Relax, Don’t Do It: American Horror Story, ‘The Morning After’

***Spoiler Warning:  Spoilers for American Horror Story through S8 E2 follow. Spoilers***

And now for something really different …

Not to begin at the end  — well, this is the Apocalypse — but holy Westworld, I don’t think anyone was expecting that. (We now, more than anything, want a crossover episode.)

I told you those emmereffing robots were taking over and it’s not just in the real world; they’re multiplying through our television series.

That’s right, at the end of this week’s “The Morning After” (not to be confused with last week‘s song choice) and following a scuffle in the official Killing/Decontamination Room — wherein those idiots Timothy and Emily were about to be despatched for having broken Ms. Venable’s unsanctioned no-fornication clause — Timothy managed to shoot Miriam, and we all (possibly including Miriam?) discovered her nonhuman entrails. Dun dun dun! The plot thickens is nowhere to be found.

I’m more than okay with this particular development, though it’s as disconnected as everything else thus far seems to be. Since Season 2 of AHS, Ryan Murphy’s usual pattern is to lay out a fairly followable storyline over the course of several episodes, and then for everything to begin spiraling outward, until we all descend into madness trying to put the plot back together again. This round (only two episodes in) though, things have been a moody, muddling mishmash, with only the lure of an excellent cast to keep us going. I remain skeptical, though I do … remain.

Speaking of the cast, I can’t say enough about Cody Fern’s (Michael) Langdon — whose onscreen presence is magnetic to the point of comparisons to Oldman’s Dracula.

His every scene is filled with alluring menace, leaving the audience as drawn to him as Mr. Gallant aka (Daddy!) Tate Langdon (‘s ghost) — speaking of — my brain is cramping at the thought of whatever is happening between Gallant and the now returned Rubber Man, who is actually (as we have known him/it thus far) Tate Langdon (‘s ghost). Which means …

… Gallant just forked himself, while believing he was forking (Michael) Langdon (“Let me be clear, I wouldn’t fuck you if you were the last man on earth.”), who is actually his …

… son.

Uh, yeah.

Moving right along and getting back to the beginning, since Langdon’s arrival, things have gotten mighty strange(r). Live (undead?) snakes have infiltrated Outpost 3, been chopped for soup and seemingly come back to life, whole again; Ms. Venable’s been exposed (Emily and Timothy finding that open laptop was no accident) and called out — though to what end, remains to be seen — and poor (?) Evie was killed by her own grandson, though he thought he was stabbing Langdon — as the Rubber Man — aka actually himself (got that?). To be fair, if it were up to Evie, she’d have left her imperfect gay grandson to be wiped out by feral cannibals (if there even are any).

Langdon’s probably empty promises of a Sanctuary come only for those deemed worthy by a questioning technique “The Cooperative” likes to call “Cooperating” (“What is this? The Hunger Games?”). Anyone with sense must realize this whole thing’s a sham, but I’ll be pickled if I can figure out where it’s all going (hell —> hand-basket).

Wanting to see Ms. Venable’s shame, Langdon’s questioning apparently involves a physical examination, beginning with an unzipping and the reveal of some horrific back injury that haunts Wilhemina. We’ll have to wait for more on that, and more on how far Langdon was going to take his investigation, because they’re interrupted by Miriam, with news of Emily and Timothy’s indiscretion … and it all circles back to where we started:  Westworld. Miram … is a robot. And, we’re likely going to need the assistance of some Artificial Intelligence to figure out this season’s plot.

Deep Thoughts:

What’s up with Ms. Venable’s ominous knocks/taps, that set off workers (greys) about their business? For that matter, what is actually going on at Outpost 3? Timothy and Emily are a couple of dolts, especially if they think they can go roaming out in the open on their own, but something about this whole apocalypse is definitely off.

Whatever actually is happening outside the Outpost, who knows about it? Miriam? Definitely not Venable, who seems to be flying by the seat of her pants.

Speaking of, does Wilhemina know Miriam is a bot? My gut says “no”.

Certainly neither Venable nor Mead realize who Langdon really is — the Antichrist — as evidenced by his powers to raise snakes (obviously — “what’s different?” — they were his doing), freeing Mr. Gallant from his bonds, changing the appearance of the Rubber Man. Could that (morphing into Evie) mean that the Rubber Man doesn’t really exist at this particular moment? While I’ve twisted up my brainwaves trying to work out the whole Tate’s ghost/Mr. Gallant thing, we know that technically, the Rubber Man is an apparition; he/it was always a ghost, undead, not alive. How many people we’re seeing now are likewise only visions of their former selves? Is everyone already dead, and the Outpost part of the Underworld — Langdon’s realm? Is his (“the Cooperative’s”) Cooperating [questioning] actually some version of Purgatory? Is Langdon trying to discern who he thinks is worthy of joining his kingdom? (Are there robots in hell?) Is the Cooperative actually a group whose members are a mix of Heaven and Hell denizens who proctor the recently deceased?

Langdon seems to be drawing out the darkness in people during his sessions with them. He wanted to hear about Mr. Gallant’s hatred for his grandmother, and about Ms. Venable’s shame — he’s delighting in, and feeding off these emotions.

Loved Dinah’s reference to The Hardy Boys television series; “I had the biggest crush on Shaun Cassidy.”

Ditto, Mr. Gallant’s response to his torture — “This is the most fun I’ve had since the Folsom Street Fair (San Francisco’s annual BDSM festival).”

What a shame we’ve lost Joan Collins so quickly! She had some wonderfully witty quips, and I loved that Murphy worked in her actual star power (lunching with Natalie Wood at Dan Tana’s). Perhaps she’ll be revived as an apparition, or perhaps that murder didn’t really happen?

Do we care what happens to Timothy and Emily? I don’t mind the actors, but the characters are pretty much the typical horror movie too-stupid-to-live people.

Here’s hoping plot-things become clearer next week.

Songs This Hour:

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Relax

Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle

Fleetwood Mac, Gold Dust Woman

Great Lines:

There’s an old actor’s adage:  go first, or go last.

You’re ancient. He’s looking to repopulate the earth, not fill a bingo hall.

You know, for someone with the mental capacity of a three year old, I suppose fifty-two might seem ancient.

You were fifty-two when Elvis took his last shit.

I’m gay, but I fucked a girl before in high school. And, I finished and everything, she did too, I think. It’s harder to tell with girls.

We have techniques for harvesting genetic material. We still need a woman’s womb to incubate the fetus, for now. But, your ability to impregnate some poor girl isn’t needed.

She wants me to be the perfect gay; married, with a pair of Yorkies, and collection of Wedgwood dishes.

I’m not that old, but I’m old enough to remember when sucking dick was both a way to get off and an act of political rebellion.

And nothing would be more humiliating to a man such as yourself to learn that a woman had more information than yourself.

I’m just doing my best with the mess men made of things.

With every crack, I pay tribute to the great gays.  Larry Kramer!

We have at least four Chrises that could star in a movie. How many do you have?

One lifetime of me is worth fifty of yours.

I should have put you in that motion picture home years ago.

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over eight years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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