A ‘Boy Wonder’ Goes Bad In AHS: Apocalypse 8.5

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of American Horror Story Season 8: Apocalypse, Episode 5: Boy Wonder  DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 5: Boy Wonder can be seen on FX, FX+, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

When I hear the phrase, “Boy Wonder,” like most of you, I think the nickname of Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Alas, the ol’ chum is not an incredibly powerful wizard as Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) is. Perhaps if Robin were, I would like him more as a character. In this case, though, Boy Wonder is the title of American Horror Story: Apocalypse episode being recapped here. An episode which continues exploring the past and the origins of our end.
Boy Wonder opens Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) trapped in the middle of a foggy, apocalyptic wasteland. Cordelia sees “Cataclysm, fire, and, death,” along with the demonic form of Langdon. (Not that she knows it’s him of course.) Suddenly, in true jumpscare fashion, Cordelia has her guts ripped out by zombies. It’s revealed that this was a vision as Cordelia wakes with a start. Without hesitation, Cordelia tells the other witches and warlocks of her vision of doom. Then, The Supreme makes an unprecedented move, granting Langdon the opportunity to take The Test of the Seven Wonders.

Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) is of course outraged by her Supreme’s decision. Cordelia explains that she must identify her successor because she believes she is dying; however, Myrtle counters that a successive Supreme may reside within the walls of their school. As a prime example, Myrtle cites Mallory’s (Billie Lourd) powers of healing and resurrection. Alas, this heart-to-heart is interrupted so that Cordelia can welcome Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman) as the school’s newest student. As is her way, Coco’s a brat, doubting that she has any power beyond that of being able to sense any level of gluten.

Meanwhile, John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) is suspicious of Langdon, fearing the worst of the boy. As such, John Henry decides to make his way to Louisiana to see Cordelia about their shared concerns. Assuming such a reaction is out of jealousy, Behold Chablis (Billy Porter) attempts to stop John Henry in his tracks. This does no good though as John Henry throws Behold up against the wall with a spell; leaving him in the dust. Alas, warlocks can’t magically conjure gasoline. Thus, John Henry stops at an old, creepy roadside gas pump.
It’s here where the warlock meets his death at the hands of Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates). Who, after tricking John Henry into thinking she’s a helpless, old lady, slits his Achilles tendons; drenches him in gasoline; and sets him a flame. Of course, Ms. Miriam murdered for Langdon, so to execute the current obstacle that stood in his way. However, the plot thickens when we find out that Ariel Augustus (Jon Jon Briones) was in on this killer coo. He explains to young Langdon that he would do whatever it takes to have a male supreme.

Without anyone in his way, Langdon passes The Seven Wonders. These acts of magic consist of Telekinesis, Concilium (Control of the mind), Transmutation, Divination, Pyrokinesis, Vitalum Vitalis (The power of resurrection), and finally Descensum (The ability to descend into the underworld or Hell). In Misty Day’s (Lily Rabe) case, she’s trapped for eternity in a biology classroom where she’s in an endless loop of performing Vitalum Vitalis on a frog and then being forced to kill it through dissection. But, that all ends when Langdon appears, kills Misty’s biology teacher and pulls her out of her personal Hell.

Cordelia and the rest of the coven are both shocked and overjoyed by Misty’s return to the earthly plane. Unfortunately, though, Langdon’s being successful causes Cordelia to begin to fade away more quickly as she says aloud, “No, there is no doubt, you are the next Supreme.” In private Misty explains to Cordelia that she believes there’s something wrong with Langdon; believing that he is evil. As if to counter the ladies fears, Cordelia reveals that (Langdon), “Will never be The Supreme.” Later, in celebration, The White Witch, Stevie Nicks returns to welcome Misty back to the living with a beautiful rendition of Gypsy.

Despite this celebration, this episode closes on a dark, cliffhanger. Wanting to know the truth, Cordelia recruits Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) to use all her powers and travel to find out all she can about Langdon. Unfortunately, the two witches are also forced to allow Behold to join in on the journey when the warlock reveals he heard them hatch their plan. Together the unlikely pair of Madison and Behold will travel back to where it all started. That’s right folks, the Murder House!
A good friend of mine said he thought Boy Wonder was a boring episode and I can see why he feels that way. This episode is what I call a “Bridge” or “Building Block” of an episode. Meaning, this episode was all about setting up the remainder of Apocalypse; as opposed to hitting you with one plot twist after another. As such, this episode is slow and atmospheric; it’s more concerned with those Satanic seeds than it is with shocking you.
So yes, Boy Wonder is a slow-burn episode. However, I enjoyed it as a chance to soak in the atmosphere and narrative of this season. No spending time with characters I abore. Instead, I got to spend time with characters I like or at the very least, am intrigued. Boy Wonder might not do much for some viewers, but I loved it. Furthermore, I can’t wait to see how this crossover season continues.

Episode 6: Return To Murder House is Currently Available on on FX, FX+, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service. Recap Coming Soon!

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