It all began with the end of the world, but how will American Horror Story‘s apocalypse wrap it all up? With a bang? A whimper? A primal scream of “Balenciaga”? It’s time to find out! Are we all strapped in and wearing purple and/or our finest black lace party peignoirs? Good, I thought so.
As we open, it’s still the pre-apocalypse — but only just. The end is nigh, and Myrtle Snow is infiltrating the headquarters of the Bowlcut Techbros, who are eating buffalo wings as they put the finishing touches on their nuclear option. They’re no match for the ginger witch; a couple skillful hexes and four coveted spots at the Hawthorne School compound officially belong to the coven.
All that’s left is to wipe the witches’ memories and then let the world end, the better to buy some time for Mallory. This way, she can come into her power while the identity spell protects her from detection by Michael Langdon (the money quote from Madison: “He can smell a witch a mile away like some kind of evil truffle pig!”) It’s a one-shot deal, Cordelia explains: once Mallory is ready, she’ll only have one chance to go back in time and (just spitballing here) kill the Antichrist before he hits evil puberty. Also, the memory spell involves a very subdued glitterbombing, which is fun.
What happens next, we’ve seen before: the nuclear winter, the Venable underground autocracy, the wild confrontation between Michael and Mallory in which her powers emerge by surprise. But with an added twist: at the same time as Mallory conjures a room full of flames, three witches buried alive in the magic Louisiana mud claw their way out of the earth and make their way west. And at last, we’re all caught up! The coven is reunited at the Hawthorne school, and it’s Witches vs. Antichrist all over again — only as Michael points out, the world kinda already ended, which puts the witches at a distinct disadvantage. Michael is the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the apocalypse, y’all. Can the coven possibly defeat him?!
At first, it seems like the answer is yes. For one, they have help from a surprise ally: Marie Laveau is back from hell (yes!) to hand the traitorous Dinah her eternal reward (YESSSSS!). She slits the usurper queen’s throat, and the witches spring into action. Robot Mead, standing beside Michael, goes haywire in a double sci-fi homage: a Scanners-style body explosion, followed by a very Space Odyssey rendition of “Daisy, Daisy” by her dying, decapitated head. Madison grabs Mead’s machine gun arm and riddles Michael with bullets — which doesn’t kill him, but should buy enough time for Mallory to cast her time-traveling spell and go back to save the world. Yes?
Nope. (Or “Noooooooo!”, as your recapper screamed so loudly that it scared the dog off the couch.) As the witches rush toward their destiny, Brock leaps out and stabs Mallory in the guts — and by the time Myrtle has set him on fire, the damage is done. Michael springs back to life and explodes Madison’s head into a fine red mist, pulls out Marie Laveau’s heart, and breaks Coco’s neck. Mallory, mortally wounded, is too weak to cast the necessary spell, and Myrtle cuts right to the chase:
“It appears as though we’re f—–, my dear,” she says.
But Cordelia, never one to shy away from doing what’s necessary, has one last play: she steps into the hallway to confront Michael… and stabs herself in the heart.
The Supreme is dead!
Long live the Supreme!
And Mallory, imbued with the dying Cordelia’s power, gasps awake and DOES THE THING.
Next thing you know, we’re back in 2015 — and Constance Langdon is just discovering her grandson beside the body of a murdered priest. (This finale was already A-grade material, but this second glorious cameo from Jessica Lange merits a “plus”.) Only in this version of the past, things play out a little differently: Constance kicks Michael out of the house. And when he steps outside, he meets his destiny… in the form of Mallory and a giant SUV. She runs him down, backs over him, and then runs over him again because three is a powerful number and also because it’s just fun. Constance runs to the dying Michael as Mallory speeds away. He begs her to bring him to Murder House so that his spirit can survive.
“Go to hell,” Constance says.
And that’s how it ends, or rather, doesn’t. As Mallory explains, nothing ever truly dies; energy can’t be destroyed, only redirected. So after she kills Michael, life goes on. She matriculates at Miss Robichaux’s, where things are mostly as they were (except Myrtle, never having been resurrected to save the world, remains dead.) She saves Queenie from making a deadly hotel reservation. She uses her cred in the underworld to bring back Misty Day. She plans to rescue Madison from retail hell… eventually. And all over the world, life goes on, including for a familiar pair.
Remember Timothy and Emily, the cute young couple with the special genes? Turns out, they still meet, still fall in love, and even end up having a child! A… uh, problem child. The kind with a familiar penchant for murdering babysitters. And so, as American Horror Story: Apocalypse comes to an end, it all begins anew. There’s a body in the bedroom, a knock on the door, and a trio of black-clad Devil worshippers (including Mead) on the stoop. Can I get a “Hail, Satan?”