For better or worse, American Horror Story: Apocalypse is all about the witches.
As usual, details of the newest season of the anthology series were left a mystery, but now we're three episodes in to Season 8 and already we've got ourselves a Coven party.
Spoilers ahead for those who aren't up to date!
The Coven has finally entered the building.
Let me tell you, I take joy out of a lot of things — especially around this time of year. I'm shameless. Pumpkin spice lattes? Throw 'em at me. You better believe I have both Honeycrisp Apple Cider and Autumn Wreath Yankee Candles burning at all hours, and I pretty much accept I'll be a lethargic mass between September and December because there's so much good horror to watch. But nothing made me happier than watching the bewitched trio Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson), Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) strut through the doors of the Outpost and bring their switches (that's sister witches for all my occult noobs) back to life. Michael Langdon might be the antichrist, but hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or whatever.
As a reminder, AHS: Apocalypse is all about the baby Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) had in Murder House. Years later, the... special child is all grown up and spearheading the end of the world. Seems like ghost and human parts don't mix, unless you're Demi Moore. Only a few humans were able to make it underground before the world's nukes inexplicably went off and laid ruin to, well, everything. These underground communities are called Outposts and are run by a mysterious group called The Collective. Unfortunately, the leader of the main Outpost, Ms. Wilhemina Venable (Paulson), has some serious issues. She forbids everyone from "fornicating," refuses access to technology, and her favorite punishment to administer is death. If Professor McGonagall and Voldemort had a baby, Venable would be the one. The members of this Outpost — Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), her assistant Mallory (Billie Lourd), her former hair stylist Mr. Gallant (Peters), Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), Dinah's son Andre Stevens (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), Venable's crony Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates), and new arrival Michael (Cody Fern) — are some of the last remaining people on Earth, but they're also miserable. No Yankee Candles for these fools.
When Michael shows up, the group has been underground for at least a year. He informs the Outpost he's screening them to decide who deserves a spot at The Sanctuary. You see, the Outposts haven't done so well since the nukes went off. Most of them have been overrun and they're all bleeding resources. According to Michael, The Sanctuary is the only place they'll be safe in the long term. What the Outpost doesn't know is Michael isn't looking for the best of the best, he's scouting for the evilest of the evil. The son of Satan has responsibilities, you know. During the interviews, he questions everyone about their anger and the darkness within. In the process, he accidentally discovers two witches — Dinah and Mallory — who seem to threaten him, despite his power. More on that later.
Meanwhile, batshit Victorian-era aficionado Venable has decided to assassinate the Outpost — a group she considers problematic, useless, and trifling — before they can be picked for a place in The Sanctuary. She poisons a mysterious shipment of fresh red apples. Where did the apples come from? Who would have sent them, and how would they have grown them when trees are no longer a thing? She doesn't ask these questions, and it's her undoing. Venable and Ms. Mead inject the apples with snake venom, throw a party, and watch as all their roommates drop dead. Throughout all this, Michael is nowhere to be seen.
As it turns out, this was all his master plan. He ordered the apples knowing Venable would pull some atrocious shenanigans. After Project Snow White, Venable and Ms. Mead confront him in his room, and this is when it really gets weird. As revealed earlier in the episode, Ms. Mead is a cyborg programmed to be loyal to Venable and serve The Collective. It makes sense: Robots would be super useful in post-apocalyptic L.A. Venable orders Ms. Mead to shoot Michael, but when she raises her gun, she shoots Venable instead. Both Venable and Ms. Mead are shocked, but Michael explains: He was the one who programmed Ms. Mead and is therefore her ultimate master. He controls her every action because — get this — Ms. Mead was created based on an "important person" from Michael's childhood. Before long, it becomes clear Ms. Mead is a robotic manifestation of Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), Michael's grandmother and the woman who raised him after his mom, Vivien, died and became a ghost in the Murder House. As noted earlier, Lange will return to AHS for the first time since Season 4 (Freak Show). Expect her in episode 6.
You'd think that would be the biggest shock of the episode, but it really gets good when the Coven appears.
Just like magic, The Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow" starts to play on the radio and three figures step out of the radioactive fog above the Outpost: Cordelia Foxx, Madison Montgomery, and Myrtle Snow. They make their way into the hideout and revive Mallory, Dinah, and (shocker!) Coco.
Madison kneels in front of Mallory and recites her infamous quote:
"Surprise, bitch. I bet you thought you'd seen the last of me."
It's no surprise Mallory is a witch because earlier in the episode, she flexed her powers during a run-in with Michael. Dinah also promised Michael she wasn't powerful enough to meddle in his business. Coco, though? That one I didn't see coming.
Now that the Outpost crew is (mostly) done for, it's all about the Coven, which has just acquired a few new members. I can't wait to see them do their thing.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse episode 4 airs Sunday, Oct. 3 on FX.