Sandra Bernhard is Satan's pastor in a bizarre hour that features Evan Peters and Billy Eichner in all-new, all-ridiculous roles, and the return of Ms. Venable.
Here's a head-scratcher for you. Why was the Halloween night installment of "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" the funniest episode of the season?
Honestly, it was a jarring shift from the serious to the ridiculous, culminating in Sandra Bernhard's over-the-top Satanic pastor and the returns of Evan Peters and Billy Eichner in the most cartoonish performances of the season thus far. This is usually around the time that "AHS" seasons go off the rails, so is that what we're seeing here?
Even worse, the story only inched along incrementally, as the entire episode was about Michael's efforts to recreate Ms. Mead. Hopefully, Sandra Bernhard's Church of Satan and Peters & Eichner's Kineros Robotics will have more of a role to play in the final two episodes, or this was a colossally padded episode.
Don't get us wrong, it was also wildly entertaining through most of it. Honestly, most of the scenes with Michael were the weakest of the episode, but that's only because Sandra Bernhard was clearly having the time of her life breaking bad, and we could watch Sarah Paulson's Ms. Venable spar with Peters and Eichner's imbecile geniuses Mutt and Jeff all day.
The episode also did a good job of answering all of our previous questions about how Ms. Mead 2.0 came about, and it turns out it was much simpler than we could have imagined. Clearly, the cocaine-induced genius behind Kineros was enough to essentially upload her mind based solely on how Michael described her. Seem a bit of a stretch? Don't forget what show you're watching!
Thank goodness for those other cast-members, too, because this episode was wholly Michael-centric, and that is easily fifty minutes more than we wanted to spend with the season's most boring character. That said, we did still come out of the hour with plenty of questions:
Is Michael "Star Wars" Villain Kylo Ren?
In all seriousness, Michael and Kylo Ren are two dark and brooding guys who have major daddy issues, seem to have a struggle toward the light in them that the ultimately suppress, possess incredible mental powers and they can whine like nobody's business.
Kylo Ren whines in the tradition of his uncle (Luke) and his father before him (Anakin) as only a true Skywalker male can. And in this hour alone, Michael whined to the woods, whined at some weird angel children, whined at a woman from the Church of Satan who showed him kindness, and then went ahead and whined to the whole church.
About the only people he didn't whine to are Cordelia (Paulson) and the idiots at Kineros Robotics. It's no wonder the Dark Lord ignored him for four days in that circle in the woods. Was probably embarrassed to acknowledge this crybaby as his son.
WTF Is Ryan Reynolds Doing With His Life?
Something tells us Ryan Murphy is a fan of Ryan Reynolds. Twice in the episode when Satan's acolytes were revealing the perks of signing their souls over to Lucifer, they cited a night of sex with Ryan Reynolds. First, it was the nice old lady from the church, who splits her week between Reynolds and Brad Pitt.
It was random enough to make us question if she was perhaps just a little crazy. But then Mutt & Jeff revealed all the benefits they're reaping from the deal, beyond their billion dollar robotics company, and it includes sleeping with supermodels every night, except for Thursdays. Thursdays it's Ryan Reynolds.
God Loves Grape Fanta?
When Michael was in those woods after four days of food deprivation, he appeared to start hallucinating, and included in that was an angelic looking boy in white offering him a vintage Grape Fanta. This is a very specific drink, so are we to believe that God loves Fanta? And grape in particular?
Also, why did the girl offer him an apple? This imagery comes with all sorts of connotations from the Bible, and none of them are particularly good for the man who accepts the apple. Is it a coincidence then that he kills a goat shortly thereafter only to have snakes erupt from its body?
Oh, and if you thought this brought Michael any more clarity it did than us, you are sorely mistaken. He was still whining and screaming that he didn't know what to do, which kind of made us whine and scream, 'Why is this scene in here?'
Sandra Bernhard is Satan's Pastor?
Things picked up immediately when we were introduced to the Right Reverend Sandra Bernhard from the Infernal Church of Satan, "Hail Satan!" Okay, that's not really what it was called, but she was so exciting and entertaining so very right for this role, we got sucked into all of her vulgar disappointment in her constituents.
Bernhard has always been an acquired taste, and she has such an acerbic delivery that she's been miscast in a lot of things over the years. Not here, though. This is the exact kind of role she was built for, and her presentation is just beautiful.
Yes, it's crass and surprisingly casual for any kind of church, but we loved how maternally disgusted she was by her parishioners petty sins. It would be a shame if this is all we get of her.
These Guys Are the Creators of Ms. Mead 2.0?
But if we found Bernhard entertaining as the dark priestess, Peters and Eichner were a laugh riot as Beavis & Butt-head become geniuses. Their cocaine-swirling, bowl-cut wearing uber-geniuses were just the right mixture of stupid and brilliant that they were almost believable.
We say that and there are probably people in Silicon Valley right now exactly like them. And they are probably driving someone like Ms. Venable crazy in the exact same way. And yes, it was great to see Paulson return to the deliciously twisted Ms. Venable, and it was even more fun watching her stuffiness butt heads with Mutt & Jeff's moronics.
But perhaps the most remarkable think was what they were able to do with Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates). The same guys who giggle and snort cocaine are able to not only make the most remarkable robot ever conceived, but embody it fully with everything that makes Ms Mead who she was based solely on stories. Those must have been damned good stories!
How Did Ms. Venable Wind Up with Mead?
The big question left at the end of the episode came after Ms. Mead was revived and fully remembered who Michael was. When we first met her, she didn't know she was a robot -- which was covered here -- but she also did not know who Michael was, and was vehemently loyal to Ms. Venable.
Now, Venable is little more than a receptionist/secretary in this episode, which she is prickling under. It was made clear that Mutt & Jeff sold their souls to Satan, so does that mean Venable did, too? Was she working alongside Michael the whole time to orchestrate the apocalypse?
If so, it makes us wonder if Michael didn't intentionally put Mead with Venable in that bunker. Could he have known that such powerful witches would end up there? His next mission is to destroy them, and yet Cordelia is able to hide several of them right under his nose, including the one that could possibly topple him in Mallory.
There are a million logistical questions as to how we get from this moment here to where things picked up at the beginning of the season, and it looks like next week is going to take a deep dive into many of them. It's a good thing, too, as there are only two installments left.
"American Horror Story: Apocalyse" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.