No more Venable. No more Mr. Gallant. No more Timothy and Emily. They were fun characters, but they were taken away from us the last episode. Who’s to say they were taken away from us for forever? Nevertheless, they were worthy losses as we gained many beloved characters from season’s past. Ryan Murphy promised a crossover season, and the last episode was only an appetizer. This episode marks the beginning of the main course.
It was only a matter of time before we learned of Langdon‘s (Cody Fern) origin. It begins with this episode’s cold open: we see a nice family breakfast between Mead (Kathy Bates) and Langdon, courtesy of the present Langdon telling Mead more about her past. With these memories being brought up, Mead now feels as if she’s given a reason for her existence. This happy time doesn’t last long as Langdon realizes that his adversary is present within the safe house.
“Ryan Murphy promised a crossover season, and the last episode was only an appetizer. This episode marks the beginning of the main course.”
Those who Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) saved from their poisonous fate are now questioning goings on. Mallory (Billie Lourd) is confused. CoCo (Leslie Grossman) is pissed at Brock (Billy Eichner) for killing her. They learn they were placed under an Identity Spell, causing the both of them to lose memory of who they are. Dinah (Adina Porter) wants absolutely nothing to do with assisting the Coven, and we’re given another tidbit of her past. Madison (Emma Roberts) makes a comment to her that her magic is simply backwoods voodoo. Is Dinah a friend of Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett)? Just another question we can add the pile, but that’s neither here or there, for now. Langdon has made his way downstairs, and promises them that they will not save what is left of the world.
I always thought the world would end with fire and ice. Not witches and warlocks.
– Myrtle Snow
“Three years, before the bomb” shows us that there is a male counterpart to the Coven. The safehouse where everyone is used to be a school for rising warlocks, The Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. The Hawthorne heads meet together to view a video taken from the LAPD that shows Langdon basically tearing apart a detective, questioning him for a murder. The power that he shows in the video leads the council to believe that he is “the Alpha”, a warlock with powers that will equal or best the powers of the Coven’s “Supreme”. He is taken from jail by Ariel (Jon Jon Briones), the head chancellor of Hawthorne, as Mead sees him off, proclaiming her loyalty to all things Satan.
The Hawthorne Heads gather with Langdon to put him through a test, of sorts, to see where he is on a scale of 1 through 4 which all warlocks are based on. There has never been a Level 4 warlock as that level belongs to the Alpha. Langdon succeeds in all of these tests. (Making it snow seems to be big among warlocks.) The Heads deem him worthy of being the Alpha, and plan to lead their patriarchy over the Coven.
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The school for witches is in high gear with Zoe (Taissa Farmiga returning from AHS: Coven) leading a class that includes Mallory. A test to change the colors of roses is placed upon Mallory and a few others. The young witches all succeed in changing the roses’ appearance. Zoe tells Cordelia to watch Mallory as she’s special, and Mallory proves that by changing the petals of the rose into butterflies. Not much can be done before Myrtle walks in, letting Cordelia know that they have been requested by the Hawthorne Heads for a council meeting.
They called an emergency council. We’re obliged to get on a plane immediately. Airline food for lunch when I made reservations at Galatoire’s. It’s just too cruel.
– Myrtle Snow
Cordelia, Zoe, and Myrtle arrive at Hawthorne’s. Langdon as Alpha is the subject of the meeting. The Coven doesn’t believe that an Alpha could happen, and do not want it to happen. Hawthorne wants Cordelia to administer the test of The Seven Wonders. She doesn’t want to lose another to the test (see: Misty Day). All is good within the world, and there doesn’t need to be a power shift. The Hawthorne Heads use the loss of Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe reprising her role from Coven) at Hotel Cortez against Cordelia. We learn that Cordelia did try to save Cordelia from Hotel Cortez, but she was not able to. The Cortez is – as Cordelia put it – a “hellmouth,” and she was not able to release Queenie from the Cortez.
Queenie believes that she is stuck there forever playing card games with James March (Evan Peters reprising the role from Hotel for a fun bit), but the arrival of Langdon proves her wrong. He releases her when Cordelia couldn’t. Same goes for Madison. He releases her from the hell that she was sent to in Coven. That hell being.. a retail salesperson. Ha.
The Coven leaves Hawthorne with a solid decision on not helping them, but are met with Langdon arriving at the school with Madison and Queenie. This takes Cordelia by complete surprise, causing her to faint. Langdon has done what she was not able to do. Fear has been set into the Coven.
You’re just a scared bigot … of the Alpha, of a man rising to the levels of supreme, of an end to age of female dominance. I’m telling you that time has come.
One can’t help but catch an air of the dominance of the patriarch that has been prevalent with recent events in the world. We’ve seen an uprising of male vs female with politics, Hollywood, pay scales, the #metoo movement, and more. This show isn’t afraid to battle genders. The use of the word “bigot” in Ariel‘s statement to Cordelia was hard-hitting. Cordelia views their current situation as equal. She is the Supreme, but she isn’t flaunting it. She doesn’t want to give Langdon the Test of the Seven Wonders to protect him, not because of power-hungry reasoning. The quote above from Ariel proves that the Hawthorne Heads want the opposite. Eventually, it seems that the Hawthorne Heads get their wish, and Langdon reaches Alpha status. We see where that got the world with the apocalypse occurring. It will be interesting to see where this power play ends.
In a season where almost every episode has been or will be directed by a woman, it’s comforting to see that there hasn’t been a bias when it comes to portraying characters. Comforting in a sense that it’s not being showcased that all men are scummy, and that all women are scumless. There’s balance being made that should be shown in the equality of the real world.
I was dead, and stuck in some haunted hotel, or something. And I swear to God, they had the most boring, annoying white people since … since you.
– Queenie to Madison
The crossover main course has begun! Returning from past seasons were Queenie and Zoe from Coven and James March from Hotel. We’ve only just begin to skim the return of past characters, it seems. There was no mention – as I am aware – of Evan Peters reprising his role from Hotel so it was a neat little surprise.
One return that we will see in two episodes is that of Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon. I’d mentioned previously that I believe Langdon has placed all of Constance within Mead, but this episode sort of made me question that theory. It seems obvious that is as he keeps saying that he used the one who loved him most and that he trusted most as the basis of Mead‘s existence, but what we saw tonight was a Satan worshiping “devil mama” who went to grocery butchers demanding a goats head for her religious practices. Do not really see Constance being that type of person – so is there someone after Constance who took care of Langdon throughout his teen years? Episode 6 will reveal that answer when Lange returns.
Next week will take us to episode 5, which will be the halfway mark of the season. It’s downright thrilling to know that there are 6 more episodes of this crazy season remaining. So far, everything has been coherent and is flowing smoothly. Recent seasons of AHS are known to have 50 story lines occurring at once, taking away some of the resonance that some story lines should have. I feared that it was starting tonight with the introduction of the Hawthorne school and its four heads, but it snapped right into place with the story.
What are you thinking so far? Do you believe Mead is Constance in a robot? Is Dinah a friend of Marie Laveau? Who else will show up from past seasons? Share your answers and other theories on our Twitter, Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook, or on our Reddit.