Leading up to its release, American Horror Story: Apocalypse was billed as the first “crossover” season of the FX anthology series, bringing together characters from the Murder House (Season 1) and Coven (Season 3) seasons, but the fourth episode of Apocalypse just crossed over yet another past season: Hotel. Yes indeed, the episode “Could It Be… Satan?” brought some serious connective tissue to the series’ fifth season, while also offering further explanation for the titular setting of the Lady Gaga-led season.
If you haven’t been watching, Apocalypse takes place after a series of nuclear weapons turned Earth into a wasteland, and revolves around the goings-on in a government-built bunker. Cody Fern plays the adult Michael Langdon, the child of Connie Britton’s Vivien and Evan Peters’ ghost/Rubber Man/demon Tate Langdon. As we learned in last night’s episode, which flashed back to events before the bombs, Langdon has had powers for a long while. But when he came to the attention of a coven of warlocks (i.e. male witches), it was believed he could be the long-awaited “Alpha”—a warlock capable of powers that could match the female Supreme.
You see, in this world, witches and warlocks exists but witches (i.e. women) are widely known to have more significant powers than their male counterparts. But the arrival of a warlock whose powers match that of the Supreme—who is currently Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia from Coven—is a game-changer. When it’s discovered that the young Michael has immense powers, three Coven witches are invited to the warlocks’ underground school: Cordelia (Paulson), Zoe (Taissa Farmiga), and Myrtle (Frances Conroy). When presented with the potential evidence that a young warlock is as powerful as the Supreme, the witches shrug it off as impossible—but during the course of their conversation, Cordelia reveals what happened to Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe).
When we last left Queenie in Coven, she had been appointed to the position of Council member alongside Zoe. But in the next season of the series, Hotel, we got a major crossover (at this time Ryan Murphy was still trying to say each season was standalone) as Queenie checked into the haunted Hotel Cortez while visiting Los Angeles to attend a taping of The Price Is Right. During her Hotel appearance, Queenie found herself attacked by Angela Bassett’s vampire Ramona and Evan Peters’ murderous ghost/Hotel Cortez builder James March. They murdered Queenie, thereby trapping her in the Cortez forever.
Cordelia reveals to the warlocks that she tried to go to the Cortez to get Queenie out, but it was impossible. The “dark magic” of the hotel wouldn’t allow Queenie’s spirit to leave. This establishes 1. That the Hotel Cortez isn’t really haunted, but “an entry way to all things dark, Satanic; where the Devil reigns.” and 2. Cordelia’s Supreme powers weren’t enough to overcome it.
And here’s where Michael comes in. As Cordelia is speaking with the warlocks, Apocalypse then shows us that Michael is upstairs in his room, in some sort of odd state with his eyes glazed over, sketching a drawing of the Cortez. We then see Michael enter the Hotel Cortez, encounter Queenie and James (the latter of whom seems scared for the first time in his life), and bring Queenie out. But that’s not all! Michael and Queenie then traveled to the underworld to find Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) in her own personal hell (which is working customer service at a Kohl’s-like department store, natch). We last saw Madison in Coven, in which she was choked to death by Evan Peters’ college student Kyle for refusing to resurrect Zoe. But here, Michael goes to the underworld to bring her back to life.
So the episode is basically establishing that not only is Michael far more powerful than Cordelia the Supreme, but he’s rubbing it in by bringing her friends back from the dead. Neat!
The American Horror Story: Hotel connection is rather interesting, though, because the Hotel’s powers were left somewhat ambiguous in that season. We knew that it trapped spirits in its halls, but Apocalypse reveals that its magic is of a Satanic nature. And given that Michael Langdon is presumed to be the Antichrist, or something similar, it makes sense that his powers would work inside the walls of the Hotel Cortez while Cordelia would be powerless.
So there you have it. Apocalypse not only brought together the first and third seasons of American Horror Story, but also provided some serious connective tissue to the fifth. It’ll be interesting to see if even more seasons are connected to Apocalypse somehow as the season progresses. Stay tuned…