Where the witches at!? For weeks, we’ve been wondering when the Coven would appear in American Horror Story: Apocalypse. They swept in for an all-too-brief moment in episode three, and then in episode four, we finally got to spend some quality time with Supreme Ms. Cordelia and her witches. But that, of course, is only one of many crossovers between Apocalypse and previous seasons of FX’s long-running anthology series. Below, you’ll find an episode-by-episode breakdown of the ever-more tangled threads between Apocalypse, Murder House, Coven, and Hotel. Which past Horror Story will be the next to pop up this season?
Apocalypse opens with a big AHS connection when it introduces grown-up Michael Langdon. He’s the unholy son of Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) and Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), conceived when Tate raped Vivien while dressed as the Rubber Man in season one’s Murder House. That season ended with Constance Langdon caring for her grandson and seeming pretty unfazed that he had just murdered his babysitter in cold blood. The product of human and spirit, Michael is a extremely powerful being who might also be the Antichrist.
The second episode delivers on Apocalypse’s promise of the Rubber Man making his post–Murder House return. After Michael Langdon sweeps into Outpost 3, the moody fallout bunker meant to protect a few lucky people from World War III, the Rubber Man starts stalking around the place before he takes a liking to Gallant (Evan Peters). The two have a go, because that’s what Rubber Man is here for, even in the face of scorched Earth and the end of the world.
As was stated in Vulture’s recap: “Stop whatever you’re doing because the Coven is back and they are taking names!!!!!!!!” The Supreme and two of her generals come striding into Outpost 3 after Ms. Venable (Sarah Paulson) and her android (Kathy Bates) mass murder everyone besides Langdon with some poison apples. That’s right: It’s finally time for Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), Cordelia Goode (Paulson, again), and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) to wreck some shit and stare down the Antichrist. Cordelia breathes life back into their fallen “sisters,” and it turns out Mallory (Billie Lourd), Coco (Leslie Grossman), and Dinah (Adina Porter) are also witches! But sadly, the episode ends before we can get any more than a “Surprise, bitch!” from Madison to her resurrected comrades.
This is the episode where Apocalypse goes from little emerging one-offs to actual story lines involving previous American Horror Story seasons. “Could It Be… Satan?” opens with Cordelia welcoming her recently dead sisters back to life, and then telling them they’ve been under an identity spell to keep them in the dark about who and what they really are.
Cut to a flashback where we learn how the Apocalypse happened. First, a hive of warlocks has been pissed at Cordelia ever since she took witches public back in 2014 (as was implied at the end of Coven), which forced them to go underground to stay safe from backlash. They need an Alpha Warlock to rise who can supplant the Supreme, and to prove his credentials at Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men — a.k.a. the place that will ultimately become Outpost 3 — Michael goes to hell and retrieves both Queenie, who’s been stuck playing cards with Mr. March (Peters) in the Hotel Cortez for years, and Madison, whose personal damnation is working customer service at a discount store. Queenie was last seen in Hotel and Madison was killed at the end of Coven by the frankenmonster Kyle (still Peters!), and not even Supreme Cordelia could rescue them. So, Michael returning them to her from hell is a huge deal and also scary, because it means he’s probably the Alpha Warlock who can challenge her.
In recounting her failures to the warlock council during the flashback, we hear Cordelia also mention Misty Day (Lily Rabe), who has been forced to dissect a frog in hell ever since she failed at the Seven Wonders challenge back in Coven. Please lord, let us soon seen justice for the tenderhearted Misty! Meanwhile, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) is also traveling with Cordelia and Myrtle in the earlier timeline, and we see her both guiding young witches at Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies and wearing an exceptional hat. So thank goodness, the witches are still serving.
With all witches and warlocks assembled, Cordelia is prepared to administer the Test of the Seven Wonders to Michael Langdon, except she adds a twist. For the final and most challenging discipline, “Descensum,” participants must project themselves into their own personal hells and come back alive before their souls stay too long and their bodies turn to ash. This is the part of the test that claimed Misty Day in Coven, and she’s been trapped cutting up frogs in a high-school science classroom ever since she was lost. And so, Cordelia tells Michael that to prove his prowess he must rescue Misty from the dark, which he does pretty handily, and even guts her tyrannical teacher with a scalpel. (That part just seemed like fun for him.)
But the point is, sweet Misty has returned! That means it’s time for a celebration, even though Cordelia has to cede her Supreme title to Michael. And so, the best witch boss in all the land summons the White Witch to serenade Misty back to health. You heard that right: Stevie Nicks just walks right into the Hawthorne School den and starts singing “Gypsy” as warlock Baldwin (BD Wong) accompanies her on the piano.
Now we’ve got Misty and Stevie back from Coven, so who’s still left? Cordelia knows Michael is big trouble, and she tells Madison it’s time for a reconnaissance mission back to where it all began to dig up dirt on the rising Alpha. Warlock Chablis overhears their plotting and says he has suspicions of his own, and so he decides to accompany Madison on the trip. But to where? Why, back to the Murder House, of course! So get in, losers. We’re going back to season one next week — and hopefully, Jessica Lange.