American Horror Story Apocalypse Review (no spoilers)

A promotional poster for AHS Apocalypse

Since Netflix just released the Apocalypse season for American Horror Story (shorted to AHS for the purposes of this review), this is many viewers’ first chance to view this season. I will be giving my thoughts and feelings on this season for this review. Keep in mind I’ve been a huge fan of AHS from the beginning. I will keep this review spoiler-free for those interested in learning about this season but don’t want big story plots, twists, or turns being revealed.

The Story…

Continuing the horror anthology, AHS Apocalypse weaves itself into different seasons that have already gone by. The story takes place after the world has succumbed to a nuclear Holocaust that destroys civilization and most of the human population. Most of this season takes place in the years leading up to the devastation. The Coven witches are attempting to thwart the end of the world attempt throughout the season and we learn the backstory of the man primarily responsible for this apocalyptic event (Michael Langdon, the “devil spawn” from AHS Murderhouse).

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this. Is a bunch of nuclear bombs going off at the same time an actual threat to modern society? Certainly. The wrong events happen and boom, most of the world will be annihilated (animals, plants, and people). However, the way they handled Michael’s character just felt extremely stereotypical of “spawn of Satan”. We have seen this type of character in plenty of other shows, movies, comics, etc. and there was very little “this is our unique spin on this type of character”. Did I love the fact that they expanded on the lore established by Coven with the witches and warlocks? Absolutely. However, if you hated and/or disliked Coven for whatever reason, I know you probably are NOT going to like Apocalypse BECAUSE of how deeply intertwined the two seasons are.

The final episode of this season kind of agitated me because the way it was set up, it almost felt like the writers wrote themselves into a hole (which is sometimes difficult to avoid with any type of anthology). The way it was written and set up, if they ever wanted to do a season that focused on an era post Apocalypse, it would be extremely difficult.

Plot Quirks…

A lot of little plot “quirks” or “add ons” made me want to roll my eyes out of the skull. Also, some of the character wigs were painfully obvious that they were wigs. Some of what the characters did were super cringey as well.

Characters…

We see familiar faces from Coven throughout this season. We also see a new group of warlocks. These characters are well developed and we see new witches involved with Coven as well. Michael is the star of the season and as stated previously, I have mixed feelings on this character. His backstory is well developed, but again, it felt extremely stereotypical of “this is the spawn of satan, FEAR HIM” type deal. The actor who played young and older Michael was fantastic (I believe the teenager Michael is the same actor as the adult Michael, I haven’t seen anything that says there are two different actors for said character), however, the writing was not the best for him. This is a behind the scenes issue, not an issue with the actor.

If you don’t like some of the witches from Coven, they get a little bit more development. Characters you didn’t like in Coven, you might end up enjoying this season. I can’t expand further on this without potentially giving away spoilers. We see some of the voodoo related characters in this season as well (albeit briefly).

Minus Michael’s character, I overall really enjoyed most of the characters in this season. Even if their personalities were despicable, they were very well written overall.

Soundtrack…

The soundtrack for this season was fantastic. It fit the scenes well and Coven’s theme song (the eerie vocalization of the female voice when the witches were introduced in a scene) mixed well with the overall ominous feelings of this season.

Cinematography…

The cinematography aspect was handled very well. A lot of characters die in this season. There is a lot of blood and gore, but it is handled well (not too cheesy or over the top, like some previous seasons). There is one scene in episode three (the episode is named “The Forbidden Fruit”) where near the end of said episode, there is a very graphic vomiting scene. Watch with caution if you’re sensitive to that.

Final Thoughts…

If I had to rate this season (0 being absolutely awful, 10 being fantastic), I would probably rate this a 7.5/10. This season is definitely a better one from their recent group of seasons (Freak Show, Roanoke, and Cult). My biggest gripes mainly involved the behind the scenes treatment of the character Michael (and he is the main star of this season, majority of the season being all about his backstory and plans leading up to the apocalyptic events that unfold during this season). Honestly, this season felt like the writers saying “we want another excuse to expand on what we did in Coven…so apocalyptic event it is!” The nuclear bombs going off felt overall extremely minor in the grand scheme of this season since majority of it focused on Michael’s backstory and his experience with people and groups of people going “HAIL SATAN!”. It feels like if Murderhouse and Coven had a baby, it would be this season. In that sense, there’s very little “originality” with this season. However, if you enjoyed Murderhouse and Coven, I certainly believe you will really like this season.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.