This is the End: American Horror Story Returns with “Apocalypse”

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American Horror Story: Apocalypse / Episode 1: The End / FX

As I sat and got ready to enter the craziness that is the world of American Horror Story, I can’t help but start doing what my best friend has dubbed the “American Horror Story bop” as I think about the opening music.

We’re back, people…for the end.

American Horror Story has returned for its 8th season. Dubbed Apocalypse, the trailers have shown that this season is going to literally give us the end of days, while bringing back the two highest rated and most viewed seasons, Murder House and Coven, respectively, and the opening was nothing short of explosive.

End Times Upon Us aka Missiles, Missiles Everywhere

After a short moment of witnessing a hairdresser named Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters) cut and style the hair of a billionaire heiress Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (who I’m going to guess is part of THE Vanderbilt family), alarms sound and all hell breaks loose as messages, texts, and newscasts reveal that the end of the world is upon us by way of nuclear missiles being dropped around the world. Coco receives a video message from her father saying that their family has “survival” seats reserved for them, but they (her father, mother, and brother) are in Japan and won’t make it. He promotes a frantic Coco to get to a plane waiting for her at the airport before his feed cuts out and is presumably killed. Mallory (Billie Lourd), Coco’s assistant, gets her together, and they haul ass outta there.

We speed over to Coco’s boyfriend, Brock (Billy Eichner), who is so disconnected with the world that he is literally ignoring the chaos around him until he finally pays attention as the newscaster tearfully begins to lament that the situation is dire.

Across town, Mr. Gallant arrives at his Nana’s house as their Asian maid scurries out the front door. Grand Dame Grandmama Evie (Joan Collins), whom will be known as such by me for the rest of the season, is dressed in her all white and drinking burnt champagne. (A call back to an amazing moment in Dynasty between her character, Alexis Carrington Colby, and Diahann Carroll’s Dominque Deveraux. It’s an amazing exercise in shading, and I will leave a link to it, so you can witness it for yourself.) Mr. Gallant tells his Nana that bombs are about to drop on the city, and they have to get out of there, but she thinks it fake news and wants to call her friend Donald for confirmation. Yes, that Donald, and yes, of course, a powerful rich white socialite knows that Donald and has him on speed dial.

Mr. Gallant and GDGE make it to the airport just as Coco is boarding her plane with Mallory. It is all too real that boyfriend Brock won’t be making this trip, and Coco literally (though sadly) ends their relationship over the phone to free her own mind of the fact that she is sentencing him to death by nuke.

Oh, but wait, did I forget to mention that while all this is going on, people are committing suicide, looting, and in a constant state of panic. The horror can all be summed up as we witness Coco’s chauffer take out his gun and start taking headshots at runway personnel trying to get on the plane; however, he takes one for the team (how much do you have to get paid to get killed for someone else I wonder). He seals the door to the plane, and it takes off–w/o a pilot I might add–to some unknown destination of supposed safety. We end our first act with a huge blast that rocks the plane almost onto its side before readjusting, and Coco giving us her best Denzel Washington in Glory single teardrop impression as she witnesses the mushroom cloud over the (not anymore) city below.

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I see Destruction in your Eyes

 

*does opening credits bop*

It’s Just the Beginning

We open 40 minutes before the blast on a mother and her two sons waiting to find out if the older of the boys has gotten into UCLA. He does, but that excited is short lived before alarms go off and the father busted in to show them that the world is going to shit. As they hug it out and prepare for death, a military/government vehicle pulls up outside. Two individuals (a man and woman) dressed in black suits bang on the door, and the father lets them in. They waste no time in saying that they want Timothy Campbell (Kyle Allen), the older brother, to come with them to safety because he has a “special genetic makeup” that an organization only known for now as “The Cooperative” wants to save. After some protective mother tears and I won’t go’s and take my younger son too’s that all don’t work, the father pushes the boy out to be saved.

He’s led handcuffed to what we can only assume is a deep underground facility and released into a room that is pretty much a cage. Above him in another room/cage is a Black girl name Emily (Ashley Santos). She too has been “selected” for saving. Her DNA was taken from the police station database after she was arrested for protesting on campus. I don’t know if I should be proud of her activism or upset because of course they got the Black girl’s DNA from her being arrested. But Imma keep it moving.

So, the blast hits and shakes up the place. Timothy is having a panic attack realizing his family is dead, but we know nothing of the Black girl’s family. (So, she ain’t got no family either? She don’t even get a last name? *sucks teeth and walks away Nicki Minaj courtside at a NBA game-ly*)

The House that Venable Built

Two weeks go by, and they are being moved to outpost #3 for housing of those like them…and the rich who could afford it, because you know, money. They are greeted by a short person (later revealed to be Katy Bates’s character, Miriam Mead) dressed in a grey radiation suit and a see-through plastic breathing mask in the shape of the Venetian plague doctor’s mask. Creeped out yet? Well, that’s nothing when not 2 minutes later we see a male and female shot execution style on the front lawn. Quite the warm welcome wouldn’t you say?

They are taken inside and met by Ms. Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson), Ms. Venable if you nasty, but full stop…YOU CAN’T. Remember the two people we just saw get shot before we came in here? Well, they were shot for having sex! So, apparently that’s a Ms. Venable no-no, but guess what she does enjoy. Having slaves and mask it as just the natural order of things. This no-sex bunker is set up with “purple” wearing people eaters (this will make more sense in a bit) made up of the rich and chosen and the “greys,” not the aliens, but basically slaves.

