open as Cordelia swoons and hallucinates a vision of the end of the world. She emerges into a post-apocalyptic hellscape, Miss Robichaux’s reduced to ash behind her, and finds herself powerless — and eaten. Ragged zombies stumble out of the mist and sink their teeth into her flesh, while a pale figure (who looks an awful lot like Langdon in demon-face, yes?) looks on, laughing.

But then, waking up to the sight of Queenie and Madison, alive, Cordelia makes a strange pronouncement: Langdon will take the test of the seven wonders. And this is a very big deal, for the record! Unfortunately, I can barely focus on it because Madison’s outfit is so fantastic; it looks like goth lingerie designed by Stevie Nicks, and I want it.

The title credits roll, and then we’re back in New Orleans, where Myrtle Snow is blasting Cordelia for giving a man a chance at the Supremacy: “Have we learned nothing from Atilla the Hun? Herod the Great? Mark Zuckerberg?!”

…Okay, so maybe she has a point! And she had an idea: if they just delay Langdon’s test, a new lady supreme might emerge. Mallory, for instance, is showing incredible abilities, having brought a dead deer back to life and cast a Benjamin Button-style spell on it so that it turns back into a fawn. But even with promising witches in the wings (and, uh, not-so-promising ones — Coco has just arrived at Miss Robichaux’s with an ability to detect gluten, and that’s it!), Cordelia says there’s no time. Bummer news: she’s dying, and fading. The fading is worse: an erosion of her powers that apparently involves developing a really hideous case of gangrene on the abs. All that core work! For nothing!

And so we come to the cusp of the blood moon, as Langdon is blessed in preparation for his ordeal. Only one warlock sees something amiss: John Henry Moore glimpses Langdon’s true face during the blessing and tries to warn Cordelia, but he never gets to New Orleans. Instead, Mead waylays him at a gas station and slits several of his most important body parts, before setting him on fire for good measure.

The only thing standing in Langdon’s way now is the test itself — which ends up being a campy throwback all the way to the golden age of silent cinema. The seven wonders unfold in jittery black and white: Telekineses. Mind Control. Transmutation. Divination. Pyrokinesis. Vitalum Vitalis. And then, finally: Descensum, with a twist. You guessed it: Cordelia wants Langdon to descend to Hell… and come back with Misty Day.

The warlocks, because they are total asshats who want to hurt our feelings, object fiercely to this added challenge. (Side note: And we’re going to remember how you tried to deprive us of our Misty, you cape-wearing bunch of bastards!) But Langdon — who is absolutely the son of Satan himself, okay, there’s just no question about this anymore — is totally up for visiting his ancestral home. Moments later, he walks down a long hallway and finds Misty Day, still trapped in an endless time loop as she resurrects and dissects and resurrects a frog. She realizes she’s saved when the demon biology teacher’s intestines suddenly spill out of his body like sausages, and sees Langdon behind him, holding a scalpel. (Oh man, that awkward moment where you suddenly feel kind of friendly toward the Antichrist, eh guys? Maybe he’s not so bad!)

Cordelia gets a nosebleed and faints again at the sight of Misty resurrected — although not before a breathless pronouncement to Langdon.

“There can be no doubt. You are the next,” she says.

Only in the next scene, Cordelia reveals that it was all a ploy: Langdon will never ascend to lead the coven, but she needed to find out how strong he was… and use him to resurrect all her girls, the better to fight him later. And as the episode winds down, things are downright idyllic: the Warlocks are happy, Misty Day is back, and Stevie Nicks is in the house to twirl and sing with her favorite protege. But while Misty and Stevie embrace, Cordelia and Madison are scheming — and Chablis is eavesdropping. They know there’s a fight ahead, and they need intel, which means a field trip to investigate Langdon’s true origins. Flash cut to one breathtaking shot of the Murder House (that sound you hear is every hardcore AHS fan in the universe, squealing in ecstatic unison), and then the end credits roll. But gird your loins, everyone, because we all know what this means.

Today, an establishing shot.

Next week? La Lange.

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