Every year I get my hopes up for AHS, and every year I get disappointed. Last season’s premiere was also a promising affair , but the show still dropped the ball and lost me after a couple of lousy installments. The same thing happened with Roanoke; in fact, I haven’t loved a season of the show since Coven (which aired all the way back in 2013). Now Apocalypse definitely feels different. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a crossover between Murder House and Coven (two very successful seasons), or maybe it’s the end-of-the-world premise which is always thrilling. But after five seasons of half-baked ideas and untapped potential, I try not to get too excited.
A frightful start
Admittedly, the teaser is wildly impressive. The opener manages to craft a real sense of panic and suspense without even showing the carnage. Just watching Coco the wannabe influencer trying to navigate the chaos is a hoot, and it’s imbued with just the right dose of emotion as she bids her family farewell. Sadly the rest of the hour is relegated to one location: a nuclear fallout shelter named Outpost 3, and that robs the hour of a diverse visual palette.
The fam is back
AHS mainstay Sarah Paulson is of course front and center as always, but her Wilhemina Venable isn’t the most intriguing of characters. Nevertheless, there’s a fine twist with the reveal of her and Kathy Bates’ Miriam toying with the survivors and acting out on their own (instead of following “The Collective”‘s orders). That shadowy organization is represented by Michael Langdon who arrives in the premiere’s final moments. I didn’t recognize his name at first, but he’s none other than than the antichrist born in season one’s Murder House to Vivien Harmon and Tate Langdon aka Rubber Man. Uh oh.
– Coco releasing her husband of “his duty” culminating with him calling her a bitch as he sees her plane flying overhead is probably my favorite moment of the premiere.
– How great is Joan Collins as Gallant’s nana Evie? She gets the funniest zingers of the episode. Please show, don’t kill her off anytime son.
– Was Outpost 3 the Coven manor? Or something similar for boys?
– The survivors are divided into “Purples” (the elites) and the “Greys”. Yeah it’s pretty generic.
– Timothy sees 666 in the mirror and it’s as lame as it sounds… until you realize that Langdon is basically the devil and that was a warning.
– Creative menu suggestion the next time you have friends over for dinner: a cube of vitamins.
– That was some harsh scrubbing yo.
– “THE STEW IS STU” moment downright killed me.
– That horse’s infected eye is surely going to give me nightmares.
Wilhemina: The Cooperative, to whom we owe our eternal gratitude, took ownership and converted it once they realized what was coming.
Emily: The end?
Wilhemina: No. The beginning.
Mallory: There’s nobody there.
Evie: What?! No stewardess? Oh. I guess I won’t be ordering the fresh-cut fruit, huh?
Wilhemina: There’s no excuse for tardiness when there’s nothing else to do.
Gallant: It plays over and over 24 hours a day. It’s like Satan’s Spotify playlist.
As always, this is a promising season premiere. Let’s see if the show can build on it.