This review contains spoilers for the newest season of “American Horror Story,” as well as seasons one and three.
After our last episode, the witches burned our Antichrist, Michael Langdon’s (Cody Fern) last allies at the stake. Feeling lost, he decides to call to his father, the devil, for guidance. He receives it in the way of stumbling upon a group of Satanists who worship him to Hell and back.
Once Langdon finds the ashes of his last few allies, especially that of his adoptive mother, Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates), he cries out and mourns. Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) comes to tell him that she’s won and he can never get Mead back, since she locked her soul away in Hell where he can’t reach it. Goode extends an invitation for him to join the side of humanity and he fully rejects her and tells her that he’ll kill her for her actions. I’m a little surprised that she’d even offer, but I guess she probably feels like she’s doomed so she may as well try to convince him to be good. I also am surprised Langdon didn’t end her right then, but that would be too easy.
Feeling lost without the support and guidance of Mead, Langdon secludes himself in the forest and draws a pentagram on the ground to summon and speak with his father, the devil. He stays in the circle for four days until he begins to see visions of angels trying to offer him salvation and Mead condemning him for letting her die. Frustrated and with no clear guidance from his father, he leaves.
Stumbling lost through the back alleys of Los Angeles, he comes upon a Satanist church led by the hilarious Sandra Bernhard, who makes fun of the congregation for their boring sins. As Langdon sits in the back brooding and looking starved and homeless, he’s taken pity on by Madeline (Harriet Sansom Harris), a kind Satanist woman: words I never expected to combine.
Madeline takes him to her home, feeds him and tells him how she sold her soul to the devil to receive riches and sex with handsome celebrities. Langdon expresses disappointment in Satanism and it’s fall to only appealing to carnal urges. Granted, I almost can’t entirely blame the people who sold their soul for simply settling on money and sex — it seems like an easy and happy life. Besides, what else would they want? Madeline says she’s waiting for the Antichrist to bring in the end times and Langdon says she’s waiting in vain. Angry with how he’s acting, she goes to kill him until she spots the “666” branded on his neck — the mark of the Antichrist — which brings her to her knees in worship.
Langdon is brought back to the Satanist church, where they’re performing a haunting hymn by the churches’ All Sinners Choir. They’re preparing to perform a human sacrifice on people who bring good to the world — a social worker and a member of Doctors without Borders. Langdon steps in and takes the knife from another new member, who is hilariously a former Gawker staffer. He kills the good people and the congregation falls to its knees at the display of his Antichrist prowess.
He’s then treated like a celebrity by the church and worshipped heavily by them. When Madeline asks him what the next step is on the path to annihilation, he shares his uncertainty and doubt without Mead. He ends up sounding kind of like a whiny child, but I suppose it’s expected since he’s technically still a teenager, age-wise. Madeline tells him she can bring her back to life, and takes him to meet with members of her network of people who have also sold their souls. I guess it’s similar to a Facebook group.
The members he meets are bowl-cut-donning tech geniuses who are constantly snorting cocaine and played by recurring actors Evan Peters and Billy Eichner. We also meet Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson) again, who, as we remember, was killed by Michael before we began this long flashback journey — she’s just as completely terrible as we remember her.
After the two tech geniuses amusingly make fun of Michael for his lackluster name and stature, he nearly leaves before they apologize and ask for proof of his Antichrist powers. He sets fire to a woman and smiles demonically at them. They stammer a quick “hail Satan” and promise to help him with anything. He simply asks for them to remake Mead and they do so — she’s created stronger and smarter than ever and greets Langdon with a smile and says she missed him.
I’m entertained by this episode and glad to learn even more exposition on Langdon’s backstory and how they reached the end of the world. The pacing to me seems a little slow though, since we’ve only got two episodes left after this one and many questions left unanswered. This episode provided some essential backstory elements but I feel it could’ve easily been cut and made room for more forward momentum. Even with all the jokes, it felt a little slow and just kind of boring at times as we approach the end of the season. I’m waiting for next episode, where Langdon seems to begin planning the end times in earnest. And then finally, we can see how it all ends.
Edited by Siena DeBolt | firstname.lastname@example.org