Retro Review: American Horror Story Apocalypse

BY JOHN CARTER JR

Ryan Murphy’s popular FX series, American Horror Story, didn’t get a new installment this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so in anticipation of a new entry in 2021 and the new spin-off series, American Horror Stories, take a look back at a fan favorite season, AHS: Apocalypse. 

Debuting in 2018, Apocalypse marked a first for the American Horror Story franchise, in that it was the first time in the series history two seasonal concepts, Coven and  Murder House, crossed over. This was exciting for fans as the anthology series most known for having a new story every season and more so because they would see favorite characters return, even meeting each other. Jessica Lange along with Frances Conroy return to the series with their best character portrayals yet in Constance, Moira, and Myrtle.

Let’s go over the characters that made this season the standout. Michael Langdon, who some might view as a new character, made his debut back in 2010 as the twin son of Vivien Harmon and the devil.  Not only does Cody Fern’s portrayal of the main antagonist of this season come off as fabulous and mystifying, but it also adds even more connections to other seasons including the later season, 1984, or the sophomore season, Asylum. Apocalypse also introduces a plethora of characters including Dinah Stevens portrayed by Adina Porter and Bubbles Mcgee Portrayed by Joan Collins. 

While Dinah Stevens was only good for giving us lines from better characters, Bubbles gives Myrtle a much-needed and welcome counterpart. It could be said this season crosses over more than just Coven or Murder House but Asylum and even Hotel in a few points. Characters like the devil, James Patrick March, the Leather Man, all represent the history of American Horror Story.

Speaking of Coven the most impressive performance came from the returning cast of this standout season. Myrtle Snow portrayed by the fabulous Frances Conroy is the most faithful and entertaining addition. Seeing her walk in alongside Madison Montgomery, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia Goode while She’s a Rainbow by the Rolling Stone was a legendary moment in this season. 

The writing in this season is always on point and fresh. With the quick-witted Myrtle or the shady but poignant Madison, the season is never fan service-oriented to a fault, further developing the character arcs of most of its major players. The Coven cabinet of characters (Queenie, Zoey Stevie, Misty, Myrtle, Marie, and Cordelia) are diverse and are fabulous however one returning actress steals the show with her character from Murder House.

Legendary Actress Jessica Lange returns to the stage in the role of her Murder House character Constance Langdon. This was probably the most anticipated character and actress to return given the actress had previously claimed she would not be returning to the show since her departure in Season Four: Freak Show. The character first appears coming down the steps of the Murder House staircase claiming the now-iconic line “I’m Constance Langdon, and this is my f*****g house”. This had fans screaming in their reactions as the scene would soon fade to commercial. Lange brought us all back to the early and personal core of the show.

Stevie Nicks also returned to the season portraying herself. The Fleetwood Mac Singer playing the white witch performed Gypsy in celebration of the return of Misty Day from the underworld, the revival of her sister witches, and acted as a prelude to the impending battle to come. Almost every major character from Coven made a return except Fiona (and any of the men). Queenie, portrayed by Gabourey Sidibe, also returns in epic fashion as she was revived by Michael Langdon after Cordelia failed to do so in Season Five’s Hotel Cortez. Cordelia wasn’t completely helpless as she was able to revive Myrtle without her body but it was Micheal’s revival of Madison Montgomery, portrayed by Emma Roberts, from retail hell that impressed fans.

The massive crossover ends with a smash. Cordelia (and Ryan Murphy Magic) come through with yet another fan-favorite character return and we aren’t talking about Delphine Lalaurie’s brief appearance. Angela Bassett returns as Marie Laveau as a means to take out minor nuisance Dinah Stevens. This would be followed up with a quick but epic battle with Micheal Langdon ending with time being reset. 

The icing on the cake was to see Mallory and Constances take out and let go of Micheal Langdon respectively. While the season ended with a cliffhanger of an never-ending apocalypse cycle, The season sets the show up for future seasons. Ryan Murphy Has said “the witches will be back” previously, but only time will tell when we will see more grand American Horror Story Crossovers.

American Horror Story Apocalypse gets 8 out of 10 stars for Its arsenal of iconic and fashionable characters and only has slight marks against it for feeling slightly rushed.

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