'AHS: Return to Murder House' review: Constance, Ben, and Vivien unwrap Michael's past leaving Madison and Behold stunned
We know that Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) has planned something in her head to stop Michael (Cody Fern) from becoming the Alpha, Warlock equivalent of the Supreme.
The most awaited episode of 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse' aired yesterday and, firstly, Sarah Paulson, take a bow! What direction! Every frame was perfection and lived up to its standard. Before we go on with the review, let's take a quick recap.
We know that Cordelia (Paulson) has planned something in her head to stop Michael (Cody Fern) from becoming the Alpha, Warlock equivalent of the Supreme. She assigns Behold (Billy Porter) and Madison (Emma Roberts) this job, to return to the Murder House and figure out Michael's past and his weakness.
Return to the Murder House:
Madison and Behold buy the Murder House on behalf of the Coven while acting like a married couple. They sense that the house is filled with spirits and realize that Behold cannot use his magic in the house. He tried opening the door of the house with a wave of his hand but was unsuccessful in doing so. He must have felt real shame at that point as he had to use the key to open the door like silly humans (no offense). Once, in the house, Behold asks Madison, "Do you honestly think that Michael is evil?" a warlock feels for his fellow. Madison replies, "So we're here to find out. Cordelia won't send us here for no reason," and she was damn right about that. While Madison and Behold walk away casually as the main door behind them shuts automatically, no big deal.
The duo cast a spell to force the spirits in the house to appear before them and voila, it worked. The candles go off and they see a kid running around. As they follow the kid to the bedroom they are jumped on by two girl ghosts. However, after being scared by the ghosts of many many people in the house, they reach Ben Harmon's (Dylan McDermott) room where he sees his patients. Ben was counseling Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) about his after-life crisis about Violet (Taissa Farmiga). Madison and Behold approach them to ask about Michael, as we know, Ben's wife Vivien (Connie Britton) died giving birth to her bastard son, Michael. Tate impregnated Vivien in season one of AHS.
However, Ben leaves as his afterlife rituals force him to masturbate in front of the window crying, a deed he did in the first season and is stuck afterlife to do it and feel worse. Meanwhile, Tate just leaves. Madison and Behold encounter a kid who acts like a dog chasing a red ball and who then attacks Madison. When Behold tries to help her, Billie Dean Howard (Paulson) appears and warns him to not do anything like that in a house full of spirits. Cue, entry Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). Constance with her strong presence answers, "I am Constance Langdon and this is my fu***** house."
Madison, Behold, and Constance
After Constance's self-interest, which was to get the helper Maria O'Hara (Frances Conroy) out of the house permanently, gets served by Behold and Madison, she tells them about Michael. She claims she is the only woman that knows him well. Constance, tells them that Michael is her grandson. Tate who impregnated Vivien was her son and she was happy to raise him as she thought of Michael as her do-over after having failed as a mother four times. However, she judged the little, cute baby too soon. Michael, since the time he was in his crib, started killing insects and rodents, which pricked Constance in her heart but she buried them in her garden with a rose bush. But over time, Michael's obsession with killing living creatures grew and he started killing animals. The number of rose bushes in the garden increased, until one day, when at the minor age of maybe 6-7 he murdered his babysitter. Constance hid the reality of the murder from the police and called it suicide. She buried the body in the same garden with other creatures.
Constance realized that this isn't natural and Michael is becoming dangerous every day, but chose to ignore it. She says, "It was Michael who made me realize that I was put on this earth to raise the Monster." One day, when she approached Michael's room she saw that he had aged a decade overnight. From a toddler, he became a man in a single night, who while Constance was asleep tried to kill her by strangling. It was almost like, something had overpowered Michael and as he realized that he stopped and cried tears while apologizing a gasping Constance.
Constance understood that this is the time for a sacred intervention, unfortunately, Michael slit the throat of the priest who had come and when Constance saw it, he acted all normal as if nothing had happened, even though he was sitting right next to the priest's body. Constance took the hint that she could be his next victim, left the house and came to the Murder House where she "knows the rules and most importantly, knows the company". Constance overdosed on some pills and died in the house, only to be reunited with her children.
Michael who came looking for her found her dead in the house and cried rivers while blaming himself for her death.
Madison, Behold and Ben
After promising Ben that they could stop the cycle of him standing near the window and doing things he doesn't want, Ben started telling them about what he knew about Michael, who was like a son to him. Ben first met Michael while he was in the murder house crying over Constance. He told Michael "the spirits in the house cannot be seen unless they wannabe seen."
Michael felt disappointed over the fact that Constance didn't want to see him and Ben who thought he could help direct Michael towards a good life, offered help. Ben and Michael bonded like a father and son and enjoyed each other's company. Something, Michael had never experienced before. However, once while Michael was going through Tate's stuff, Tate appears in front of him to abuse him leaving Michael in tears. This was the point of no return for Michael, he chose the dark side. Ben lost all hope from Michael as he murdered a couple of women who bought the house and snuffed out their souls as well.
An emotional and disheartened Ben tells Michael, "I never could have helped you. It was foolish of me to try." Madison and Behold realized that Michael is pure evil and Cordelia must know about it, and they get interrupted by Vivien, Michael's birth mother.
Madison, Behold and Vivien
Vivien recounts the time she watched Michael doing monstrous things and being greeted by the Black Pope of the Church of the Satan, where he met his second mother. The night of the Black Mass was when Michael became the demon he is, where they kidnapped a girl, said some spells and stabbed her with a knife only to serve Michael with her heart to feast on. In Michael's shadow was a blooming demon with 10 horns and seven heads.
Vivien informs Madison and Behold that what they are dealing here with is not a bad witch who could be exterminated but a monster. She said, "Then I saw a beast with 10 horns and seven heads rising out of the sea and all who dwelled on the earth will worship him." She told them that Tate or Ben is not Michael's father but the evil soul of the Monster House. Vivien herself tried to kill Michael when we see some mark behind Michael's ears, and he sensed Vivien and burnt her spirit, however, she was saved by Tate from becoming extinct.
Adios, Murder House
After getting all the information need about Michael's past and his powers, Madison and Behold are set to leave the Murder House. Behold, got the answer to his question and Madison did a good deed before leaving. She reunited Tate and Violet for good when Behold reminds her that this is not "happily ever after" if they are unable to stop Michael. Madison waves and shuts the doors of the Murder House maybe forever this time.
This episode could be called the best episode of the season by far. It did not only gave us the heebie-jeebies while watching Michael eat that heart but also scared us to death with perfectly timed jump scares. I think after this episode, we can say that we are in love with the Madison-Behold team. Their attitude and their characters are alike but different in a good way.
Murder House got back our favorite characters like Constance, O'Hara, Vivien, Tate, Ben, and Violet. Constance was perfect with her sass and queen like presence. Paulson was back as Billie, but we were not able to see her for long because Billie was directing this episode. Paulson, you multi-talented woman, you are just amazing at everything you do. The beauty in which this episode was flowing was just fantastic, from the set design to the background score, everything just added to making it quite a memorable crossover.
However, one theory that strikes us is that this may not be it for the crossovers for AHS. There might be more to this than meets the eye. As Leslie Grossman in her latest teases said, " When you think it’s going to go one way, it goes another”. This is a 100 percent true with AHS!
We're all excited to know what is next on the cards for Cordelia and the gang but have to wait till the next episode of 'American Horror Story: Apocalypse'' next episode, titled 'Traitor' which clearly hints towards betrayal, on October 24.