Stevie Nicks and Lily Rabe return to the franchise just in time for next week's return visit to where it all began, the "Murder House."
This week's "American Horror Story" stayed firmly in the flashback sequence established a week prior, with the "Apocalypse" growing ever closer.
And it looks like the apocalypse is the result of a power struggle between the sexes, with Ryan Murphy saying that the end of the world is a direct result of men having power. After all, this week sees the ascension of Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) as he finally takes on the test of the Seven Wonders to become the newest Supreme.
Of course, that raises one of several questions this week, even as Michael was proving his prowess by taking things one step further. The Seventh Wonder asks the Supreme wannabe to descend into the infernal realm, but Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) asked a little something extra of Michael.
She wanted him to bring Misty Day (Lily Rabe) back, who had succumbed to this trial during her own test of the Seven Wonders. We're honestly not sure why the guys were so fired up about this extra task, or why such a big deal was made about it. Didn't Michael just retrieve Madison (Emma Roberts) from basically the same fate?
It turns out Cordelia knew exactly what she was doing with this request, even though it remains to be seen how much that might help us whenever we do get back to the present day. Oh, we have so many questions. But mostly, we're super stoked at that closing shot of the Murder House. We can't wait to go inside with Madison and Behold (Billy Porter), as they're sure to be a scream together.
This was kind of a weird one, as "AHS" went all "TWD" in its opening moments when Cordelia had a vision of the future. In it, she was outside the academy in ruins when she found herself stripped of her power and devoured by flesh-eating zombies as a white-faced demonic man laughed. Well, of course that was Michael.
But there were no signs of zombies in the apocalyptic journey we took with Brock (Billy Eichner), though there was some flesh-eating going on. Was Cordelia seeing even further into the future, or was this an alternate timeline that the Coven is able to prevent? Either way, it was both gross and confusing and we need to know what you were doing, Ryan Murphy?
Is this going somewhere? Did you forget what show this was? There's no need to be jealous of "The Walking Dead," you know. Sure it kicked your ass in the ratings for a long while, but everyone seems to agree it's fading fast while "AHS" has all the buzz this season.
What Is Mallory's Lineage?
It is often suggested that the powerful witches (and warlocks) have powerful lineages. And while it maybe that Mallory (Billie Lourd) is just some nobody with extraordinary power, we're not so sure. For one, she seems to be able to go toe to toe with Michael, or at least that's been hinted at.
When Myrtle (Frances Conroy) pleaded with Cordelia to not give the test to Michael, she pointed out the extraordinary aptitude Mallory was displaying even without specific training toward those gifts. She didn't heal a dying fawn, she undid the injuries as if they'd never happened, which is apparently a much bigger deal.
Perhaps Mallory will heal the evil within Michael as if it never happened. We're still totally assuming that she's going to emerge as the ultimate hero of this tale, but that only makes us more certain that she will turn out to come from some pretty potent lineage. Maybe she's the descendant of Lady Gaga's "Roanoke" character, the first Supreme!
Perhaps Cordelia saved everyone, though we've certainly not seen everyone in the present time when she showed up on the scene with Madison and Myrtle. So we have plenty of questions as to why both Coco (Leslie Grossman) and Mallory were stripped of their memories and then somehow made it into the bunker together.
As we saw this week, Cordelia thinks two steps ahead, so it would seem this whole thing was orchestrated. Perhaps she made it to where Coco's family was unavailable to go to the bunker, freeing up a spot for Mallory. In fact, maybe Mallory was put under Coco's charge specifically so that Coco could protect her.
Both women indicated they had a loyalty and affection for one another even they didn't understand. And by making Mallory subservient, she would be even more hidden from any who might be seeking her out, which would presumably be Michael, wanting to eliminate the only witch that could truly threaten his power.
On that note, though, you have to ask how any of the Coven is still alive, including the three who came marching into the bunker. Michael wanted to wipe out the warlocks and witches, so what went wrong there? Did they also go into hiding as the world was coming to an end? So many questions!
Is John Henry Really Dead?
This one is purely based on the logistics of the season. Cheyenne Jackson is listed as a main character, only he didn't show up until last week, emerging as the one voice of reason among the warlocks. But this week, Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates) seemingly dispatched him by slashing his Achilles tendons and his throat before setting him on fire.
That said, we saw no body, and we all know that in a horror movie if we don't see the body destroyed, it's not destroyed. John Henry (Jackson) seems to hold a decent amount of magic, so it's possible he could survive the ordeal. Hell, he could theoretically survive if he put the fire out fast enough, just horribly disfigured and in awful pain.
Plus, Ms. Mead seems to be human here, still. We don't know at what point she gets replaced with a robot, and it is possible it's already happened, but we're skeptical. Then again, she did tell Michael he never had to worry about being without her, which would be something a robot might say. And yet, the Ms. Mead robot didn't know her lineage either, though she could have been wiped to serve as a spy for Michael in the bunker.
So is Cordelia really fading with the rise of Michael as the new Supreme? She passed out last week and collapsed again this week, with blood oozing out of her nose. She shows all the signs of a Supreme getting ready to pass on her powers, and yet we already know she is alive and well and seemingly in full control of her power in the present.
So, is she faking the fading of powers and life here, or is it something that can be reversed? Michael passed the test, but Cordelia quickly told Myrtle she had no intention of giving up the power to him. She just wanted to test his power, and trick him into bringing her girls back to her. She is up a net total of three witches now.
But is it that simple? Can she just choose to reject the new Supreme, even after he's passed the tests? Michael and Cordelia are still alive and in full power in the present apocalypse, so clearly there's a way for them to co-exist. But how do we get from here (in the flashback) to there?
What Were the Children Saying?
We already know (suspect?) that Michael is the Antichrist, so what was going on with the children in Misty's personal hell? Obviously, they're all demons of some kind, or at the least manifestations of Satan himself. But what was up with their gibberish after Michael showed up and eviscerated the science teacher that was torturing Misty by making her dissect a live frog over and over again?
It certainly freaked Misty out, and it doesn't seem that Michael responded in any way, but he certainly listened to what they had to say. So what were they telling him? How was he able to understand it? Presumably, the dark lord would be pretty keen on an apocalypse, so was he telling Michael about that, or how to bring it about?
Plus, if Satan was allowing Michael to bring Misty and Madison from their personal hells, and he was aware that Michael was doing it as this scene would seem to indicate, does that mean they're not going to be as helpful to Cordelia as she hopes? Or did Satan overlook the fact that she was using Michael to bolster her forces, too?
We're all for a Stevie Nicks concert, and we certainly enjoyed her singing "Gypsy" in its entirety to Misty, but is that all she's going to do? She was called in to perform a song to help Misty re-acclimate to life on this side of the divide? She basically had one line and then sang a song.
Stevie Nicks is way too badass for this to be all we get from her. If she does disappear for awhile, we're keeping our fingers crossed that she has some awesome role to play in the coming climactic battle of the season.
And maybe she can sing while she's kicking Michael's ass!