Tricks run rampant, new powers emerge, and some old favourites return in this All Hallows Eve episode.
The Halloween episodes of American Horror Story are always an event, even in lacklustre seasons. Granted, it may not do much for plot, but since the narratives of AHS are generally arbitrarily crafted to begin with, that isn’t necessarily a drawback. That’s part of the beauty of the series. This week, however, “Forbidden Fruit” proved to lay some crucial groundwork.
Michael’s interrogation of the survivors continues. It seems pretty standard (as Michael’s interrogations go) until he alludes that Dinah knows him from somewhere. She argues she isn’t powerful enough to stop him. Do we smell a witch? While Dinah may just be hinted at, Mallory lights things up when Michael pressures her during their exchange. First, we have some flickering lights, then a fire explosion (after Michael shows a demon face). Mallory herself doesn’t seem to know what happened, but Michael clearly does. The next scene during his self-mutilating devil ritual, he mentions things he obliterated them all but one seems to have survived.
Last week’s revelation that Miriam is a robot is confirmed as she tells about her memories of Halloween, including a cheeky childhood costume of Rosie from the Jetsons and a fortunately timed fight to the death that doubled as an ultra-realistic costume. It turns out though that none of these memories are real. Like all those self-aware Westworld robots, she’s questioning her own false memories as she and Venable plot to destroy Langdon. Her programming includes loyalty to Venable, we’re told. And like pretty much every robot except WALL-E, she comes to the conclusion that they should kill everyone, including the seductive Mr Langdon.
But how to pull off such a task? Fortuitously, a breach brings another carriage drawn by gas mask donning horses. It appears this carriage is empty, save a box of Red Delicious apples. Pay no attention to the figure under the carriage. Apples prove the perfect opportunity (and super obvious symbol) for taking out the entire Outpost. Venable announces that the group will celebrate All Hallows Eve with a mandatory Victorian Masquerade. I love that they have no food, but tons of crafty accoutrements that lend to a DIY costume project. Michael probably didn’t even let them use his rogue WiFi to check out Pinterest.
Mallory is still reeling from her run-in with Michael. In a scene that is part Cinderella, part Dark Phoenix, Coco mocks her assistant, questioning the reality of her flame-on abilities. Humiliated yet again, Mallory can’t repeat her pyrokinesis on command to a jeering Gallant and Coco. She does at least get to knock out a mask for the party, albeit only to announce Coco’s entrance.
After some awkward junior high dancing, the group is promised to bob for apples. Since the apples weren’t actually poisoned, Miriam took the liberty of injecting them with snake venom. (I’m guessing these are the immortal closet snakes from last week?) Before that festive event, Coco dances with a dark hooded stranger. Believing him to be Michael, she promises him the Mr Gallant-Rubber Man package, drawing him away to another room. Turns out it is her fall-out broken boyfriend Brock (Billy Eichner) who has done all sorts of terrible things to get to her (though not eating a leg toasted by a Top Chef finalist). He’s none too amused that she is making dirty promises to strangers, so he stabs her in the head. No great loss.
Back at the party, apple bobbing commences and people are honestly way too excited and not suspicious enough about this whole thing. Like Snow White, they all take a big bite. Commence the vomiting, foaming, and dying. Yes, dying. In a matter of minutes, the entire main cast, save the robot and whatever Venable is, are dead. Next stop? Shoot Michael.
Except Michael has been waiting for them to finish up their dirty work. Miriam, as it turns out, is programmed to be loyal to Michael. He planted the idea of the apples and when she tries to shoot him, she turns the gun instead of Venable, firing on her. She’s surprised by her actions, unaware of her programming for Michael. He embraces her, telling her she is based on the only woman who ever cared about him, her “beautiful boy.” Now my AHS spidey sense tells me this is a Constance (Jessica Lange) Murder House reference. Did he upload her into Miriam? Is Kathy Bates playing Jessica Lange?
We don’t have time to find out because what we have all been waiting for finally happens. “She’s a Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones cranks up and we see three cloaked figures walking through this mist. That’s right. The witches are here. Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), Madison (Emma Roberts), and Myrtle “Balenciaga” Snow (Frances Conroy) to be exact. Our Supreme Cordelia instructs them to “find our sisters.” My money was on Mallory, Dinah, and Emily. I was two for three because the third witch turns out to be . . . Coco?! A few little blows and all three are back from the beyond. And Madison knows Mallory from somewhere. We’ll have to wait to find out more. Hopefully, we’ll also find out how Myrtle and Madison returned from their (second) deaths at the end of Coven.
Normally it would seem problematic to basically kill off your entire cast in episode three; I am fine with it in this case. It looked like Tim and Emily were going to be our hero characters (and they may still be), but I concur with Miriam–they were “relentlessly boring.” At least the rest of the cast doesn’t have the same problem.
Amber is a doctoral candidate in Language, Diversity, and Literacy at Texas Tech. She holds an MA in Literature and History and a BFA in Theatre. A Texas-based mother of two, she is an Associate Professor of English and History at Howard College.