Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) tells Mallory (Billie Lourd), "Bad news bitch: You're back from the dead!" Also, we learn the pre-Apocalypse purpose of Outpost Three in American Horror Story: Apocalypse Episode 4: Could It be... Satan?
Contrary to what I theorized at the end of my last recap, the artificial human Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates) does not embody the essence of Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from Murder House-which is interesting. We learn that, as a teen, antichrist Michael Langdon (Cory Fern) was raised by the real-life Mrs. Mead, and that she was the only person he ever truly trusted and loved. I can't be the only one who's wondering what happened to Constance, who seemed like Michael's perfect caregiver at the conclusion of Murder House? Hopefully, time will tell. We didn't learn much about the real Ms. Mead besides the fact that she's a devoted Satanist, and she loves Michael something fierce.
We pick up seconds after last week's episode ended with Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) telling Mallory (Billie Lourd): "Bad news bitch: You're back from the dead". Whatever the beef is between these two charters (jealousy perhaps?), Mallory is just as confused as we are, but Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) explains that the personal assistant, Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman), and Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter) were all under the affects of a memory suppressing spell, one that protected them by making them unaware of their own identities.
A confrontation with Michael sets the stage for flashbacks that set the rest of the episode pre-Apocalypse, where we learn there's been a long-standing feud between witches and warlocks.
Before it was Outpost Three, the underground refuge from radioactive fallout was The Hawthorn School for Warlocks; basically, the male counterpart to the academy of witches in Coven. 3 years before the bomb, Grand Chancellor Ariel (Jon Jon Briones) rescued troubled teenage Michael after he landed in jail following a fatal confrontation with a man behind a grocery store meat counter: After refusing to sell Ms. Mead a goat's head for incantations, Michael gave the butcher the Carrie White treatment by impaling him with a dozen knives via telekinesis.
While Ariel is certain Michael can be controlled, his colleague John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) has his doubts. After a short adjustment period during which Michael was integrated with his warlock peers, he's given a series of tests by Ariel and John, along with a couple other head honchos. Michael excels at every task, leading Ariel to believe he's the Alpha, a counterpart male to the female Supreme-one who could flip the balance of power in their favor.
You see, testosterone is a natural magic-inhibitor, one that prevents males from accessing certain ethereal levels and thereby assuring witches will always be the most powerful practitioners of spells and incantations. We learn this during a meeting between Cordelia, Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), and Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) and the ruling committee of Hawthorn. Cordelia outright refuses to subject Michael to the Seven Wonders which, if he completed successfully, would prove his superiority to her while simultaneously becoming the first Level 4 warlock in history.
Feeling both slighted and underestimated, Michael rescues Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) from The Cortez where she's been languishing since being murdered on Devil's Night back in Season 4. That's right folks, Apocalypse isn't just a mashup of Murder House (Season 1) and Coven (Season 3), Season 8 just threw a dollop of Hotel into the mix.
After freeing Queenie from an endless game of cards with James March (Evan Peters), Michael proceeds to break Madison out of her personal hell. It's the most hysterical moment of the season so far, as we see the former movie star being subjected to an eternity of thankless customer service in a departments store, constantly being confused for Lindsay Lohan.
When Cordelia sees what Michael has accomplished, feats that were beyond even her powers, she falls into a dead faint. Michael, for his part, watches her crumple, looking smug as fuck. Although we didn't know it at the time, a preview for next Wednesday's episode, Boy Wonder, reveals that she was struck with a vision of the impending Apocalypse-which fills in a lot of blank space within the current season's storyline. Expect more flashbacks in Boy Woner, as we learn how Cordelia and her Coven attempted to thwart the inevitable nuclear winter.
Check back next Thursday for another recap; American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on FX.