The End (American Horror Story)
|American Horror Story episode|
|Directed by||Bradley Buecker|
|Written by||Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk|
|Original air date||September 12, 2018|
|Running time||44 minutes|
"The End" is the first episode and season premiere of the eighth season of the anthology television series American Horror Story. It aired on September 12, 2018, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk, and directed by Bradley Buecker.
In the near future, billionaire Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Leslie Grossman) gets her hair done by Mr. Gallant (Evan Peters). Her assistant, Mallory (Billie Lourd), brings her pressed juices for an Instagram post as a notification of an incoming nuclear missile appears on everyone's phones. Coco believes this to be a hoax but her father calls from Hong Kong to tell her that it is real and their family has four seats on a private jet. Suddenly, at the end of the call, the bomb detonates in Hong Kong. Chaos ensues in Santa Monica. Coco calls her husband Brock (Billy Eichner) to notify him of the private jet. Coco and Mallory get to the plane and Mr. Gallant arrives with his grandmother, Evie Gallant (Joan Collins), begging Coco for the extra two spaces. A crowd begins to approach the plane, forcing the four to take off without Brock. As they are in the air, Mallory discovers that the plane has no pilot. The nuclear blast hits, destroying Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, forty minutes before the blast, Timothy Campbell (Kyle Allen) gets word of his acceptance to UCLA and celebrates with his family. As sirens start to blare, Cooperative guards arrive and forcibly take Timothy because of his exceptional genetic makeup. He is placed into a holding block where he meets Emily (Ash Santos).
Two weeks later, nuclear holocaust has effectively ended the world and nuclear winter has descended. Timothy and Emily are taken to Outpost 3, one of ten fallout bunkers across the country under the rule of the Cooperative. Wilhemina Venable (Sarah Paulson) introduces herself to Timothy and Emily. She explains that in Outpost 3 there are two castes: purples and grays. Purples are the "elite". They were chosen for Outpost 3 or bought their way into it. Grays are "worker ants". There are strict rules, including no unauthorized sexual intercourse and no going outside due to the risk of radiation contamination. In addition, everyone must dress formally and attend social gatherings. The purple caste comprises of Timothy, Emily, Coco, Mr. Gallant, Evie, former talk show host Dinah Stevens (Adina Porter), Andre (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), and Stu (Chad James Buchanan). Mallory is a gray.
Rationings begin to run low. Venable notes that they only have enough food for the next eighteen months. Miriam (Kathy Bates), Outpost 3’s sadistic warden, hijacks a Geiger counter and it detects traces of radiation on Mr. Gallant and Stu. The two are brutishly decontaminated and the Geiger counter detects no traces of radiation on Mr. Gallant afterwards; however, the counter still detects traces on Stu and Miriam shoots him in the head. Halfway through dinner later, Andre, Stu's former boyfriend, suspects that their meal is human and deduces that they have been eating Stu. Evie is notably unfazed.
“The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern plays in the lounge on repeat for the next eighteen months. Over the course of these months, Timothy and Emily develop a romantic relationship. At the close of these months, a horse-drawn carriage arrives carrying Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), who tells Venable that the other outposts have been overrun and that there are only four left, including Outpost 3. Michael states that it is his duty to judge who is most fit to truly be saved and join an "impenetrable" outpost with a ten-year food supply. Outside, unseen monsters devour the carriage's horses.
"The End" was watched by 3.08 million people during its original broadcast, and gained a 1.5 ratings share among adults aged 18–49. These results make this episode the lowest-rated season premiere in the show's history.
The episode received mostly positive reviews from critics, with many critics calling it the show's best premiere in years. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "The End" holds a 86% approval rating, based on 21 reviews with an average rating of 8.35 out of 10. The critical consensus reads, "AHS returns in frightening form with "The End," a wickedly fun - if unfortunately witch-free - premiere that's equal parts camp, chaos, and Sarah Paulson chewing scenery like no one else can."
Ron Hogan of Den of Geek gave the episode a positive review, saying, "Ryan Murphy's shows tend to start out strong and then the cracks begin to show, but I think with the short season order (10 episodes) and the very strong premise, he'll continue his recent trend of stellar storytelling and not get too bogged down with aliens and assorted unrelated weirdness. Even if it goes off the rails, Apocalypse will go off the rails in entertaining Murphy fashion, with a brilliant cast to bring that inspired weirdness to life. The best is yet to come."
Kat Rosenfield from Entertainment Weekly gave the episode an A−. She enjoyed Paulson's performance, calling her "fabulously stern", and appreciated that the episode did not use the usual post-apocalypse tropes. She also praised the costumes worn by the characters, saying that "everybody looks fabulous" and that the episode made "the apocalypse look like the world's greatest Prince tribute show". Vulture's Brian Moylan gave the episode a 5 out of 5, with a positive review, commenting, "this was one of the strongest premieres in American Horror Story history". He added that it was "a clear expectation for what the season was going to be about, introduced us to some delicious characters, had a great balance between scares and camp, and evoked a clear mood and visual style."
Matt Fowler of IGN gave the episode a 6.4 out of 10, with a mixed review. He said, "American Horror Story leaned into camp and comedy, including a couple of time jumps meant for laughs, to speed us through a sassy set-up episode that could have actually been disturbing and scary. Somewhere down the line, the franchise stopped evenly mixing its sinister elements and snarky quips and it's worked to defang the show a bit. The beginning and end of the episode though, featuring the exodus from LA and the arrival of the antichrist, helped juice things up."
- "(#801) "The End"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Metcalf, Mitch (September 13, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 9.12.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- "American Horror Story: Apocalypse - "The End"". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- Hogan, Ron (September 13, 2018). "American Horror Story Season 8 Episode 1 Review: The End". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- Rosenfield, Kat (September 12, 2018). "American Horror Story premiere recap: This is the end and everybody looks fabulous". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Moylan, Brian (September 13, 2018). "American Horror Story: Apocalypse Recap: No Whimpers, All Bangs". Vulture.com. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
- Fowler, Matt (September 12, 2017). "American Horror Story: Apocalypse - "The End" Review". IGN. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Horan, Molly (September 13, 2018). "American Horror Story Is Back with Our Worst Nightmare...That Just Isn't That Scarey". The A. V. Club.