Oh. My. God.
Last week’s finale of American Horror Story: Apocalypse was personally one of the most satisfying I’ve watched since back in its Asylum days. After a very confusing and elaborate season of continual flashbacks, we finally flashed to the present (umm… future?) and the climactic battle between our favorite witches and the anti-christ himself.
Though I could talk about a lot of things regarding the finale, or the season itself; Angela Bassett taking a break from being a corny, over the top police officer on 911 to kick some ass as the voodoo queen; the fact that Lily Rabe was grossly underused; the fact that the last twenty minutes of the season was at the best a promise for a follow up season, at the worst a complete waste of time- what really struck me about the entire season was its emphasis on the power of women supporting each other.
Interestingly enough, Coven, the season that inspired Apocalypse, was mostly about powerful women fighting and undermining each other. The season was about the search for a new ‘Supreme’- the most powerful witch in the world, who would lead the other witches. To this end, the witches in Coven would literally kill each other, repeatedly, to try and become the most powerful.
Apocalypse was a great follow up to this. If you look at this season as a direct sequel to Coven, it is amazing to see the character growth of these witches. This season saw all the witches (save one- looking at you Jessica Lange) coming together and working unselfishly for the good of the sisterhood. I don’t think there was one instance where there was infighting or division amongst the coven. Again, compared to the last season these women were together, that is a huge statement.
Let’s put it this way- the show was about a group of women standing up and fighting against an all-powerful man, hell-bent on shaping the world in his image, even if it means burning it to the ground. The obvious allusions to the current political climate are blazingly bright.
This is an age of the ‘Me Too‘ movement. This is an age where women, and their queer allies, are demanding that their voices are heard. But this is also an age where an elected official can ‘grab a woman by her p****’ and still govern. This is also an age where a Supreme Court Candidate can cry and flubber on the stand after being accused of sexual assault, but still be appointed. These two juxtapositions make for a build-up of frustration that AHS dealt with brilliantly.
Spoiler Alert: In the end, the witches defeat the Anti-Christ; and they do it by working together, at times willfully sacrificing themselves for the sake of their sisters. There is a lot of loss for the coven, and at times it seems impossible that they’ll win. But together, they do. In what will no doubt go down as the single greatest line of the season, Sarah Paulson’s character ‘Cordelia’- in a final act that I won’t get into so there is a little mystery left if you haven’t seen it yet– says this:
“Satan has one son, but my sisters are legion, motherfucker!”
This brings not only the interconnected seasons of Coven and Apocalypse full circle, but also acts as a rousing statement of the power of women and (because I’m gay and want to be included) their allies to stand, united, against oppression and injustice. I could almost hear Sarah Paulson saying, “The White House has one asshole president, but my sisters are legion.”
So, though of course there were missteps and things that don’t make sense (why did the plane fly itself?) I have to say that this season of AHS was one of the best yet. It delivered powerful character arcs, as well as a clear message of female empowerment. And these days, we need all of that we can get.