The latest episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse ended on bleak note unless you were a huge fan of the show’s third season.
To recap: After a nuclear fallout, a select few have been chosen by a mysterious organization known as The Cooperative to survive in an underground outpost run by a formidable woman named Venable (Sarah Paulson). They’re subject to Venable’s strict rules and regime, until the arrival of one Cooperative representative Michael Langdon, who informs them that he is here to decide which of them is worthy enough to join his so-called Sanctuary.
As he interrogates the residents of Outpost Three, they slowly start to fall apart, turning against one another. There’s even a familiar rubber figure poking around. But then it all went to hell. Not literally. Well, maybe.
[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for the third episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse]
After receiving a mysterious package of apples from The Cooperative, Paulson’s Venable and Kathy Bates’ Ms. Mead (freshly revealed to be a robot in the last episode — surprise!) hatch a plan: if they poison all the apples and feed them to the inhabitants of Outpost Three, then there will be no competition to reach the Sanctuary, a safehaven for all the remaining apocalypse-dwellers. All they’d have left to do is kill the demonic Langdon.
For the most part, their plan goes off without a hitch. While Billy Eichner’s Brock returns to take care of Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), the rest of the characters go bobbing for the fresh apples ... and then promptly drop dead.
Afterward, Veneable and Ms. Mead confront Langdon. But he turns the table on them, revealing that he was the one who programmed Ms. Mead to come up with the idea, then promptly ordering the android to shoot Veneable. While Ms. Mead is initially torn, a reminder from Langdon that he designed her to reflect the one person he truly cared about is enough to push her to murder. Who knew the Antichrist had a soft spot?
In the end, everyone’s dead except for the Devil and a robot.
Earlier in the episode, it was hinted that Mallory (Billie Lourd) and Dinah (Adina Porter) may be more than they appeared. Dinah and Langdon have a quick back and forth, revealing that they’ve met before. When Langdon confronts Mallory, she set a fireplace ablaze with just her own mind. Pyrokinesis, AHS fans will recall, is one of the Seven Wonders that witches use to test for the Supreme.
In the last few moments of the episode, the music shifts and three silhoutted figures approach Outpost Three. At long last the witches of Coven have returned.
It’s Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia Goode followed by Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), both of whom were dead at the end of season three ... but that’s something that’ll need answering later. Witches can, after all, raise the dead, so it’s not totally out of AHS canon for anyone to spring back into the picture.
They arrive at the bleak outpost and Cordelia orders the other two witches to find their girls. Mallory, Dinah, and Coco’s bodies are recovered and voilà, Cordelia brings them back to life, then Madison drops her signature line.
“Surprise bitch,” she says, leaning towards Mallory. “Bet you thought you’ve seen the last of me.”
What’s the connection between these two? We know little about Mallory, besides the fact that she worked in Los Angles — where teen actress Madison Montgomery used to work before being sent to Miss Robichaux’s Academy in New Orleans. Considering all the familiar connections tying this season to past ones, it’s possible they go even further back than the events of Coven.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.