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‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ starts off a bit too campy but gets better with each episode

‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ starts off a bit too campy but gets better with each episode

‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ starts off a bit too campy but gets better with each episode
October 17
14:44 2018

The long-teased crossover season of “American Horror Story” finally came to be this fall, merging some of the most iconic characters from two of the most iconic and well recognized seasons of the Emmy-winning FX anthology series. And, after four episodes, the story of how all of these characters connect is finally beginning to unravel.

In it’s eighth season, “AHS” has already covered quite a bit of ground, but this season has brought together the worlds of “Murder House” and “Coven” to bring forth the end of the world as we know it.

The season quite literally opened with the end of days, starting in the year 2020 and focusing on the character Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), an annoying heiress who is in the middle of a hair appointment when an alert appears on hers and everyone else’s phone that warns of a nuclear missile being on the way.

Coco claims it’s “just like that Hawaii thing from a few years ago” until her father calls her to tell her he has paid for a plane to take her and three passengers to a safe location. He, Coco’s mother and brother will not be able to make it.

Coco, along with her hairstylist Mr. Gallant, portrayed by series mainstay and one of only two cast members to appear in every season Evan Peters, her assistant Mallory (Billie Lourd, the late Carrie Fisher’s daughter), and Gallant’s grandmother (guest star and TV legend Joan Collins, who is 85) board the plane to the “safe location.”

Additionally, a teenage boy is picked up from his home by a group of agents from something called The Cooperative, who tell him that based on the results of a DNA test he turned in previously, his genetic makeup was found to be superior and he needs to be taken to a facility, as his superior genes could be useful in the future. He must leave his family behind.

The scenes featuring public reaction to the impending, and later actual, end of the world were some of the more emotional the series has offered in awhile. Specifically, a scene depicting a newscaster saying “this is it” and going on to say he’s just been told they will not make it home and that he loves his children, were a little heartbreaking.

Following the opening title sequence (which uses the original music from season one and uses imagery from the openings of “Murder House” and “Coven,” accompanied by new material), we delve into the underground. The Cooperative Outpost (referred to as just the outpost) is shown to be an underground bunker run by Emmy-winner Sarah Paulson’s Ms. Venable and Oscar-and-Emmy-winner Kathy Bates’ Ms. Mead.

The two take on very dark roles this go-around and take pleasure in intimidating the survivors of the apocalypse. Ms. Venable walks around using a cane unnecessarily and Ms. Mead doesn’t say much but seems to be a character you do not want to cross.

Life at the outpost is about as bleak as one can imagine. Dark and moody, as there is no electricity, and the meals are gelatinous cubes that supposedly hold all of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for survival. Additionally, there is to be no unauthorized copulation and only one song played on a record player over and over again.

The rest of the premiere and second episode basically feature the lives of those stuck in the outpost, struggling to enjoy anything and left wondering if surviving was really worth it.

The first indication of the crossover came with the arrival (in a horse-lead black chariot) of Michael Langdon (portrayed by Cody Fern of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) to the outpost. Langdon claims to be from The Cooperative and to have authority over Ms. Venable.

The last time we saw Michael Langdon was in the final moments of “Murder House,” when his grandmother Constance (“AHS” legend and Oscar-and-Emmy-winner Jessica Lange) comes home to find he has murdered his nanny. Michael is the child of Vivien Harmon and Tate Langdon, and was prefaced in the first season to be the antichrist, as he was born as a result of sex between a human and a ghost.

The main crossover action begins at the end of the third episode with the entrance of Cordelia Goode (formerly Foxx), Myrtle Snow and Madison Montgomery, of whom the latter two were dead the last time we saw them.

The fourth episode serves almost entirely as a recap of Michael’s ascension to becoming one of the most powerful beings on earth, as well as a crossover into the fifth season of the series, “Hotel,” with the welcome returns of Evan Peters’ Mr. March and Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie.

While the future of the world remains bleak on the series, I am really looking forward to the rest of this season. It has been announced that the sixth episode of this season will be directed by Sarah Paulson and will feature a return to the Murder House. Also returning in that episode are Jessica Lange, Connie Britton (who has not appeared since season one) and Dylan McDermott, as Constance Langdon, Vivien and Ben Harmon, respectively.

The start of the season was choppy to me, and far from my favorite. The series would attempt to convey real emotion, and then in the same scene have Coco arrogantly complain about some first-world problem she could not deal with. While I enjoy mixes of humor with my horror, her character and her story are too campy for me to get into.

However, there are elements that remind me of previous seasons. The cinematography and set designs remain top-notch, and the performances are all pretty great. And the brief return of the series’ OG creep Rubber Man in the second episode was quite welcome.

This is not how I thought Ryan Murphy and Co. would go about ending the world, but I will definitely be sticking around to see how this all turns out.

Since “Coven” is my favorite season of “AHS” (I re-watch it every October), I am really enjoying the ties between “Coven” and this season, and cannot wait to see more characters pop up as the world’s collide more and more!

My Rating: 3/5

Featured Image: Courtesy Facebook

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel was the news editor at the North Texas Daily from August 2018 to May 2019, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to August 2018.

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