“Apocalypse Then” - American Horror Story’s Season Finale Fails To Deliver
When American Horror Story debuted it’s newest season “Apocalypse” it started off to a strong start. The world and characters of the first season, “Murder House,” and the third season, “The Coven,” were easily the anthologies most entertaining creations, so it was almost a no brainer that pitting both worlds together would make for great TV. ‘Apocalypse’s premiere episode promised a sure-footed season was to come, and up to the very end of the final episode of this marvelous season, it was almost entirely true.
“Apocalypse” delivered week-by-week episodes that were sharp and devilishly fun to watch. The writing was purposeful and every episode served to effectively move the tale forward. No filler episodes here! Overall, the season did a great job at setting up the aftermath of the apocalypse as the ultimate showdown between the Antichrist and the surviving witches. Ten smartly crafted episodes were to culminate in the making of the new “Supreme” witch, and of course the ultimate defeat of Satan’s son.
“Apocalypse Then” was going great as the season finale, up until Cordelia takes her life. Cordelia’s death puts into action a series of events that although tied up this season’s story, failed to deliver a satisfying ending. The powerful Antichrist being defeated by a SUV was underwhelming. Did it make sense? Sure, when Mallory goes back in time, Michael at that point in time had not yet developed his powers so he could be defeated by something as common as a hit and run. Cody Fern, who portrays Michael Langdon/Antichrist could have easily gotten lost in the mix of the established cast, but he managed to be both menacing as the adult Antichrist, and nefariously endearing as his boy self. Although, the Antichrist’s demise made sense, the character deserved a much more grandiose exit.
The biggest issue with the season finale involves two minor characters, Timothy and Emily. Both characters were introduced early in the season with very little background information. We are told early on they were chosen to be saved from the apocalypse because of something in both their DNA that makes them special. Timothy and Emily become romantically involved early on, which was mildly interesting, but after their storyline was not revisited for weeks, it’s surprising they are brought back at the very end in such a pivotal manner.
After Mallory goes back in the past and kills the antichrist, we see Timothy and Emily meeting each other and falling in love, getting married, and having a son. The son grows up and when he is around the same age Michael Langdon was at the finale of “Murder House” he is seen just like Michael, siting in a chair, wielding a bloody knife, above the deceased corpse of his babysitter. After he is discovered by Emily and Timothy, the doorbell rings, and similarly to the three wise men, Timothy and Emily’s baby is visited by a trio of evil “wise men” who come to offer their “help” to the new antichrist.
The creation of a new antichrist does not make any sense. Satan’s son has always been described as being singular, just one. Not one and a spare in case the first one runs into trouble. Even Cordelia’s last words to Michael Langdon reference him as Satan’s only child. Then there is the issue of Emily and Timothy appearing to be just regular people. In the mythology of the series, the reason Michael Langdon is special is because he is the result of the sexual union of a living woman and a ghost. Michael’s unique supernatural creation circumstances can thus be accepted as part of the reason why he is the Antichrist, but without this unusual element the baby of Timothy and Emily does not have any clear reason to be the Antichrist.
There are numerous questions the existence of a second Antichrist brings up. Such as who knew the baby of Emily and Timothy could create a new Antichrist. What is special about Emily and Timothy? Were Timothy and Emily saved from the apocalypse as a plan B in case Michael failed?
Some may want to reason the second Antichrist as “evil never dies” and the eternal struggle between good and evil rages on, and as philosophical thought it may work, but as the series finale it feels like a rushed and cheap ending to what had been otherwise a richly developed season.