The stage is set for an epic battle over the title of Supreme after the witches strike first and take out three of Michael's staunchest supporters.
We are now four episodes into an extended "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" flashback with only three episodes left in the season, so it was nice to see the war of witches and warlocks kick off.
At this rate, we're wondering if there's hardly any story left to tell in that apocalyptic future we spent the first three episodes of the season in, as it looks like next week continues with the flashback treatment.
Don't get us wrong, this is all very interesting backstory, but we'd have preferred to maybe jump back and forth between the timelines so the momentum of the "present" apocalyptic story isn't lost. At this point, we might have forgotten a lot of what happened if and when we ever return to that world.
The only reason we can see for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk making this artistic choice is to minimize the potential confusion of all the actors who are double and triple cast this season. There has been some overlap already, of course, notably when Sarah Paulson's Miss Venable died shortly before her Cordelia walked into the bunker.
But admittedly, when Joan Collins showed up again this week, we found ourselves wondering if Bubbles McGee was just a stage name for Evie Gallant (her deceased character from the bunker).
Now, it doesn't look like that's the case at all, so we'll just be grateful Murphy found another role for her because Collins can chew scenery like nobody's business, and her and Frances Conroy were a delight every time they shared the screen.
The good news is that Collins' arrival signaled the kickstarting of the inevitable war between the witches and the warlocks, and despite the warlocks best efforts, they came up short. The witches got to fire the first shot, and it was a hell of a blow against the male coven, and the Antichrist.
While the boys concocted a poison set to wipe out the coven, Cordelia and the gang showed up first, quickly gaining the upper hand and staging a good old-fashioned burning at the stake of not only Ariel (Jon Jon Briones) and Baldwin (BD Wong), but the original Ms. Mead (Kathy Bates) as well. And we've got to say, watching Kathy Bates mile and laugh through burning to death will haunt our dreams for weeks to come.
But that's not the only thing we can't shake off. Things are heating up and we've got questions:
Ooh, Lance Reddick gives a juicy performance as Papa Legba, even if his accent sounds a little cottonmouth at times. In all honesty, though, we found ourselves feeling a little underwhelmed by this summoning scene, even as we enjoyed seeing Nan (Jamie Brewer) again, albeit briefly.
After watching a gruesome revenge spell by the new voodoo queen Dinah (Adina Porter) in the cold open, Cordelia asked her to summon Legba, and she paid $100k for the privilege. But then she turned down his deal when he asked for all of her girls in exchange for opening the gates to Hell so Cordelia can lure Michael (Cody Fern) in.
So what was the point of this? Cordelia rejected the offer, Dinah told her that was it and we moved on. Was it just a fan service scene to get to see Legba and Nan again, or will either of them return again? It's feeling like this is Stevie Nicks 2.0 and we're just supposed to enjoy the reprisal, but we want substance over fan service, dammit!
Why Did the Witches Go Into Hiding?
This answer is surely coming, but as we saw Mallory (Billie Lourd) revealing the full extent of her extraordinary powers, we really want to know how this all goes so horribly wrong that the witches have to go into hiding, with Mallory subjected to being Coco's (Leslie Grossman) personal assistant.
Also, how does whoever orchestrated this ruse pull off the subterfuge and ensure that those women get into the bunker? Did Michael recognize them when he first arrived there? As both Coco and Mallory were still students, he might have been less familiar with them, but it seems unlikely he'd know nothing, unless that was part of the spell.
And then there's the obvious question about the witches we've yet to see in the present day. After first blood was spilled this week on the warlock side, it seems reasonable to assume there will be more casualties. But does that mean it's going to be the end of the road for poor Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) again?
So far we've only seen Cordelia, Myrtle (Conroy) and Madison (Emma Roberts) in the apocalypse, alongside Coco, Mallory and Dinah. So what about Bubbles, Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Misty (Lily Rabe)? What about the rest of the Coven? Did they all die, or are they in hiding somewhere else?
What Will Coco's Ultimate Power Be?
We were glad to see a bit of a redemptive arc for Coco this week as flashbacks revealed that she was becoming far less of a bitch during her time at the academy. In fact, she seemed to genuinely care about her fellow witches. So apparently part of the spell that hid her powers from herself also reverted her back to her more spoiled persona.
But perhaps more importantly, as we've grown to like her more as a character, we find ourselves intrigued about her powers. They've been shown growing, but thus far have involved just knowing things about food, like if they have gluten, what their calorie count is and way too much about food.
But it's about looking at something and knowing things about it. Clearly this is an ability that will prove beneficial in the final battle against Michael. Maybe she'll be able to see and know a way to undo the apocalypse, or at least defeat him. If nothing else, she should be able to say how many calories he would be to eat.
It seemed pretty clear, with Cordelia fading and Michael passing the Test of the Seven Wonders, that he was poised to rise as the new Supreme. But then this week, the witches gave Mallory the tests as well, which saw her bring John Henry Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) back to life from a pile of ashes. He even got the satisfaction of torching Mead and the brothers who betrayed him.
But what does that mean for the new Supreme? Cordelia is fading, but to whom? And when she dies, who will officially rise to become the new Supreme? Both Mallory and Michael have proven themselves worthy and passed the tests, so they both qualify. Does the tiebreaker go to the woman? Is it Mallory because she took the tests last? Michael because he was first?
Or perhaps they're going to have to battle it out. Hell, perhaps that struggle is enough to throw the world into the apocalypse. We've already seen that both of them wield incredible power.
Why Did Cordelia Revive Myrtle?
This week, we got the answer to a lingering question from the beginning. How exactly is Myrtle even around, considering she died during "Coven." Well, it turns out the answer is so simple we got a very short flashback to show it to us. In fact, it was almost too short.
Cordelia performed a blood ritual and brought her back. That's it. She said she needed her guidance for the dark times to come. But is that all she needs? Seems like a lot of trouble just to revive someone to talk things through with.
Myrtle is also a tremendously powerful witch in her own right, so perhaps Cordelia had another reason for reviving her. And the fact that she's still alive in the present-day apocalypse might mean she's yet to fulfill whatever it is he was truly brought back for.
Is Mallory the "Christ"?
Before you condemn us for this question, we mean this in the sense that Mallory appears to be Michael's opposite in every way. Both have incredible power, and possess the ability to bring the dead back into the world of living. But Mallory's powers all seem to derive from a sense of growth and healing and come from a place of love.
She is the antithesis of Michael in attitude and in powers, so it seems inevitable that it will be the two of them squaring off in the final battle for the fate of the world. We still imagine this apocalypse is going to have to be undone somehow.
Michael trades in destruction and death, so the apocalypse could be his doing. Mallory was showing tremendous potential in the area of growth and rebirth. Is she then to be the catalyst that rebuilds the world from the ashes as she did John Henry?
"American Horror Story: Apocalpyse" airs Wendesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.