“We had at least four Chrises that could star in a movie.”
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…
Hey, it’s Rubber Man!
And, hey! – technically it’s Evan Peters having sex with Evan Peters. As in, Rubber Man is Tate Langdon, who was played by Peters back in Murder House. Also, Tate is Michael Langdon’s ghost dad, making this all one gloriously goofy time warp.
Is Tate truly the one who’s underneath this Rubber Man though? The body type seems different. Regardless, there Rubber Man was, haunting Outpost Three like a Tooth Fairy who pops up whenever someone’s moderately horny. Why was he there? What would a Murder House phantom be doing at this particular bunker? Also, why is there Coven-style witchcraft happening in the form of random (re-assembling) snakes? All of this still remains a mystery. As does Michael Langdon himself, the antichrist child from Murder House now all grown up and acting rather serpentine.
Unfortunately, the “hey, I remember that latex dude” giddiness was as interesting as this episode got. Titled “The Morning After” (possibly a nod to the famous 1983 TV movie about a Cold War-era nuclear holocaust), this chapter came off, most of the time, as aggressively dull. Langdon arrived, offered up a bunch of cryptic nonsense while letting everyone know they were being considered for a place called the Sanctuary, and then proceeded to interview people. Or, really, just one person. I’m hoping, sincerely, that this vetting process doesn’t take up the bulk of the season.
“The Morning After” didn’t really managed to expand upon anything from the premiere in an interesting or engaging way. The resolution regarding Rubber Man, in which Gallant was tricked into killing his grandmother, felt like three left turns to make a right. Why not just have him kill her on purpose? Why was the person he wanted to kill Langdon (which is who he thought was in the latex costume)? While being interviewed, Langdon was intrigued by Gallant’s inner rage and then, later, he sets Gallant free and informs him that his grandma had set him up to be killed. But Gallant then returned to the waiting room, heard her admit to it all, and did nothing. I’m just not sure why we’re supposed to be shocked that the person he brutally butchered wasn’t the person he thought he’d brutally butchered.
Moving along, the fact that Langdon knew Venable had been making up her own rules seemed to matter very little. Not only did she not get in trouble, but her fake rules were still totally enforceable after Tim and Emily discovered her tricks and went through with the rebellious sex they’d been waiting so long to have. I’m not sure what they were expecting. After being caught, Emily blurted out that Venable had gone rogue…but who was she blurting it to? It was all the people who’d gone rogue right alongside Venable.
Overall, what was the point of discovering Venable had made up her own rules? Why couldn’t they have just been the Cooperative’s rules to begin with? Nothing’s been done about her strict regime, especially since she apparently now runs the last Outpost, so what did this arc even mean in the end? Also, how much authority does Langdon have over her? He’s a member of the Cooperative, but is he a direct superior? It’s clear that he’s able to order her around, and humiliate her by forcing her to show him her wrecked spine, but she also feels free to speak her mind around him. She doesn’t recoil or cower. And he, likewise, doesn’t seem to want to make a full enemy of her.
At some point, Apocalypse will start layering in answers, and whether they’re totally ingenious or just bats*** buffoonery we’ll probably start thinking the season’s clicking because various puzzle pieces are falling into place. It’s what the show does now instead of being scary or disturbing. It sort of throws a ton of “WTF?” at us so that we care more about X,Y, and Z being answered and less about being presented with a clever or chilling tale.
Case in point: After a somewhat stagnant episode, we get hit with “Is Miriam an android?” I mean, it’s possible that next week we’ll find out she is. She’s a replicant. And her blood is that white milky paste that you see as the ooze from the man-bots in Alien and Aliens. But will it make the story better?
Also – and this is a larger question – the bunker barely has anyone in it. It’s got, like, ten survivors. Is that really worth Langdon’s visit? He implies that the Sanctuary’s already filled with people. Why make a big deal out of questioning such a small sampling of characters? Did the other Outposts have this few people? It all seems like a lot of fuss over not enough people to matter in the long run.