There is nothing else I need to say to introduce this episode except: We are back in Murder House, bitches! American Horror Story: Apocalypse has returned to the place where the franchise started — under the direction of Sarah Paulson — and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am. The Los Angeles home that houses dozens of trapped spirits is full of answers about the apocalypse that would go on to obliterate the city.
So as we know from “Boy Wonder,” newly revived witch Madison (Emma Roberts) and sassy warlock Behold (Billy Porter) are sent to pre-apocalypse LA to visit the most haunted house of all. They pull up to the house looking fabulous in all black, as expected. What I do not expect is for them to pretend to be an interracial married couple as part of their ruse to buy the house, which has been abandoned for years. In case you missed it, he’s way older and gayer than Madison. But that’s neither here nor there. What matters is that the two magical beings need to break the invisible barrier hiding the ghosts, who only make themselves seen when they choose to. And they do, with a conjuring spell that instantly has dead people walking the halls. I am too scared to even type.
They discover spirit Tate (Evans Peters) in a therapy session with spirit Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), venting about his unrequited love for Dr. Harmon’s daughter, spirit Violet (Taissa Farmiga). The two men are shocked to find that Madison and Behold can see them, and vice versa. But they are not interested in answering any questions. A deformed ghost playfully attacks Madison and then, suddenly, she and Behold aren’t the only living souls in the building anymore. Billie Dean Howard (Paulson), a medium and one of the only mortals allowed to come and go from the estate without facing death, has stopped by for a visit. She fangirls a little bit because she’s never met a real witch and she warns them that some spirits are nicer than others.
It’s not entirely clear what Billie Dean is doing at the house at all. But o.g. AHS fans figure out immediately when Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange, the long-missed queen of AHS) saunters down the stairs, cigarette in hand, with the proclamation that this is her fucking house. We stan a legend. In life, Constance confided in Billie Dean and used her skills to stay connected to the children she’d lost to the murder house. The glorious reintroduction to the Murder House characters continues when Moira (Frances Conroy), still an old maid, announces that her cleaning is done. There is still been between her and Constance because apparently some grudges never die.
In fact, Constance is only willing to give Madison and Behold the information they seek about Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) until the two of them figure out a way to banish Moira out of the house for good. It’s worth mentioning that now that she’s escaped death and eternal hell twice now, Madison is slowly shedding her mean girl ways. So instead of casting a spell to bind Moira to a closet or something, she and Behold fetch Moira’s bones, the key to setting her free from the home. Per her wishes, they give her a proper funeral burial near her own mother (whom she mercy killed). There is a surprisingly tender reunion between the two of them and Moira’s soul is content.
Now that Behold and Madison have held up their end of the deal, it’s time for Constance to spill the tea. And it is piping hot, honey. Here is Constance’s version of events surrounding Michael: She immediately took over the boy’s care after his mother Vivien (Connie Britton) died during childbirth. Constance was more than happy to be a mom to her grandson. But when he started to kill animals to “show his love,” she realized something sinister was up. Thinking that she had a serial killer on her hands, Constance was fine just burying the dead animals and planting rose bushes on top of the remains. If you recall, her other son Tate was a mass murderer and rapist. Anyway, Michael killed his babysitter as a toddler, and following this human kill, the boy aged about 10 years, overnight. That’s when Constance knew that she was dealing with something subhuman. Then Michael tried to strangle her in her sleep, but stopped himself at the last moment and asked for forgiveness. Constance called in a priest. Michael killed him, too. She knew it was only a matter of time before she became one of his victims, so she decided to be the master of her own fate. She committed suicide in the murder house where she would at least live out forever with the ghosts of her children.
This is all great intel but Madison and Behold, as freaked out as they are, still need more. They find Dr. Harmon masturbating and crying near a window, a compulsion that he can’t quit in his own purgatory. But Madison and Behold offer him a solution in exchange for more of Michael’s backstory. Here’s how Dr. Harmon remembers the boy his wife birthed: On the day Constance committed suicide, Michael came looking for her, found her body, and Dr. Harmon made himself visible to the young man. Ultimately, Dr. Harmon would become a therapist and father figure to the Antichrist who is technically his stepson. It turns out that Michael has serious daddy issues that only grow worse when Tate, his real father who is permanently a teenager himself, rejects him. Michael once again resorts to murder, first reenacting the scene that killed the Black Dahlia and then donning the Rubber Man suit to kill a lesbian couple who buys the house. Dr. Harmon tries to reason with Michael but he’s too far gone. It wasn’t enough for him to kill the couple, turning them into Murder House goals, Michael re-kills them for good by setting their souls on fire. And Dr. Harmon officially bows out of trying to help him.
Behold and Madison feel prepared to report their findings Cordelia (Paulson) but first Vivien finally shows up with one last story about Michael: Getting rid of him won’t be easy because when she birthed him she saw all of the symbology of the devil. Dr. Harmon’s attempts to rebuild with Michael left VIvien refusing to speak to him for years we learn. The point is that Michael is more than evil. He is born from the darkness in the house, a force that wants to ruin the world.
In Vivien’s memory, crows began circling the house and and it got really, really hot. Then the Black Pope and his cardinals — one of which is Miriam Meade (Kathy Bates) — from the church of Satan arrive o let him know he’s the “chosen one.” And Michael is all for it. Miriam kidnaps a girl from a bus stop, subduing her with some substance in a syringe. The woman is stabbed and gets her heart offered up for Michael to eat. And he does. I’m too grossed out to keep typing. But just know that the devils wakes right up to embrace his newfound son when the deed is done. The ritual is complete. Vivien remembers there being a hail storm and reflects on how she thought to kill him — a little late if you ask me. Without even looking up, Michael thwarts her plan by setting the same fire that he did to the lesbians. Tate saves her at the last minute, though. The moral of this story that Michael’s real daddy is the evil of that house, he can actually destroy souls,
Madison and Behold are finally ready to get the hell out of the house. In one last act of good heartedness, Madison convinces Violet to give Tate another chance. Now they have to travel back into the present and figure out how to save the world.
How I would have died: The buses in NYC are notoriously slow and unreliable. In the middle of a downpour, I could be convinced to get into the car with a stranger.