American Horror Story: Apocalypse / Episode 4: Could It Be…Satan? / FX
From the last episode, all you need to know are two major things: 1) Everybody dead like Snow White after eating poisonous apples, and 2) THE WITCHES ARE HERE!!!
Now then, shall we proceed…
*Spoilers coming like the souls being brought back to life*
Tonight, We Dress in Black
We open with a flashback of a young Michael having dinner with the real “Miriam,” who is a Satanist. He is loving every bit of it, of course. They are laughing and kiki-ing over her stories of killing her husbands. But screw them…
Downstairs, Supreme Cordelia is telling Coco and Mallory that they are witches, and that an Identity spell was performed on them for their own protection. Dinah-Oprah is revealed to be a voodoo practitioner, but you know tomato-potato witchy sisters. She also tells them that she ain’t here to fight, she’s just trying to survive. (Side note: I’m upset, like Drake, that Dinah-Oprah doesn’t want to be part of this fight, but that’s cool. Give your powers to Smart Sis Emily dead in the other room, because I needs me a Black witch with power that’s willing to fight. Where is Marie Laveau when I need her. Oh yeah, stuck in the afterlife too.) Dinah-Oprah’s use of voodoo is basically their way to tie in the voodoo magic of Coven. Thank you for not forgetting about that!
As they are talking, Michael and Miriam enter the room and stand grandly on the staircase. A great fight is brewing, and Myrtle is already dropping great poetic lines.
“I always thought the world would end in fire and ice, not witches and warlocks.”
As an English Lit major and horror lover, this mixing of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice” poem just made me smile, and Myrtle often does make me smile. Like when she shades Michael’s jacket without missing a beat.
It’s Hard Out Here for a Warlock
But forgive my moment of amazement when, in another flashback, we see that the all-boys school that now houses the outpost was once a school for warlocks known as the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. It is a direct counter to Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, and I will bring up why the word “counter” is so important here. The school’s Grand Chancellor Ariel wants to bring Michael to their school after a video shows him killing a police officer without ever touching him.
Before continuing, I want to point out the council of four warlocks and give them their just due. First is singer/actor Billy Porter, who is a professor at the school. His character is named Mr. Chablis; no doubt a nod to the late great drag performer, The Lady Chablis, who famously played herself in the movie adaptions of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (Yeah, my English Lit is coming out again, deal with it.)
John Henry Moore is played by Cheyenne Jackson. BD Wong, one of my favorite actors if only for his characters on Law and Order: SVU and Oz rounds out the instructors at the school. Unfortunately, BD Wong’s character’s name is never said, so let’s call him Professor Wong. (Note: I turned on my captions, and it showed the name as “Baldwin” a couple of times when BD Wong talked. However, because I can’t find an official word on his name, I’m going to hold off on using it.)
They are headed by their Grand Chancellor, Jon Jon Briones, named Ariel.
Now, the reason that it is so important to note that these two magical schools are counters beyond the gender line is that the warlock are apparently weaker than the witches. As our Supreme Cordelia reveals, testosterone blocks them from reaching the ethereal levels where true magical power reigns, which includes most notably being strong enough to beat a Supreme witch. (The warlock equivalent is called an Alpha Warlock. This is a backstory about Michael, so you see where this is going.) Long story short, if you stand to pee, high levels of magic you won’t see. If you got a penis, you not beating Venus. You get my point.
Saving Satan’s Son
GC Ariel goes to Los Angeles and jail breaks Michael, who is in there for killing a butcher. We learn later that he magical stabbed the guy with 5 knives. He also blows up the head of the abusive interrogation officer. As they are leaving, Michael takes a parting shot at an officer, magically breaking his neck behind the back of the GC Ariel, who only wanted to incapacitate him.
Once back at the school, GC Ariel gives a history lesson about Hawthorne. He blames Supreme Cordelia for driving their school underground by revealing that magic, witches, and warlocks were real. The people in the surrounding community burned down the once beautiful school out of fear. While the other boys/warlocks at the school, Professor Chablis, Professor Wong, and GC Ariel, all give Michael a warm welcome to the school, Professor Moore has always and will continue to voice his concerns feeling/seeing that Michael’s power comes from a very dark place. (You got that right, sir. Coming straight from the pits of Hell by express shipping!)
After a month at the school, Michael is asked to perform a series of test to categorize him and his level of power. The council of warlocks has him do three things (that we see, there could be more). The first is to divine the location of an item using a mirror — Scrying. The next is called Salire per Spatium; their name for teleportation. It is the last one that had me the most hyped. Michael is asked to perform Stiricidium, which is having the power of nature itself. His test is to use the water molecules all around them to make it snow in the room.
As a 90’s X-Men cartoon Storm fan (I mean that exactly like it sounds), I was all smiles when Michael raised his hands and in quick fashion caused snow to fall. However, in real Storm fashion, his eyes go white, and the pretty snowfall turns into a full-blown snowstorm. The room’s temperature drops to the point that Professor Wong seems to freeze as he is trying to get up. Michael’s satanic side has taken over and is trying to kill them, but they don’t know that. GC Ariel is able to get Michael’s attention, breaking the spell. His eyes immediately return to normal, and he apologizes for getting out of hand. His nose is bleeding, a sign that his body and brain were going through some strain.
