8:41pm PT by Jackie Strause
'American Horror Story: Apocalypse' Explores Satanism in Halloween Episode
[This story contains spoilers from the eighth episode of FX's American Horror Story: Apocalypse, "Sojourn."]
After an Antichrist-free episode last week, American Horror Story goes all in on Michael Langdon during Wednesday's episode of Apocalypse.
Continuing with the flashback timeline of life before the end of times, the eighth season of the FX horror anthology reveals how Langdon (Cody Fern) ended up on the devil's doorstep. (The sixth episode travels back to Murder House to reveal how the Church of Satan helped Langdon realize his full potential as the Antichrist, the son of Satan who would bring about the end of the world.) On Wednesday, after suffering setbacks at the hands of the Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson)-led Coven witches, Langdon finds himself alone and wandering the woods. After summoning his father, the devil, to no avail, he stumbles upon a service of Satan worshippers, led by guest star Sandra Bernhard.
Speaking to her black-and-red-clad congregation, Bernhard's priestess says that while the president is a "total douche nozzle" and global warming remains a bigger threat than ever, they are still not doing enough bad deeds to summon Anton LeVay (Carlo Rota) and the Antichrist, who needs to ride in on a "wave of sin." The real LeVay is the founder of the Church of Satan who died in 1997. AHS, however, says he faked his death (the Church of Satan even took to Twitter to denounce AHS' interpretation of their beliefs after the Murder House crossover). In that episode, LeVay arrives with two cardinals of his church in tow — Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates) and another played by Freak Show's Naomi Grossman — to perform a human sacrifice where Langdon consumes a heart and summons the devil's presence. AHS' LeVay is briefly shown again on Wednesday's episode, as a vision during Langdon's walkabout in the woods.
After Langdon flashes his "666" tattoo — the Mark of the Beast — to the congregants and leads his second human sacrifice, the congregation (whose members are made of people like the former chief accountant of Gawker) worships Langdon and deems him to be the one they have been waiting for. One of the friendly worshippers (Harriet Sansom Harris) then promises to help Langdon bring back his foster mother, Ms. Mead, who was burned at the stake by Cordelia. When Cordelia had informed Langdon that she had killed all of his allies, she told him she hid Mead's soul away with a spell that only she can break. She also implored him to come to the light so they could find his humanity together, but he refused.
Instead, Langdon is taken by his new friend to an emerging tech giant in Silicon Valley where two Satan-worshipping, cocaine-guzzling programmers (played by Evan Peters and Billy Eichner) have formed a billion-dollar company working with AI technology. Circling back around to where the show began — at nuclear shelter Outpost 3, led by Ms. Venable (Sarah Paulson) — AHS begins to piece together the puzzles of how the leader of the outpost came to be. When Langdon arrives, Ms. Venable is a disgruntled employee of Eichner and Peters' characters who is forced to deal with their frat-boy ways. "Don't ever call me babe," she tells them. The future ruler appears different; though she walks with a cane, there is no sign that her spine is scarred. Foreshadowing the class system she will ultimately develop, the men announce that purple is her "thing."
Ultimately, the programmers — who reveal they are former Tesla employees who send packages of "dog feces" to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg — develop Miriam Mead 2.0, introducing Langdon to the robotic, Mossad-like stand-in for his foster mother who viewers were introduced to as Ms. Mead in the beginning of the season.
At the beginning of the episode, Cordelia tells Langdon that he can still write his own destiny: "You can still turn away. There is humanity in you. I see it. If you come with me, maybe we can find it together." At the end of the hour, however, Langdon is even more empowered to continue down the path to darkness.
Next week — the penultimate episode of the season — appears finally to begin to unleash the war between Langdon and the Coven witches that has been building all season, with Cordelia's health once again in jeopardy. The teaser begs the introduction of The Cooperative — the secret government group that predicted the apocalypse, potentially circling back to how this all began — and also includes a brief scene that looks a lot like Murder House.
Bookmark THR.com/AHS for weekly show coverage as American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs Wednesdays on FX. Watch the teaser for next week below.