After barely recovering from last season’s clown masks, American Horror Story (AHS) has returned to once again plague our nightmares for the next few months. Last year’s season focused around a cult that had risen in the wake of post trump America, creator Ryan Murphy chose to remove the usual supernatural element and surprisingly the season remained just as horrifying. Back again, with the most star-studded cast to date, this year’s ‘Apocalypse’ is still praying on the very normalised fears of everyday people. Multiple nations seem to be fondling their big red buttons and as countless countries have just accused Russia of a bioweapon attack, this season’s theme seems the closest to home ever.
In what starts as the gayest (yes I can say that because I am) opening in AHS history, Mr Gallant (Evan Peters), clad in a multicoloured neck scarf perfects the hair of billionaire wannabe influencer Coco St. Pierre (Leslie Grossman). Unfortunately, the styling is cut short when everyone’s phones ring simultaneously. No this is not a google alert for Zac Efron’s nudes, but a warning of an impending nuclear strike. Coco’s assistant, Mallory (Billie Lourd), quips that the “Kardashians must be in town”. As cars begin to crash and screams can be heard in the distance, we are secretly hoping for a cheeky Kim K cameo. After a few moments of frantic panic following a Facetime call with her soon to be dead family, Coco intends to board her private jet in hopes of being saved within a nuclear-proof bunker. As the trio race towards the airport, via Joan Collins’ house, of course, Coco regretfully informs husband Brock (Billy Eichner) that she was invoking their right to see other people, which he knew would result in his death. In true Eichner fashion, he screams “you bitch” as the plane takes off. As sad as we are to see him go so early, no one truly remains dead on this show.
We now rewind to 40 minutes before the D-day, as Timothy (Kyle Allen) eagerly checks to see if he has been accepted to UCLA. As Timothy and his family celebrate his acceptance, extras from ‘Men in Black’ insist on taking him away. Because of his “unique genetic makeup”, he has been selected by the mysterious cooperative, and will, in turn, be saved from the coming cataclysm. After being whisked away Timothy meets a second refugee/captive, Emily which begs the question, what can you possibly need with special DNA in an apocalypse?
At the start of the episode we were served steaming hot apocalypse with people jumping off buildings, and now halfway through we seem to be watching an entirely different show.
Two weeks later the teenagers are shipped to the nuclear bunker ‘Outpost 3’, where they will meet up with our opening characters who also survived thanks to Coco’s family fortune. The Mad Max style setting is eerily reminiscent of most post-apocalyptic horrors and yet there are no cannibals or zombies in sight. As they are escorted through the compound, dressed in head to toe leather suits (and not the fun kind), they bear witness to an execution. What crimes the now-dead people committed we are unsure of as yet. In true American Horror Story style, we are left with more questions than answers. The only thing we are certain of in this whole episode is that the world has ended.
We are then introduced to the queen, Sarah Paulson, who this season is expected to play multiple characters – including Coven’s Cordelia Goode. Her new character Wilhemina Venable is nothing short of a female Dracula (Cane and everything)! At the start of the episode we were served steaming hot apocalypse with people jumping off buildings, and now halfway through we seem to be watching an entirely different show. Everything screams Edgar Allen Poe or Bram Stoker; the decor, fashion and attitudes of the characters are pulled straight from a gothic novel.
Something to keep in mind is when the apocalypse is referred to as a “new beginning”, nothing good can happen afterwards, and it’s not long until this point is proven. Venable explains that the ‘purples’ are the elite while the ‘greys’ are ‘worker ants’ because of course, it is not a dystopian setting without a titled class system. Timothy and Emily are dressed in head to toe purple and are forbidden to copulate under any circumstances. Should they choose to ignore the rules they will suffer the fate of the executed greys outside.
One little ray of light in the dimly lit parlour is a cocktail hour before dinner – even after the apocalypse, there’s always time for a cocktail. The only downside to this arrangement seems to be the fact that they only have one song on their playlist. Having now met Coco, Mr Gallant and Evie Gallant (Joan Collins), as well as newcomers Andre and Stu, the characters begin to break down in the shadow of their dim futures. When Coco channels her inner Billy Eichner during dinner and exclaims her disgust at the conditions, Venable proves that her cane is just for show as she has a mean backhand. Coco should consider herself lucky, deep down we all want a slap from Miss Venable.
Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates) who shall henceforth be known as Ms Trunchball, is Venable’s right hand, who we later learn has a strict military background (which explains a lot). With her eyebrows that are two shades too dark for her skin tone, she bellows that someone has broken the rules and ventured outside. After a routine Geiger counter check, it is revealed Mr Gallant and Stu are the culprits. Following the worst spa treatment of a lifetime, where brooms and an acid wash are used in replacement of Lush products, Stu is executed for still being ‘dirty’.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom at Outpost 3 as Venable is serving a treat for dinner, which is apparently chicken. Now, I am no doctor but I am sure chickens don’t have fingers, and while most of the guests (especially Collins) didn’t care, Andre displays what is the GAYEST (again, I can say that, so back off) breakdown in TV history. So, after all that, there are cannibals in AHS this season. I knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.
“I don’t care what it is. It’s absolutely divine and it’s full of fibre. I’m going to finish every drop.”
The biggest shock of the episode comes in the last couple of minutes where a horse-drawn carriage arrives at the compound. After previously being told the other outposts have been overrun, the guests are obviously on edge. Dressed in full Victorian doctor hazmat suit the one and only Michael Langdon makes an appearance. The last time we saw him was all the way back in season one when after being born, he was labelled as the antichrist. Apparently being the rape child of a ghost and a woman gives you certain satanic impulses, who knew? Venable now has someone to answer to, not just for her mistreatment of the guests but clearly, she copied his look. Langdon is an odd mix between Disney’s Rapunzel and a Twilight character but it totally works in all the right ways. We are left on a cliffhanger. As Langdon’s horses are dragged away by bony fingers, the last words of this week’s episode are that he can either save everyone in the bunker or no one.
Every week as well as reviewing and recapping the episode, the FARID team will select a few key details to highlight.
Quote of the week:
After the stew is revealed to be… STU, Joan Collins comments, “I don’t care what it is. It’s absolutely divine and it’s full of fibre. I’m going to finish every drop.” Keeping it as glamorous as ever while eating a man you shared drinks with is a good trait to possess in the current climate.
Oh. My. GAWD. Moments:
After Langdon’s horses were released from their cancerous misery they can be seen to be dragged away by decaying and rotting hands. Seriously, we heard the outposts were overrun, but by what?
The Character of the Week:
Miss Venable must be one of Paulson’s best characters yet, besides Hypodermic Sally that is. I love a strong woman and with a cane, in hand, she is that and more.
If They Were the Last Person on Earth:
Everyone loves a bad boy, especially one who also looks like a Disney princess. Michael Langdon is serving Jason Mamoa meets Regina George realness and it is all I have ever wanted.