What’s that noise? Oh, it’s just the sound of Venable’s cane as it hits the floor. And with the sound of her cane, we begin the second episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, The Morning After.
The episode doesn’t really open with the sound of Venable’s cane. Instead, we open on Emily in her room. Except she’s not alone. She has a few friends hiding in the closet in the form of snakes. Lots of snakes. Emily sees “Snakes!!!”, but Mead and her crony (Erika Ervin) see dinner as they don’t seem to be affected by the radiation from outside. After a second or so of wondering how they’ve managed to survive, the snakes’ lives are ended as they are chopped up. No Stu Stew, this time around. Snake Stew is what’s for dinner! As the Purples uncover their dishes, they discover that the snakes aren’t so much chopped up as they are alive. Thus begins the paranormal activity that I hope we will see more of.
As for the curious case of the chopped up snakes that become whole, living snakes, Emily and Timothy are the only ones asking questions. While they don’t understand the snakes, their focus lies more so on who Venable is hiding in her office. She doesn’t hide him for long as she gathers all of the Purples in the common area to meet Langdon. He explains to them that the other compounds are gone, and he has come to lead them to the ultimate safe house, The Sanctuary. A questioning technique, called “Co-Operating”, will be used to determine who makes it to The Sanctuary. Gallant volunteers to go first, and Langdon obliges, but not before letting them know that those who remain will definitely perish. He shows them a vial of pills that he promises will put them out of their misery if they are one of the unlucky ones left behind. Nervous stares from everyone in the room occurs. Nervous thoughts occur from us as to who will be the one who will eventually take a pill.
“I’m not that old, but I’m old enough to remember when sucking dick was a way to get off, and an act of political rebellion.” -Langdon
Gallant’s questioning begins with Langdon asking what his sexuality is. Gallant explains that he’s gay, but he’s totally capable of finishing with a girl in case he needs to for procreation. Langdon assures him that his ability to procreate isn’t needed. Hm. Langdon then goes onto the anger that Gallant has for Evie, his nana. She wants him to be the “perfect gay.” Or so he thinks. We flashback to a bit where Evie invited men, “perfect gays”, to dinner parties to win him over. Never worked. He could never be what she wanted him to be. Gallant turns the question about sexuality to Langdon. A little flirtation between the two occurs, and just when Gallant thinks he’s going to make an act of political rebellion (see: above quote) with Langdon, the interview ends.
After a brief scene of Emily and Timothy making plans to escape, we return to Gallant beginning to have a moment of self pleasure, until there’s a knock on the door. It’s The Rubber Man from Murder House! We all know that wherever the The Rubber Man is, sex is bound to follow and Evie secretly catches them in the act. Turns out, she’s not so much a fan of gays as she is a deceitful Nana who will use this opportunity to have her grandson nixed from The Sanctuary list, even if it means death for his sexual act.
She runs straight to Mead to tattle on this “sexual deviance” which actually doesn’t matter because Emily and Timothy find out via Langdon’s laptop that the punishment of death because of sex was a rule made up by Venable. It is now Venable’s turn to be Co-Operated and without much thought, Langdon reveals Venable’s weakness. She has a physical deformity that appears to be some sort of super scoliosis. He lets her know that showing this weakness has not granted her a place at The Sanctuary.
Mead and Venable punish Gallant for his sexual encounter by flogging. Turns out, he loves it. It’s turned him on so they stop. Out goes Mead and Venable, and in comes Langdon. He tells Gallant that it wasn’t him who was in the rubber suit, and that he wouldn’t f*ck him if he were the last man on earth, due to his neediness. After planting more seeds of anger, and watering them with thoughts of Evie’s distaste, he leaves Gallant, but not before magically removing the cuffs that chain him.