Timothy takes a shower before cocktails and dinner, and when he gets out someone or something has drawn 666 in the steam of the mirror and we hear a disembodied voice whisper “Beware” and “Timothy.”

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EVIL

Thank you! We are finally getting the horror I came here for. Don’t get me wrong; a real-life apocalypse is scary, but I come to the AHS series for some supernatural and paranormal happenings, and I hope that it ramps up quickly.

Food Cubes and Mineral Water

We now meet the others who have been saved for utter life ending nukes. Our friends Coco, Mr. Gallant, GDGE, and Mallory, who is a grey while the others are purples, are here. We also meet three other purples. Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), who I’m sure is supposed to be their version of Oprah, Andre Stevens (Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman), and another man, Stu aka boy toy, hugged up with Andre on the couch.

At dinner, there is complaining about the lack of food and overall lack of information and understanding about what is going on outside. Coco tries to stand up to Wilhemina, before getting slapped with a good old Dynasty slap. *wink* Miriam, Wilhemina’s attack/guard dog at this point, says that someone has been outside and brought contamination inside. Mr. Gallant and Andre’s boy toy are picked out as the culprits and are taken to be clean, which clearly looks extremely painful. After their cleaning, they are tested again. This time Mr. Gallant test clean, but boy toy still tests dirty before being shot in the back of the head by Miriam, right in front of Mr. Gallant.

Let’s Wrap This Up

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I Look Fly, I Look Good

We return with Wilhemina and Miriam dressed in purple gowns of their own, which we were told that they aren’t. They are just the arm of The Cooperative. During this time, we get a major reveal that these rules, like no sex or else, are completely made up by Wilhemina and enforced by Miriam, who isn’t really happy about it. This goes to a bigger reveal that Miriam lied about both Mr. Gallant and boy toy being contaminated, messing with the Geiger counter to give out a false positive reading. Why is this important beyond the fact that boy toy is dead for no reason? Well, let’s join them for their next dinner.

They’re having fresh meat. Now, we don’t know this for sure, but one thing I do know is I ain’t seen no deer, pigs, chickens, or even dogs running around outside, and they living in here like it’s an Amish paradise, so ain’t no real refrigeration. So, unless this meat just appeared, it wouldn’t be fresh, which means…DING!DING!DING! They are eating boy toy…maybe. Wilhemina nor Miriam will confirm that the meat is actually boy toy, but while everyone else is puking up what they are sure is Stu meat aka “the stew is Stu,” GDGE is chowing down and not spilling a drop. They have become the purple wearing people eaters. See, I finally brought it back around. Yeah, I know, it took a long time for very little pay off. I promise there won’t be many of those.

Later, they try to reconcile if they really just puked out/ate an actual person, with Dinah-Oprah going Iyanla and trying to keep the group together. Smart sister Emily notices that while the others are bickering that the music that has been playing for weeks has suddenly stopped. The song that begins to play is different than the one before. This time it is “The Morning After” sung by Maureen McGovern. They take this as a message from The Cooperative that they are going to be recused soon, but *in Spongebob Squarepants announcer voice* eighteen months later, they are still there, and Maureen is singing on.

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Such great atmosphere

We get a quick inner thoughts moment from Timothy that speeds us past some of what has been going on, which includes a budding relationship between him and Emily. It includes only one kiss between them per week, because you know, not trying to die for some nookie.

A New Player has Entered the Game

We finally get to the end of the episode, and a black horse drawn carriage pulls up to the outpost. Now, my excitement rose, because I thought…YES!!!!!! MY WITCHES ARE COMING!!!!

However, it turned out to be our first glimpse of the promised Murder House/Coven crossover in the form of a man…Michael Langdon in fact, son of Tate Langdon, aka THE FUCKING ANTICHIRST IN THE FLESH AND ALL GROWN UP! When we last saw him, he was killing nannies gleefully.

This is how episode 1 ends. The Antichrist coming to Wilhemina and offering to shelter all of them, some of them, or none of them, and nuclear falls out victims, or zombie-beings maybe, eating radioactive horse meat.

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Son of Satan came with the free flowing locs

Final Thoughts *sits Jerry Springer-ly*

I’m a bit more excited about this season, but a large part of that excitement comes from the fact that my personal favorite season from the franchise, Coven, will have my witches coming back to hopefully give me all the magic I need.

After watching the first episode, I wish that Apocalypse was its own season, because I’ve seen some good story lines that could take place just dealing with them living in these close quarters and dealing with what could happened if they were forced to leave.

The Coven/Murder House crossover really should have been its own separate season that dealt directly with the mixing of their story lines without the end of the world theme, which truly feels like it can be good on its own. One of the problems that may have contributed to this conglomeration, of what is for me three seasons in one, was that since Freakshow each season has been seeing a viewership decline. Ryan Murphy finally gave the people what they wanted in returning to Coven and Murder House.

The witches will be coming soon, if the episode 2 preview is to be believed. Not saying that I will stop watching this season, but I’m here from some magical beings, beside the Antichrist. (FYI: I never finished Cult.)

Lastly, I am extremely curious about Timothy’s and Emily’s “special genetic makeup” that made them worthy of saving from death. My guess, and want, is that they are witches too. I’ve wanted AHS to bring out male witches since Coven, and this could finally be it. Though considering that it’s a boy and girl, this could turn into some Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden stuff real quick.


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  • Kenneth Broome

    College Professor/Editor/Writer

    Kenneth Broome, Jr. is originally from Mississippi, but he lives and works near Atlanta, GA. He hold degrees in English and creative writing. He's a college professor, editor, and writer as well. He loves sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, but witches are his favorite. Overall, he's just a big nerd at heart.

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