Once again GC Ariel and Professors Wong and Chablis are more than impressed with his show of power, but Professor Moore still sees the darkness in him, especially after he almost froze them to death. However, outnumbered, he agrees to stand by Michael, because they finally want to have an Alpha (Supreme) and rule over the magic Council. I guess even when it comes to magic men want to be in control.
French Quarter and Field Trips
We get our first glimpse of Witches’ Council member and Miss Robichaux’s Academy Professor, Zoe Benson. During her lesson, we see a familiar Apocalypse face. It’s Mallory. So, now we know that at some point Mallory attended the school, and that from what we see of her power she is packing some magical heat. And if it’s to be believed, her family history stretches back to Salem, so she could definitely be powerful. Next Supreme powerful???
This is also when my other fav witch walks in, Myrtle Snow, looking grand in blue, red frizzy hair stacked better than Ms. Frizzle herself. She tells Cordelia and Zoe that they, the Council, have been urgently summoned by the warlocks to come to their school.
It is during this meeting that the claws come out. The warlocks tell Cordelia that they believe they have a student who is worthy of taking the test of the Seven Wonders, and thus proving that he is their coven’s Alpha, and on par with Cordelia herself.
After both magically and scientifically, and with so much shade and side eyes thrown in, telling the warlocks why a male could never reach the level of Supreme, Cordelia refuses to administer the test. She fears that this boy, who they believe can best her, might die performing the hardest of the Seven Wonders: Descensum. Descensum is to cast your soul into the afterlife, underworld, or nether world (whichever you want to call it) and successfully return to your body before the sun rises. If you don’t, you are stuck there.
Cordelia laments having lost a strong witch (Misty Day) who couldn’t return to her body and is damned to repeat her own personal hell of dissecting a live frog over and over. GC Ariel accuses Cordelia of only looking out for the witches she cares about and brings up the fact that Queenie is stuck in the Hotel Cortez. Mr. Chablis comes in with the Amen for the congregation and gives this line, “Of course it’s the Black girl you leave behind. I see you, Ms. Supreme.” I wish he had a fan at the moment and snapped it out. It would have made for some great dramatic flair.
Cordelia tells them that she went to the Hotel Cortez and tried her hardest to bring Queenie out, but no spell she could come up with would work. After several days of trying, both she and Queenie sadly came to the conclusion that Queenie would forever be checked in to the Hotel Cortez; a place of evil, a place where the “light that they draw their power from is extinguished by Satan himself,” says Cordelia. Well, well, well, Satan you say. Look no further than upstairs.
Hotels and Department Stores
The warlocks soften a bit, but this has upset Cordelia, calling losing Queenie her greatest failure as Supreme. She once again tells the warlock she will not allow the test of the Seven Wonders to be given and ends the meeting. Upstairs, Michael has apparently been listening in.
Because what he does next seems to happen in the time that Cordelia’nem are still there, I’m going to say that Michael teleports to the Hotel Cortez. There we see that, because he is the Son of Satan, he is able to take Queenie out of the hotel. But he doesn’t stop there. He then goes to the underworld (performing Descensum on his own I guess, because once again being the Son of Satan has its perks) with Queenie in tow and brings Madison back to life as well. She was stuck as a cashier/do-girl at a department store. I know that hell personally, too.
We return to Hawthorne as the Council is about to leave. Cordelia looks as though she is about to faint. She no doubt felt the jolt in her spirit when Queenie and Madison returned to the land of the living, as she said earlier she felt the moment Queenie died and knew something was wrong. Once outside the school, Cordelia, Zoe, and Myrtle are surprised to see Michael, wearing a grand cape, flanked by Queenie and Madison. All are dressed accordingly in black. Because on Wednesdays we wear black.
Cordelia faints…from shock? As would I if I saw two previously dead loved ones in front of me standing with (unbeknownst to them) the literal Son of the Devil. Or, could it be that our Supreme feels her powers waning as a new Supreme, or in this case Alpha, begins to come into his own power?
This is how we end episode four. Cordelia on the ground, and Michael standing by triumphantly.
Final Thoughts *sips tea lovingly*
First and foremost, I. LOVED. THIS. EPISODE. This is the magic I have been waiting for. And even though I don’t care for Michael, seeing his backstory made his character more solid to me, instead of just being the villain we all knew he would be.
Secondly, I don’t like the dynamic between the witches and warlocks in this world. Warlocks are beneath witches. I love witches and have been waiting to see a male witch (or in this case warlock) actually have a role since Coven. (Side note: The terminology makes no never mind to me. I just like the term witch better.) I just hate that it’s as adversaries and not just doing great witchy things together.
Lastly, I’m finally excited to see what is going to happen. This is no longer about Apocalypse really, so I guess I have to leave Smart Sis Emily and Timothy behind. Though, it now feels like a disconnect, and I wonder what even was the point of that. I felt the same during Roanoke, but it’s a reason to have the ultimate final battle for the world between witches and warlocks. I guess Myrtle was right. The world won’t end in fire and ice…or will it?
Next week, it looks like a major decision will be made by Cordelia after seeing that Michael literally went to hell and back. I can’t wait to see what happens next week on American Horror Story: Coven (Revisited).
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