‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’: The Son Also Rises

American Horror Story: Apocalypse
“Soujourn”
October 31, 2018

Langdon, who had been “out in the wilderness” when the coven came for his co-conspirators, discovers the charred remains of Devil Momma, Ariel and Baldwin and does not take it well.

When Cordelia appears for some gloating, Langdon vows to just bring Devil Momma back to life — after all, he brought all fo her witches back when she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) But Cordelia informs him that she’s placed a spell on Devil Momma’s soul so that he can’t. Which seems awfully convenient but OK.

Langdon is all, “JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL MY DAD HEARS ABOUT THIS!” But Cordelia reminds him that his father allowed this to happen, and suggests that Langdon doesn’t have to follow his father’s path. He’s still partially human! He can hang out with the coven and be good!

Langdon declines.

Instead, Langdon marches himself out to the woods, draws a pentagram in the dirt, and demands that his father tell him what to do next. But Satan is busy torturing souls in hell or writing heavy metal lyrics or sending Sean Hannity script notes and can’t be fucked to send his son instructions. Instead, Langdon is stuck in the circle for four days with nothing but hallucinations of angels to keep him company, and one unlucky goat — which he mistakes for his father before eating it.

Back in the city, Langdon happens to notice an upside down cross on the side of an alley wall which he follows to its end. There, he finds a church of Satan which appropriately enough, is led by Sandra Bernhard. And she is COMPLETELY UNDERWHELMED by her congregation’s commitment to sinning. If they don’t up their sin game, the antichrist will NEVER show up. With Trump in office, she is TIRED OF WAITING AROUND FOR THE APOCALYPSE ALREADY.

An older lady, Madelyn, notices Langdon and how hungry he looks and invites him back to her house. There, she feeds him and preaches the gospel of Satanism: all she had to do was sell her soul to the devil, perform a black mass, kill an innocent person and now she has a La-Z-boy chair and this nice-ish house and on Wednesdays, Brad Pitt comes over to fuck. On Fridays, it’s Ryan Reynolds.

Langdon is unimpressed, but Madelyn insists that the antichrist is coming to bring the end times AND THEN HE’LL SEE. Langdon’s like, “Well, I hate to break it to you, but I’m the guy y’all are waiting for and I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Madelyn, believing he’s being heretical, tries to kill him but in the process sees his 666, and is all, “HAIL SATAN!”

 

The two return to the church where Sandra Bernhard is about to hold a Black Mass so that parishioner Phil can make his first kill and sell his soul, but Madelyn and Langdon interrupt the proceedings with their big “son of Satan” news and Langdon is given the honors of slicing the two do-gooders’ throats.

This is followed by a potluck dinner, obviously, where the worshippers are eager to learn from Langdon what’s next and when the End Times are going to finally be here.

 

After Madelyn shoos them away, Langdon admits to her that he has no idea what he is supposed to do now and that the only person who might have been able to help is dead. But Madelyn waves this off as a non-issue. He’s the son of Satan! There’s nothing he can’t have!

To this end, Madelyn drives Langdon to Google a private robotics company, explaining that Satanists are all connected and that these particular guys will be thrilled to help him. As thanks, Langdon can put in a good word with his dad for her, please, and land her a choice spot in Hell. Hail Satan!

Inside are Mutt and Jeff, our bowl-haircutted, coke-fueled, Satanic nerds …

who are busily building a sexbot when Ms. Venable, their assistant, brings them their new shipment of coke and informs them that there is a man here to see them. He says he made arrangements with them personally.

Also:

Langdon arrives and Mutt and Jeff are like, “You? The son of Satan? Really?” But the prostitute that had been servicing one of them moments earlier can sense the evil radiating off of him and tries to run away. Langdon sets her on fire with a glance and Mutt and Jeff are impressed.

Over lunch, Mutt and Jeff tell Langdon that they owe his dad everything. After toiling away in Silicon Valley just to have Elon Musk take all the credit for their work, they learned The Secret: politicians, billionaires, the elite, they had all sold their souls to Satan. So they followed suit and now they are worth billions and bang Victoria’s Secret models and Ryan Reynolds. So how can they help Junior? They’ll do anything.

Langdon asks them to bring someone special back to him and they are like, “ON IT!”

But because this is the son of Satan, Mutt and Jeff decide to give Devil Momma a few upgrades, like a Mossad background and an intelligence higher than that of Watson. When she’s ready for Langdon, Mutt and Jeff warn him to not expect her to be her old self right away, but when they turn her on, she recognizes Langdon immediately.

And that is how Mrs. Roboto is “born.”

Just a few quick points about this episode: I am not sure if it was intentional, but Anton LaVey, the real Anton LaVey predicted some two decades ago that “artificial human companions” would one day give people a way to channel their darker impulses:

Satanists advocate a new industry, the development and promotion of artificial human companions. These humanoids will be constructed to be as realistic as possible, and available to anyone who can afford one. Recognizing that the human animal often raises himself up throught the denegration of another, this would provide a safe outlet for such behavior. Have the lover of your dreams, regardless of your own prowess; every man a king who can purchase his own subject; or contrarywise, buy the master you wish to serve. Freedom of choice to satisfy your most secret desires with no-one to be bothered is now at hand. What could be better for blowing-off the tension that exists throughout our society, and promoting healthier interaction among true humans?

So it’s interesting that Mutt and Jeff are tech neds — they are specifically robotics nerds.

Also, Mutt and Jeff: if you didn’t catch the reference, Mutt and Jeff was the first American newspaper cartoon written in strip form. Mutt started off as a dimwitted racetrack gambler, and Jeff was the inmate of an insane asylum he met at the track. The strip eventually evolved to focus on Mutt’s get-rich-quick schemes. Interestingly, the creator of Mutt and Jeff was inspired by real people he saw while on a train ride to Bohemian Grove. Bohemian Grove is a campsite in Northern California which belongs to an exclusive club, the Bohemian Club, which every summer hosts a mysterious conference of sorts in which strange rituals are performed by some of the most prominent men in the world.

