The penultimate episode of "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" is a veritable bloodbath and it's given us even more questions.
Next week is the finale of "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" and it certainly doesn't look like they're ready to wrap everything up in a tidy bow.
It's not unheard of for a promising season of "AHS" to go off the rails and fail to stick the landing. In fact, it's kind of become a trademark of the series, but we're not ready to declare "Apocalypse" a mess just yet. Right now, though, it certainly is juggling a lot of balls in the air with no clear idea how many it plans to catch.
Finally this week, the flashback narrative that has dominated the season reached the point where Michael was laying out his plan for the Outposts and the richest peoples of the world to survive the coming apocalypse. He also gave himself time to grow out those luscious locks he sports in the present day.
What he doesn't explain is how he maintains his hair so straight now when he clearly had natural curls in these flashbacks. Does he travel with a straightener? Us magic? Somehow this seems like the most important question right now.
Okay, we lied. But we actually do have a ton of questions that we're crossing our fingers Ryan Murphy is going to address in next week's finale. Unless he's planning to pick up dangling plot threads from this season in future installments the way he's revisited "Hotel," "Murder House" and "Coven" this season.
With this season, Murphy further established that all of his "AHS" stories are connected in the same universe, so it's not great for future installments to blow up that world and leave it an irradiated wasteland. This week's episode seemed to lay the groundwork for how to turn this all into a dream. We totally expect Patrick Duffy to turn around in the season's closing scene.
After Michael wiped out almost the entire coven, erasing their souls along the way, Cordelia shuttled off to safety with Myrtle, Madison, Mallory and Coco. So that explains why these are the only witches we've seen in the present day. While hiding out in a cabin, they attempted a spell formerly believed only to be myth and successfully sent Mallory back 100 years to the birth of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
While she was unable to change evens there, this is clearly the solution to the apocalyptic problem. And as we now know there's a gap of at least however long it takes Michael to grow his hair out, that gives Mallory time to improve this power so that she can use it for that big reset button the world needs at the end of this season.
While we don't know exactly how long it takes from the moment Michael lays out his plan to the Cooperative to build this network of Outposts, we do know that in exchange for helping him infiltrate the coven, Michael and his father greenlit Dinah's talk show.
By the time we meet her again in Outpost 3, she's described as being as big as Oprah. How quickly did that happen? We supposed that with the power of Satan behind her, it could happen pretty quickly, but we still imagine it might take a few years at least to gain that level of success.
How Many Outposts Are There?
As part of the prep, Michael laid out booklets he apparently had printed out and nicely prepared for the Cooperative for how to build these Outposts. When Mutt and Jeff introduced him to the existence of this group, and revealed they are just the rebranded name of the Illuminati, they said there were 100 members. Are there 100 Outposts, then?
Perhaps more. Perhaps less. It's not made clear, other than to say the one we went to in the premiere was Outpost 3, so if we guess a West to East counting strategy, there are at least two others on the West Coast. How many more people are waiting out the End Times while Michael attempts to fulfill his vendetta against the witches in Outpost 3.
Which brings us to how the memory-erased witches wound up in Outpost 3, of all places. The former warlock stronghold was turned into an Outpost by the Collective, so who nominated and secured this site? Logic would dictate either Michael did, or Mutt and Jeff, as Ms. Venable was put in charge of it and they promised her one of her own this week.
It also doesn't seem coincidental that they were there, considering that's where Cordelia, Myrtle and Madison came to find them. But then we wonder why they were hidden away there anyway if those three had a place to ride out the apocalypse. If the idea was to hide them from Michael, that's the worst place to hide them. Any other Outpost would have been better, unless they wanted them close.
Did Anything That Happened in Outpost 3 Matter?
Considering we've basically avoided the present for almost the entirety of the season now, did anything that happened in those first three episodes matter? Venable's sadistic cruelty? The rubber man causing chaos in the Outpost after Michael arrived? That cute couple that defied the rules and started hooking up.
Remember that a big deal was made out of them because they were special for some reason and thus selected to be part of the Outpost. But where in the plans did all of that come from? And does any of it matter now that they're dead? Is the bulk of those three episodes just totally irrelevant? If so, that was perhaps too much misdirection.
Will Misty and Stevie Return for the Final Battle?
The answer to this one is probably not, as we think the line that Misty was traveling with Stevie Nicks was just a throwaway excuse for why they were neither slaughtered or in hiding with the rest of the coven. That said, it created a loose thread. Sure, they could have died in the apocalypse as well, but surely Cordelia would have felt that. Plus, we'd love Stevie to show up and somehow help save the day ... perhaps with a song.
Are Mutt and Jeff Still Alive?
These are the guys who gave Michael his Ms. Mead back and then basically laid out the plan for the Cooperative and the Outposts and even how to kickstart the apocalypse. Surely that would earn them some good will. Plus, they're part of the Cooperative, so surely they have a place in the dark world being built. But if so, why would they not be in Outpost 3? Is there one closer? Or perhaps they pissed Michael off in the interim.
Considering we've just been given a sequel to three previous series, Ryan Murphy has well and good blown out of the water the anthology nature of this series. Plus, he has his featured players acting in different roles all in this one series and sometimes in the same episode, so everything is different now.
Perhaps it's time for a "Season 2" of this current "Apocalypse" story.
First of all, he has a lot of story to cover yet and only one episode left to do it. Second, we kind of got cheated on the "Apocalypse" part of the whole thing as we only really got to explore it when Billy Eichner was making his way to Outpost 3 to kill Coco and then become another dangling plot thread.
There's enough story here to probably sustain another season as we spent the whole season laying the groundwork for how the world went to hell. Is it really satisfying to resolve it all in less than an hour? Why not spend the next season battling it out for the fate of the future.
While you're at it, maybe you can work in some crossovers with "Asylum," "Freak Show," "Roanoke" and "Cult." Let's go for broke!