American Horror Story
We start this special Halloween episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse with Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) finding the charred bodies of his closest allies, Grand Chancellor Ariel (Jon Jon Briones), Baldwin Pennypacker (BD Wong), and Miriam Meade (Kathy Bates). As he wails like a toddler who has just been informed that his high parents ate all his trick-or-treat candy, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) approaches him. She offers him an opportunity to leave the Antichrist life behind and find his humanity. And if being a good person isn’t enough of an incentive for Michael, Cordelia has hidden Meade’s soul in a part of the spirit world that only she can access. This would leave Langdon alone forever if he chooses not to follow Cordelia, but he rejects her in no unclear terms, vowing to kill everyone she knows. I appreciate that these two can agree to disagree.
Langdon then runs away to the lousy version of the Hundred Acre Woods, where he makes what appears to be a drum circle and prays for his devil daddy’s help. Unfortunately, his father leaves him on read, not picking up hellfire bling. Waiting days for an answer, Langdon hallucinates visions of Anton LaVey (Carlo Rota), an angel that tells him Hod loves him, and children offering him apples and Fanta. It brings me comfort to know that there are carbonated drinks in heaven, where I will be drinking insecticide-free seltzer every hour on the hour for eternity. Eventually, Langdon’s weird acid trip is interrupted by a goat he believes to be Satan, which he stabs to death.
With goat blood on his hands, Michael stumbles through the Not Hundred Acre Woods™, until he finds a Satanist cult congregating on their day of demon worship. This is where a priest named Hannah chastises the congregation for not being evil enough. Apparently, someone sleeping with their wife’s sister does not chart on the evil billboards. Hannah is looking for testimonies more like hers, as she reveals that she robbed a nursery and gave the money to the NRA. That … is definitely bad. Hannah asserts that the darkness worshippers need to make the world more terrible if they are ever going to get Satan to come back in a flame of eternal hellfire. Michael is sitting in the back feeling sorry for himself when Madelyn (Harriet Sansom Harris) offers him a hot meal and a place to stay after the devil worship service. While providing someone food and shelter is literally the opposite of evil, even if it is the Antichrist, I’ll let this Good Samaritan be as bad as she wants to believe she is.
At her home, Madelyn reveals that she sold her soul to the devil and now has the privilege of doing unlimited heroin, owning a La-Z-Boy, and having sex with Ryan Reynolds. I’m not sure if she went on Satan Tank and got a bad offer from Demon John or something, but this sounds like a very bad deal. If I sold my soul, I’d demand at least two (2) chaise lounge chairs and weekly lunch dates with Rihanna. Anything less for your eternal damnation is asking too little! But … I digress. Langdon reveals that he has deep-seated parent issues because his mom tried to kill him and his dad abandoned him, but ultimately, he is the Antichrist that the Satanists have been looking for. Madelyn doesn’t believe him until she sees the hideous Beelzebub tattoo behind his ear. Why Michael waited so long to reveal his true identity is beyond me, but I understand that sometimes depression makes people not act like themselves, even when that “self” is Satan’s spawn.
Back at the unholy congregation, the All Sinners Choir performs, and honestly their songs are all catchy as hell. This detail tracks if you remember that Lucifer led the praise and worship section of heaven before God hit him with the deuces. Hannah leads a human sacrifice of a social worker and a member of Doctors Without Borders. I, for one, am glad to be in a professional field that does not attract Satanists to kill me. Phil, a former Gawker employee and new member of the congregation, gets up to commit his first sacrifice, but his efforts are thwarted by Michael Langdon walking in dramatically with a cloak. Langdon shows the congregation his little tattoo and is embraced with open arms (hooves?), prompting him to slit the sacrifices’ throats in one fell swoop. Now that these devil worshippers’ messiah has arrived, they can’t help but fawn over him. Langdon is repulsed by this behavior, although for someone who wants to bring about the fall of humanity, he sure hates attention.
The congregation wants to know what to do next since he’s the Antichrist and their only duty was to prepare for his return. Langdon admits that he doesn’t know what to do next since there is no instruction manual on how to be a wicked spirit. (I wonder if he’s tried googling the answers, Google usually has the answers if you know what to search …) So Madelyn helps Langdon with his identity crisis by bringing him to Silicon Valley, the mecca of evil and the root of democracy’s demise, depending on how you look at resolute facts. Madelyn does all this for Michael with only one ask: that she be put in the VIP section of hell, I assume somewhere between Andy Warhol, Aileen Wuornos, and Christopher Columbus.
Madelyn brings Langdon to an office building that turns out to be the home of the Collective, the network of rich people we learned about in the first episode who were extremely prepared for the nuclear holocaust. Inside this office, we meet Jeff (Evan Peters) and Mutt (Billy Eichner), two coke-addicted, light-rock-loving misogynists who are working on sex robots. They are managed by Wilhelmina Venable (Sarah Paulson), the control freak who will later run the Outpost. The best part of American Horror Story is seeing Sarah Paulson in 19 different wigs this season, so I’m pleased to see my Supreme as a ginger, donning purple as a nod to the caste system of the Outpost.
Mutt and Jeff explain that they sold their souls to the devil in exchange for success in Silicon Valley, and thus they have a billion dollars, Victoria’s Secret model girlfriends, and a weekly rendezvous with Ryan Reynolds. I would never sell my soul, but if I did, this would be where I start negotiations. After having to convince these tech bros that he’s the Antichrist by showing a little skin and burning a woman alive, Langdon asks that Mutt and Jeff bring Miriam Meade back to life. They use their technology to build her into a robot, with one warning: Don’t let her know she’s a robot or she’ll have an existential crisis. We end this episode with Meade immediately waking up and recognizing Michael, setting the scene for the plot of Apocalypse to come full circle.