Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Horror Story has become bleak reality TV

Leslie Grossman
Leslie Grossman
Photo: FX
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“I wouldn’t have sex with you if you were the last man on earth.” Such a clichéd dig seems weightier when whispered in a bunker after the end of the world, more or less.

American Horror Story has delivered even more on the promise of a crossover this season with the appearance of the Rubberman (a star of Murder House). It was a major letdown to not see Evan Peters rip off the man’s mask and reveal he’s been having sex with a second Evan Peters, but I guess the brutal murder of his grandmother with a pair of scissors will be just as scarring for the poor lonely hairdresser.


Langdon begins the episode (after a bit of a biblical opening) with a lot of exposition without a lot of explanation. The increasingly stir-crazy cast of Big Brother: Apocalypse Edition will be subjected to a kind of interview dubbed by The Cooperative as “Cooperation” to see if they’re worthy to move on to the safer safe house. While Coco, with her love of pop culture references, asks if this is The Hunger Games, it really seems more like the highest stakes office team-building exercise ever.

Langdon’s deep dive into Mr. Gallant’s relationship with his grandmother makes it unclear why he let Nana hop on his trip to the bunker in the first place. If he wasn’t afraid to crash her mass set up with an inexplicable boom box (he lives in a mansion and couldn’t break up the dinner party with a classic ‘80s sex jam via iPod?) would it be that much of a stretch for him to have accidentally left her at home for the end of the world?

Of course, his anger with Grandma seems even more justified when she immediately turns him in for having sex with his mysterious rubbery companion, admitting that in a world where there likely isn’t room for the both of them, she isn’t just fighting for her place in the Sanctuary out of survival instincts. She genuinely believes she’ll make the world a better place, while her grandson will only drag it even further down. There might have been a little magic going on to trick Mr. Gallant into thinking he was getting revenge on the unnecessarily cruel Langdon instead of his Grandma, but it’s obvious he had enough rage to fuel either murder.

Ms. Venable’s time in the interrogation room definitely makes her more interesting, and even a little sympathetic. Langdon’s insistence that she remove her dress to show off her “shame” (a painfully crooked back) seems to escalate in cruelty with each ticking second, even as there seems to be the promise of a kiss only to be blown away by the reveal that she won’t be joining the lucky few in the Sanctuary. It’s hard to count her out though, as she seems, more than any other member of the safe house like a survivor (as made clear when she walks out of the room, head held high, without immediately zipping her dress back up after the interrogation).


While Langdon holds his confessionals, Timothy and Emily do some sleuthing in his room discovering all isn’t lost in this new world—somehow, there’s still e-mail. One e-mail, in particular, reveals the whole “no sex” rule was one of Ms. Venable’s creation, an add-on that could get her the death penalty. Which is all the info the incredibly bored lovebirds need to finally jump from one kiss a week to finally consummating their relationship. Also unclear is where everyone else is during their clandestine moment. In a creaky house without any distractions, wouldn’t the smallest hint of a moan mean the rest of the guests would be grabbing glasses to put against the door? Of course, they’re caught and brought to justice by the not yet ousted Venable. Their execution is attempted indoors because apparently Mead and her cronies can’t be bothered to put on their anti-radiation suits. But because Timothy is strong of spirit (maybe it’s his perfect ancestry.com tested DNA) he manages to wrestle the gun away and shoot Mead, whose bullet hole reveals-some yellow gunk where blood should be. Is she a robot? Infected by the radiation? That’s all to be explored in a special Halloween episode. Because it might be the end of days, and they might be subsisting off nutrition cubes, bitterness, and one of those smooth classics CD box sets they have infomercials for. But that doesn’t mean they won’t want to celebrate what the writers have to assume is every AHS fan’s favorite holiday.

Stray observations

  • “Time in a Bottle” will now be the official anthem of Evan Peters. Between this episode and his iconic X-Men: Days of Future Past scene, it should definitely be playing if and when he wins an Emmy.
  • Coco’s insistence that the youths are having a more difficult time roughing it in the bunker because they’re missing their myriad of choices is grating but also leads to some pretty funny points about all the choices millennials get to make. Remember, enjoy all those different kinds of Pomeranians while you can.
  • Sure they could scan the snakes for radiation, but without a herpetologist on hand or the power of Google, how could they tell if the snakes in their snake soup were poisonous?
  • A character yelling out Larry Kramer’s name as he’s whipped in a bunker after the end of the world as punishment for having sex with a man dressed completely in black rubber is peak Ryan Murphy.
  • Dinah has stayed remarkably calm in the face of fights, murders, and snake soup. Her eventual meltdown should be appropriately spectacular.

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