Note: This article contains spoilers for episode eight of American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
After the coven counted calories and burned Kathy Bates at the stake last week, American Horror Story shifted focus for its next instalment, concentrating instead on Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) and his demonic rise to power.
Although viewers finally learned what it takes to sleep with Ryan Reynolds, we learned precious little else in an aimless episode that spent too long answering questions no one had really asked while sidelining both our beloved witches and the apocalypse itself in the process.
However, among all of the bowl-cut wigs and angelic six-packs, ‘Sojourn’ did also include some hints and references that only the most dedicated Satanist could have spotted, so push aside that giant bowl of cocaine and join us as we sift through the very best references hidden away this week in American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
1. “I’m never alone”
‘Sojourn’ opens with a startling confrontation between Langdon and Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) that leaves the Antichrist confused and broken in a way we’ve never seen before. After his vision in the wilderness provides little in the way of guidance, Michael seemingly stumbles accidentally upon a satanic cult who feed him goats cheese lasagne and prop him back up on his feet.
While it made sense for American Horror Story to flip things around and show how Langdon will prepare for his fight with the witches, much like the show did last week from the coven’s perspective, it’s also bold of them to position Michael in the role of hero, narratively speaking.
Despite the fact that he’s the spawn of Satan, viewers are encouraged to identify with Langdon here, rooting for him to rediscover his purpose and throw off the shackles of uncertainty. It’s a bold move, but if any show is going to make its protagonist the Antichrist, it’s American Horror Story.
2. Temptation of the Antichrist
Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert, but the Antichrist couldn’t last more than four days without craving a cheeky snack.
The visions that Langdon experienced while wandering out in the ‘wilderness’ basically brought the Apocalypse credits to life, complete with the imagery of snakes and goats that have been major motifs for the show since the season premiere aired eight weeks ago.
Just like in the Garden of Eden, apples were used again here to signify temptation while reminding viewers of the poison apple massacre that takes place in the future of Outpost 3. Anton LaVey also returned briefly following his appearance in the ‘Murder House’ episode, but it’s still unclear why he wouldn’t have stuck around to help Langdon fulfill his destiny and reach the path that the satanic leader initially set out for him.
Adorable side note – was that little kid with the grape Fanta supposed to be a young Langdon? The actor they chose sure did look like the little boy who murdered his babysitter way back in the Murder House season finale.
3. Hail, Satan!
The volunteer All Sinners Choir sure did raise some hell this week with a surprisingly lovely rendition of ‘O Fortuna’. Written in the early 13th century, the title of this medieval Latin poem translates to ‘Oh Fate’ and goes on to complain about the inescapable power of destiny.
It’s no coincidence that this song was performed just moments before Langdon took over from Phil (poor Phil) and committed two human sacrifices at once, thereby sealing his fate as the Antichrist and setting him on the path of destruction.
4. The Cooperative of Satan
This week, we learned that many of the world’s leaders have sold their souls to the Devil in order to attain power (much like in real life…), suggesting that the Church of Satan and its many allies form the foundation of what will come to be known as the Cooperative.
Given the wealth and power that these Satanists wield, it makes sense that they would be the ones to prepare outposts to hide in during the end of days, particularly as they’re the only ones who know it’s coming in the first place too.
Although this doesn’t explain how the likes of Mallory (Billie Lourd) and Coco (Leslie Grossman) end up in Outpost 3, a promo for next week’s episode hints that the missing pieces of this puzzle will be revealed in full during the ninth and penultimate episode of Apocalypse.
5. Gold Dust Woman, White Dust Man
When he’s not inhaling Colombia’s entire cocaine reserves during an average morning at work, the latest character played by Evan Peters explains that the only thing which keeps him going aside from coke is his easy listening playlist: “Light rock is my cocaine.”
Is it just a coincidence that easy listening classics were later used to torment the denizens of Outpost 3 after the apocalypse hit? If these bowl-cut wielding scientists are in fact members of the Cooperative or at least what came before it, then perhaps their obsession with light rock is later incorporated into the hideout’s insidious music system.
6. “I am HR, bitch!”
‘Sojourn’ did little to advance the overall story this week, but a major highlight was the return of Ms Venable (Sarah Paulson), the HR woman from hell. While we don’t see her meet Langdon, it’s clear that Sarah Paulson’s wicked character already holds a grudge against him years before he kills her in Outpost 3.
Just like she does in the future, Venable also wears purple here too, because apparently, “it’s her thing”. However, it’s also worth mentioning here that this very deliberate clothing choice also foreshadows the class system that she will develop once she takes over Outpost 3.
7. Stuck in the past
Long before the flashbacks that we’re still inside first kicked off, viewers were introduced to the survivors who would wind up in Outpost 3. While it’s since been revealed that the vast majority of them were witches who had lost their memories thanks to an “identity” spell, the characters who were played early on by Evan Peters and Billy Eichner could still turn out to be under the same spell.
After all, we doubt it’s a coincidence that they’re both played by the same two actors whose characters run things at the robotic company this week. If the coked-up Silicon Valley rejects are being manipulated by magic in the future, the question that remains though is why? Perhaps they upset Langdon somehow and are subsequently cast out by the Cooperative?
Whatever happens, let’s just hope that the last two episodes of Apocalypse move things forward at a faster pace than this week’s episode. We’ve never wanted the end of the world to come so quickly.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse is on Wednesdays on FX in the US, with the UK getting it on FOX and NOW TV two weeks later. Catch up on series 1-6 on Netflix, with season 7 available to buy on Amazon Prime Video.
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