FX’s American Horror Story
Season 8, Episode 2: “The Morning After”
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Written by James Wong
* For a recap & review of the Apocalypse premiere, “The End” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Forbidden Fruit” – click here
Emily (Ash Santos) hears someone in her room, obscured by darkness when the lights go out. She goes to see who it is, discovering a snake slithering in her closet. It’s actually a bunch of snakes. Timothy (Kyle Allen) runs in to check on her. Not long until Miriam (Kathy Bates) and her help (Erika Ervin) arrive. They’re excited for “fresh protein.” This will serve as supper for everybody at the dinner table.
Snake soup’s on the menu. Evie (Joan Collins) isn’t adverse to eating it, neither are some of the others. Everybody’s curious about Ms. Venable’s (Sarah Paulson) recent visitor. They’re interrupted by still living snakes pouring from their bowls. Always appetising. Remember there were snakes in Coven? Just saying.
Later, everyone meets Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), who’s come to assess all their odds for survival. Naturally the group are suspicious. He tells everyone his “arrival was crucial to the survival of civilised life on Earth,” plus the fact other outposts have been destroyed. Michael goes on to speak of “the Sanctuary,” which has unique qualities to ensure it will never be overrun, and it’s got supplies to last a decade. He’s got to put them through a test before they’re able to go, though. Not all of the group are pleased with these terms. At least if they don’t get to go they’ll be given some suicide pills in the event of “feral cannibals” attacking the outpost.
Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters) offers to go first for Michael’s cooperating test. The two sit down together across a table. The Antichrist is ready, starting with a question about sexual orientation. Gallant’s gay, though he fucked a girl one time. Michael’s mention of procreation methods post-apocalypse bring to mind Murder House and the quest of the ghosts to create an Antichrist. We’re privy to a flashback to Evie throwing a party for gay guys trying to hook her grandson up to hopefully get married, resulting only in rebellion. Michael figures out Gallant’s into leather. Maybe we’ll see Rubber Man soon? We already see the Antichrist himself in a pentagram of blood. Not long and Rubber Man turns up to Gallant’s door, again having his identity mistaken like in Season 1.
But, uh oh— nana sees her boy getting bent over, and she goes directly to Miriam.
Elsewhere, Timothy and Emily ration out a kiss per day. She wants to get out of there, worrying they won’t make the cut for the Sanctuary. He’s less inclined to take such risks, whereas she wants to dig into Langdon. The pair sneak into his room and look through his laptop. One e-mail shows the Antichrist plans to execute both Ms. Venable and Gallant whom he’s marked as “red.” It further mentions two possible candidates.
Michael confronts Ms. Veneable about her making up rules as she goes along. He’s pretty coy. She’s pretty defiant, and she hates men. He talks of his journey to the outpost, seeing people devastated by radiation and mutated beyond recognition. Then he discusses the people at the outpost, looking for Wilhemina’s opinion, which she gives gladly and brutally. Following this, he tells her to strip. She reveals a deformed spine.
“No need for rules anymore. Chaos has won.”
Ms. Venable is told by Miriam about the unauthorised banging. She’s sure Michael is behind this latest transgression of her rules, and assumes he’s in cahoots with Gallant in some way. She and Miriam take the rich hairdresser to a room where they whip him, except it’s only foreplay to him and his kinky preferences. When Gallant’s alone he gets a visit from Michael, who doesn’t know anything about the Rubber Man incident. The Antichrist sows seeds of distrust in the man about his grandmother.
When Gallant returns to the group he’s not quite himself. He calls her out in front of the others. Evie refers to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians a.k.a And Then There Were None, which is another generational divide between her and millennials like Mallory (Billie Lourd) and Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman). Nana goes on to insult her grandson, placing herself above him in importance.
Gallant’s called away by the Rubber Man. He follows the figure through the halls, heading upstairs. Is it a coincidence we’re hearing some Fleetwood Mac, given the Stevie Nicks connection to Coven? Either way, Rubber Man and Gallant are going for another rough romp in the sack. Only this time the hairdresser opts to stab the leather clad man. Michael appears in the doorway, then Gallant sees his nana under him, bloody and dead. Spooky shit.
At the same time, Timothy and Emily are pulled from their bed and brought in front of Ms. Venable. They tell her about finding Langdon’s laptop, their discovery of the Cooperative’s actual rules. It doesn’t do any good. They remain marked for death by the woman in charge. The lovers are brought into a chamber where Timothy manages to get loose, putting a shot in Miriam before her helper knocks him over.
This is when we see an homage to Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien— Miriam is a fucking synthetic human, like Ash! The bullet hole reveals an oozing wound of burnt plastic skin and tubing. Will her secret be revealed? Does Ms. Venable know? Good lord.
What a goddamn follow-up! This was a perfect episode, Father Gore’s going nuts already waiting for next week. “Forbidden Fruit” is next time, and the fallout – pardon the pun – from this episode will make for compelling plot.