TV ReviewsAmerican Horror Story Season 8 Episode 9: Fire and Reign Review

Critics w/o CredentialsNovember 8, 2018

If you would like to read my review of the last episode of American Horror Story, click here.

Synopsis: Michael asks the Cooperative for help with achieving world annihilation. A tragic event at the Academy sends Cordelia and Mallory into hiding. (IMDB)

Writer: Asha Michelle Wilson

Director: Jennifer Arnold

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 50mins

Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on FX Canada (Canada)/FX (United States)

And so the end of the world is brought about all because a nerd had a case of the Mondays…

Last night’s penultimate episode, Fire and Reign set the stage for next week’s finale by focusing on three major issues – how the bombs fell, Mallory’s true power, and The Illuminati Cooperative. Computer engineers Jeff and Mutt start the episode out by complaining how nothing works to the extent where Jeff’s solution to this problem is to burn it all down and build anew. To accomplish this, they set their sights on manipulating the newly adorned Antichrist to help bring about the world’s destruction. What was hilarious about this was Michael’s small-scale thinking compared to that of the Bowl Cut Duo. It shows just how little his mind has matured contrary to his physical body because all he wants to do is get revenge on the witches while Jeff and Mutt are scheming on a much larger scale. Nevertheless, their plan appears to progress as they use Miriam Mead 2.0 to help steer Michael towards the Apocalypse via a nuclear winter.

The second major aspect of this episode was the setup of Mallory’s true powers. It’s apparent that Mallory possesses abilities that far outreach The Supreme and her associates to which Cordelia and Myrtle attempt to cultivate in the hopes that she is able to reverse what is to come from Cordelia’s vision. Thanks to Dinah who helps break down the magical barriers protecting The Coven, Michael and Miriam exact their revenge on the ladies. This action results in the death of all of the students of The Coven except Mallory, Madison, and Coco (Misty is off touring with Stevie). Dinah’s turncoat move was unexpected but it will certainly lead to the confirmation of a certain fan theory….more on that later. In a rushed attempt to test her powers, Mallory travels back in time to thwart princess Anastasia’s (Emilia Ares) family from being murdered and comes up short but also shows that with time and more power she might be able to change history. This is obviously setting up a major plot point for the finale, one which will hopefully pay off in a good way. With such a cool ability, here’s hoping that Mallory’s time hidden in the outpost has done her powers good. We will see in a week.

Lastly, the revelation of who The Cooperative was comprised of was underwhelming. It was fairly certain that it contained major captains of industry along with other prominent worldly figures, however, the wink and nod to The Illuminati and claiming that their name change was due to rebranding were eye roll inducing at best. Their flex of power coupled with Michael’s manipulation due to the Bowl Cut Duo undercuts everything Michael Langdon is capable of or is meant to do. This revelation only strips him of any aura or mysticism he possessed earlier in the season and limits him to just being a pre-teen in an adult’s body that is incapable of making his own decisions. At the heart of that is The Cooperative who if you recall from the first episodes are pulling the strings on everything post-Apocalypse including Langdon’s movements. Hopefully this somehow changes in the finale but it’s hard to see how. Deep down, it would be nice to see Langdon realizing how he’s been used by them and instead targets The Cooperative but alas, wishful thinking in a Ryan Murphy world is futile because it never works out the logical way but that’s part of the charm.

Overall, Fire and Reign was nowhere near the worst episode of the season. It did manage to provide some interesting plot points that look to set up some major story resolutions next week. If anything, this season’s shortcomings aren’t so bad if you remember this simple AHS mantra  – It might be bad, but it’s not as bad as Cult. That has helped to get through some very difficult episodes as of late and is my gift to you going into the season finale. However, while the finale won’t be perfect, hopefully it will stick a good landing.

Now to that fan theory…

I think that Cordelia did, in fact, go back to Papa Legba and make a deal after realizing Mallory’s powers and what she could possibly do. It was a calculated risk that involves Dinah being in on the move, thus her helping Michael and Miriam 2.0 enter The Coven, but in the end, Papa will get his souls and Mallory will, in turn, take them back which will square away all sides of the agreement. It’s a stretch and in many ways, I’m attempting to out-Murphy Murphy but I think there might be something to this. Again, it’s just a thought.


  • If the outpost construction plans include $100 million tickets, what’s the deal with Tim and Emily’s special DNA?
  • Remember Tim and Emily? Yeah, I still think the show will circle back to them
  • Zoe and Queenie going out like that was wrong. Especially given Queenie’s time in the Hotel Cortez. No one deserves that. 
  • Bubbles McGee and Eve Gallant confused me more than anything else this season. 
  • Bowl Cut Duo’s intentions to have Venable over an outpost seemed suspicious. Were they controlling her in the outpost with Miriam 2.0?
  • That warlock pentagram was crazy!
  • Meanwhile……Brock is still lurking in the shadows…

Score: 7/10


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