Note: This article contains spoilers for episode 5 of American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
Weeks before the apocalypse first hit our screens in season eight of American Horror Story, showrunner Ryan Murphy teased that “there’s a huge thing that happens in episode five”. Honestly though, it’s hard to tell exactly what he was talking about, because so much happened in this week’s episode.
Once again, ‘Boy Wonder’ ignored the majority of characters that we met during the first few episodes in favour of more flashbacks that essentially function as a sequel to Coven, pushing all of the pieces in place ready for an epic showdown between Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) and the baddest witches in town.
However, amongst all of the disemboweled frogs and magical gluten detectors, plenty more happened that linked Apocalypse even more closely to previous seasons than ever before, and no, we’re not just talking about that haunting scene at the end.
Join us as we dissect every scene from episode five of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, pulling out every Easter egg and hidden reference we could find.
Get ready to scream Croatoan at some ghastly ghouls because this week’s episode of Apocalypse included a sneaky nod to Roanoke, the sixth season of American Horror Story.
Just like Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), we too were in shock when Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) announced that Michael Langdon could officially take part in the Seven Wonders and make his bid to become Supreme. However, we couldn’t help but notice how specific the timing was when Cordelia declared that the test would take place during the rise of the Blood Moon.
In season six, the ghosts from the Lost Colony of Roanoke were able to cross over and harm the living for six days before the Blood Moon appeared in the sky. While this might be a coincidence, these spirits were also connected to Lady Gaga’s character Scathach, who was revealed to be the original Supreme.
Once again, Myrtle Snow reminded us of her sage wisdom this week when she pointed out that appointing a man as Supreme could spell disaster for the world: “Have we learned nothing from Attila the Hun, Herod the Great, Mark Zuckerberg!?”
When Snow goes on to declare that “Men make terrible leaders”, it’s hard not to think of last season’s true villain, Donald Trump, whose election as President directly affected every single character in Cult.
While the power struggle between men and women here isn’t directly link to the events seen in season seven, Murphy’s understanding of gender politics here clearly carries over from Cult, continuing to be influenced by the wide reach of the #MeToo movement.
Although the new witches took a back seat again this week, further hints at Mallory’s (Billie Lourd) true power were unveiled when she brought a deer back to life – and even de-aged it, too. Snow declared that the young woman’s gift was “unlike any magic I’ve ever seen”, yet this was then brushed aside to focus on the impending Wonders.
Last week, we discussed the possibility that Mallory could be connected to a divine bloodline of sorts and now that Roanoke has been touched upon too, it’s entirely possible that she could be directly descended from Scathach, the first Supreme.
Whatever the truth might be, it seems certain that Mallory will play a key role in the final battle against Langdon, particularly now that Cordelia’s powers seem to be fading.
If you screamed “Oh my god, yes!” when John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) said something is wrong with Michael, then you’re not alone, which is why it was such a shame to see him leave this week, taking his designer eyeliner and slashed heels with him.
Before Moore was killed though, Ms Meade remarked on his fate, saying that there’s “so many things left to do, so little time in the hourglass”. Time played a huge role in the promotional material released leading up to Apocalypse and the image of an hourglass in particular was prominent throughout, leading many to speculate on this fan theory, which could still turn out to be somewhat true.
In a fun callback to Coven, the Seven Wonders were presented once again here through an old-timey lens, paying homage to silent cinema. Things went back to ‘normal’ though for the final test when Langdon descended into hell to retrieve Misty Day (Lily Rabe).
Still trapped in the nightmare loop we last saw her in, Misty asks Langdon if he’s there to save her. Given that Lily Rabe’s nun from season two was possessed by a demon, there’s something rather ironic about watching the Antichrist save another character of hers in season eight.
By retrieving Misty, Langdon completed the trials and proved himself worthy of the Supreme’s power, but Cordelia isn’t phased. Much like Doctor Strange’s now infamous ‘Endgame’ plan in Avengers: Infinity War, the one true Supreme had this all planned out from the beginning, tricking Langdon into bringing “all my girls back to me for the fight ahead”.
There is nothing purer on this earth than seeing Stevie Nicks walk through the door and serenade Misty Day with a classic Fleetwood Mac song like ‘Gypsy’. The ‘White Witch’ made her acting debut in season 3 of American Horror Story, so it’s only fitting that she too would return for this Coven reunion, spinning Misty around with her beautiful voice.
Stevie’s role on the show was originally inspired by rumours she was a witch, rumours which she has surely nodded to here by changing one of the original song lyrics from “She was just a wish” to “She was just a witch”.
We’ve already encountered the Rubber Man and Langdon was first depicted as a child in season one, but it’s in the final moments of this week’s episode where the Murder House itself makes its first appearance in the crossover, setting up the return of Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon next week.
Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott and Taissa Farmiga will also reprise their roles as the Harmon family in episode six thanks to the presence of Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), who visits the Murder House in order to learn the origins of Michael Langdon. It’s no coincidence that Cordelia sent Madison on this errand though. After all, she shares her last name with Dr Charles Montgomery, the surgeon who originally built the Murder House.
Fans have long speculated that Madison could be related to him as both possess the ability to bring people back from the dead. Charles resurrected a stitched-together version of his son, Thaddeus, and Madison brought back a stitched-together Kyle (Evan Peters).
By exploring these potential links, the sixth episode of Apocalypse could turn out be one of the most important moments in the crossover yet and not just because the queen herself, Jessica Lange, will return too.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse is on Wednesdays on FX in the US, with the UK getting it on FOX and NOW TV two weeks later. Catch up on series 1-6 on Netflix, with season 7 available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.
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