American Horror Story S8E10: Apocalypse Then
Thanks, I hate it.
I still don’t fucking know what anyone was thinking with this season. No, not the premise, because that’s cool: the apocalypse, as heralded in by the Antichrist: Brooding YA Hero Edition, I can live with that. But almost every single thing about the execution has just been bafflingly, blatantly off, and I, for one, am delighted that this is over.
Alright, let’s talk about this episode, Apocalypse Then, as the finale of this “story”, because I hate it as much as the rest of this garbage greatest-hits cavalcade. For one thing, a good quarter of the episode is made up of footage from the rest of the season, which is both boring and cheating, so thanks for that. What is new, however, often feels old, with much of new storyline just a quick “fuck, aye, we’ve got to explain this, don’t we?”. We get to see Cordelia putting the younger witches under a protective spell, then a little of their “ooh, hark the goofy millenials” lives in their new reality, and then the witches burying themselves to survive the apocalypse, and then finally, we’re back to the actual start of the story – well, the story that started four episodes in, after the pointless prologue. You get me. You don’t. Why would anyone? This is some of the most unbelievably stupid plotting I’ve ever seen in my life.
What follows when we actually get to the alleged “real” plot is just a bunch of people killing each other and coming back – let me try to get this in order, huh? Marie LaVeau (a returning and delicious Angela Basset) kills Dinah, Kathy Bates robot mother explodes, Billy Eichner in radioactive Mad Max form (remember him?) kills Mallory, Madison kills Michael, Michael comes back from the dead and pops Mallory’s head, Michael eats Marie LaVeau’s heart, Cordelia kills herself, and Mallory revives herself and…yeah, that’s about it, isn’t it? Given that I have no emotional attachment to any of these characters – and that some of them literally just turned up for this episode – I don’t give a shit about any of this, and it feels more like a parody sketch of this season than any attempt to pull it together into coherence.
But yet still there is more to go because my own personal Coven hell is trying to find new things to say about this season. Mallory goes back in time and runs down a teenage Michael (after an excellent scene with Jessica Lange, the only thing that matters in this episode) in a car and averts the future Apocalypse with his death.
And off Mallory goes to join everyone at Hogwarts for Fuckheads, and since she’s so famous from killing the Antichrist, Nan (Jamie Brewer, a delight) is allowed to dump Misty back on their doorstep
to begin her lesbian affair with Cordelia anew. It’s a happy ending for everyone on the “good” side, and it took all of fifteen minutes of screentime to get there. I could probably have summed up the entire story in this season in about forty seconds with shadow puppets, provided I could have just played the interminable Coven “LA la LA laaaa la LA” theme over the top of it.
Which explains why so much of this season was spent dragging out retreads and giving us a three-episode epilogue to a story that never even happened in the first place, with this atrocious retconning now in place: there was hardly enough story to fill a lengthy movie, let alone a ten-episode season. American Horror Story basically walked into my apartment and took several hours of my life directly from me, and no, I won’t stop being mad about it. This episode ends with the YA teens from the first few episodes meeting in the new reality and banging out a new Antichrist baby, and the real horror lingers in my mind as the possibility of this godawful nightmare of a story returning for 2Antichrist2Infantous in a couple of seasons’ time.
I really can’t begin to express how much I hated this season of AHS. And I tried to like it, I did, because Apocalypse stuff spooks me and I wanted Cody Fern to blow me away as the heir apparent to the Finn Wittrock throne. But the inescapable truth is that this is lazy, boring, padded-out indulgence from a show that’s already been a little too up it’s own arsehole in the last few seasons for my liking anyway. If you want indulgence, if you want to stop by and check in with characters you love, you go buckwild, this is the season for you. But if you’re looking for actual story, plot, and character development? If you’re looking for a show that doesn’t waste a trilogy of episodes with a prologue-epilogue that never was anyway, that doesn’t wheel great characters out of the closet to ruin them for Tumblr gif points (yes, I’m talking about the Zoe/Tate stuff), that actually tries to be something new? Yeah, maybe this season isn’t for you. I know it wasn’t for me.
And that’s us for this season. What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below, and please send thoughts and care packages to help me recover from the burning rage that will never die about AHS: Apocalypse. If you want to read some of my other recaps, I’m also looking at the first Harry Potter book chapter by chapter right now, and recently picked up on my Riverdale recaps for the new season.. If you enjoyed this recap and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon! And if you’re in a horror mood, go check out Halloween season on my film site, No But Listen.
(header image courtesy of Father Son Holy Gore)