American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Episode 8 Recap: "Sojourn"

Photo: Kurt Iswarienko/FX.
There are only a few episodes of American Horror Story: Apocalypse left. We are so far away from what we thought was happening in the beginning of the season — the premiere led us to believe that the whole thing was about a haunted post-apocalyptic bunker — that it’s worth going over just a couple of details before we recap episode 8, “Sojourn.” First of all actors in Ryan Murphy’s universe are versatile and often play more than one character. The same is true of Apocalypse. More importantly, the timeline for this show is literally all over the place. Most of the season has been one big flashback: recounting the series of events that would lead some apocalypse survivors to Outpost 3, all of said survivors being murdered at the hands of their so-called leader, the so-called leader being murdered by her so-called right hand, the right hand being a robot, and a few of the murdered survivors being resurrected as witches ready to take down the antichrist. With that out of the way you, we can get to the nitty gritty of this short, but sweet episode.
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Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) is in a bad place. He has found the charred remains of warlocks Ariel Augustus (Jon Jon Briones) and Baldwin Pennypacker (BD Wong), and his dear mother figure Ms. Meade (Kathy Bates). The warlocks were his only supporters in his quest to take down the witches, and Ms. Meade was the only person he ever loved. As you can guess, he is really torn up about their deaths. He wails at the top of his lungs and I’m expecting for the apocalypse to come right then and there, the result of some dude with an undeveloped frontal lobe and his irreconcilable grief.
Instead, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) — the Supreme of all magical beings — is right there waiting for him. She makes it clear that she’s cast a spell on Ms. Meade’s soul so that Michael can never bring her back to life. And then she does something I didn’t expect: she makes an appeal to his human side, trying to get him to forgo his dark urges. She even offers herself up as a resource. But Michael is basically like I’m good love, enjoy. He is determined to bring Ms. Meade back and kill all the witches to avenge her. Apparently Michael’s beef with witches isn’t just about the fate of the entire world. It’s personal.
Like so many grieving souls before him, Michael goes into the forest for guidance. He’s lost all of his human friends and his. There is nothing left to do but beg his dad — who is the devil, in case you missed that memo — for answers about what to do next. He draws a pentagram in the dirt and stays put inside of it for 4 days without food or water... until he starts hallucinating. He sees some little kids trying to lure him out with food, Ms. Meade appears wondering why he let her be burned at the stake, a warlock insists he is the savior they’ve been waiting for, an angel remarks that god still loves him, and then a sheep shows up. The latter image is instantly slaughtered by Michael and this leads him in the right direction.
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Frustrated and covered in blood, Michael is making his way downtown and right into an urban Satanic temple. The priestess (Sandra Bernhard a.k.a. Nancy from Roseanne! ) is not impressed with the amount of sin that her congregation has committed. How are they supposed to bring about the antichrist with petty theft and infidelity!? Little does she know, the one she has been waiting for is sitting in the back row, making friends with a follower named Madeline (Harriet Sansom Harris), who is really nice and offers to cook Michael a meal. He is covered in goat’s blood and looks terrible, remember? Anyway, he is moved by her kindness which proves that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, even if it reads: the spawn of satan.
Michael is mostly unimpressed with the organized religion that is satanism. It’s clear he thinks their obsession with carnal pleasures is basic, and I agree. Madeline sold her soul to the devil in exchange for a middle class home, cable, heroin, and the opportunity to fuck Brad Pitt. I would have at least picked Jason Momoa. Just saying. Anyway, she is offended by Michael’s disapproval of her lifestyle and tries to slit his throat. But then he flexes his 666 brand and she drops to her knees in worship. The rest of the congregation does the same when she introduces him at their next human sacrifice. For context, the victims of the sacrifice are a social worker and volunteer for Doctors Without Borders, and the man chosen to kill them is a former staffer at Gawker who recently sold his soul as well. Yes, it’s ok to laugh.
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So Michael once again has a following and they dote on him at their Wednesday potluck. But something is still missing for our antagonist: his dear Ms. Meade. Luckily, Madeline has a solution. After a scenic ride in her candy red convertible — another tacky gift from the devil, if you ask me — she drops him off at the offices/penthouse of two fellow satanists. Spoiler alert: they’re really rich and are the reason that Ms. Meade ended up as a robot.
Ok so boom… these two coke snorting silicon valley dudes (Billy Eichner and Evan Peters) are billionaires who make robots. Michael asks them to recreate Ms. Meade, and they do. She is a perfect replica of the original and the only stipulations on her newfound relationship with Michael is that he can’t tell her she’s a robot right away and he’ll have to rebuild the bond they once had. But that’s less important than this little reveal: Wilhelmina Venable (also played by Paulson) is the head secretary to these two douchebags. She’s not very nice to her subordinates (or the woman there to give her bosses blow jobs) because her bosses aren’t very nice to her. But this is a big clue about how she became commander of Outpost 3. And she looks damn good with red hair.
How I would have died in this episode: I’m not interested in selling my soul to the devil and my natural calling to witchcraft has apparently been sent to voicemail. Additionally, I know that neither social workers nor non-profit volunteers get paid that much money. So the woman I identified with the most in this episode was the one giving the blow job to the billionaires. Michael set her on fire to prove to the tech dudes that he was the antichrist. So yea, that would have been my fate.
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