Finally, there is Langdon’s wilderness moment which parallels Jesus’. In the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe a period of 40 days in which Jesus fasted alone in the desert. There, Satan attempted to tempt him three times, but Jesus resisted. At the end of the 40 days, Jesus returned to Galilee and began his ministry. Similarly, Langdon goes into the woods alone, albeit for only 4 days, and after a period of fasting he emerges ready to assume leadership of his church.

Well, sorta.

What was most interesting about this episode is how much doubt Langdon has about what he is supposed to do in his role as the son of Satan. He’s not confident, he doesn’t have any plans, he just misses his surrogate mother, and everything else is secondary. It’s an interesting choice and makes Langdon a considerably more ambiguous character, particularly as the story moves forward towards the apocalypse.

Timeline:

March 2012: Michael Langdon is born inside the Murder House. His mother, Vivien dies in childbirth; his father is murdered by murder ghosts; his twin is stillborn. Michael is raised by his next-door neighbor and his sorta-grandmother (it’s complicated), Constance.

2013-2014: There is a power struggle in the witching world when the Supreme witch, Fiona Goode discovers she is dying of cancer and blames the younger witches. Eventually, Fiona succumbs to death, and her daughter, Cordelia, assumes the mantle of Supreme. Marie Laveau is murdered by Delphine LaLaurie and descends to Hell.

2014: Cordelia reveals the existence of witches; The Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men is burned down.

2015: Constance raises young Michael who begins killing small animals Michael Langdon murders his nanny. Michael grows into a man overnight and tries to kill Constance. Constance realizing she was out of her depth commits suicide in Murder House, joining most of her children.

Ben Harmon then takes over raising Michael. Michael is rejected by Tate and turns even darker, murdering some new residents of Murder House and obliterating their souls.

The Church of Satan finds Michael at Murder House and perform a dark mass to help bring Michael into his full powers. Vivien attempts to murder Michael, and he tries to obliterate her, but Tate saves her at the last moment. Michael leaves Murder House and Vivien and the other ghosts never see him again.

2015: Queenie checks into the Hotel Cortez and is murdered by Mr. March. Sometime after, Cordelia resurrects Myrtle sensing that something bad is coming.

2016: Cordelia attempts to rescue Queenie from the Hotel Cortez but fails.

June 2017: Michael Langdon, being raised by Mrs. Mead, kills a butcher, is rescued from prison by Ariel Augustus and brought to the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men.

July 2017: The warlocks test Michael’s abilities and petition Cordelia to have him perform the Seven Wonders. She refuses. Michael then rescues Queenie and Madison from the afterlife. Cordelia has an apocalyptic vision and agrees to allow Michael to take the test of the Seven Wonders.

Back in New Orleans, Coco’s father enrolls his daughter at Miss Robichaux’s. At Hawthorne’s, John Henry is killed by Michael’s caretaker when he tries to leave for New Orleans to discuss Michael with Cordelia.

Two weeks after Cordelia’s vision, Michael passes the test of the Seven Wonders, bringing Misty Day back to life in the process. Cordelia sends Behold Chablis and Madison Montgomery to Los Angeles to investigate Michael’s childhood.

Madison and Chablis learn about Michael’s history from Constance, Ben, and Vivien. They bury Moira’s bones near her mother’s grave and Madison helps Violet see that Tate was controlled by the evil of the house. Tate and Violet have their happily ever after.

Cordelia convinces Dinah to summon Papa Legba who agrees to help Cordelia against Langdon in exchange for the souls of all of her witches. Cordelia declines.

Madison finds Bubbles, a witch who can read people’s souls, and she confirms that Ariel and Baldwin killed John Henry and intends to kill the coven.

Cordelia, believing Mallory is the next Supreme, has her perform the Seven Wonders and resurrect John Henry. Upon returning to life, John Henry reveals that a woman killed him. Somehow the witches determine this woman is Mrs. Mead. The witches kidnap her, and she, Ariel and Baldwin are burnt at the stake.

When Langdon discovers their bodies, he vows revenge on the witches and retreats to the wilderness to learn what’s next. Eventually he finds his way to a Church of Satan where he reveals his identity and is worshipped. One of the members of the church introduces him to Mutt and Jeff, robotics geniuses, who build him an android Mrs. Mead.

April 2020: A nuclear war kills off most of humanity. A small group of survivors, including Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, Mr. Gallant, Grandma Joan, Dinah Stevens, Andre Stevens, Stu, Timothy Campbell (Adam) and Emily (Eve) reside in an outpost run by Ms. Wilhemnia Venable, her second-in-command Miriam Mead and their soldiers on behalf of a mysterious group called The Cooperative.

October 11, 2021: The outpost is visited by a higher-up in The Cooperative, an adult Michael Langdon. He reports that the other outposts run by The Cooperative have either been overrun or about to be.

October 2021: Langdon interviews Gallant and Venable. Timothy and Emily discover Ms. Venable’s rules are fake. Gallant murders his grandmother. Ms. Meade bleeds white.

October 31, 2021: Brock sneaks into the outpost and kills Coco. Ms. Venable and Mead poison a trove of apples, killing the other residents of the outpost. When Ms. Venable tries to kill Langdon, Mead turns the gun on Venable, killing her. Witches Cordelia, Madison, and Myrtle arrive at the outpost and revive their “sisters:” Coco, Mallory, and Dinah.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on FX on Wednesdays at 9/10 p.m.

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