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[Review] “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” Loses Its Momentum as the Seven Wonders Take Center Stage in “Boy Wonder”

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It’s time for Langdon to place his magic the place his mouth is as the enigmatic warlock faces the Seven Wonders in a meandering installment.

“History has shown us that the hubris of men knows no bounds.”

If the above quote is any indication, “Boy Wonder” is an episode of AHS: Apocalypse that could be very consumed by the concept of hubris. It’s not simply the males, however everybody right here, who fall sufferer to their satisfaction and the episode dangles the query of whether or not it’s the males or the ladies who’re finally proper in the finish. No matter who comes out on prime, each are assured and terrified on the matter. This season has made it clear that energy itself is essential, nevertheless it additionally exhibits that what’s much more necessary is the capability to have perception and notion.

AHS: Apocalypse’s earlier episode blatantly pits the males towards the ladies, and that’s nonetheless very a lot the case right here, however “Boy Wonder” begins to see rifts type inside the factions, too. The previous two installments have introduced a ton of historical past and plotting, however “Boy Wonder” slows issues down and wallows in the chaos that it’s erected. This episode sees each the witches of Robichaux’s Academy and the warlocks of the Hawthorne Faculty go into holding patterns whereas they struggle to determine what to do subsequent and learn how to not get trampled by the wheels of progress.

“Boy Wonder” is a vital steppingstone in the development of this story and its bleak timeline, nevertheless it additionally marks the first time in the season that the narrative begins to tug. As an example, is any of the materials on Coco, the Gluten Detector of North Hollywood even crucial? Her indoctrination into Robichaux’s feels extremely pressured and doesn’t even make loads of sense. Her powers of gluten detection are a enjoyable apart, however a snide remark about them from Madison can be greater than sufficient. Additionally, the world continues to be in full-on apocalypse mode however there are a number of moments the place issues don’t appear that dangerous on the market. Fuel stations are nonetheless in full working order, it appears?

A serious catalyst after Cordelia’s encounter with Langdon is that she experiences an apocalyptic imaginative and prescient that presents an much more dystopic rendering of occasions. Not solely are the remainder of the witches from Robichaux’s Academy charred rubble, however a foreboding white-faced demon seems to rule supreme. Cordelia, for as soon as, is definitely scared about what’s to return. After Langdon asserted his energy in the earlier episode, Cordelia’s able to let him tackle the trial of the Seven Wonders, offered he can wait two weeks time till the subsequent blood moon.

Cordelia placates the males from Hawthorne’s as a lot as she will and she or he’s involved that if she doesn’t permit Langdon to aim the Seven Wonders than she’ll be no higher than the warlocks. Myrtle occupies the different reverse finish of the spectrum and doesn’t need to indulge Langdon in the least, even whether it is arguably for the higher good. It’s useful to see pressure erupt between buddies and forged some characters in shades of gray somewhat than have the good and evil be so simply outlined. Cordelia and Myrtle are nonetheless not sure about what the greatest plan is, however they’re hopeful that Mallory is a few type of secret weapon that may assist them in the battle towards Langdon. This season wants to start out shifting its focus over to Mallory extra and reduce the distractions on much less essential, albeit entertaining, characters.

Moreover, it additionally feels somewhat handy that Cordelia’s powers occur to be weakening and she or he finds herself near her expiration date simply as all of these items with Langdon begins to warmth up. In fact, Cordelia could possibly be getting weaker as a result of Langdon is rising stronger, however “Boy Wonder” holds off on that principle till the very finish. For the most half, it’s simply yet one more coincidence that helps flip up the rigidity and urgency of the witches’ mission. “Boy Wonder’s” remaining act ultimately begins to discover the concept that Langdon’s ascendance as the new Supreme is liable for Cordelia’s deteriorating well being, however it nonetheless treats this ominously sufficient that there could also be one more reason for the current shift in energy.

Off in warlock land, the male magic wielders are significantly enthusiastic about what their future might convey. The group is already counting the days till the subsequent blood moon they usually act like Michael has already accomplished the Seven Wonders. Ariel and the others are optimistic about Langdon’s odds, however Cheyenne Jackson’s John Henry begins to exhibit skepticism. He’s seen the similar white-faced demon that Cordelia warned them about and it was scary sufficient for him to need to speak to her additional on the matter.

