Film & TV

Season Eight of “American Horror Story” Expands Old Storylines, Forgoes Scares

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After the debut of its seventh episode Oct. 24, “American Horror Story” (AHS) is now more than halfway through its eighth season, “Apocalypse.”

“Apocalypse” begins in the near future, in which a nuclear apocalypse wipes out the vast majority of the population and triggers a nuclear winter. The season centers around Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), who is the antichrist child of Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) and Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), as well as the witches from season three’s “Coven.”

Previous seasons of the gruesome show have stemmed from original ideas, each with a new storyline and characters, who are often portrayed by new or returning cast members. “Apocalypse” differs from past seasons because it builds off of previous storylines — mostly from “Coven” and “Murder House.”

“Coven” and “Murder House” were praised as two of the best seasons in the series, according to The Edit News and many other fan rankings. 

When producer Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “Scream Queens”) revealed in a tweet in June that “Apocalypse” would finally be the long-anticipated crossover, fans could barely contain their excitement, replying to the tweet with gifs of people crying, dancing or passing out.

“Apocalypse” is unique with returning cast members playing classic and original characters. Sarah Paulson has reprised her roles as Supreme Cordelia Goode (“Coven”) and Hollywood medium Billie Dean Howard (“Murder House”), while also playing a new character, the menacing Ms. Venable (“Apocalypse”).

 Other popular characters making their return include Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) and Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange).

Despite being seven episodes into the ten-episode season, it seems as though not much has happened. The first three episodes have dealt with the immediate aftermath of the apocalypse, and the succeeding four have all been flashbacks of the years leading up to it.

When compared to previous seasons, “Apocalypse” is also remarkably ineffective when it comes to making the audience bite their nails and shut their eyes. Though there have been gory moments, this season is much more plot-driven than scare-inducing. 

One unsolvable puzzle of this season is the character of Michael Langdon. In the first season, Vivien Harmon was impregnated with Michael after being raped by the ghost Tate Langdon.

“A child born of human and spirit will usher in the end of times,” Billie Dean said when she prophesied the fetus would be the antichrist in “Murder House.” 

Seven years after the storyline of “Murder House” ended, fans are finally getting to see that prophecy come to light.

At the end of “Murder House,” Michael was adopted by Tate’s mother, Constance (Jessica Lange), and audiences caught a brief glimpse into his dark nature when he giddily murdered his nanny as a mere toddler.

“Apocalypse” is centered around the grown-up version of Michael, who seems just as sinister and mysterious as he was as a child. He’s likely the most powerful being currently in the “AHS” universe, and whatever happens next hinges on his actions.

The show seems to be hinting toward a showdown between Michael and the Coven, and viewers should look forward to seeing Michael’s full potential.

In particular, Mallory (Billie Lourd) is a stand-out among the Coven’s new witches and might be the next supreme, possibly meaning she will be the one strong enough to stop Michael.

Regardless of the direction the writers choose to take this season, “Apocalypse” will definitely remain a favorite among fans for its expansion of the “Coven” storyline, witty dialogue and callbacks to old jokes, such as when Madison repeated her memed-out, internet-famous line from “Coven” to a recently resurrected Mallory.

“Surprise, bitch,” Madison said. “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.”

With only three episodes left in the season, no foreseeable resolution to the apocalypse and still many unanswered questions, “Apocalypse” begs the question, “What is the point?” While it’s exciting to see the return of many beloved characters, there isn’t much time left for this season to dawdle on flashbacks.

“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” can be watched on FX and all previous seasons of the show are available to stream on Hulu and Netflix.

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