[Ed. note: the rest of this story contains spoilers for AHS: Apocalypse’s third episode]
But tonight the show’s fifth season, Hotel, gets a nod.
Quick recap: In the wake of a nuclear apocalypse, a few chosen survivors are ushered into safe houses run by the mysterious Cooperative. Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), agent of the Cooperative and possible Antichrist, arrives at Outpost Three to announce that he’s taking a select group to his self-proclaimed Sanctuary. Ms. Venable (Sarah Paulson) and her right-hand Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates) decide that this is no good — so they kill the remaining survivors of the Outpost.
Cue Michael revealing that Ms. Mead is a robot programmed to do his will. She turns on Venable, shooting and killing her. Everyone in the Outpost is dead. But as one Sarah Paulson dies, another rises. Cordelia Goode, the Supreme witch from season three, arrives on the scene with Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) in tow. They resurrect three of the dead outpost inhabitants — Mallory (Billie Lourd), Coco (Leslie Grossman) and Dinah (Adina Porter) — revealing that these three are witches under a deep memory spell.
[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for the fourth episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse]
When the latest episode begins, Michael confronts the witches, who say that they will defeat him, and the episode switches into flashback mood.
We learn that Outpost Three was once a school for warlocks in training. Witches who hold more power than their male counterparts and the warlocks are envious. They scout out a young Michael from police station footage; during interrogation for murder, he brutally killed a police officer with his raw power. The warlocks see something special in him — the potential to overpower the Supreme and rise as a male Alpha.
After recruitment and training and all that jazz, the warlocks call Cordelia and her council, Zoe and Myrtle (who was dead at the end of season three, but that’ll probably be addressed later). They want her to test Michael for the Seven Wonders to see if he can usurp her as the Supreme. Cordelia refuses, believing no man can ever accomplish this feat.
As the warlocks continue to press her, she reveals that she doesn’t want to lose another of their kind. Misty Day (Lily Rabe), her prized pupil, was lost during the last Seven Wonders trial. Queenie was killed in Hotel and her soul has been trapped in the Hotel Cortez since then. Cordelia tried absolutely everything to retrieve her, but to no avail.
Michael overhears all of this and immediately shows up at the Hotel Cortez, where Queenie is trapped playing gin rummy with the ghost of James March (Evan Peters). Cordelia had to try multiple spells and every exit of the Hotel Cortez before she gave up. Michael, however, very easily pulls Queenie out of the cursed place and embarks on his next journey: the personal hell where Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) is being tortured.
AHS vets will recall that Madison was killed by Kyle (Evan Peters) at the end of Coven for refusing to resurrect Zoe. The witches assumed she ran away.
Madison’s personal hell turns out to be a low-paying retail job where no one recognizes her. Michael quite effortlessly plucks her from the underworld. Together with Queenie, they return to the warlock school to confront the previously dubious Cordelia ... who promptly faints from shock.
Clearly, Michael is more powerful than she could ever anticipate — and more powerful than the warlocks even know. He’s not even a warlock, as far as viewers are aware, but the spawn of ghost and flesh.
There’s still the question of how Michael rises to power. Is the mysterious Cooperative he speaks of the other warlocks? Or something else entirely? Now that two of the previously dead witches are risen and accounted for, does this mean Misty Day is coming back soon?
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.