Spoilers below for the latest episode of American Horror Story: Apocalypse, so be sure to watch before reading on.
It takes barely a cursory viewing of American Horror Story's newest season to learn that Apocalypse rests in Michael Langdon's devilish hands. The long-locked antichrist is currently trying to get recognized as the most powerful supernatural being in existence. According to star Cody Fern, though, that doesn't make him an evil character, but rather someone with much purpose. In his words:
I think there are different categories of evil: There is cruelty and there is destruction and you look at societal evil of today [where] you have things like sexual assault and rape and burglary and murder --- there are many different layers of what is evil. And I think one thing with Langdon that you come to recognize, and a choice that I really wanted to center Langdon on, is that Langdon doesn't think about destruction, he thinks about creation. Where everybody else thinks he thinks about burning the world down, he knows that he's burning the world down because from that, something new will bloom.
Over the course of the first five American Horror Story: Apocalypse episodes, Michael has definitely made clear his aim to round up the most suitable survivors to keep the planet alive. Of course, he hasn't exactly been showing off how virtuous his behavior can get. Michael got on Cordelia's good side by rescuing Madison, Queenie and Misty from their respective hellscapes, but only because he's (supposedly) unaware that they'll be used to try and stop him.
But even though Michael hasn't metaphorically kept his hands clean during his recent exploits, he has actually avoided physically getting his hands dirty. That's part of Cody Fern's defense of Michael's non-evil nature. Speaking to Variety about how much hate and greed there is in this "God's image" world, Fern says that Michael only wishes to keep that natural order going.
The world so far, under God's image, is clearly not working out. And if this is God's image --- this is how Langdon sees it --- then he just pushes that and takes people further down that path. ... In episodes two and three in particular, you see that Langdon doesn't actually do anything with his bare hands. He pushes people's buttons, he tempts them and seduces them and brings out their greatest fears and desires, and then they go about enacting horrific evil while he watches. He acts as a conduit for other people's evil, I suppose.
Of course that's how Michael views things. After all, "evil by conduit" is something that speaks to the heart of the American Horror Story franchise and its real-world influences. That kind of passed-on responsibility was perhaps most famously utilized by Charles Manson in brainwashing his "Family" members into murdering others. Which isn't wholly unlike Kai in American Horror Story: Cult.
Another element that fans might not be thinking about too hard is the fact that Michael has grown supernaturally quickly since being birthed by Connie Britton's Vivian. Cody Fern did cop to Michael definitely getting blood on his hands in taking out his first victim ahead of Murder House's final moments.
However, the actor says that Michael's rapid aging has complicated things for the character's emotions and sexuality, among other things. Not having a grasp on all of these complex "human" feelings doesn't make it easy to stay on the moral side of things. Here's how Cody Fern put it:
One of the ways I wanted to mark the character is that he is obviously growing supernaturally fast, so what does that mean for his intelligence, his sexuality, whether or not he holds confidence or power at certain times and especially his emotional world --- because if you're growing supernaturally fast, the ability you have to deal with your emotions is far less than a person who's gone through a whole life of ups and downs. So he's dealing with extreme emotion, and he's dealing with impulses that he doesn't necessarily understand at first. He has to come to terms with the fact that he's the antichrist --- that he has a mission he's been born into. And I don't think that's so far from people around the world who are put into certain circumstances because they're born into something they don't necessarily understand but are enacting out the necessary behaviors for that upbringing or those impulses.
Cody Fern went on to say that the rest of the season will spend time exploring how much Michael even understands himself and what his true purpose is. As well, viewers will see the show explore the notion of free will and destiny, in terms of how either one affects Michael's journey. What do you guys think will happen?
With Jessica Lange's return imminent, American Horror Story: Apocalypse will continue exploring its dead world every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. (We're hoping for a lot more Stevie Nicks, too.) While waiting to learn just what Michael Langdon's true nature is, our fall TV premiere schedule will shine a heavenly light on all the new and returning shows debuting soon.