[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of American Horror Story Season 8: Apocalypse, Episode 2: The Morning After DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 2: The Morning After can be seen on FX, FX+, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]
When one builds anything, they have to lay a foundation first. The principle of a foundation goes for a house or even a human relationship. Thus, a foundation on which to build is also a necessity for storytelling; particularly, when those stories are told in a television format. In Episode 1 of American Horror Story: Apocalypse the foundation for this season was laid. As a result, the episode in recap this week; Episode 2: The Morning After is all about building things up.
The episode opens with the inhabitants of Outpost 3 about to dine on a non-irradiated snake that somehow found its way into the bunker. Tensions remain high as each person has something to say, be it a thankful or snarky comment about the dead animal on which they are about to dine. That is until Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates) removes the lid of the silver serving platter. To the surprise of everyone, the snake is alive and proceeds to slither across the table. Seeing as dinner was cut-short, Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) takes the opportunity to introduce himself to the residents of the bunker.
Langdon quickly fills everyone in on the deal. That is, he will be judge, jury, and potential executioner. More specifically, Langdon explains that each person in Outpost 3 will undergo “A rigorous questioning.” Should an individual not make the cut, Langdon reveals that have the option to commit suicide via self-poisoning. Without hesitation, Mr.Gallant (Evan Peters) volunteers to go through the “Cooperating” questioning process first.
In questioning him, Langdon quickly gets into Mr. Gallant’s head by keying-in on the young man’s anger. Specifically, the aggression that Gallant feels towards his Nana (Joan Collins) for not genuinely accepting him or his homosexuality. At this point, we’re treated to a flashback scene in which Gallant shows up at one of his Nana’s dinners in leather gear. Then it’s back to interrogation as Mr. Gallant tries to use the fact that he and Langdon share the same sexual orientation as leverage. Seeing Gallant’s play clearly, Langdon ends his first round of questioning.
Later that night as Gallant lays in bed, The Rubber Man comes to pay him a visit. Assuming The Rubber Man is Langdon, the two proceed to have sex. Unfortunately for them, Nana witnesses the carnal act. After seeing this, Nana immediately turns in her grandson for breaking the sexual congress rule.
Meanwhile, Timothy (Kyle Allen) and Emily’s (Ash Santos) of Langdon has grown; to the point where the couple decides to go snooping in his room. Inside Langdon’s bedroom, they find a laptop. More importantly, though, Emily and Timothy discover emails that reveal that Ms. Wilhemina Venable’s forbidding sexual contact is a rule of her own, not The Cooperative. As such The Cooperative reserves the right to sentence Ms. Wilhemina to death for making her own rules. About this same time, Langdon informs Wilhemina that he is indeed on to her.
Upon learning of Mr. Gallant’s engaging in sexual congress, Ms. Wilhemina and Miss Miriam proceed to bind and whip him. Believing that Gallant and Langdon are in cahoots, they feel sure this lite torture will inevitably evoke a confession. Alas, they find that Gallant enjoys it; therefore they leave him to hang by his bindings. Langdon comes in a little later, delivering revelations to Gallant. Not only is Langdon not the man Gallant had sex with; Langdon adds that Gallant’s Nana is the one who turned him in. After being released, Gallant confronts his Nana in front of the others. Not surprisingly, Nana seems unfazed by the accusations and uses them to shame her grandson.
As the others find their way to bed later that night, Timothy and Emily head upstairs to finally consummate their relationship. Unable to sleep, Mr. Gallant sits brooding by the raging fire in the common room as Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman begins playing over the underground dwelling’s speakers. Suddenly, The Rubber Man appears and grabs Gallant by the throat. While all this is happening, Emily and Timothy get busted in on while sleeping together. Back downstairs, Gallant stabs The Rubber Man to death with a pair of scissors. As Gallant lands the fatal blow, Langdon walks in on the murder scene. In shock at not only what he did but realizing Langdon witnessed the act, Gallant turns back to the corpse. It seems that what was once the corpse of The Rubber Man is now Nana’s dead body.
Standing before Ms. Wilhemina Venable, Timothy and Emily refuse to accept whatever their forthcoming punishment might be. The young couple cites the fact that Wilhemina made up the barring of sexual contact. Their defense is to no avail as they are sent be tortured. However, down in the torture/decontamination chamber, Timothy gets the upper-hand by getting Mead’s gun off her. Young Timothy quickly kills one of those torturing him and lands a wounding shot in Mead’s neck. Mead quickly stumbles out of the room, looking at her wound, her face filled with terror. However, it’s not blood we see oozing from the injury, but a thick white substance; much like those of the androids in the Alien franchise. In true cliffhanger fashion, The Morning After ends.
Well, we’re two episodes into AHS: Apocalypse and I’m still feeling a bit torn about the series. Like I said in my last recap, I’m digging Apocalypse’s cast and atmosphere. Furthermore, I think that this episode did a great job of further building wherever this season is going. However, I’m still having a bit of an issue with the show’s pacing. Generally, I watch an episode twice before I begin to recap it. On my first watch, I felt that The Morning After moved as slow as I do in the A.M. However, upon my second viewing I felt this episode did move along a little better.
The real issue I’m having with the show thus far is that I feel it’s a bit contrived and old-hat. Yes, I get it, American Horror Story is built on using traditional cornerstones of the horror genre uniquely. But thus far, I don’t find myself thinking Apocalypse is unique. I’ve seen the paranoia of a dystopian done before, and I’ve seen it done better. Don’t get me wrong; I’m interested to see where this season goes. Alas, I’m already desperate to get out of this bunker; and I’m sure we will if the show’s marketing is telling us anything. In fact, I have a theory that will see some Antichrist action shortly.
Episode 3: Forbidden Fruit Will Premiere On FX Tuesday, September 26th @ 10:00 PM.