Last week’s premiere of American Horror Story: Apocalypse set us up for a pretty intense season. A bomb dropped, the world as we know it ended, and a dozen or so survivors ended up in an underground compound called Outpost 3 — either because they were selected or because they paid a load of cash for a spot. There were a lot of unknowns, but it wasn’t necessarily a scary opener. Episode 2, “The Morning After” arrived to put the horror back into AHS. Here's what happened.
The candle lighting Emily’s (Ash Santos) room is blown out by some mysterious gust of wind. She relights it, and the door to her wardrobe slowly creeks open behind her. Doing the exact opposite of what I yelled for her to do through the screen, Emily approaches the armoire to investigate. It is full of snakes. Live, slithering snakes. I. Cannot. Her screams send Timothy (Kyle Allen), Miriam (Kathy Bates), and whoever the other anonymous henchwoman is bursting into her room. But rather than completely freaked out like I am just writing this, Miriam is just happy that they’ll have some fresh protein for dinner. So chopped snake soup is on the menu for the residents of Outpost 3, but when they take the lids off of their bowls to chow down, the snakes are once again whole, alive, and slivering all over the dining room table. Nope. Nah. Bye.
Langdon (Cody Fern) has taken no time becoming the Queen Bee of the Outpost. He is running the show now as a representative of The Cooperative and the only person who decides who will make it to The Sanctuary. Here’s what we learn about the Sanctuary in this episode: absolutely nothing. Langdon shoots down questions about where it is, who’s already there, and who commissioned it by insisting that all information is classified. He’s nearly as vague about the criteria he’ll be using to determine who’ll make it there and who won’t. What Langdon does reveal is that he will question everyone individually and it should only take two days for his decision. Not everyone will pass, but he brought a small bottle of fatal pills for those who would rather choose suicide over an encounter with whatever feral beasts live beyond their walls. The purples — the VIP members of Outpost 3 — bicker amongst themselves about whether or not they should be entitled to a spot at The Sanctuary and who will be questioned first. Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters) is the winner of the latter debate.
However, Langdon’s line of questioning isn’t what anyone expected. When the two of them are alone, he wants to know Mr. Gallant’s sexual orientation (which leads to an overshare about the time he had sex with a woman in high school but isn’t sure if she “finished”). But then the conversation takes a swift turn when Langdon asks him about his hatred and his fraught relationship between him and his grandmother Evie (Joan Collins). According to Mr. Gallant, his grandmother hates him because he isn’t a successful, polished gay with a love for dogs. And he has always refused to play the part. One time, he even dressed in full fetish gear during one of Evie's stuffy “gay”dinners. And that’s pretty much all Langdon needs to know. No further questions.
But back in his room, Mr. Gallant is aroused by visions of Langdon, and flashes of himself making some sort of satanic sacrifice. He is just about to get into full on masturbation when he’s interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Rubber Man — the man in the latex suit from the first season of AHS, Murder House. Our first crossover character is here! I would be remiss not to mention that Rubber Man has gained a couple of pounds since the first season and is now a thick king. Yasssss! Anyway, Mr. Gallant assumes it’s Langdon underneath the full body suit and the two of them have what sounds and looks like some pretty good sex. What’s not good is that Evie sees them in the act. Mr. Gallant’s grandmother saw him having sex. I told you, this episode is scary.
Immediately after sexy time, Emily and Timothy decide to act on a ridiculous idea that they can outsmart Langdon by sneaking into his room, finding out some information about The Sanctuary, and making it there on their own. If being in love inspires these kind of terrible ideas, throw the whole emotion away. Neither of the two love birds find it suspicious that when they enter Langdon’s room, there is a laptop half open, just waiting for them to look at it. They don’t discover anything about The Sanctuary, but instead a report about how Wilhemina (Sarah Paulson) has broken protocol by instituting her own repressive rules onto the survivors. Forbidding her subjects from copulating is a crime punishable by death in a world where the human population has dwindled. Emily and Timothy are so shocked by the revelation that they could have been sleeping together all this time that they don’t even see Rubber Man watching them from his cozy spot in the ceiling.
In her room, the power struggle between Wilhemina and Langdon flares up. He calls her out for imposing her own moral will onto her subjects. She plays dumb, but in control. Suddenly, they are having a battle of the sexes. Wilhemina insists that she can handle herself and fix all of the damage that men have done to the world. Langdon asserts that he has all of the answers and tells a story about how he wouldn’t show mercy on female survivor who begged to be killed rather than endure more of the toxic radiation. It’s an odd conversation about who can be more dominant. And it gets even weirder when Langdon demands that Wilhemina remove her dress. She protests at first, but reluctantly relents when she thinks this might be part of her own questioning for access to The Sanctuary. Apparently, she’s been hiding some kind of deformity on her back that causes her quite a bit of pain. But before she can go into further detail, Miriam interrupts.
Evie immediately snitched on her grandson, hoping it would help her chances of making it out alive. Now Miriam and Wilhemina are convinced that Mr. Gallant and Langdon knew each other from before the blast and are in cahoots. To get to the bottom of it, the two women chain Mr. Gallant to a cell ceiling and bullwhip him. But the little kinkster actually likes it, so they just leave him there to stew. Suddenly, Langdon is in the room with him and he is spilling tea. First of all, he’s never been in Mr. Gallant’s room, let alone slept with him. Then Langdon is just downright mean, telling Mr. Gallant that he would never hook up with him because he’s too needy and pathetic. To throw salt in the wounds, Langdon drops one final bomb: his grandmother dropped a dime on him. All of a sudden the chains holding him to the ceiling are released. Langdon is spreading mayhem, and it’s working.
When Mr. Gallant confronts Evie, all of their family business is put on front street. He has been nothing more than an irresponsible coke addict, making mistakes tha Evie has had to clean up in the form of rehabs, apartments, and failed business ventures. She is unapologetic in her refusal to love and accept Mr. Gallant for who he is. In a twisted way, I love her crassness. But it only serves to further enrage and sadden her grandson. When Rubber Man shows up once more, seductively leading Mr. Gallant through the halls, the brokenhearted man has other intentions for following him. He’s still feeling the harsh sting of rejection from Langdon, whom he thinks is Rubber Man. So when they finally make it to the bed, Mr. Gallant violently stabs the man in the latex suit multiple times. But when Langdon appears in the doorway, Mr. Gallant is shocked to find that the victim of his violent outburst is Evie.
The final scenes of “The Morning After” involve Timothy and Emily still being naive. Armed with new information, they decide to take their relationship to the next level. They’re immediately caught and forced to face Wilhemina. I don’t know why they thought knowledge of her wrongdoings would stop their mistress from ordering their execution, but the two teens thought wrong. They’re sent to a gas chamber to be shot but Tim fights back, killing one henchwoman and injuring Miriam. But Miriam doesn't bleed, she oozes some kind of thick white substance from her abdomen. Because apparently she’s some sort of robot? This show is insane.
Something else you should know: Someone else entered the compound. At the snake dinner, Emily asked who had prompted the alarm to go off. Was it the Rubber Man?
How I would have died in this episode: Embarrassment. If my grandmother ever catches me “indisposed” like Evie did Mr. Gallant, I’m done.