'AHS: Apocalypse' Season Finale Review: Apocalypse Then

Who would have thought that what is considerably the worst American Horror Story season would have what could be considered one of the best season finales of the series? (Well, if you ignore the last three minutes).

After ten weeks of a roller coaster consisting of entertaining and compelling episodes alternating between plotlines, characters and entire episodes that were a complete bore to get through, AHS: Apocalypse reached its conclusion with its tenth episode, titled Apocalypse Then.

 

Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) explaining the plan for survival to Mallory (Billie Lourd) and Coco (Leslie Grossman)

Returning to the confrontation last seen in episode 4, we finally got to see what followed after the witches arrived at Outpost 3 and faced Michael. With the information presented throughout the flashbacks, it was expected that the final confrontation would be of epic proportions—and it was, even with its comedic aspects. In fact, I feel like this episode was the first time comedy in American Horror Story worked.

The episode maintained an intensity throughout each scene that left viewers on the edge of their seats. Pacing—which had been a recurrent issue in prior episodes—found a footing as the characters battled Michael (providing a scene with Emma Roberts and a machine gun that I never knew I needed) while running to have Mallory (Lourd) travel in time to unmake the apocalypse.

 

Cody Fern as Michael Langdon

Albeit rather scattered, the time travel in this episode provided what I consider to be the funniest scene of the series, and I say that in a good way. I had read some spoilers regarding the finale, so I expected the scene to disappoint me, but on the contrary, it felt to suffice as a climax. And Jessica Lange’s return as Constance Langdon for the scene served as a reminder why she’s the most venerated actor on the show, even with her 4-year absence.

Looking back at it, Apocalypse is actually a decent season (if you ignore the ending of episode 6 and the following episodes until the finale). I must recognize that the finale would’ve ended on a high note if they had done a different final scene; instead we had to endure another appearance of the cringeworthy Church of Satan trio. I will mostly like be blocking the aforementioned episodes from my memory, but I will stay wondering about what could’ve been had the season been done differently.

American Horror Story has been renewed for a ninth and tenth season, therefore I hope that, going forward, the writers focus more on story-building and good characters instead of relying on off-putting campiness. Given what we saw in Cult, we know that the showrunners are capable of a solid, consistent story, so I hope they return to that cutting room instead of whatever cutting room they birthed Apocalypse in.