[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse. Read at your own risk!]
American Horror Story is one of the most predictably unpredictable shows on TV, but there is always one thing the FX anthology can be relied upon for: an absolutely batsh-- finale. And at this, Apocalypse didn't disappoint. Whether it was batsh-- good or just plain batsh--, though, remains up for debate, but there's no denying that it was one hell of a fun ride.
Following six episodes spent in flashbacks (and even flashbacks within the flashbacks), Apocalypse finally returned to the post-apocalyptic storyline in Wednesday's finale, picking up right when Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), Madison (Emma Roberts) and Myrtle (Frances Conroy) resurrect Coco (Leslie Grossman), Mallory (Billie Lourd) and Dinah (Adina Porter). But of course, before we get to the goods, the show has to wrap up the pre-apocalypse storyline, revealing that Coco and Mallory got their spots in Outpost 3 thanks to some witchy magic Myrtle pulled on Jeff (Evan Peters) and Mutt (Billy Eichner). After their spots are secured, Cordelia puts Coco and Mallory under their identity spells (with Coco's personality modeled after Madison's, which makes total sense, tbh).
Madison then drops off the bewitched duo at Gallant's (Peters) salon where Coco immediately connects with another client, Brock (Eichner). But while doing the drop-off, Madison spots an ad for Dinah's new talk show, and the improbability of its existence immediately alerts Madison to the fact that Dinah clearly betrayed the coven in exchange for daytime TV success, which, aim higher, girl. You'll never beat Oprah, so why even try? Go prime time at least! But anyway, Cordelia insists that they bide their time until seeking revenge rather than inadvertently alert Michael to their plans, hence allowing Dinah to use her newfound fortune to secure a spot in the outpost with her son.
And at that, we're finally back in the bunker, reliving Mallory's intense interview with Langdon when her powers first resurfaced. It seems as though Mallory's confrontation with Langdon sent some sort of bat signal to Cordelia, Myrtle and Madison, who were buried in the healing Louisiana swamp mud to stay safe until Mallory's abilities had matured. And when their witchy wisdom sensed Mallory's abilities again, the three witches arose and we finally got caught up to the opening moments of Episode 4. (PHEW.)
With the witches and Dinah on one side and Michael (Cody Fern) and Mead (Kathy Bates) on the other, it seems the time for the final showdown has come. Only Dinah does what Dinah does best -- be a snake -- and tells Cordelia she won't have the power of voodoo on her side because Dinah always picks the winner. The thing is, Dinah is only half right. Cordelia will have the power of voodoo on her side thanks to a little someone you might have heard of: Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett).
You see, Cordelia went back to Papa Legba (Lance Reddick) knowing his desire for powerful helpers in hell and she offered him a deal he couldn't refuse: Dinah's dark and twisted soul in exchange for Marie, who never quite had the heart to torture Delphine (Bates) for all eternity anyway. And so, Marie struts right into the outpost and buries a hatchet deep in Dinah's neck.
With that, all chaos breaks loose. Mead ties to launch an attack on the witches, but Cordelia uses her powers to blow the robot to bits, forcing Michael to lose his mother all over again (even if she was just a cyborg recreation of the Satanist who took him in after his adopted mother killed herself rather than face what Michael had become. But we make our own family, you know?). Madison, being the best as always, grabs Mead's machine gun arm and lets Michael have it until he's momentarily rendered inert.
With a lock of Michael's silky hair in hand, Mallory rushes off to the tub to perform the time travel spell, but before she can do it, Brock -- remember Brock? -- stabs Mallory for leaving on Coco's plane without him. Myrtle burns him to death in revenge, but that's all the time Michael apparently needed to get back on his feet. Before Madison can get another shot in, Michael literally explodes her head like it's this gif.
Marie does what she can to buy Cordelia and Myrtle time for Mallory, but that only buys about a second before Michael rips Marie's heart out -- although this does distract him long enough for Coco to stab him in the back, literally. Too bad the knife isn't enough to kill the Antichrist and he just snaps Coco's neck and moves on, heart in hand like the creeper that he is.
