Ryan Murphy really knows how to take his time telling a story. I am not complaining. It makes for both both great sex and great television to not hurry things along. Anyway, we are four episodes into American Horror Story: Apocalypse and things are finally starting to make sense about Outpost 3, the return of the witches, and the devil himself. With all of this new information is the realization that this is only the beginning of what is sure to be an action-packed season. But before I get carried away with theories for the future, let me explain all that was revealed in “Could I Be … Satan?”
Even if Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) wasn’t genetically predisposed to be the antichrist — he is the spawn of a human woman and an evil spirit — he could have been raised to fulfill the role thanks to his teenaged upbringing with Ms. Meade (Kathy Bates) as his guardian. She is a diehard Satanist and Langdon is feeling nostalgic about the good times that he once shared with his robotic mother figure. He is looking forward to rebuilding the world according to his own evil whims, with Ms. Meade by his side.
Langdon’s adolescence is actually pivotal to Apocalypse and explains why the six witches — half of them freshly arisen from the dead and very confused — in Outpost 3 have him so shook. Three years before bombs obliterated the world, Outpost 3 was actually an underground boarding school for warlocks, the magical male counterparts to witches. They could cast spells and manipulate the laws of physics at will, but these men were not happy about being “second class citizens” to more powerful witches. They’ve longed for the arrival of their “Alpha,” a level 4 warlock with powers strong enough to overthrow the Supreme. And the leaders of the warlock coven think they’ve found him when they get some disturbing footage of a young Langdon sent to them.
Here’s what happened, Ms. Meade was an open and avid follower of satan and expected for her religious beliefs to be respected at all costs. When a butcher refuses to sell her a goats head for an incantation she gets more than a little agitated and demands to speak to the manager of the grocery store. Bates as a white, religious extremist, suburban mom might be the best part of this episode. When the butcher calls Ms. Meade a bitch, Langdon uses telekinesis to drive a few knives through his head. Later, when a detective tries to use excessive force to get a confession out of that Langdon,he uses telekinesis and maybe a little bit of demonic possession to kill him as well.
The mostly gay warlock coven leaders take Langdon in as one of their own, much to the skeptical chagrin of one John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson), and he excels at all of the tests they put him through. Langdon can change the form of matter itself, read minds, teleport, and make the temperature of a room dangerously cold. All of this excites the warlock elders who believe that their time is finally coming. This is big. But they have to prove it, first. This involves the Supreme, who presides over their magical council.
During this same time, Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, where Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) reigned as the Supreme was thriving. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) was teaching a class of young witches how to change the color of roses. Mallory (Billie Lorde) is among those students and is excelling at turning her petals into blue butterflies. Zoe and Cordelia have a similar faith in Mallory that the warlocks have in Langdon. This is what the women are discussing when they’re summoned by the warlocks for a meeting of the magical council. The men want Cordelia to administer the test of the seven wonders — a series of exceptional magical feats that prove one to be the next Supreme or in this case, the Alpha — to Langdon to prove what they believe to be true about them.
But Cordelia, who took the meeting with Zoe and her fashion forward right hand, Myrtle (Frances Conroy), is not convinced. Using the language of sexist men, Cordelia refuses to administer the test on the grounds that no warlock has ever embodied enough power to pass the test. In fact, testosterone is a natural inhibitor of magical power. The warlocks push back, calling Cordelia’s leadership into question given the missing status of two of the witches under her tutelage.
If you watched Coven, you know that Madison (Emma Roberts) was trapped in hell — which for her is working in retail with snotty customers and an overbearing boss forever — trying to complete the seven wonders, and she kind of deserved it. If you watched Hotel, you’ve been worried about Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) knowing that she got trapped in Hotel Cortez where souls are trapped for eternity with the worst spirits. Cordelia tried to save Queenie from the grips of the hotel but couldn’t because it is a gateway ruled by Satan himself. It extinguishes the light that witches use to fuel their power, rendering Cordelia helpless. Because she’s already lost two of the witches under her care, Cordelia is unwilling to risk the life of a young warlock.
Here’s the problem with trying to have confidential, high-level meetings in the same building as the antichrist: he can read minds. Langdon overheard everything and before Cordelia, Zoe, and Myrtle could make it make it back to their cars, he had casually strolled into hell twice to rescue both Madison and Queenie. He did it all to prove the point that he was indeed a capable Alpha. Cordelia was so impacted by his presence — and the sight of her lost students — that she fainted when they walked towards her outside of the compound.
Now fast forward back to the present: The warlock school is now Outpost 3. There are dead bodies all over thanks to some poisoned apples. Dinah (Adina Porter), Mallory, and Coco (Leslie Goodman) are trying to figure out what the hell is going on having just been risen from the dead. Cordelia explains that they had been put under an identity spell to protect them and now she, Myrtle, and Madison were there to unite them all and take back the world. Langdon is less than happy to see them and it looks like his work is cut out for him. Damnit this show is good!
How I would have died in this episode: Langdon would have killed me for disrespecting Ms. Meade. I’ve worked in customer service and I despise customers like her the most. An eye roll would have been my last living gesture.