John Henry’s suspicions properly parallel the rift that’s starting to type between Cordelia and Myrtle. The witches aren’t prepared to homicide one another over such disagreements, whereas Langdon and Ariel are far more proactive about their dissenters. Miriam Mead additionally stays in the image as she continues to show her effectiveness as a blunt object of destruction. It additionally turns into slightly clear that Ariel has his personal ulterior motives in all of this. He’s seen himself backside out and get as far as he can with magic. What appeared like a misplaced trigger for him and his individuals is all of a sudden reinvigorated with the prospects that Michael brings together with him.

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Whereas “Boy Wonder” might meander in its first half, it’s gratifying to see that the “two weeks” till the blood moon don’t transpire over the subsequent two episodes of the collection. AHS: Apocalypse nonetheless has sufficient sense to hurry up the timeline and fast-forward to Michael’s sacred ceremony. Certainly one of the smaller delights from this season has been the minor aesthetic cues that harken again to AHS: Coven, whether or not it’s the opening bars of music when there’s an establishing shot of Robichaux’s Academy, or in the case of Langdon’s trial, the incontrovertible fact that his gauntlet by way of the Seven Wonders is introduced like an previous silent kinescope or cinematographe movie additionally pays homage to the presentation type of American Horror Story’s third season. Langdon even strikes by means of these stylized trials with the impish power of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton.

Unsurprisingly, Michael breezes by means of his trial till he will get to the last stage, divination, whereby Cordelia decides to boost the pot. Relatively than merely descend to the underworld, which is the ordinary process, Cordelia needs Michael to additionally retrieve Misty Day from her hellish jail, in the course of. It’s a troublesome complication to unexpectedly throw at Langdon, however Cordelia additionally is aware of that his ego is so large that he gained’t give you the chance to withstand the problem. This accomplishment is efficient in a number of respects, as it continues to point out off Michael’s superior expertise, however it additionally brings in one other essential ally in the witches’ struggle towards evil. Cordelia clearly has a plan that includes Misty’s powers. Plus, it’s all the time good to get Lily Rabe again in the combine.

Alternatively, I’m unsure if we would have liked one other tribute to Stevie Nicks proper in the peak of the episode’s climax. Very similar to the detour that “Boy Wonder” experiences with Coco, Nicks’ return feels wasted and gratuitous. Audiences in all probability gained’t begrudge Ryan Murphy and firm a lot for this piece of fan service, however there are only a lot extra essential issues that might be occurring as an alternative. That is the shortest episode of the season and it nonetheless throws 5 minutes away to a musical quantity. However hey, at the very least the warlocks don’t appear to discriminate towards Nicks’ music. At the similar although, I might have type of liked if throughout Stevie Nicks’ remaining verse of “Gypsy,” Langdon simply cuts her off and belts out the remainder of the track as he proves that his powers additionally translate to singing means.

“Boy Wonder’s” ultimate act revolves round Langdon’s domination of the last trial from the Seven Wonders and what meaning for the future. Truthfully, maybe the greatest a part of the complete episode is true after Langdon brings again Misty, which lets Cordelia takes a second to really revel in his powers. She might completely despise and mistrust this man, however she lets go of all of that for a second as she simply enjoys the return of her misplaced good friend. Misty appears to have the greatest grasp on what Michael actually is and regardless that extra individuals are coming round to him, she’s the vital outlier to assist expose him for what he actually is—the Antichrist.

“Boy Wonder” marks a disappointing lull in AHS: Apocalypse’s season and the episode’s script simply usually feels weaker. “They might be wizards, but they’re not exactly wizzes,” is fairly cringe-worthy dialogue. This episode continues to rearrange the items on this apocalyptic chessboard, however what’s actually essential right here is that regardless that each genders are posturing so onerous by means of all of this, Cordelia is the just one who’s mature sufficient to confess defeat and assist usher in the period of another person. This will not appear that essential, nevertheless it’s a robust distinction that I feel goes to assist the witches come out on prime right here. Hubris is one factor, however humility is one thing else solely.

It actually looks like the reply between dueling could-be-Supremes gained’t be so reduce and dry and that there ought to be a extra progressive answer—some kind of state of affairs the place each a lady and a person can share the energy and allow each other, somewhat than siphon one another’s power to outlive. It’s nonetheless solely unclear how this Supreme shakedown will conclude—or if there’ll even be a transparent victor—however I hope the space turns into just a little tougher than the easy gender binary that it presently addresses.

At the least subsequent week guarantees wacky street journey misadventures as Madison Montgomery and Behold Chablis return to the good ol’ Homicide Home!

‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ airs Wednesdays at 10pm (ET) on FX

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