American Horror Story: Apocalypse Recap: Constance Cravings


Warning: Contains spoilers for season 8, episode 5 of American Horror Story, “Return to Murder House.”

Welp, we’re definitely dealing with the Antichrist here! This week’s Apocalypse brought us back to season 1’s Murder House and saw the return of some of our favorites from that chapter, including Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), Tate Langdon (Evan Peters), Moira the maid (Frances Conroy), the Harmon family, and Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson). Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge that Paulson stepped behind the camera to direct this episode, which was fitting considering it was pretty much an ode to fans who have been watching since day one.

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“Return to Murder House” involved Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter) moving into the haunted house under orders from Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) to get the dirt on Michael Langdon (Cody Fern). There was plenty of dirty to be had, literally and figuratively. The ghosts of the house weren’t exactly forthcoming with info or being seen at all, which prompted the witches to perform a spell that brought some of the spirits forward.

Madison and Behold drop in a supernatural therapy session between Tate and Dr. Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott). We don’t learn a lot about Michael, but we do learn that Tate has been spending years trying convince Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga) that he isn’t the terrible person she thinks he is. Just when it seemed like they weren’t getting anywhere, Billie Dean turns up (still alive), along with the ghost of Constance, who is willing to share everything about her grandson Michael if the witches help her get the spirit of Moira out of the house once and for all. They carry out the task by digging up Moira’s remains from the backyard and moving them to a cemetery alongside her mother’s grave.

Back at the house, Constance lights up a smoke and pours a drink as she explains Michael’s upbringing in the house. She saw raising Michael as an opportunity to parent the right way after failing with Tate. It quickly became clear that little Michael was a bad seed and Constance realized her life’s calling was to raise monsters. Everything changed when Michael aged a decade overnight and was no longer going to listen to his grandmother. Constance took her own life in the house after realizing she had failed as a parent once again and had no actual purpose. Michael remained in the house but Constance didn’t want to make herself visible to him.

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Dr. Harmon stepped in from there and revealed that he took Michael on as a patient because he felt like a father figure despite not actually being a blood relative. He and Michael worked on trying to suppress his dark urges and be a good person. All of their progress came to a halt when Tate, Michael’s actual father, rejected him and called him a monster. Michael then started embracing his evil side and even killed new owners of the house the day they moved in, while dressed as Rubber Man. Aside from murdering their mortal bodies, he also burned their souls to ash so even their spirits ceased to exist. That was the breaking point for Ben—he knew Michael was beyond help at that point.

As Ben finished sharing his experience, the spirit of his estranged wife and Michael’s birth mother, Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton), shows up to offer her take. She confirms what we suspected all along—Michael is actually the Antichrist. His father wasn’t actually Tate, but actually the embodiment of the pure evil that resides in the house. This idea was further cemented by the arrival of several disciples of Satan (the Black Pope and his cardinals) at the house. One cardinal is human Miriam Meade (Kathy Bates) and the other is unidentified but played by AHS alum Naomi Grossman (Pepper from the Asylum and Freak Show seasons). They perform a sacrifice in the name of Satan and rip the heart out of a young girl in what might be one of the most disturbing scenes in the show’s history. The Satanists present the heart to Michael, which he eats as the shadow of the dark lord rises behind him on the wall. This event convinced Vivien that she needed to kill Michael, but of course it wasn’t that easy. Just when he was about to burn her spirit out of existence, Tate swoops in and puts out the fire to save her. Michael made his exit from the Murder House during the brief moment, which brings everything up to speed.

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Madison and Behold got all of the details they needed to report back to Cordelia and start figuring out a game plan for stopping Michael. Before they head back to the school, Madison decides to do a good deed by telling (and showing) Violet that Tate isn’t actually a bad guy anymore and actually risked his (after)life to save her mother.

This episode really seemed to set into motion everything that will happen to bring about the final battle against Michael Langdon. We know that Mallory (Billie Lourd) is the secret weapon, but surely it can’t be that easy. Episode 7 is called “Traitor” and it’s very possible there are several of them in the mix. We already know Behold is switching to Team Coven. It’s a safe bet that one of the witches that Michael rescued from hell might betray the coven to be Team Langdon. It’s hard to tell who will end up on either side, but it’s clear that there will be plenty of bloodshed all around.

What we know

  • Most of the action is still playing out in flashback to before the earth was destroyed in the season premiere.
  • Mallory is the only person with power that Michael seems even slightly concerned about.
  • The whole plot point with Moira’s remains being buried somewhere new to get her sprit out of the house could prove useful later on.
  • Jessica Lange was reportedly only signed on to guest star in one episode, which means it’s unlikely that Constance will have any role in stopping Michael.

    What we need to find out

    • Did eating another person’s heart destroy the last shred of Michael’s humanity?
    • If getting rejected by his “father” was the catalyst for Michael going pure evil, would his mother be a weakness too?
    • Where were the other Satanists while human Meade was caring for Michael?

      What the internet thinks

      • More Mallory speculation: The latest theory is that she is actually the second coming of Christ.

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