Cordelia and Myrtle manage to get the dying Mallory into the bathtub, but she just isn't strong enough. And so Cordelia does what we knew she'd do: sacrifice herself so that Mallory could arise as the new Supreme and gain her powers. To that end, Cordelia goes to confront Michael, knowing what awaits her, but she isn't going to go down without landing a few good blows, calling Michael out on still being a scared, little boy rather than being his own person. But the real blow is when Cordelia refuses Michael the satisfaction of getting his vengeance, choosing to kill herself rather than die by his hand. With that, Mallory gains the strength to do the time travel spell, traveling back to 2015 when Michael grew 10 years overnight.
Here we get to see a previously unseen confrontation between Constance (Jessica Lange) and Michael after he murdered the priest. The actual fight itself is more of what we saw in the Murder House episode (Michael wants to be good and change, but he doesn't know how and can't seem to help himself, yadda yadda yadda) but we'll never say no to more Jessica Lange. And speaking of Jessica Lange, the confrontation ends with Constance kicking Michael out of her house, prompting him to flee into the street where he is immediately hit by Mallory's car. Three times in fact.
Constance, seeing Michael dying in the street from a hit-and-run like poor Addy (Jamie Brewer) only a few years prior, cradles the scared and dying boy. Michael asks to be taken to Murder House where they could be together forever -- the exact wish Constance was denied in Addy's untimely death. But after giving it a moment of thought, it's Constance's turn to do what she does best. "Go to hell," she says, getting up and leaving Michael to die alone.
Pretty much as soon as the bombs dropped in the Apocalypse season premiere, fans were bugging over the continuity errors this created between Apocalypse and the larger American Horror Story universe -- particularly the flash-forward in Hotel that saw Billie Dean Howard (Paulson) interviewing John Lowe (Wes Bentley) in 2022. Mallory's trip back to 2015 neatly resolves this (although many can rightly argue that it's a massive copout), but her actions also send ripple effects throughout the American Horror Story universe.
After Michael's death, Mallory goes to Miss Robichaux's where she enrolls as a student in 2015. This is a major time is a flat circle/the rest is confetti situation, so just accept the timey-wimey-ness of it all. So the Mallory who lived through the apocalypse begins studying under Cordelia's tutelage in 2015, all the while keeping the secrets of the future she prevented to herself.
But because Mallory successfully reversed the apocalypse, Cordelia never had to resurrect Myrtle. While Myrtle stays dead in the newly-created 2015, Mallory does what she can to keep the coven together and help her sisters. When she hears Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) planning her trip to L.A., Mallory makes sure she stays far, far away from the Hotel Cortez, meaning Queenie never died, meaning everything that happened after that in Hotel may now be changed. And who knows how these changes also affect Roanoke and Cult, both which took place largely after 2015 and seemingly in the apocalyptic timeline. (Although if time is a flat circle, maybe it was all one timeline all along?)
Mallory also explains that killing the spawn of Satan got her major street cred in the underworld, and she uses these favors to resurrect Misty (Lily Rabe) and says she plans on getting Madison, too, but wants the witch to sweat it out for a bit. Nan (Brewer), on the other hand, has no interest in leaving Papa Legba, preferring to continue torturing people in hell rather than reunite with her sisters on Earth. (Rude.)
This happy ending isn't how Apocalypse wraps up, though. That would be far too cheery. Instead, we get another flash-forward, this time back to the new 2020 timeline, shortly before the bombs would have dropped when Timothy (Kyle Allen) and Emily (Ashley Santos) meet during a "chance" encounter at the protest she was participating in before she was arrested. The two hit it off and, as predicted, pop out a baby one year later. Three years after that, in 2024, they come home one evening to discover that their adorable 3-year-old has killed his babysitter, perfectly mirroring the end of Murder House. But that's not the end of the story this time. Nearly as soon as they discover the body, Mead and the Satanists show up at Timothy and Emily's door.
"We've been waiting our whole lives for this," Mead explains. "We're here to help."
American Horror Story is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu.