FX’s American Horror Story
Season 8, Episode 9: “Fire and Reign”
Directed by Jennifer Arnold
Written by Asha Michelle Wilson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Sojourn” – click here
* For a recap & review of Apocalypse‘s finale, “Apocalypse Then” – click here
In the lab, Mutt (Billy Eichner) and Jeff (Evan Peters) were busy, the latter getting “all existential and shit,” while working on their synthetic human version of Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates). Jeff started railing against his “burnt asshole” tasting coffee and all the ills of society. He was tired of the world, and wanted everything to end. He was less inclined to patience for Michael Langdon’s (Cody Fern) Antichrist business. They got reminder of a meeting with the Cooperative soon from Ms. Venable (Sarah Paulson). She was curious about the group— she wanted to know more, hoping there was a place for her, though she was dismissed by her bosses. She gave up a lot to work for the two robotics geniuses, despite being trampled on.
Back at Miss Robicheaux’s, Mallory (Billie Lourd) was attempting to bring a bird back to life. Suddenly she couldn’t use her powers like she did before. Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) and Myrtle (Frances Conroy) assured her things would be fine, and she shouldn’t push her powers, instead let them come naturally.
The coven performed a ritual together, while outside Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), Vodou Queen, was doing a ritual of her own to get inside the spell protected school. She brought Michael and Miriam. When the witches tried fighting back, they were slaughtered by the Antichrist and his right-hand woman. Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) tried her own Vodou, but Ms. Mead’s synthetic organs wouldn’t die. The witches were gunned down brutally, one after another, aside from Mallory, Cordelia, and Myrtle upstairs, who managed to escape with a few surviving witches.
“Even Jesus needed time to figure shit out”
We discover Jeff and Mutt were using their synthetic Miriam to control the Antichrist, whose connection to Ms. Mead led him to see her as his driving force. Michael wasn’t initially keen on burning the world down. He wanted to run for President eventually, like “the plot of the Omen III.” The robotics partners brought Michael to them with talk of the Cooperative, which is actually the Illuminati. Everybody in the group has made a pact with Satan for their souls, so Mutt and Jeff told their Antichrist to use them as a way to let the world burn. They told him to start Armageddon with a system across countries designed for “mutual assured destruction” in case of a nuclear attack.
The remainder of the coven hid out in the New Orleans swamp. Madison (Emma Roberts), Coco (Leslie Grossman), and the others watched over Cordelia while she astral projected back to the academy. She tried to bring the others back and couldn’t, so Madison revealed how Michael, at his old home, burned the souls of those who died to ash, effectively erasing them completely. Myrtle suggested “limbus infinitum“— a myth in the witch world, a power that can allow the altering of history. She wonders if Mallory may actually be the one witch to have such power. However, it could cause death, even if she can perform the magic.
Myrtle recounts the events of 1918 involving the Romanov family. The family were taken in the middle of the night under the pretence of being moved somewhere safe away from Yekaterinburg. They were actually forced into the basement. The youngest daughter was a witch and attempted a protection spell. She ultimately wasn’t powerful enough, and her family was executed. Cordelia and Myrtle want Mallory to “thwart the Bolshevik Revolution” by going back and changing history, confirming her power outside the view of the Antichrist’s watchful eyes.
Mallory went back to help Anastasia. They joined hands and casted the spell around the Romanov family. Except Mallory couldn’t do it, and the family were shot. She had to return to the present, terrified, and wishing she could do more. Nevertheless, Myrtle saw it as a step in the right direction.
“You don’t need magic to destroy the world, bro. Not when you have science.”
With few options left, Cordelia wanted to undergo the “Sacred Taking” to pass all her powers onto Mallory, so she might be able to conquer the Antichrist and his coming plans. Myrtle wanted to consider other options. They went to the boys’ school looking to find more help, only to see a pentagram of bodies made from the remaining warlocks.
Ms. Venable was let in on the approaching apocalypse by Jeff and Mutt. She didn’t believe them, until they let her in on the Cooperative. The robotics dudes were the ones building the various outposts. This meant they wanted Ms. Venable to be an outpost administrator, giving her total autonomy.
Michael revealed himself to the Cooperative – who resemble Daft Punk – at their Bohemian Grove-like retreat. He explained a need for the apocalypse. They were all frightened, but the Antichrist reminded them of their deed with the Devil, his father. He told them of the plans for a “network of luxury fallout shelters” across the world. And so began the great project of fortifying the Earth for a reign of fire and evil.
Fantastic episode! One more left. Things are all coming together, as well as a couple more interesting twists along the way. “Apocalypse Then” is a cheeky title for the finale, and it ought to be a wild ride of murder, blood, madness, and who knows what else.