As Sesali Bowen noted last night, American Horror Story: Apocalypse has truly taken a turn no one could have expected. What began as a season about a literally hellish bunker turned into an episodes-long flashback of how the apocalypse came to pass in the first place. Rather than follow around a bunch of brats in purple or gray clothing, Apocalypse became a tale of good and evil, of witches and warlocks and ghosts trapped in a Murder House.
But, Wednesday night’s “Sojourn” finally began connecting the post-apocalyptic bunker to Michael Langdon’s (Cody Fern) current journey as an aimless antichrist. Because, “Sojourn” started putting the pieces together for the often talked about, never-seen Cooperative, which built Outpost 3 and any society that remains in the Apocalypse world.
The flashback episode introduces us to Jeff (Evan Peters in his fourth role of the season) and Mutt (Billy Eichner), two mega-billionaires who made their fortune by selling their souls to the devil since working for Elon Musk didn’t pan out. Jeff and Mutt are so rich that they can buy an island just to party with Rihanna for the weekend. They can create undying “biomechanical humanoids,” or, as we know them, Westworld-type robots. They employ Miss Wilhelmina Venable (Sarah Paulson’s initial Apocalypse role), who works for the Cooperative in the future, as their fearsome, well-respected right-hand woman.
Jeff and Mutt, both proud Satanists, are perfectly poised to to help build the Cooperative. This is especially true since the pair is obsessed with giving Michael whatever he desires and more. He wants his beloved Miss Meade (Kathy Bates) brought back as a Westworld-y robot? They’ve got it — and they added some Mossad butt-kicking abilities to boot. The engineers also seem obsessed with causing the end of days, as they tell Michael, “It would be an honor to play a small role in bringing the cosmic skid mark that is Planet Earth to a fiery end.”
In “Sojourn,” Michael’s simple request is to bring Miss Meade back. But, we already know he’s going ratchet up the intensity of his world-ending plot to creating the actual apocalypse soon (the events of this episode take place less than three years before nukes end the world). It seems likely Jeff and Mutt helped create the Cooperative — humanity’s 12 “greatest minds,” to quote a premiere episode Miss Venable — to put Michael’s post-apocalyptic schemes into motion. The men certainly have the money to buy multiple Outposts and prepare them for what happens after the apocalypse wipes out the world’s population.
That would explain how Michael works with the Cooperative, as we learn at the end of season 8 premiere “The End,” and both Miss Venable and Meade end up leading Outpost 3. Or why Jeff's favorite song, Maureen McGovern's “Morning After,” is one of the few songs available to play in the bunker. Even Miss Venable’s signature color, purple, becoming the symbol of Outpost elitism makes sense: Jeff and Mutt allowed the most powerful woman in their lives to have a little post-apocalyptic input.
The trailer for next week’s “Fire And Reign” seems to confirm Jeff and Mutt are the brains behind the Cooperative, or, at least, major players in the group. The teaser shows a flashback Miss Venable, then still wearing an airy violet rather than her preferred heavy eggplant color in the future, asking “What is this Cooperative?” Jeff responds, “Well, you’ve heard of the movers and shakers?” It’s likely the individuals of the Cooperative are those Satanic movers and shakers. As Jeff says in “Sojourn,” all of the most powerful people (“the politicians, the billionaires, the elite”) sold their souls to the devil.
Another moment in the preview shows the people who might just be in the Cooperative reading a brief. The report, if you look very closely, appears to lay out the post-apocalyptic plan. The “Messengers” page explains the new society will rely on either an armed courier service, as we see in “Forbidden Fruit,” or messenger pigeons, which end up being a failing idea as we learn early in season 8. This is officially how the end of days began.
Now if only we could find out who the rest of the Cooperative is — and whether AHS troupe members like Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will be playing yet another character this season.
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