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‘American Horror Story’ Finale Recap: ‘Apocalypse Then’ Brings Everything Full Circle

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Apocalypse Then,” the finale episode of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse.”

Going into “Apocalypse Then,” it seemed nearly impossible “American Horror Story” could wrap things up in one final episode. But it managed to pull it off, though the finale moved at a breakneck speed in order to do so. And it even got another return to “Murder House” in before the hour-plus episode was up.

First, in the wake of the Coven’s annihilation at Michael Langdon’s (Cody Fern) hands, Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) paid a visit to Mutt and Jeff (Billy Eichner and Evan Peters, respectively) and demanded that Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman) and her family be given spots in outpost No. 3 as part of the plan to hide a few witches there during the end of the world. This would allow Mallory (Billie Lourd) to remain safe while fully coming into her powers.

That’s how Coco and Mallory came to be in the bunker with Venable (Sarah Paulson) and the Mir-bot (Kathy Bates). As for Dinah (Adina Porter), she came to be there because of throwing in with Michael. Madison (Emma Roberts) and Myrtle wanted to burn her alive, but Cordelia (Paulson) wouldn’t let them — not yet, anyway. They couldn’t do anything that might alert Michael to their plan.

When the apocalypse finally came, Cordelia, Myrtle and Madison buried themselves. They were underground a couple of years but burst out of the dirt fresh as daisies, so to speak, when Mallory’s powers were awakened inside the bunker. The trio headed for the outpost and the show finally caught up with the present day, where most of the inhabitants were dead, Michael and Mir-bot were preparing to leave and Brock (Eichner) was wandering around like a lost Road Warrior.

Michael confronted the witches and offered them a place at his table if they swore allegiance to him, but the only one who did was Dinah — which was the perfect segue for Angela Bassett to come swaggering into the scene, reprising her role of Marie Laveau. Yassss, Voodoo Queen!

Cordelia had made a deal with Papa Legba in which she would turn over the foulest voodoo soul to him in exchange for bringing Marie back from hell. Marie promptly slit Dinah’s throat and that was the end of that traitorous witch — “Out with the trash. Give Papa my regards.” All hail Bassett.

Cordelia then blew the Mir-bot to bits and Madison picked up the robot’s severed machine gun arm to riddle Michael with bullets, “Scarface”-style. It was great, but it didn’t kill him. It knocked him out, but he was too powerful to be dead from bullets. And guess who also wasn’t dead? Brock jumped out of a doorway and stabbed Mallory in the stomach, so now Cordelia was busy trying to save Mallory while Michael laid waste to the other witches.

He blew up Madison’s head, he ripped out Marie’s still-beating heart and took a bite and then he snapped Coco’s neck with a twist of his wrist. Cordelia realized there was only one way their plan could proceed — she had to sacrifice herself so Mallory could come into her full powers and go back in time before Michael’s rise to power.

Her parting words to Michael, “Satan has one son, but my sisters are legion, motherf—–,” has got to be one of the best “American Horror Story” lines in all eight seasons.

Cordelia’s death allowed Mallory to immediately cast the spell to go back in time. She arrived in 2015, just after Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) gave up all hope in regards to Michael. Constance had found him playing video games over the body of the murdered priest and cried and yelled that this imposter was not her grandson. He pleaded for her love, but she just screamed at him to get out of her house. When he ran away, Mallory was there to mow him down with her car, running back and forth over him until he died in the street like Constance’s daughter, Addie (Jamie Brewer). He begged Constance to take him to the Murder House to die so they could be together forever and she refused, letting him die in the street and telling him to “go to hell.” It was interesting to see that he was still mortal enough then to be taken down by a vehicle and, even though he was the Antichrist, it was a pretty heartbreaking scene to watch.

Mallory then let events play out as they would, to a degree. She ended up at Robichaux Academy, delighted to see Cordelia alive and well. In this timeline Myrtle was still dead because Cordelia didn’t have a need to bring her back, but after killing the spawn of Satan, every demon in hell was dying to do Mallory a favor, so she did manage to bring back Misty (Lily Rabe) and, briefly, Nan (Brewer). Nan didn’t stay because she liked being Papa’s right-hand woman too much. Mallory also intervened with Queenie’s (Gabourey Sidibe) plans to check into Hotel Cortez, which became her prison in the aptly-titled “Hotel” season, altering even more of “American Horror Story’s” history than what played out for the majority of this season. And Mallory did plan to save Madison — after letting her sweat it out a little longer working at her knockoff Walmart.

But Satan had a plan for the future, too. Although Mallory stopped one of his sons — Michael — he was going to make another. In a flash-forward to 2020, Timothy (Kyle Allen) and Emily (Ash Santos) met while she was protesting a coffee shop he was patronizing. In a nod to the “special DNA” reason they were brought to the bunker in the original timeline at the start of the season, them getting together proved to be the key to birthing the next Antichrist. The show flashed forward a year to see Emily give birth and then another three years, when their son was a toddler, black crows flew over their home and he killed his first nanny. It was a scene that matched the end of “Murder House’s” finale, when Constance first saw her toddler grandson smiling and sitting in a chair way too big for him, just next to a bloody body.

Timothy and Emily, who were absent for much of the season as the focus was put on the Coven saving the world, ended up being Satan’s contingency plan. And just like they visited Michael Langdon in the original timeline, Black Pope (Carlo Rota) and his minions — including Miriam Mead — showed up to “help” the newly concerned parents.

Perhaps if the show goes another half-dozen seasons it will attempt to end the world once again, with this new Dark Lord leading the way.

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