American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Episode 5 Recap: "Boy Wonder"

Photo: Kurt Iswarienko/FX.
We are officially at the halfway point for this season of American Horror Story: Apocalypse and there is a transference of power on the horizon. It’s still unclear who will ultimately end up on top, but things are starting to get real for the witches, warlocks, and demons alike in “Boy Wonder.” Before I catch you up on what happened, you should be reminded that episode 5 takes place almost entirely in a flashback. It picks up three years before the blast, when Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) — the Supreme and leader of the Council of Witchcraft — meets Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) at Outpost 3 and then reunites her with two of proteges that were stuck in hell, Madison (Emma Roberts) and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe). The sight of them causes her to faint, or perhaps it’s Michael himself that caused it. The antichrist can have that effect on people. Anyway, “Boy Wonder” opens with Cordelia’s experience while unconscious...
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Cordelia sees a few things of note while she’s still knocked out. The world has basically ended, her school, Miss Robichaux’s Academy For Exceptional Young Ladies, is blasted to smithereens, and her powers are gone. She can’t stop the zombies from tearing at her flesh and a white faced demon — who is clearly Michael — laughs at her anguish. She awakes on a couch at Outpost 3, relieved that Queenie and Madison are indeed back from the dead, but also feeling ready to make a decision about whether or not Michael could be the next Supreme, as the warlock leaders think he is.
Gathering the entire crew of witches and warlocks, Cordelia lets her decision be known. She’s seen all of the terrible things the future has to offer and is going to administer the test of the seven wonders to Michael in two weeks time. The next Supreme will have to save the world and if it has to be Michael, so be it.
Myrtle (Frances Conroy) is pissed about this and she let’s Cordelia know it all the way back to New Orleans where Miss Robichaux’s is. The older redhead is hyper aware that men make poor leaders and she sites Mark Zuckerberg as a prime example. Shade. But more than doubting the ability of me, Myrtle feels strongly that someone else, like Mallory (Billie Lourde) could be the Supreme because apparently the young witch has been undoing wounds with powerful magic. Also, we finally know what Coco’s (Leslie Grossman) witch skill is. She can sense gluten, or anything else that may put someone in danger, because of course she can.
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Anyway, the warlocks are thrilled that one of their own may be the new Supreme, able to finally put the female witches in their place. In a celebratory ritual for Michael, they offer him blessings and wish him luck. It’s in the thick of all this jubilee that John Henry (Cheyenne Jackson) catches a flash of Michael’s face briefly transformed into that of the same white-faced demon that Cordelia foretold. He is smart enough to do nothing more than get out of there and try to find some answers. But his escape is full of road bumps and ultimately unsuccessful. First, Behold (Billy Porter) tries to stop John Henry from leaving, thinking that his fellow gay warlock is just suffering from jealousy. But John Henry is stronger and admittedly afraid so he sets out on a road trip to talk to Cordelia. But at a gas station he runs into Michael’s mom, Miriam Meade (Kathy Bates), who stabs him death and sets him on fire.
Now it’s evident that Miriam has been more involved in Michael’s plans than we thought. After her sinister deed is done, she meets her son in the woods outside Outpost 3. The area was actually beautiful before the bombs went off. Anyway, what’s clear is that Michael’s infiltration of the warlock school, and his insistence on taking the test of the seven wonders is all part of a bigger plot for his to become the Supreme and do what he was meant to do. It’s still not explicit what he was “meant” to do but I think we can assume he means destroy the world. But in this moment, it’s hard to imagine him having the gall for it, given that he’s currently in the woods seeking reassurance from his mom on passing his wizard test.
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However, he doesn’t really need it. Michael conquers the first six of the seven wonders with flying colors. But Cordelia throws a curveball for the final test, which normally requires a witch to descend into hell and return. For Michael’s test, Cordelia wants him to rescue Misty Day (Lily Rabe), who became stuck there after she attempted to master the seven wonders in Coven. Grand Chancellor Ariel (Jon Jon Briones), who is in cahoots with Michael and his mom to make sure the young boy becomes the Supreme — protests the demand. He doesn’t hold his tongue when he suggests that Cordelia is just trying to avoid succession. But she quickly gets him together. “I am still your supreme.” Period. So Michael goes to hell to get Misty.
Poor Misty — a peace-loving hippie with the power of resurrection — has been trapped in a science class as one of hell’s residents. Specifically, she is forced by her mean teacher to resurrect a frog and then kill it all over again on a non-stop loop. When Michael enters, he splits open the teacher just like the frog in what is undoubtedly the most gory scene of the season. It works, though. Michael returns to consciousness at Outpost 3 and he brings Misty back with him. Cordelia’s nose starts to bleed — which the witches and wizards take a sign that she is fading away to make room for the next Supreme — and acquiesces that it is indeed Michael.
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But when Misty reveals that she can sense the evil in Michael, Cordelia changes her tune. Misty’s assessment is the final piece of evidence that Michael could be the cause and not the remedy for whatever apocalyptic bomb is about to be dropped. (Apocalyptic bomb. See what I did there?) Despite the grim circumstances, the Supreme feels confident that the witches are at an advantage. They know that Michael isn’t who he says he is, and he’s just brought back three powerful witches who can help overtake him, from the depths of hell (and Hotel Cortez, which is kind of the same thing).
Now this is where shit gets weird. Cordelia summons Stevie Nicks (aka the White Witch) to sing a song to make everyone, especially Misty, feel good. If you were a fan of coven you know that Misty loves Stevie. But while everyone is watching the performance, Cordelia and Madison sneak away to have a private chat. She wants her recently revived student to go somewhere specific to get the real tea on Michael, who is apparently giving off more bad vibes than we thought. Eavesdropping on the two witches, Behold enters and admits that he, too, has reservations after experiencing just how scared John Henry was before his departure. So he is going to join Madison on her mission to get the backstory on Michael. Their destination? Murder House. Yaaasssssss!!!
How I would have died in this episode: When John Henry saw a flash of the demon on Michael’s face and got the hell out of dodge, I felt that. I very much so believe in removing myself from the presence of any evil as quickly as possible. However, since everyone is so nosy in Outpost 3, I would have been found out and Ms. Meade would have certainly killed me for judging her son.
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