Jessica Lange is back in the house, the Murder House, that is! Madison Montgomery and Behold Chablis go back to where it all began to unravel Michael Langdon's past in this week's episode of American Horror Story titled Return to Murder House.
Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter) pretend to be married in order to buy the infamous Murder House. They're eager to buy, despite the realtor's warning that 36 people have died on the property, a number that's only likely to rise. But it's all part of Cordelia Fox's plan to discover the truth about Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) as, once Madison and Behold get the keys, they set about the business of interrogating Murder House's ghostly inhabitants.
It's an obstinate house, but after a spell that involved bloodletting and chanting "Monstroti Spriitum" and other words of incantation, the unlikely duo are able communicate with people on both sides of the ethereal veil. After encountering a couple burning kiddos, we discover Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) offering psychiatric services to Tate Langdon (Evan Peters). It's not a flashback to Season 1, it turns out this is what they do in the afterlife as well. Neither wants to be much help, but before we cut to commercial, Constant Langdon (Jessica Lange) returns with a triumphant exclamation: "This is my fucking house!"
Constance is dead and now bound to Murder House; she's willing to explain how she got there and everything she knows about Michael, but first, she wants Madison and Behold to banish Moira O'Hara (Frances Conroy), the residence's live-in spectral maid and consummate thorn in her side. The witches dig up Moira's bones and offer them to the milky-eyed entity, who uses the relics to escape the house's psychic grip. She's buried by her mother Mary and, in a touching moment, the two are reunited; Moira apologizes for pulling the plug, but Mary thanks her for it. They walk across a bridge and into some soft mist, the ghostly equivalent of riding off into the sunset.
Now that Moira has been abracadabra-ed out of Constance's life, she's ready to talk (and smoke, and drink, and cry). She explains how happy she was when Michael was born, seeing it as a chance to amend for mistakes she made raising Tate. Things went bad fast as the youngster began exhibiting classic "future serial killer" tendencies at an extremely young age. Things escalate quickly and before long, Michael has graduated from killing insects and animals to babysitters and priests. The biggest reveal, however, is that Michael isn't really in his late teens.
Apparently, he aged an entire decade overnight, meaning you can through my initial projected timeframe out the door. Apocalypse doesn't take place in the late 2020's-it really is the present. Michael's only 8-years-old! Constance reveals that she decided to kill herself before Michael could do it to her, a move that also reunited her with her dead children in Murder House. After overdosing on booze and pills and lipstick, she's reunited with her babies: Tate, the one who looks like a mutant, and the creepy little girl without any eyes.
It turns out you can masturbate in the afterlife. Madison and Behold interrupt Ben in the act and persuade him to spill everything he knows about Michael. It turns out, the young Master of Evil moved into Murder House after his grandmother offed herself, and Ben began giving the man-child psychiatric counselling. He saw good in him and developed fatherly feelings, even though Michael tortures the ghost of the Black Dahlia and shows keen interest in Tate's "Rubber Man" suit. His affections run out, however, right after Michael viciously murders the house's latest living inhabitants.
Next to be interrogated is Michael's mother Vivian Harmon (Connie Britton), and she's the first to say it out loud: Michael isn't just a bad warlock, he's the fucking antichrist! She explains how, one night, Anton Levy (played by Carlo Rota) showed up with a couple of his cardinals (one of whom is Mrs. Mead, played by Kathy Bates). He faked his death and had been waiting for signs that Satan's reign is eminent. Now, signals have guided him to Murder House, where he ingratiates himself with Michael by conducting a human sacrifice. We get a couple of nods to The Omen before Vivian attempted to murder Michael lest his destiny be actualized. In retaliation, Michael attempts to incinerate Vivian, but is thwarted by Tate who saves her life.
Before they report back to Cordelia, Madison plays matchmaker, taking a moment to patch up Violet Harmon's broken heart. She explains that it wasn't really Tate who raped her mother back in Season 1, rather it was the house using him. Of course, he's still s spree-killer, but Madison convinces Violet (Taissa Farmiga) his afterlife of crime is behind him, and the young lovers reunite.
So, now we know how Michael ended up in Mrs. Mead's care, but we still don't know what led to the titular Apocalypse that went down in Episode 1. Next week looks like another episode set before the bombs dropped, as the Coven considers all options for thwarting Michael's ascendance to Supreme-even if that means sacrificing one of their own. Check back next Thursday for another recap; American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs on FX.