The end is no longer nigh, friends. It’s here. American Horror Story: Apocalypse has begun, and it doesn’t give us a chance to breathe before we are thrown into the final days.
A quick intro to three of our main characters, Coco St. Pierre (Leslie Grossman), Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters), and Coco‘s assistant, Mallory (Billie Lourd) leads us to the fall of Los Angeles’ humanity as a missile threat is made apparent to them.
Coco receives a Facetime from her billionaire father who tells her to get to their private jet as it will take her and 3 other people to a safe place. Presumably, her father and the rest of her family fall victim to another missile hit, and the three are off to the private jet. Along the way, we are introduced to Coco‘s love interest, Brock (Billy Eichner), who she abandons via breaking their relationship “contract” as I guess rich people in LA do. Added to the jet mix is Mr. Gallant‘s Nana, Evie (Joan Collins), the wife of the late president of MGM. The group is off in the jet, but wait! There’s no pilot! Wait! The missile makes landfall! And oo, the opening ends with the reflection of the mushroom cloud in Coco‘s tear stained eye. That was a beautiful shot.
Transition to a family who just found out their son, Timothy, has just been accepted to UCLA. The celebration doesn’t last long as a group of mysterious people come to take Timothy away to a safe house as he has the exceptional genetic makeup for a prime candidate of survival. How was this discovered? Via an ancestry test that he took. The mysterious people whisk Timothy away, leaving his family behind to perish in the missile attack. Timothy is held in a dark facility where we are introduced to Emily, another teenager who was caught by the same people. The missile makes landfall, and we fast forward two weeks to where Emily and Timothy are being led to the safe house promised by the mysterious people, or as they call themselves, the Cooperative, “a collection of the greatest minds that mankind has to offer.”
This safe house seems like the castle that Princess Mombi resided at in Return to Oz, and Sarah Paulson’s Ms. Venable is a perfect Princess Mombi wannabe. She explains the rules of the safe house. Emily and Timothy are a part of the Purples, the elite, which we are told is because of their DNA, and not because of the wealth status. Apart from the Purples are the Greys, who resemble the avoxes from The Hunger Games, except they still have their tongues. They are the working class of the house. One of the other rules that Ms. Venable makes clear should not be broken is that there should be no sex. Whatsoever. Haha, yeah, okay. This is AHS. That rule’s going to be broken.
We are then introduced to the other members of the elite Purples. Coco, Mr. Gallant, and Evie are there, along with Dinah Stevens (Adine Porter), a hasbeen talk show host, and Stu and Andre (Chad James Buchanan and Jeffery Bowyer-Chapman), a couple. Helping run the place is Ms. Venable‘s cohort, Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates). We find out that Venable and Mead are just glorified Greys as they do not run the place. They just keep it in order. It is run by The Cooperative. In a scene between the two, we discover they have plans to make the place their own, to overrun The Cooperative.
We come to understand the deceptive power that Venable and Mead have when they discover someone has radioactive particles on them via a screening, and the two who have the particles on them are taking to a washdown. Mr. Gallant and Stu end up being the guilty party, and Stu does not past the test after the washdown, and meets his end via a bullet to the head. Venable and Mead rid of Stu to keep rations to par. Scenes follow where the Purples receive a hot meal, for once, but it is assumed that it’s the remains of Stu. As promised by Venable and Mead, it is not, but the bones found in the stew all point to … Stu.
The episode ends with the return of Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), now grown up and looking very Interview with the Vampire-ish. He is one of The Cooperative, and has come to the safe house to tell Venable that they are one of the remaining that are operating, but they do not have much longer. He lets her know that there is another facility with rations to last them a decade, and that he is there to see among them is fit enough to join him.
And with that, things are set into motion for what looks to be a step up from the previous season, Cult. Even without the setup that this is a Murder House / Coven crossover season, there seems to be enough meat in the story to keep it going with just this. There’s already a certain universe established, and there seems to be many questions to be answered. Who are The Cooperative, and what are their true intentions? What is Venable‘s and Mead‘s story? What are the creatures that we see dragging Michael‘s horses into the woods? Is Emily who she says she is? Will Coco‘s hair get even more ridiculous as the show goes along?
” The world has been stripped of almost all humanity, and now they must survive.”
As with each season, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk like to make a statement with the story they are telling. As it can be told by the premiere, there seems to be themes of hierarchy and nationwide panic meshing together. Those who are the elite Purples are all privileged and wealthy (sans Emily and Timothy who are quite the opposite), but it seems that those aspects have brought them into something that is not as safe as what they had originally thought. So the Purples are the 1%, the Greys are the remaining 99%, and The Cooperative is the government. Emily and Timothy are the few who happen to have wealth fall in their lap. Will they treat it with respect, or will it overcome them, and lead to their demise? The nationwide panic aspect could be entirely wrong because, well, there’s no nation to force panic upon, now. The world has been stripped of almost all humanity, and now they must survive. It will be interesting to attempt to delve into the nuances that will make this story tick.
And as for the reason that most people are flocking to this season? The return of the Murder House occupants and the members of the Coven! They had absolutely no play in this episode. Yeah, Michael Langdon returns, but you only caught that he was Michael in a blink or you’ll miss it moment. So how will everyone else play a part? Will Venable and Cordelia meet face to face? How awesome would it be for a Sarah Paulson vs Sarah Paulson showdown? We can assume that The Murder House will play a part in telling how Michael gets to where he is in The Cooperative, and that probably will not come about until the Sarah Paulson directed episode 6 featuring the return of Jessica Lange.
Apocalypse begins like most seasons of American Horror Story begins. There are so many questions, and the mystery lingers heavily in the air. We are sure to get more questions thrown at us, and as the answers unfold, we are definitely sure to be entertained, angry, excited, and possibly disgusted. Next week’s episode, directed by Jennifer Lynch, will perhaps already answer the question of who is worthy enough to follow Michael to the ultimate safe house.
AHS is known for the lines delivered by the characters, so why not end with a quote – or quotes – of the episode? As the Purples realize that they may be eating Stu stew, Coco makes this frantic demand of Mallory; “Oh my God! Mallory! Come here, and stick your finger down my throat!” And in response of Venable‘s denial of the stew being Stu, Nana Evie states that she doesn’t “… care what it is. It’s absolutely divine, and it’s full of fiber! I’m going to finish every drop.” Joan Collins is absolutely eating her role up!
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs Wednesday nights on FX.