A “Repercussions Of Sex” montage begins, set to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman, and Gallant finds himself being lured up to his bedroom by The Rubber Man. Mead catches Emily and Timothy post coital, and sentences them to their death. The Rubber Man lets Gallant take control of him, which is something we’ve never seen The Rubber Man allow. He then begins stabbing The Rubber Man over and over. Gallant thinks that it’s Langdon in the suit, but it’s not. Langdon actually walks in the room during the stabbing. Who is in the suit? It’s Nana Evie. Gallant has just sexually assaulted and murdered his own grandmother. And we’ve sadly lost Joan Collins for the rest of the season. Or have we? Things could get Murder Housey.
Emily and Timothy are sent to the chamber to be shot, but Timothy fights back. Mead gets shot in the process, and her cronie knocks Timothy out. Mead’s bullet wound doesn’t leak blood, but instead is leaking white fluid amid some wires. Mead’s an android from Silver Shamrock! Apocalypse is a direct sequel to Halloween III: Season of the Witch! Surprise, bitches.
Nah, just kidding. But Mead truly is an android.
“Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk always try to make a statement with their stories. Whether it be political, topical, or what have you…”
I am loving that no main crossover characters aside from Langdon and The Rubber Man have made an appearance. It’s given the season a chance to settle in its own place. To be honest, it’s going such places that even without the promise of crossing over, it’s proving to be a worthy addition to the AHS repertoire. The characters are what is making this happen. In tonight’s episode, we got to dig a little deeper into Gallant, whose character I thought wouldn’t make much of an impact. Turns out, he does.
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk always try to make a statement with their stories. Whether it be political, topical, or what have you, there’s always a statement. In this episode, that statement is directed towards the sort of people that we have become. While Gallant is chained up, and is accusing Langdon of being The Rubber Man, Langdon lets him know that he would in no way have sex with him. It’s not because Gallant isn’t attractive, but it’s because of his “neediness, his desperation to be seen and loved.”
I could be totally off base, but with the abundance of social media, we are in an age where we have to be seen. We have to be loved based on what we portray our lives to be. Not in all cases, but there are a lot of people who use social media as a means to portray a life that we want people to see. We don’t show the truth about ourselves, because perhaps we don’t like the truth. You know the old adage, “The truth will set you free.” In this case, Langdon’s truth about Gallant literally does free Gallant from his restraints. Perhaps showcasing his truth will grant Gallant a place at The Sanctuary.
The same can be said of Langdon having Venable reveal her weakness. She comes off as a strong and demanding individual who enjoys every ounce of power that she has over the current situation. Yet, she’s weak. We don’t know if her ailment has been with her all of her life, or if it was created by a misfortune. We don’t know what pain it has caused her. What she shows people is the “social media” front that she can heavily portray to gain her power. Langdon doesn’t grant her instant access to The Sanctuary. In fact, he denies it. Perhaps it’s because she wasn’t ready to come completely clean about her weakness.
The only character that doesn’t seem to hide behind anything is Adina Porter’s Dinah Stevens. All that we know about her is that she was a beloved talk show host, and – thanks to this episode – she loved The Hardy Boys as a child. Even Venable states that she doesn’t know much about her. Her reveal of her Hardy Boy love came off as a tender moment of truth. Could this be the possible theme for the season; the truth shall set you free? We will see.
As for the crossover shenanigans, we have The Rubber Man! He is the representation of sexuality that is enticing yet dangerous. Every sexual moment that was present in this episode, he was there. But is he the same entity that we knew from Murder House? Evan Peter’s Tate was the man behind the suit in that season. Perhaps there really is no man behind the suit, and Langdon is using this figment to portray his own problems with sexuality. It was what his father was wearing when he impregnated his mother.
The Morning After, directed by Jennifer Lynch, was an excellent follow up to the season premiere. Were there any new questions created? Dinah’s mystery, and who is the person or reason behind The Rubber Man are two that I’m curious about. During Gallant’s , there are private-time, two quick cuts to Langdon sitting within a pentagram, naked, and surrounded by snakes. What’s that about?
There wasn’t a lot of funny quips this go around as the episode was darker than the previous, but I give it to Gallant’s “Political Rebellion”.