Tonight is the end of the world as “American Horror Story” fans know it, as viewers may die of excitement when the long-awaited “Return to Murder House” episode of “AHS: Apocalypse” airs on FX.
While Season 8 of the Ryan Murphy-created anthology series has been packed with new faces and storylines for most of the first few episodes, it has been promoted as the eagerly-anticipated “Murder House” (Season 1) and “Coven” (Season 3) crossover — an aspect that has taken time to get to.
Viewers finally got what they’ve been waiting for when we were reintroduced to the “Coven” witches at the end of Episode 3, and tonight’s installment will see the return of Season 1 stars Jessica Lange, Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott, all reprising their “Murder House” roles.
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And since it’s been seven years since the first season aired, even the most committed of “AHS” fans might need a refresher on where we left off when “Murder House” ended. Since we doubt you can watch all those episodes before tonight, TheWrap‘s thrown together a nice recap of how that installment ended.
(We also threw in a “Coven” synopsis for good measure, because who doesn’t want to remember another Lange-tastic season that plays a big part in “Apocalypse”?)
Season 1 of the long-running FX anthology series centered around the Harmon family — Dr. Ben (McDermott), Vivien (Britton) and their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) — and their nosey next door neighbor, Constance Langdon (Lange).
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The Harmons move into the titular Murder House at the start of the season, after Ben is caught cheating on his wife and the couple tries to pick up the pieces. The 12-episode installment ran through the past and present horrors that occurred in the house, including Vivien being impregnated via rape by Tate, Constance’s dead teenage son (played by Evan Peters) who is stuck inside the Murder House with the other ghosts.
In the penultimate episode, Vivien died giving birth to two babies (one Tate’s, one her husband’s). Constance managed to snatch one of the boys, her grandson, after Dr. Ben was murdered by his former lover Hayden. Constance took the child, whom she later named Michael, and fled Los Angeles.
The other baby (Ben’s child) took one breath before dying and was reunited with his parents and sister in death. Yes, the whole Harmon clan kicked the bucket by the end of the finale, with us learning Violet had actually died of an overdose earlier in the season and was a ghost all this time.
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Now Michael is a special boy, as a medium called Billie Dean Howard (Paulson) explained a child born of ghost and human would be the Antichrist himself, destined to usher in the End of Days. The “Murder House” finale flashed forward to give us a preview of that mess, when Constance found a three-year-old Michael, covered in blood, having murdered his nanny. And the two laugh over the moment.
Their story is set to continue tonight on “Apocalypse,” as “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ” star Cody Fern has been playing the adult version of Michael this season — a problem Supreme Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) and the other “Coven” witches are trying to solve, which is the whole point behind the “Return to Murder House.”
As for Tate — the high schooler who murdered 15 of his classmates while still alive and numerous others as a ghost in the house — he was last seen glaring at the Harmons from afar, as his girlfriend Violet banished him from her afterlife once she learned he raped her mother. But Tate told her he’d “wait forever” until she changed her mind.
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But Tate and all the Harmons are coming back for “Apocalypse,” too, so we’ll see how long his timeout lasts.
Season 3 moves the story to New Orleans, where Paulson plays Cordelia Goode, the headmistress at Miss Robichaux’s Academy. She’s in charge of young witches Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a telekinetic former child actress, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), a descendent of Salem’s Tituba who could harm others by harming herself, Nan (Jamie Brewer), a clairvoyant, and newcomer Zoe Benson (Farmiga), who could magically cause men’s brains to hemorrhage by having sex with them.
Cordelia is the daughter of Fiona Goode (Lange) the coven’s Supreme — a witch born once in a generation who embodies the Seven Wonders of Witchcraft — who is dying of cancer. The season follows the witches as they learn who their next leader will be.
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Multiple characters die throughout the season (and some come back), and the finale sees the remaining girls take the test of the Seven Wonders to find the next Supreme and rid themselves of Fiona.
But mid-examination, viewers learn Cordelia was actually meant to be Supreme all along. Blinded twice (once by her own hand) she regains her sight and brings her coven out into the open, welcoming new girls to the school with Zoe and Queenie promoted to members of the Council of Witchcraft.
Who is dead? Well, we know for sure the already-resurrected-once Madison was murdered by Kyle in the finale — a frat boy who was killed in a bus crash caused by Madison and brought back to life, and is now Zoe’s lover and the coven’s “guard dog”; Misty Day (Lily Rabe) didn’t survive the Seven Wonders; and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) was burned at the stake at her own request, as punishment for killing other members of the council. Then Fiona succumbed to cancer and was banished to hell.
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Earlier in the season, Nan was killed, as was real-life 19th-century slave killer Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates), long-living 19th-century voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), and Cordelia’s witch-hunting husband.
But so far “Apocalypse” has seen the resurrections of Queenie, Madison, and Misty and the returns of Cordelia, Myrtle and Zoe, who are all working together to learn exactly who (or what) Michael Langdon is. Hopefully, we get some answers tonight, when we return to his original home: Murder House.
“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” premieres Wednesday at 10/9c on FX.