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American Horror Story is heading home.
The eighth season of the FX horror anthology, titled Apocalypse, is re-opening the doors to its notorious Murder House on the sixth episode, which will broadcast for an extended 78 minutes (55 minutes without commercials) on Oct. 17.
The haunted Hollywood home is where AHS all began. During the first cycle of the Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk-created show, an out-of-town family moved into a mansion they later learned had played host to so much tragedy that it had been dubbed “Murder House” around town. The nickname stuck and later became the official title for the first season, which initially launched in 2011 simply as American Horror Story.
Now, seven seasons later, American Horror Story: Apocalypse has earned its own nickname: The Murder House–Coven crossover season. The first five episodes have seen a handful of the cast reprising their characters from Coven, season three of the anthology, amid the Apocalypse theme in order to set up the big return to the Murder House set.
The entire season hinges on a key character from Murder House, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern). In the current season, Langdon is poised to usurp the Coven witches as the all-powerful Supreme being. Apocalypse flashed back to before the world-ending event that kicked off the season to reveal that the current Supreme witch, Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson), predicted that Langdon and his demonic powers would bring about an apocalyptic event. At the end of episode five, Cordelia sends fellow witch Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) back to Murder House in hopes of digging up something they can use to defeat Langdon as his powers continue to grow.
Michael was labeled the Antichrist baby after season one. His parents are Viven Harmon (Connie Britton) and Tate Langdon, aka Rubber Man (Evan Peters). Tate was a spirit trapped in Murder House after he carried out a school shooting and was murdered by a SWAT team. During Murder House, he dressed incognito in the rubber suit and raped Vivien, who had moved into the home with her husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) and daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga). Vivien, who was pregnant with twins, died during childbirth after giving birth to Michael and a stillborn baby inside the house. The season ended with the entire deceased Harmon family living out eternity inside the house with the rest of the spirits who had haunted them while they were alive. The finale flashed forward three years to reveal that Michael had been left in the care of his paternal grandmother, Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). The boy began to show his demonic tendencies early when he murdered his nanny, piquing Constance’s interest.
The end of the world was also a prophesy made when Michael was born. Murder House‘s medium Billie Dean Howard (Paulson) warned that “a child born of human and spirit will usher in the end of times.” Now, seven years later, Apocalypse has re-introduced Langdon as a grown man who appears to have lived up to his Antichrist potential.
Murphy waited several years before confirming that all of the AHS seasons do indeed exist within the same universe. The fifth cycle, Hotel, featured the first major season crossover when Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), a witch from Coven, checked into the Hotel Cortez that served as the backdrop for the season. The following season, Roanoke, connected many threads from earlier seasons (including the reveal that Lady Gaga’s character was the original Supreme) and Murphy promised that season eight, specifically, would “explode” with show mythology. Tying up Queenie’s story is one of the handful of AHS crossovers that has appeared in Apocalypse so far.
The return to Murder House will see many former AHS characters making returns. The entire Harmon family has been confirmed for cameos, marking Britton’s first AHS return since season one and McDermott’s first visit back since season two’s Asylum; Farmiga has already reprised her Coven witch Zoe Benson this season. Peters will be back as Tate after playing a new character, Hollywood hairdresser Mr. Gallant, this season and making another cameo as his Hotel character, serial killer James Marsh. Rubber Man also made an appearance this season, though it remains to be seen if it was Tate or his son, Langdon, under the rubber mask. Frances Conroy, who has also reprised her Coven witch Myrtle Snow, will also return as Murder House housekeeper Moira O’Hara.
The original owners of Murder House, surgeon Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross) and his wife, Nora (Lily Rabe), could also play a role. It has been theorized that Madison is a relative of the pair and they are the ones who delivered baby Michael. Before his birth, the doctors called Michael — who has now been deemed the “Alpha” warlock — the “alpha twin” because he out-survived his sibling in the womb.
The most-anticipated return, however, is Lange as Constance. The actress and former leading lady of the series won two Emmys for the characters she played on AHS and left the series after season four. She is making her one-episode return as her friend and former co-star Paulson steps behind the camera to make her directorial debut for the extra-long episode, which is titled “Return to Murder House.” Paulson will also be debuting her third character of the season when she reprises Billie Dean.
The teaser for the episode (watch above) shows Madison — with Billie Dean and one of the warlocks (Billy Porter) in tow — purchasing Murder House so they can summon up the famed spirits who inhabit the home. Constance is shown descending the stairs to ask them, “Now, who do you think you are?” Though she is only seen from the back, her look and demeanor implies that not much time has passed since viewers last saw her, and that perhaps she, too, has become a spirit who will forever belong to the grounds.
The visit to the past will effectively fill in some of the missing pieces as to how Michael became Langdon, and how he ended up in foster care with a Satan-worshipping mother (Kathy Bates) instead of under Constance’s watch. Once more about Langdon and the future path of the season is revealed, the timeline of AHS could also become clearer. Apocalypse is set in the near-future around October 2019 and the series has already been renewed for two more seasons. If the witches don’t prevent the end of the world, what will the future of the AHS universe look like?
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