Last week’s American Horror Story episode flashed back to a time before the apocalypse, when Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) first encountered the demonic Michael Langdon (Cody Fern). The flashback continued in this week’s episode — and in doing so, brought back some familiar Coven faces.
[Ed. Note: Spoilers for episodes one through four of American Horror Story: Apocalypse below]
Let’s catch up: After all the inhabitants of Outpost Three — a safe house in a post-nuclear fallout world — are murdered, Cordelia arrives on scene with Myrtle Snow (France Conroy) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and promptly resurrects Mallory (Billie Lourd), Coco (Leslie Grossman) and Dinah (Adina Porter), revealing that the three are witches. Michael confronts them and Cordelia reveals just how things got this bad.
Before becoming the puppet master of the Apocalypse, Michael was raised by a foster mom and eventually ushered away to a warlock academy. The warlocks see great power in him and seek to make him the male-equivalent of the Supreme, the Alpha. As reigning supreme, Cordelia denies Michael the opportunity to perform the Seven Wonders. Michael deliberately goes out to accomplish feats that Cordelia herself could not perform: namely, rescuing Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) from the malevolent Hotel Cortez and resurrecting Madison from Hell. When he returns with the witches in tow, Cordelia faints.
[Ed. Note: Spoilers for episode five start here!]
This week’s episode starts off with Cordelia’s vivid vision of a world in ruin. She sees a man with a demonic white face and when she wakes, she warns the warlocks and witches alike of the cataclysmic events to come. This, she says, is what prompts her to let Michael test for the Seven Wonders. The witches are appalled — no man has ever tested to be Supreme. The warlocks, on the other hand, are delighted.
The test takes place on the night of the Blood Moon (a small nod to the show’s sixth season, Roanoke, where the ghosts were at their full power during the Blood Moon). Beforehand, the warlocks gather to bless Michael and wish him luck during the trials. During the ceremony, one of the warlock chancellors, John Henry (Cheyenne Jackson), sees Michael’s face warp into the same demonic white one that Cordelia warned them of. Though another warlock tries to stop him, he sets off to warn Cordelia. But before he can reach her, Michael’s foster mother murders him at a gas station. Nothing’s going to stop her foster son from achieving his destiny.
In the same black and white flickering montage that explained the Seven Wonders in Coven, Michael undergoes the trials, completing each one with ease. When it comes to descensum, the descent into Hell, Cordelia hands him a caveat: he must rescue Misty Day, the witch who previously failed this trial.
Though some of the warlocks protest, Michael accepts.
AHS fans will recall that during Coven’s last episode, the witches underwent the trial of the Seven Wonders. Misty failed descensum and was stuck in her personal hell of reliving a biology class where she had to kill a frog, only to resurrect it over and over for the rest of eternity.
It’s in this classroom where Michael finds Misty, and then brutally slices through the teacher figure. He returns to the witches and warlocks. At first it looks like Misty isn’t with him — but her body materializes and Cordelia rushes to her side. Reunited, at last!
But the happy moment doesn’t last for long. Misty Day instantly recoils from Michael once she’s aware that she’s no longer dead; Cordelia’s nose starts bleeding and she collapses, weak now that another Supreme has risen.
While the witches comfort Cordelia, Misty reveals that while in Hell, she felt Michael communicate with evil itself. Cordelia confides that she gave him this test so that she could keep an eye on him. And now, she says, her girls have all returned. They will be ready to fight when the time comes.
And if all the witches are back, we can’t forget the White Witch herself, Stevie Nicks.
Nicks returns to croon a rendition of “Gypsy.” While Stevie and Misty dance, Cordelia takes this moment to sneak off with Madison and tell her that she needs to investigate Michael’s past. They’re interrupted by one of the warlocks, Chablis (Billy Porter), who reveals his own hesitations about Michael. Cordelia instructs them to go to the place Michael was raised...the Murder House.
What will Madison and Mr. Kingery find in the Murder House? Will the witches be able rally their forces together and overthrow the demonic reign? Will we finally see Jessica Lange at long last?
Oh — Coco’s backstory was also revealed. Apparently her special magic power is sensing gluten. That’ll really come in handy.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.