The penultimate episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, “Fire and Reign,” finally revealed who helped Michael (Cody Fern) usher in the end of days …
…Rich people! Is anyone truly surprised?
"Fire and Reign" also killed off fan-favorite witches, took a trip to early 20th century Russia, and introduced a new spell that could maybe, just maybe, help our heroes win. There’s still a whole lot more to be done once the action returns to post-Armageddon Outpost 3 (remember that?!) in next week’s finale. But "Fire and Reign" did a great job setting up the board for the chess match for our souls … even if we’re still not 100 percent sure that Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) can actually win.
Below, the three most apocalyptic moments of the night:
1. Tech Bros Ended the World
Just in case you needed proof outside of Twitter that tech bro CEOs can be kind of the worst, American Horror Story made Jeff (Evan Peters) and Mutt (Billy Eichner) the instigators of the titular apocalypse. In the weeks following the "resurrection" of Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates), the bros grew increasingly frustrated with Michael’s lack of vision. Jeff was sick and tired of burnt Starbucks coffees and godforsaken Los Angeles traffic; insisting to Mutt that the End of Days was the one and only thing that could truly fix their broken world.
Michael cared little for Jeff and Mutt’s whims — and still had heard virtually nothing from his father — but his ears perked up when he realized that slaughtering the entire world meant slaughtering his greatest foes, the witches. So he took the bros’ advice and visited The Cooperative, which was actually just The Illuminati with a name change for marketing purposes.
Michael told a masked group of billionaires, politicians, celebrities and cultural influencers (including Bill, but definitely not Hillary, Clinton) that it was time to end the world. All of them had earned millions upon millions by selling their souls to his father, and he’d reward them by allowing all of them to live in Outposts while the apocalypse passed — for the hefty sum of $100 million dollars, of course.
And as to how Jeff and Mutt’s long-suffering executive assistant, Wilhemina Venable, landed such a solid position in the End Times … well, "Fire and Reign" answered that one, too. Turns out the purple-loving lady was gifted her administrative role by her bosses, who believed in Venable’s ability to keep rich folks in line. What a promotion!
2. The Witches (and Warlocks!) Traically Died
Michael’s petty appetite for revenge knows no bounds, so as punishment for killing Miriam and not giving him the job he wanted — the first-ever Mr. Supreme — the Antichrist convinced Dinah (Adina Porter) to help him slaughter the witches. In exchange for a successful talk show, Dinah broke the protection spell the Coven put on Miss Robichaux’s, allowing Miriam and Michael to swoop in and murder several prominent members of Cordelia’s coven.
The two that really hurt were Queenie and Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), especially since — as Cordelia learned when she tried to resurrect them — Michael burned their souls. This left Cordelia, Madison (Emma Roberts), Coco (Leslie Grossman), Mallory (Billie Lourd), and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) solely in charge of saving the world, which is pretty troubling when you consider that Cordelia is dying, Madison is a recovering narcissist, and Coco’s primary power involves muffins.
Cordelia knew that they were no match for Michael while Mallory’s Supreme powers were still growing, so she and Myrtle flew back to Los Angeles to enlist the help of John Henry (Cheyenne Jackson), Behold Chablis (Billy Porter), and the rest of the warlocks. But the warlocks were even less fortunate than the witches — Michael slaughtered and dismembered all of the men (and boys) in what would soon become Outpost 3, arranging their limbs into a satanic pentagram for artistic flair.
3. Mallory Went on a Journey...to the Paaaaast
Fellow ‘90s children who grew up listening to the Anastasia soundtrack, rejoice! AHS found a way to involve the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna in all of this madness, in an amazingly bonkers sequence that also revealed the Coven’s path to victory.
As Cordelia licked her wounds and mourned her fallen sisters in Misty Day’s (Lily Rabe) swamp shack (the woman herself was off touring with Stevie Nicks), Myrtle told the tale of a prophesied witch who would go back in time and change the world. Mallory seemed like a great candidate, but virtually every witch who had tried this particular spell died horribly.
So to test Mallory’s power (without alerting Michael), the ladies sent her back in time to undo the assassination of Anastasia Romanov (!!), who was actually a witch (!!!) whose powers just weren’t strong enough yet to save her family. Mallory succeeded in connecting with Anastasia, and even helped the doomed duchess ward off her Bolshevik killers for roughly 20 seconds, but history persevered and all of the Romanovs were killed.
Still, Cordelia and co. were optimistic. Most witches weren’t strong enough to "pierce the veil" and interfere with past affairs, let alone return from a mission this dangerous completely unscathed. Plus, Mallory’s Supreme powers were still not fully developed.
Hopefully spending some time working for Coco as an abused, underpaid assistant with false memories and terrible health care will change all that.
Don't miss the season finale of American Horror Story: Apocalypse next Wednesday at 10p.m. on FX.