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SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE. Obviously.
This might be a bit of a biased review as nothing gets my blood to sing like a good apocalypse that isn't about fucking zombies. I'm entirely too interested in the concept of Armageddon as an atheist. Many movies about it are shitty because they're usually produced as Christian cash-cows. Not insulting Christians, just the shitty ones that use people's fears to line their back accounts.
I found the sixth and seventh season of American Horror Story to be lacking. I couldn't even finish the sixth season because I was so fucking bored. I just read the plot on Wikipedia and I yawned. I expected Cult to be so much more than a polemic and church group formed by a blue-haired dweeb. But I was blown away by the first episode, it's a straight punch to the gut, the world is nuked in a horrifying fashion. I'm reminded of The Great War from Fallout lore when their version of the world was engulfed in nuclear flame. There's even a scene of government officials taking away "Chosen" people to live through the initial annihilation in "Outposts" (essentially Vaults).
I never thought I would be so impressed given the several cliches presented. The witches from Season 3 return, as do several of the supposedly canonically dead witches. There were some things that didn't need a rehashing, such as Stevie Nicks. I'm sorry, I love your music, but it was cheesy the first time. The house from Season 1 also featured, as Madison and Behold visit it in the fifth episode. I laughed aloud when the therapist character from Murder House said that he had a scheduled time to "tearfully masturbate in front of the window" which is an obvious but playful cut-down of his character. The old (and sometimes young) maid, Moira, finally gets to be buried next to her mother—the deal made with Mrs. Langdon in order to get the story about Michael Langdon's upbringing.
Michael is the antagonist this season, for he is the son of Satan. No, really. In Season 1, Vivian was raped by Tate, whom you will remember being dead since '94, and such a copulation resulted in both a stillbirth and the devil made flesh (Michael). What surprised me is that Michael was portrayed as still having his humanity, something not usually added to an Antichrist character. I found it more compelling than a mere sociopath, because you don't know his true motives straight away. This season is much more tongue-in-cheek than others. In the latter half of the season, Michael visits a Satanic church and it's obviously making fun of how evangelical churches do church services. I couldn't help but bob my head along to the choir singing 'O Fortuna' as the Black Mass started. If it wasn't for the whole killing of innocents thing, I might just be a Satanist if that choir was singing every service.
Kathy Bates as both the live and robotic versions of Miriam Mead shines this season. She quite suits the short black hair and clothes and her chemistry with Sarah Paulson as Mrs. Venable is electric. Sarah Paulson plays three characters this season, one being the ruthless, misandrist Mrs. Wilhemina Venable. She also brings back the medium from Season 1 during Behold and Madison's visit to Murder House and she's one of the only remaining characters from that season that isn't canonically dead. But one of her best-portrayed characters has to be Cordelia Goode, the Supreme of the witch coven in Season 3. It's a true testament to the writers who have to make sure they don't have two actors' roles in the same scene.
Speaking of which, it isn't an American Horror Story season without the talents of Evan Peters. Not only did Tate return for a scene or two, but James Patrick March is also seen playing thousands of games of gin with Queenie, though his appearance seems nothing more than a cameo. He plays Coco's hairdresser during the post-apocalypse scenes in the Outpost and we get the customary gratifying shot of ass as he enjoys a coupling from a mysterious latex wearing... dude. But that's not all, he also plays a cocaine-snorting privileged millennial robot-maker that inspires Michael to destroy the world after giving back his mentor as a robot.
This is both a cliche and a clever take on the apocalypse, because it's not hiding the fact that it's a cliche. They've honestly incorporated the Illuminati conspiracy theory as the masterminds of the global nuclear annihilation, hiding under the name The Cooperative. I'm extremely looking forward to what happens after all the expository flashbacks are finished, to find out if there's even going to be a Season 9. How there can be a sequel when the world's ended right? Though... this opens the doors for American Horror Story: Dystopia. I want MORE.