We only have two episodes left of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and some fans are starting to stress. After spending the first three episodes in the post-apocalyptic world, we've been in flashbacks now for five episodes and counting, leaving many viewers wondering how the hell Ryan Murphy is going to wrap up all the threads left hanging before AND after the nuclear bombs dropped. All these burning questions still unanswered has led to one of the most game-changing AHS theories yet: Could Season 9 be the first sequel season?
When American Horror Story first began, every season was a completely standalone story. However, Freak Show revealed that all the seasons are connected when we got Pepper's (Naomi Grossman) backstory as one of Elsa Mars' (Jessica Lange) "monsters." Ever since then, for better or for worse, the original anthology format has gotten more and more muddled as the connections piled up, culminating in the current crossover season between Murder House and Coven. Now, with questions about Timothy (Kyle Allen) and Emily's (Ashley Santos) special DNA, Mallory's (Billie Lourd) importance, The Cooperative and, you know, the end of the f***ing world piling up, it seems unlikely that Murphy will manage to wrap everything up in the next two episodes — or at least wrap things up in a way that doesn't feel rushed. So why not embrace a true break from format and deliver the show's first sequel season?
To be clear, there is no evidence that this will actually happen. (Although some fans point to the fact that FX renewed American Horror Story for Seasons 8 and 9 at the same time as potential proof that Murphy planned Apocalypse to be a two-parter from the very beginning.) Breaking the anthology format completely and making Season 9 a continuation of Apocalypse would be a polarizing move, though. While many fans are enthralled with Apocalypse — frankly in a way viewers weren't with other recent seasons like Roanoke and Cult — the fact is that it would be compromising one of the basic tenants of the show that fans first fell in love with. What makes watching American Horror Story so fun is the reinvention; it's seeing these actors we've grown to love test their range by taking on wholly new characters and following these wildly unpredictable storylines that can go from camp comedy to gory horror in the flash of an instant.
But with so many reboots and revivals on the air right now, there's already a sense of fatigue regarding overreliance on already established stories rather than creatively pushing to create something original. And while the Murder House-Coven crossover at times has felt a bit like fan-service, Murphy has largely ensured Apocalypse stands on its own by giving us several already-iconic new characters to help it still feel fresh. Doing a sequel season, on the other hand, could feel a bit like a lazy cop-out, giving us more of the same rather than finding new themes and horror tropes to play off of.
Murphy, of course, won't confirm anything about the theme of Season 9 for a very long while, so fans will be speculating and debating the merits of a continuation season for months to come. So as we all wait out news of what's to come, let's just get one thing straight: No matter what the theme of Season 9 is, can it please tell us more about those robot alien spiders from Asylum?
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.