Tuesday, October 9, 2018

American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Could It Be... Satan?

The fourth episode of this season, entitled Could It Be... Satan?, flashed back to when Michael had much shorter hair, filled in a lot of backstory,  wove in yet another past season of the show, and even answered a few questions.

With the usual reminder of spoilers lets break down what happened. 

We open with Michael filling us in on who exactly Miriam is designed after. She was a caretaker of his that worshiped Lucifer and made Michael into who he is today. We begin with them sitting at dinner in which Michael is eager to eat. The caretaker (played by Kathy Bates) makes him say grace first and Michael quickly thanks Lucifer for the food they are about to eat. The caretaker quips that Michael likes her food as much as her first husband did which made it easier to poison him. Michael inquires if she'll poison him too and she replies she won't if he cleans his room like she's asked. She also shares that she killed her first three husbands and imparts some wisdom to Michael. She tells him it is best to cut the cord if something is not working out but make sure the insurance policy is up to date first. Michael excitedly tells her "That's evil". We see that Michael is actually filling Miriam in on why he gave her this caretaker's form and thoughts - she made him feel safe and cared for. He needs someone to help with the monumental task ahead (rebuilding the world is my guess) so who better to help than a copy of the person he never stopped trusting or loving. 

Miriam notices his suit jacket has Ms Venable's blood on it which prompts Michael to change it. He spins and asks Miriam what she thinks to which she replies "Hail Satan" which amuses Michael. So, basically the caretaker was a Satan obsessed lady who took really good care of Michael and shaped his viewpoint. No wonder he is praying to Satan all the time. Michael realizes that someone alive is in the complex. Someone powerful. 

We check back in with Cordeila and the rest of the witches to see how those just brought back to life are coping. They're all a little out of sorts but Mallory most of all. Turns out that Mallory and Coco had an identity spell put on them for their own protection. It made them not remember who they really are but now Cordelia needs their help. She needs everyone's help. Dinah, however, is fully aware of her powers but is reluctant to get involved. She hasn't promised anyone that she would help with anything. She hasn't promised that she'd help 'defeat anyone'. Just as she expresses this Michael comes into the room and questions how any of them could actually defeat him when he's already won, just look at the state of the world. Myrtle expresses that unlike his awful dinner jacket the world can actually be saved. Cordelia expresses that all of them (including Michael) will need to work together to save it. Dinah is not her for any of this and makes her stance clear. Coco, however, is willing to help as long as she doesn't die ... again (because it really sucked the first time). Michael sneers that when he is done they'll wish they were dead which prompts Myrtle to muse that she figured the world would end with fire and ice not witches and warlocks. OMG! Seems like Michael might actually be a warlock.

Coven introduced us to a school for witches and made it clear that male witches (warlocks) were not as powerful. The Supreme has always been a witch because warlocks could never even come close to the power required to pull off the test (completing the Seven Wonders). Apocalypse introduces us to a similar school for warlocks. We see in a class that it takes multiple warlocks to transform something into something else. This, as we've seen, is easy accomplished by most witches on their own.

A teacher walks into this lesson and advises the other teacher that they've been summoned. Turns out that it is a a colleague by the name of  John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) and the Grand Chancellor, Ariel  (Jon Jon Briones) who summoned them. John and Ariel have brought a video of an interrogation. Michael is being questioned about stabbing someone with five knives. He's upset and says he didn't do it. He didn't touch the knives. This prompts the officer to grab Michael out of the chair and throw him to the ground and start kicking him. This makes Michael angry. He uses his powers to push the officer up onto the ceiling and systematically break each of his arms and legs. This is followed by letting the officer fall back to the floor and making his head explode.  It is unclear if Michael knows what he is doing as he is on the floor crying the whole time. What is clear is that the warlocks think Michael is simply a very powerful warlock who cannot control his powers. Well some of them think this. John Henry Moore thinks that the officer is a victim of demonic possession. He muses that even if they are right and Micheal is responsible his magic is dark and volatile. The others remind him that they have orders to help warlocks because they have always been second class citizens. Some of them even think Michael could be the 'Alpha'. A prophesied warlock who is powerful enough to become a Supreme and overthrow the female led rule. So what you're telling me is that they unleash the literal Antichrist because they don't like having a women in power. This, sadly, seems entirely legit and accurate. This whole "possible Supreme" thing brings the others on board and they send Ariel to go get Michael from prison. 

Ariel introduces himself to Michael, fills him in on the fact that he thinks he might be a warlock, and explains that is what happened to the police officer. Michael was just reacting because he was scared. Ariel asks why he was even in the police station and Michael says he was just defending the only person who never betrayed him. Hmmm, interesting. Does this mean Constance betrayed him? What about the Harmons? I cannot wait to see where they (and Tate) fit into this story. We then get to see exactly why Michael was brought into the police station: He and the caretaker were at a grocery store. The caretaker was attempting to get a goat's head for one of her incantations. The butcher will not give it to her and calls her incantations 'insane shit'. This sends the caretaker off to find the manager. Michael, however, is even less impressed and lets the butcher know exactly what he thinks. 

The butcher is unimpressed and tells Michael to fuck off and that his caretaker can go fuck herself as well. He refers to her as 'a batshit crazy bitch'. This is what prompts Michael to stab  him with five knives by having them fly across the room. It's not clear to me if he knew what he was doing, but he tells Ariel that he never wanted to hurt anyone. Ariel whisks Michael out of the jail cell and to the school. The guards try to stop them as they are leaving. Ariel uses his powers to stick the officer to the wall and states that the officer will be released in a couple hours with not real injury. Michael, with a gleam in his eye and a sly smile, waits until Ariel is around the corner to agree that he is sure the officer won't feel a thing before snapping the officer's neck by twisting his hand. This proves Michael knows what he is doing and is playing Ariel. I wonder what his plan is that he wants to go to the school. Maybe learn ways to harness and apply his powers? Who knows. I just think teaching the Antichrist more ways to use his powers has to be a bad thing. As they get into Ariel's car the caretaker is there screaming to Michael that she'll always be there for him and watches him go with a  'hail the new world' thrown in for good measure. None of this even gives Ariel pause or makes him ask any questions. 

The boys school is what we know of as Outpost Three. They moved the school underground after Cordelia outed witches to the world and the neighbours decided to burn the school down because they didn't want warlocks next door. Michael settles into the school and after month they decide to test him. It normally happens after a warlock's first year, but they feel Michael's progress warrents accelerating the process. Each warlock is given a ranking of 1 through 4 to indicate the level of power they have. Michael inquires if all of the teachers before him are level fours to which they reply that they are level threes. A four would be as powerful as the female Supreme and would be the Alpha. John Michael Moore tells him that there has never been a level four and sneers that they need to see if he can even pass level one. John really doesn't like Michael. I predict John might not be alive for long if he keeps this up.

They have Michael complete task one which is scrying (the ability to see things in a reflective surface also known as Divination which is one of the Seven Wonders) which Michael passes easily by retrieving the location book they requested via a mirror. Michael shows off though and actually brings them the book by reaching through the mirror. Everyone but John is impressed who finds it troubling. I am beginning to think John might be the smartest person in this school. He was not impressed that Michael did not listen to orders and says as much.

Next they have him do Transmutation (the ability to move oneself through space with your mind and another of the Seven Wonders) which Michael also does easily. Stiricidium is up next. This task is turning the water in the room's atmosphere into snow which, once again, Michael excels at. 

He decides to show off and turns the light, pretty snowfall into a blizzard. One that almost kills everyone in the room until they manage to get him to stop. Michael, nose bleeding, says he didn't realize what he was doing or that power of that level was inside him. Some of the group shrug it off. He's testing his wings and needs to be properly trained to harness his incredible power. They send him from the room and discuss how powerful he is. Some are convinced that the witch's reign over them is done. John is incredulous. He questions how they cannot see that Michael and his powers are evil and that they cannot corral darkness. Ariel, however, wants to push forward. He says they owe it to themselves and future warlocks to see if Michael can rise. They toast to this, including John who has been overruled and reluctantly joins in. They really hate women being more powerful then they are. I am also not convinced Michael is even a warlock. These could just be powers the Antichrist has and that would explain why Michael is so much stronger than a typical warlock.

Next we flashback to the school for witches where Zoe is teaching a class to some new students who have come after Cordelia opened it up to any witch who wanted to attend. We see Zoe tell Cordelia to watch one student in particular (who just happens to be Mallory) because they are a real talent. Mallory proves Zoe right by offering up a beautiful display with a rose.

She makes the rose change colour and shed all it's petals only to turn those petals into butterflies. It was really pretty and Cordelia was definitely impressed. Apparently Mallory's bloodline can be traced all the way back to Salem. The class is interrupted when Myrtle comes in to tell Cordelia that the Hawthorne School For Exceptional Young Men has called for an emergency meeting of the council so the three of them head over there looking like complete badasses as they arrive.

The leaders of the school want them to allow Michael to take the test of the Seven Wonders. They tell them that Michael's powers are at the level of the Supreme. However, Cordelia, Myrtle, and Zoe scoff at this. Cordelia reminds them that testosterone is a inhibitor of their magic and that there has never been a warlock capable of that level of magic. They tell her that just become something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can never happen. Cordelia declines their request to have him take the test. She says that she would be condemning the boy to die like Misty Day did when attempting them. She is responsible for all witches and warlocks and she takes care of her own. They use this as a chance to remind her of the witch she abandoned - Queenie. Ryan Murphy decided to weave in yet another season to this already layered storyline with the introduction of Queenie's storyline. Seems that Queenie ended up at the Hotel Cortez and died there. Those who watched the Hotel season know that she would therefore be stuck and unable to leave the property. Cordelia defends herself by saying she went to the Hotel Cortez to free Queenie but nothing worked. Everything she tried failed. She calls the hotel a 'place of evil' and a 'hellmouth' (which is accurate). Poor Queenie has been playing cards with Mr March all this time (making this Evan Peter's second character this season with at least one more to go). Mr March is thrilled at each failure that happens which is not helpful at all. Cordelia eventually admits defeat and Queenie tells her to go back to the Coven. There is nothing else to be done so Cordelia leaves. Cordelia admits to the group of men that it is her biggest failure but she does care about all of the witches and warlocks and makes her stance clear again - no test for Michael. When they demand why she gets to decide that she replies with this incredible line:

Cordelia is not messing around and they have tested her patience. They tell her she is just scared of the 'Alpha' and the end of female dominance. Cordelia tells them that the decision is final and that the meeting is over. We, however, see Michael getting a vision of the Hotel Cortez (which is is furiously drawing in a notebook) which prompts him to go to the hotel to get Queenie himself.

Mr March is, naturally, fascinated and a little afraid of Michael. When Michael tells Queenie that he is there to free her she seems less than impressed. Mr March, however, recognizes Michael's power and tells Queenie to go ahead and take Michael's hand. He has resigned himself to playing Solitaire now. I must say the fact that Michael scares Mr March a little (or at least puts him on edge) is scary in itself. We know what a monster Mr March is.  

Queenie is reluctant to step outside. It hasn't worked any other time she has tried it, but Michael encourages her and she easily steps outside and onto the sidewalk. He isn't going to stop there though. Freeing Queenie wasn't enough of a display of his powers. He decides he also needs to free Madison from hell (which means Michael has mastered Descensum which is another of the Seven Wonders). 

Madison's version of hell is working a retail job where customers yell at her all day. Madison is still very much Madison. Her immediate reaction to Michael is a thirsty one (I mean, same Madison. Same). She asks if she has to perform sexual favours for him to get her out of there and mentions she would be totally willing because he's a snack. See, hottest Antichrist ever. Queenie hears all of this and gives what I think is the episodes best line:

Madison, to her credit, immediately runs over and hugs Queenie. They bicker a bit but Queenie fills her in on the fact that Michael freed her from Hotel Cortez and that he also wanted to free Madison (even if Queenie doesn't know why and tried to talk him out of it). Michael tells that there is work to be done and needs them both to prove a point. Madison is on board and even promises to be good if he brings her back. This makes Michael chuckle and ask:

We cut to Cordelia who, obviously, feels the essences of Madison and Queenie return to the living as soon as Michael does this. She doesn't say and she may not recognize exactly what it is. Myrtle tells her the car is ready and they leave the school. As they are leaving they see Michael, Queenie, and Madison walk up like totally badasses with Michael smirking pretty much the entire way. Cordelia sees them and immediately faints which ends the episode.

So it'll be Michael vs Cordelia. Michael doing this is a game changer because he did something that the Supreme specifically could not do (and he did it twice). My guess is that he brings Misty Day back as well just to rub it in a little more. I still do not buy that he is a warlock though. I think his powers have everything to do with being the Antichrist. 

I also predict people are shipping Michael and Madison. I actually really dislike Madison and think Michael could do better. Although, with how evil he seems to be maybe they deserve each other.

See you next week where we'll hopefully see the return of more beloved characters.

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