Wednesday, October 10, 2018

REVIEW: 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse' - Cordelia Administers the Seven Wonders on Langdon in 'Boy Wonder'

FX's American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Episode 8.05 "Boy Wonder"

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of FX's American Horror Story: Apocalypse.

"Boy Wonder" was written by John J. Gray and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

American Horror Story absolutely runs the risk of delving into nothing more than fan service this year. These episodes could get their thrills from nothing more than name dropping or referencing a moment that previously occurred in one of the seasons. They are these very pointed moments that make it painfully clear to the audience right away that it aspires to reward you for being a loyal viewer for all of these years. And so, Rubber Man appears. The Coven witches roll in through the fog. Hotel Cortez is home to another witch. And now, Stevie Nicks drops by for another performance. Yes, it's absolutely wonderful to see her sing. It still relies on the audience's awareness of Misty being a massive fan of hers. It's rewarding because she is greeted by her idol when she is brought back to life. Sure, it could stand alone as well. It would just feel a little more awkward. In fact, that's what seems to be driving this middle stretch of episodes so far. Right now, the show is in an explanation mode. It feels compelled to share this story in reverse. It opened on the apocalypse and its immediate aftermath. Only after that led to more death did the story jump back to how the apocalypse was launched in the first place with the witches and warlocks. And now, the end of this episode suggests going back even further for Michael Langdon's origin story. That's a thrill for the audience because it brings us back to the place where it all began in the Murder House. However, none of the current characters know anything about the events of that season. So, there is already the fear sinking in that the show will have to explain it all once more while still playing to those specific characters and fitting things into the current narrative. The story this season is much more effective when it actually focuses on the newcomers and how they have an impact in this world. Sure, it's great to get these returning faces. It's tantalizing to think that Cordelia is already fading as the Supreme. But it's just more intriguing to continue to piece these clues together about Langdon and Mallory's roles in whatever comes next in the world. Myrtle proclaims that she has never seen magic like this before. As such, the show could be introducing entirely new magical creatures. The audience knows that Langdon has a demonic connection. The rest of the ensemble is figuring that out as well. Of course, John Henry is burned alive at a gas station while trying to warn Cordelia about his new prodigy. He understands that there is a darkness present. Cordelia does as well. That's why she is arming herself with information even though it could kill her in the process. However, the tension from that uncertainty is alleviated because the audience has already seen her in the future presenting herself as this savior who can protect the world from Langdon and the apocalypse. Mead is still a significant mystery. But she's terrifying to watch here as well. There remains solid moments throughout this season. And yet, it's also started to seem like a collection of pieces that reward a certain segment of the audience instead of telling a satisfying story in its current format. It's still fun to see the seven wonders conducted as a silent movie though. That's a nice stylistic flourish that proves that the show can still tell these familiar stories in a different way.