How does one stop the apocalypse from happening when it’s been foretold for thousands of years? That is the question that viewers of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” are asked in the most recent season of the hit horror anthology series. “Apocalypse” is a crossover season that combines elements of previous seasons “Murder House” and “Coven” (Seasons one and three, respectively), to tell the story of the literal spawn of Satan’s rise to power and how the coven of witches work to stop him.
To date, Apocalypse may be the series’ most ambitious season, but also one of the most fun. Combining two previous seasons with new stories, and even including fun nods to previous outings in “Hotel” is a big risk, but Ryan Murphy does not hold back. This season is no less afraid to kill off our most beloved characters or to bring us new revelations about their lives. And it works. Michael Langdon, the child of Vivien Harmon and Tate Langdon, is powerful and evil, and his rise to power leads the witches of the New Orleans coven to the house where it all started.
We see what has become of the characters that we know and love, and even see some of those characters get the closest thing AHS will give to a happy ending. While the nods to “Murder House” are great, the “Coven” is the star of the show here.
The new characters introduced this season serve only as a backdrop to the witches, who are joined by some powerful new friends and enemies of their own in the warlocks.
The cast of this season managed to make the previous seasons pale in comparison. Sarah Paulson, who is always a powerhouse, ends up playing three entirely unique characters at various points throughout and gives each of them her all.
Tassia Farmiga rejoins the cast as both the ghostly, Violet Harmon and as powerful witch Zoe Benson. In fact, every fan favorite from “Coven” and “Murder House” returns, some more alive than others. Even Jessica Lange makes two appearances, most likely causing the entire fanbase to cheer at their screens.
The standout of the season was Cody Fern, who embodied the role of Michael, the child of Satan. His acting was over the top in the best way possible, and in exactly the way that AHS calls for.
“Apocalypse” is a scary season in two ways. It has the usual jump scares, and the episode that takes the characters to the murder house is particularly terrifying. But the season is also scary because of how the world ends.
In the first ten minutes of the season, we see the world end in nuclear destruction as the main characters look on, horrified.
The fear of our worlds ending with literal fire and brimstone is one that still looms over us at times, especially when tensions between countries with dangerous weapons grow stronger.
One complaint that has been raised about this season is that the majority of the episodes between the first two and the last are flashbacks, showing how Michael rose to power and the witches’ attempts to stop him.
However, this format works well. We see the end of the world, and now we want to know how it happened and why. Ryan Murphy takes the viewer on a journey that only shows us part of the ending, and by the end of the season, we are left questioning everything we just watched in the way that AHS always manages to make us do.
Out of the many seasons of AHS, “Apocalypse” is one of the best to date, thanks to a unique format, callbacks to former seasons, a great cast and great storytelling.