FILM & TV

RECAP | ‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ Back to Scaring You with Very Real Scenarios

The Beginning of the End of the World is Here — Are You Ready?

SPOILER ALERT! Don't read this if you haven't seen the first episode yet — unless that's what you're into.

I've been a fan of American Horror Story since the beginning days of 'Murder House' — and of course, problematically 'shipping' Tate and Violet. 'Asylum' definitely followed the first season well, but 'Coven' broke the trend with its messy plot lines and random directions. After watching the first few episodes of 'Freak Show,' I broke it off with AHS — the seasons were definitely getting worse and worse.

However, when I heard that 'Apocalypse' would be a crossover between the first and third seasons, I was more intrigued — very rarely do shows with this format crossover their seasons or episodes. Working with viewers' nostalgia is always a good way to go to get views — and tie up loose ends.

In this first episode, we don't really get anything yet — the show starts out in Santa Monica where everyone gets the same 'end-of-the-world' text. Leslie Grossman plays Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, a socialite with a billion dollar inheritance who is bent on becoming an Instagram influencer. She's tended to by her assistant Mallory, played by Billie Lourd, and her hairdresser Mr. Gallant, played by Evan Peters — kind of disappointing as I expected him to reprise his role as Tate Langdon.

After receiving the texts, Coco gets a call from her family in Hong Kong that alerts her of a plane with four tickets to carry her to safety — she manages to take Mallory, and Gallant wiggles his way in with his suspiciously Trump-supporting Nana, played by Joan Collins. In all the chaos, Coco leaves behind her husband Brock — a very fun cameo by Billy Eichner.

Other quick scenes happen — two teenagers are taken to the shelter for their DNA, one that just got into UCLA and one jailed for leading protests on campus, and a replayed clip of a newscaster saying goodbye to his children — then, we're introduced to 'The Cooperative.'

Ignoring for a second the strangely compliant sounding name, 'The Cooperative' is a converted all boys boarding school run by Wilhelmina Venable, played by our queen Sarah Paulson, and her right-hand woman Ms. Miriam Meed, played by our other queen, Kathy Bates. The Outpost is organized by the grays — the help — and the purples — the elite. And of course, they wear their respective colors.

The Outpost seems like it transported back a hundred years rather than in the expected future — everyone's clothes are colonial-era, the food is vitamin-enhanced gelatin cubes, and the same song plays over and over again. Oh and also, Venable and Meed torture and kill guests for their amusement.

One scene that was particularly upsetting was after they washed/tortured a man named Stu and Gallant for having radiation — a gimmick by Meed — they killed Stu for having more radiation and, well, made him into stew for the others to eat as a 'treat.' Nana, not so surprisingly, didn't have a problem with it.

Flash forward 18 months later, teens Emily and Timothy have of course fallen in love and everyone else is on the verge of a breakdown. A mysterious stranger comes to the gate in a carriage carried by two horses — his name is Michael Langdon, played by Cody Fern.

Die-hard fans will definitely recoil at the name — he's the satanic baby made by Vivien and Tate in Murder House and has come to judge who he'll take to his shelter, one that has 10 years of food. Isn't it sweet — all grown up and killing horses!

Langdon's directions to kill his horses was a bit of a shock since it was his only way of travel — but it did end the episode with an ultimatum that viewers will probably be haunted by until the next episode. I know I will be — perhaps AHS is turning around on its bad seasons and finally challenging us with its psychological thrills again.


Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and intern at the Stonewall National Monument.


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