US viewers got their first glimpse of a grown-up Michael Langdon when American Horror Story: Apocalypse premiered this week. Season 8 of the long-running anthology horror series is a unique proposition, which continually brings back the same cast members in later seasons… usually in different roles. However, creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy have long acknowledged that the seasons are linked, and Apocalypse is set to be an overt crossover between Season 1, Murder House, and Season 3, Coven. It will feature characters and other elements from both seasons – starting in Episode 1, entitled “The End”, with Michael Langdon — who is going to be pivotal to the events of Season 8.
Who is Michael Langdon?
Michael Langdon is the child of Murder House’s Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton), conceived when she was raped by the ghost of Tate Langdon (Evan Peters). Remember him dressed in that rubber S&M suit? Of course you do. Anyway, the foetus killed its twin in the womb, which was conceived as a result of superfecundation, or fertilization by the sperm of two different fathers. The second twin, Vivien’s husband Ben’s (Dylan McDermott) child, was stillborn — and because the unborn baby’s death occurred inside the ‘Murder House’, it returned as a ghost. Meanwhile, the surviving offspring – Michael — was taken in by the next-door neighbour, Tate’s mother, Constance (Jessica Lange), after Vivien died during childbirth and Ben was killed by the house’s ghosts.
We learned from Sarah Paulson’s medium Billie Dean Howard that the baby could be the Antichrist. She told Constance about the phenomenon of the Pope’s Box, a locked receptacle containing the details of the end of the world, which would be ushered in by the Antichrist who would be the offspring of a human and spirit.
The finale of Murder House jumps forward three years, and we see Constance return home to discover the nanny apparently murdered by toddler Michael, who is smothered in blood and grinning. This is the last time we saw Michael, who returns in Apocalypse to play a major role in the End of Days.
Why Could He Be the Next Supreme?
During Season 1, Constance drops the names of distant cousins Eveline and Steve DeLongpre from Virginia as the family from whom she adopted Michael when weaving the story of how she came to have a baby. As Constance’s grandchild, Michael is a Langdon, and so Eveline and Steve — if they exist — are blood relations of his.
The name DeLongpre is one which recurred in Coven: a certain Mimi DeLongpre was once a Supreme. With Coven demonstrating that the qualities and powers required for the role of the Supreme Witch can potentially run in families – Sarah Paulson’s Cordelia Goode succeeded her mother Fiona (Jessica Lange) as Supreme – it’s possible that Michael could possess the necessary powers too, as a descendant of Mimi.
But wait, aren’t Supremes always women? As far as we know, yes. But with rumblings that Miss Robichaux’s Academy has opened its doors to magical men, it adds credence to the notion that Michael could take on the mantle of Supreme. And even if he doesn’t become chief witch, if he has any of the powers that his possible distant relative possessed, he’d be a very powerful proposition indeed in combination with his status as the Antichrist.
So what’s his role in Apocalypse?
We caught a glimpse of a grown-up Michael Langdon at the end of Episode 1 of the new season. He rolls up, horse and carriage-stylee, to Outpost 3, where survivors of the nuclear attack witnessed at the start of the premiere are stationed. 18 months have passed and sustenance is apparently dwindling at Sarah Paulson’s Wilhelmina Venable-run fallout bunker. The assembled group of wealthy occupants and specially selected chosen ones are concerned about what’s next, and the shady Ms Venable greets their visitor. Langdon is a representative of the mysterious ‘Cooperative’ organisation behind the evacuation. He claims to have been “assigned to evaluate the people here and select the ones most worthy of survival.” We’re told that they’re the last remaining humans after survivors in other Outposts perished.
“I could take all of you, or none of you,” he says. “Those who make it live, those who don’t end up like my horses.” The horses, incidentally, were shot outside by lackeys after succumbing to the nuclear fallout. Langdon’s ultimate motives are unclear, but the Circle of Hell theory that’s been bandied about for some time – and which Ryan Murphy once shared on Twitter – could hold the key.
The Eighth Circle of Hell
According to the theory, the Eighth Circle of Hell was explored in Season 2, Asylum. In the Eighth Circle, according to Dante’s Inferno, fraud is punished. But could the eighth season of AHS actually correspond with the Eighth Circle?
The Eighth Circle is known as ‘Malebolge’, which translated means something akin to ‘evil ditches’. The Eighth Circle is a large, funnel-shaped cavern divided into ten concentric circular ‘ditches’, or trenches, or – dare we say – underground bunkers. We know from Episode 1 that there are ten outposts in total. Could Apocalypse be a literal representation of the Eighth Circle of Hell? And after Michael is done assessing the occupants of Outpost 3, will he take those that “pass the test” onto the Ninth Circle? Is everybody already dead? We’ll find out more as the season progresses.
Why Does Michael Look Like Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire?
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 13, 2018
Apart from Cody Fern’s Michael Langdon bringing a touch of gothic horror to proceedings, we don’t really know. Suffice to say that Ryan Murphy reportedly tweeted “Eyes like his Dad…Hair like his Mom”. That doesn’t explain the outfit, of course. But we dig it.
On that, though, there’s some confusion over why Langdon appears as a fully grown man if the show is set in 2019. He’d still be a boy if he was governed by the usual laws of nature according to the timeline of American Horror Story. So we’re guessing that the supernatural/demonic aspect of him is responsible for his accelerated growth. After all, even though he was about three years old at the end of Murder House in line with the passage of time, we do know that he developed at an alarmingly fast rate in the womb. With this in mind, it could be that he’s arrived at fully-grown Antichrist outside of the normal development rate for a human child. We don’t yet know the rules governing the Antichrist within the AHS universe, but if Langdon is immortal, he’d have parallels with Cruise’s Lestat that would include longevity as well as, perhaps, fashion sense.