Where the witches at!? When American Horror Story: Apocalypse began, we wondered when the Coven would make their grand reappearance. 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. Ever since, they’ve raced toward an ultimate showdown with the Antichrist. But the Coven, 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.
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.
Episode 6, “Return to Murder House”
The return to Murder House did not disappoint! Madison and Chablis go on their fact-finding mission back to season one after the Coven buys the cursed mansion, which Madison greets by saying, “What. A. Shithole.” Inside they find an AHS hall-of-fame squad: Violet (Farmiga) is despondently sulking around the halls, smoking with that elite weepy face. Tate (Peters) is still in therapy with Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) and pining after her. “I’m dead and I’m hot and I know she has feelings for me,” Tate tells him, begging Dr. Harmon to convince Violet to forgive him. Even the Langdon boy Beau, who used to be chained up in the attic, bounds in for an exuberant hello before Billy Dean Howard (Paulson), now a “Medium to the Stars,” walks in and calms him down.
After Dr. Harmon bids adieu because he has a prior engagement — “I gotta look out the window and cry while I masturbate. It’s my daily thing,” he tells the witches, prompting Chablis to call him a “tearjerker” — it’s time for the real queen of the manor to finally enter. Jessica Lange walks down the stairs and tells them, “I’m Constance Langdon — and this is my fucking house.” We are reborn! Then Constance’s eternal nemesis, Moira the maid (Frances Conroy), walks in for a delectable tête-à-tête in which they exchange withering insults and Moira says that Constance took “the coward’s way out.”
If the witches want to know about Michael, she offers, “I don’t spill a drop of tea for free, kiddos,” and says her cooperation is contingent upon them getting Moira out of the house forever. “Abracadabra the goddamn bitch out of my afterlife!” We have missed this icon so much! (Mercifully, they exhume Moira’s bones and bury her next to her mother, sending her into a peaceful afterlife. We’ve always wanted the best for poor Moira.)
But we’re not done yet! Before this week’s conclusion, the one and only mother of the Antichrist, Mrs. Vivian Harmon (Connie Britton), materializes to half-reconcile with Ben and tell Madison and Chablis that she foresaw a beast with ten horns and seven heads that would make the Earth kneel before him. That beast is Michael and, “the source of darkness is his true father!” Life truly is what happens when you’re busy making non-Apocalypse-related plans.
Episode 7, “Traitor”
As we come into the final stretch of Apocalypse, the Coven callbacks continue to pop up. In “Traitor,” we see Cordelia going to visit Dinah Stevens in an earlier timeline, before she swore off her full-time gig doing magic in order to pursue fame and fortune. The Supreme needs an assist from the Voodoo Queen — a post we learn Dinah ascended to after the death of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) in season three — to summon the Voodoo Devil, Papa Legba (Lance Reddick).
The last time we saw Legba, he was laughing at Fiona Goode in Hell, and now Cordelia wants to make a deal with him to help vanquish Michael Langdon. When he shows up, though, he brings a surprise guest along: It’s Nan (Jamie Brewer)! Apparently, she has been happily busy causing trouble in Hell ever since Fiona and Marie traded her soul for favors back in Coven (a detail Cordelia did not previously know). Nan has lost none of her pluck since being murdered, and when she shows up, she addresses Cordelia as “bitch” before she and Legba express their mutual appreciation for one another. So, Nan is thriving! And now that we know she and Misty Day are both doing all right, our hearts can rest easy.
In the Apocalypse season finale, our coven of heroes finally confronted Antichrist Michael in the halls of Outpost 3, and while Dinah’s continued refusal to side with her sisters in magic to save the world was annoying, it cleared the way for the return of Angela Bassett’s Marie Laveau. Cordelia knew she couldn’t count on the placeholder voodoo queen to come through in the final showdown, so she planned ahead and took a trip to Hell, where she found Marie torturing the evil racist Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) for all eternity. That cleared the way for a deal with Papa Legba to trade Marie’s soul for Dinah’s, treating us all to the spectacle of a glowing, ageless Angela Bassett striking Dinah down with a giant machete to her neck. Thank the Supreme that we didn’t have to say good-bye to Apocalypse before getting to say hello again to the one true voodoo queen.