Boy Wonder (American Horror Story)
|American Horror Story episode|
|Directed by||Gwyneth Horder-Payton|
|Written by||John J. Gray|
|Original air date||October 10, 2018|
|Running time||40 minutes|
"Boy Wonder" is the fifth episode of the eighth season of the anthology television series American Horror Story. It aired on October 10, 2018, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by John J. Gray, and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.
After passing out, Cordelia Goode (Sarah Paulson) experiences a vision of a burnt and desolate world. She sees a demonic pale-faced man standing on the porch of the destroyed Miss Robichaux's Academy before she is attacked and devoured by a mob of disease-ridden cannibals while the man laughs. Cordelia awakens in the Hawthorne School for Boys and joyfully greets Madison (Emma Roberts) and Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe). Cordelia details her apocalyptic vision to the other witches and warlocks. She agrees to administer the Seven Wonders for Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) so that he may rise to Supreme.
Returning to New Orleans, Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) chides Cordelia for allowing a man to take the position of Supreme, claiming that men make terrible leaders. She suggests that Cordelia select one of her own coven for Supreme, such as Mallory (Billie Lourd), who, as Myrtle witnessed, successfully healed the wounds of a dead deer. Cordelia confesses to Myrtle that she is dying. Her powers are beginning to fade, the sign that her reign as Supreme is coming to an end. Later, Cordelia meets with Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman) and her father (John Getz). Coco is a new student who can sense where danger is hidden, which manifests as the unimpressive skill of detecting gluten in food. She believes that coming to Miss Robichaux's is a waste of time, but Cordelia assures her that her powers will develop and grow. She asks Mallory to show Coco around the Academy.
At the Hawthorne School, Ariel (Jon Jon Briones), Behold (Billy Porter), Moore (Cheyenne Jackson) and Baldwin (BD Wong) cast a protection spell for Langdon in preparation for the Seven Wonders. Moore, believing that Langdon is the demonic man from Cordelia's vision, becomes fearful and leaves the School to go to New Orleans, despite Behold's attempt to stop him. Whilst filling his car up at a petrol station, Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates) pulls over and kills Moore. She meets up with Langdon outside the School. Miriam is excited to see him. Langdon agressively asks if she took care of the problem. She confirms Moore is dead. Langdon says these people are the only ones that can pose a threat to him. when he becomes Supreme, he can destroy the coven from within and ascend to do "what he was born to do." Miriam reveals that Ariel was in on the plan to kill Moore. He is the one that let her know when he was leaving.
Langdon successfully passes six of the Seven Wonders. Before performing the seventh, descending to and returning from the underworld, Cordelia asks Langdon to not only return but to retrieve fellow witch Misty Day (Lily Rabe) to see the extent of his powers. Ariel angrily accuses Cordelia of changing the rules in order for Langdon to fail, comparing her to her predecessor and mother, Fiona. Cordelia reminds Ariel that she is still Supreme and holds greater power over Ariel.
Langdon agrees to the challenge. He travels to Hell and locates Misty, who has been trapped in her own personal hell of endlessly dissecting and resurrecting a frog in a science class. Langdon reawakens in the living realm with Misty materialising beside him. Langdon gloats over his achievements while Cordelia experiences a nosebleed. She proclaims Langdon the next Supreme.
As Cordelia recovers, Misty confides in her that she should have been left where she was. Misty tells Cordelia that the evil within Hell appeared to speak to Langdon, who apparently negotiated for Misty's release. She describes Langdon as wearing "the perfume of death." Cordelia assures that she now has proof of Langdon's capacity for evil and rejoices that she now has all of her original sisters returned so that they may fight against Langdon in the upcoming apocalypse.
Stevie Nicks arrives at the Hawthorne School and gives a special performance of 'Gypsy' for Misty. Cordelia pulls Madison aside and instructs her to gather information about Langdon. Behold, eavesdropping on the conversation, says that he will be joining Madison as he now has concerns of his own about Langdon. Cordelia asks Madison to travel to the place "where it all began": the Murder House.
"Boy Wonder" was watched by 2.12 million people during its original broadcast, and gained a 1.0 ratings share among adults aged 18–49.
The episode has been critically acclaimed. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "Boy Wonder" holds a 100% approval rating, based on 11 reviews with an average rating of 8.5/10. The critical consensus reads, "Classic characters returning, along with a peek back at Murder House and a Roanoke Easter egg, make "Boy Wonder" an episode of heightened returns -- not to mention fantastical gore and camp."
Ron Hogan of Den of Geek gave the episode a postive review, saying, "One of the best aspects about the addition of Coven to the Apocalypse grouping is the politics involved in the witch world. There are wheels within wheels, and plots within plots." He added, "The scheming, as laid out in John J. Gray's script, is impressive indeed. Myrtle (the wonderful Frances Conroy) and Madison (Emma Roberts) pepper the script with fun, bitchy bon mots and asides. Michael and Ariel work their plot, the witches work their plot, and the clearly-defined group dynamics end up muddled at the end of the episode, with various factions and sub factions squaring off with one another."
Kat Rosenfield from Entertainment Weekly gave the episode a B. She enjoyed the Seven Wonders sequence, commenting that it was "a campy throwback all the way to the golden age of silent cinema". Moreover, she really appreciated the cliffhanger, calling it "breathtaking", and the characters' outfits, particularly Madison's. She also supported and approved Myrtle Snow's feminist opinion about the role of Supreme. Vulture's Ziwe Fumudoh gave the episode a 5 out of 5, with a positive review. She appreciated Paulson's performance, especially during the scene where Cordelia threatens Briones' Ariel. She also loved the cliffhanger of the episode, saying "this already very good season is about to get even better". Finally, she was a huge fan of Stevie Nicks' musical appearance, commenting "This is perfect casting. This is entertainment. I would love for every American Horror Story episode from now on to feature a ten-minute musical performance".
- "(#805) "Boy Wonder"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- Metcalf, Mitch (October 11, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.10.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- "American Horror Story: Apocalypse - "Boy Wonder"". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- Hogan, Ron (October 11, 2018). "American Horror Story Season 8 Episode 5 Review: Boy Wonder". Den of Geek. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- Rosenfield, Kat (October 11, 2018). "'American Horror Story: Apocalypse' recap: The White Witch approaches". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
- Fumudoh, Ziwe (October 11, 2018). "American Horror Story: Apocalypse Recap: Stevie Nicks!". Vulture.com. Retrieved October 11, 2018.