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Left reeling after Cult, it felt as if everything about American Horror Story had began to erode with literally no hope in sight except for the fact that its finale would serve as a mercy killing of a waste of season to be quickly forgotten. But something irreparable happened as a result – trust was lost. Since that point, it’s hard no to keep AHS at arm’s length, refusing to become completely become engrossed based on the fact that Cult took the faith placed in it by fans and abused it for another agenda entirely. But that is for another time and article.
But still, there was hope…
For you see, with Apocalypse there came something that felt like a return to form as it was apparent from early on that we would be revisiting some of fans most hallowed seasons; Coven and Murder House. This almost guaranteed that the show would be hard-pressed to suffer from the same missteps that Cult did due to the return of incredible characters from those seasons and not to mention some of the most egregiously open character arcs finally being answered. So the season began, and we were treated to the story of Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), once a baby whom we understood long ago to be the antichrist, as we watched his ascension into that role as he brought the eventual destruction of the world as prophesied.
To dispel any further suspense, this season has to be one of the entire series’ strongest and I would land it just outside my Top 3 of the best seasons of the show. This is partly due to the aforementioned characters but more importantly how this season was able to take their previous storylines and progress them through this current plot involving Michael to the extent where they were familiar and yet unique both individually as well as together. The perfect example of this was Madison Montgomery. In the beginning of Apocalypse, she is the same selfish witch we’ve come to know and hate, however, through time (and retail purgatory) we see her character recognize her flaws and begin to make strides to change for the better. This was encouraging because it showed that by doing something such as this with such a divisive character the show itself was also changing for the better.
Another reason for this season’s success was that it possessed arguably some of the best episodes of the entire series. With Return to Murder House, Boy Wonder and Could it be…Satan?, AHS experienced a string of episodes that continually became stronger as the story progressed where it was difficult to pinpoint a previous season that had done something similar. Those episodes not only featured Michael in a compelling way but also the witches of the Coven as well as tackling some long-lasting questions from Hotel, Coven and Murder House. But with a rise also comes a fall and that sort of strength in storytelling is hard to sustain. Eventually, AHS had to regress back to the mean, a move that was accomplished by spending the remainder of the season entirely in the past in an effort to squeeze a resolution to the overarching narrative in the last remaining minutes of the finale. While the finale was thoroughly enjoyable, it could have been executed better. Still, it was worth the 10 episode wait to watch Michael Langdon get run over by a car….twice (sorrynotsorry).
This season was not without faults but its strengths far outweighed anything that might’ve held the season back from becoming great. It is one of the better seasons simply due to the fact that it was consistent in its storytelling, something that rarely occurred in the show’s earlier seasons, and that it featured familiar characters in a new light. Truthfully, it was just nice to see that the show found its way back from obscurity. Words cannot express the damage that Cult caused. Try to find someone that loved Cult and doesn’t want to pretend it never happened? Either way, Apocalypse was a fun watch from start to finish and while its hiccups were still felt they were ultimately forgiven because the season was a return to the way the show looked and felt in its earlier and more successful seasons. What the future holds for the coming season(s), I’m scared to wonder simply because of how Apocalypse ended. But for now, I will muster what hope and trust this season has restored in me and carry it into season 9.