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American Horror Story: Apocalypse Finale Review – “Apocalypse Then”

November 15, 2018 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
American Horror Story Apocalypse - 'Apocalypse Then'
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American Horror Story: Apocalypse Finale Review – “Apocalypse Then”  

Before we begin the breakdown of the Season 8 finale, I want to talk about the word “bitch,” which this show throws around liberally. I know plenty of feminists who don’t use the word at all. Others find “bitch” to be basically harmless, or even desirable—that “bitch” is the female equivalent of calling your male friends “dog.” I’m not clear which side AHS is taking. But most often when we hear the word on the show, it’s an insult. Personally, I think the word itself isn’t interesting enough to use as often as they do. These women are smart, funny, and fascinating. They could certainly say something more interesting than “bitch.” Come on, show–Be Best! Moving on, watch for spoilers if you haven’t watched yet.

This season’s finale begins with the reveal that Mutt and Jeff have last names—hilarious ones. Mutt Nutter and Jeff Pfister. Ha! When Myrtle visits this dynamic duo, we see that she’s laying the groundwork to get Mallory and Coco a place at Outpost 3, which we know is Hawthorne school. We can safely presume that Mutt and Jeff died in one of the overrun Outposts, probably #2. But we don’t see much of them after Myrtle leaves them to their own devices…after Coco’s dad buys his kid a place in Outpost 3. Like Myrtle, I was hoping she’d kill Mutt and Jeff. No such luck. Meanwhile, the identity spell is underway. Watch for the look of terror on Coco’s face when she hears she’s about to get Madison’s personality.

Speaking of Madison, she’s hopping mad when she sees Dinah with her own talk show. She knows there’s only one way that could happen, and she’s right. But they can’t kill her yet, as that might tip off Michael. In this plan, timing is everything. It doesn’t take long until we’re back where the season started. Coco having a session with Galant, witches coming up out of the ground, heading off to Hawthorne school to check on the girls. Wait though, why is Billy Eichner in the salon? Is that Brock? How could it be? I’m confused. How could Coco have had a boyfriend to call while the bombs dropped in the first place?

Once the confrontation begins, things happen pretty quickly. Once the witches make themselves known and Mal and Coco know what’s up—who should pop by but Marie M-Fing Laveau. Beautiful! I wasn’t expecting her this year, so this was a delight. She has, as we know, no stomach for torture. There was a swap with Papa Legba: someone truly evil in exchange for Marie. Bye, Dinah! And hi, Nan! Hope you can still breathe with your throat cut. A few spells later, and Robot-Meade is exploded and Michael shot full of holes, leaving Myrtle able to steal a personal possession of Michael’s—a loch of his lovely hair. We know that won’t last though. Is eternity in hell a suitable punishment for Dinah’s shenanigans? You be the judge.

So what’s the plan? Madison will hold Michael off (really?) so Mallory has enough time to work Tempus Infinitum. We revisit Mallory and Michael’s earlier confrontation, and see that they’re evenly matched. But wait—Brock is still running around in a bad bald wig, and he stabs Mallory as vengeance for…getting in his way? Being in a hallway? He has no reason to dislike her, but he does. In seconds, Brock, Madison, Coco, Marie LaVeau, and Meade are all dead. Well, “dead,” because that’s how American Horror Story works when witches are afoot. Watch for the hilarious expression “HBIC” or Head Bitch in Charge. Thanks for avoiding the racial slur, AHS! “Die again, fuck face” is much less memorable. Note: I loved how Meade’s eyes clicked when she blinked as she was dying. That was a nice touch.

Mallory is dying, Cordelia can’t blow life back into her. The current Supreme walks out to confront Michael, robbing him of his chance to delight in murdering her. The Sacred Taking lasts only a few seconds. Michael is bummed, Mallory is energized, and the plan goes off without a hitch. This takes us to a central point, and central flaw of the episode. We’re back at the Murder House (well, next door to it anyway) where Constance throws Michael out of the house after he kills the priest. Watch for his “I’m sorry” and “I need help,” and all the other insipid crap terrible people say when they’re caught doing awful things. Constance is stronger than we’ve ever seen her when she tells the boy to go live on his own, anywhere but there.

That’s all fine. But Mallory hitting him with a car, then backing up in 2015? Then hitting him a few more times? Why the hell would that work? He asks to be dragged to the Murder House, but Constance isn’t having it. Ostensibly, that means Michael has died. Shenanigans IMO. I guess we’re to think Michael wasn’t strong enough to come back after the running-over he experienced. Mallory seems uncharacteristically gleeful at her violent deed. I don’t think that’s very realistic either. But okay. Def the low point of the ep for me, which is a drag, since it’s a highly important plot point.

With the son of Satan dispatched, we’re back in 2015 where Mallory is accepted at Miss Robichaux’s. She remembers everything, but is clearly alone in this. Everyone is alive (though we don’t see Bubbles), except Myrtle, who stayed dead since Cordelia had no cause to bring her back. Nan brings Misty back from her personal hell, which is delightful. Apparently everyone wants to do the witches a favor now that they killed the antichrist. They’ll go back for Madison as well…eventually. Hahahaha, I’m fine with her riding it out in retail hell just a little longer. Best of all, Queenie is alive and heading out to see Price is Right. “Plinko all day, Ho!” Mallory convinces her not to stay at the Cortez. Presumably, she’ll live. Yay! Nan is happy with Papa Legba, which I think is adorable.

The season ends with several key events told by a few forward jumps in time. Timothy and Emily (remember them, from the first two eps of the season?) meet and fall in love. One of them apparently has a latex allergy so they have a baby in about a year. A few years later and the psychopomps are swarming outside. Another nanny dead, and who shows up at Timothy and Emily’s home but “Anton LaVey,” Meade, and the other chick (played by Naomi Grossman, who we all know better as Pepper-Pepper-Bo-Bepper) paying tribute to…the antichrist. That’s right, Devan is the antichrist. What did we think? That the Devil himself would take his ball and go home? It’s interesting that the Devil chose not to kill the child’s mother during the birth (or whoever your faith dictates makes a choice like that). Maybe he thinks the child will be stronger with two parents.

Can we presume that Constance Langdon does not kill herself in this new reality? What about the events of Coven? What changes? We never see Spaulding, or Kyle. What became of Mutt and Jeff, or the Cooperative? Does Queenie’s survival change anything at the Cortez? Might Marcie live? Do the vampires grow hungry without her? Does March get bored enough to murder again without his card-playing partner? Impossible to say. Zoe getting to live is great news, and presuming Cordelia gets to see a ripe old age (even if she never does have the child she so wanted) is cool too.

Overall, this was a very uneven season with some tremendous highs and dizzying lows. It’s like a roller coaster, or life. Some of it is thrilling and amazing, while some is a predictable fucking snooze. Overall though, I always find plenty to enjoy in each season. I certainly would have enjoyed seeing Kyle “Fratkenstein,” and Denis O’Hare in any capacity. As usual, the show asks us to accept some pretty giant leaps of faith and logic, but I’m always excited to see what comes next. As for me, I’ll be around here at 411 Mania.

See you’s next year!

8
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
We pretty much knew going into this episode what was going to happen. Mallory, the new Supreme, would go back in time to stop the nukes from destroying the Earth. What we actually saw covered that, and a whole lot more. I can't say it was a surprising ending. But I will say that this entire season has been a love-letter to those fans who have been around since the beginning, plus a few fun surprises.
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