American Horror Story: Michael Langdon and the unholy trinity


Part of American Horror Story: Apocalypse’s story for Michael Langdon includes his being the product of an unholy trinity of fathers.

Before American Horror Story: Apocalypse, we thought that Michael Langdon was the Antichrist solely because he was the product of a ghost and a human. “Return to Murder House” changes all of that, but it also gives him not just two fathers, but three — three that map pretty easily to the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity.

But, since one of those three fathers is presumably actually Satan, it’s more of an inverted triangle, if you will.

In the father’s role is Ben Harmon. It’s he who tries to show the most love that he can to a young Michael, playing catch and the like. But at the same time, when Michael misbehaves one too many times, that love changes and become anger. It’s not exactly like the God of the Old Testament, but there’s certainly some parallels to be found there. At the end of the episode, he’s also the one who recommits to another child — the ghost baby.

Tate, meanwhile, plays the son. We see Ben trying to act as a positive male figure in his life, too, with the daily therapy sessions. And, moreover, it’s the role we see him in over and over during the episode — particularly as it relates to the fact that he’s actually Constance’s son anyway. He’s there to welcome his mother back home into the Murder House, permanently. Beyond that, most of his behavior is quite immature still, particularly with how he even denies that he had anything to do with Michael’s creation in the first place. We know he did from Murder House, but as terrible as it might be, American Horror Story is doing its best to redeem him. There’s not necessarily an innocence to the role of the son, but he can be considered the most lamb-like of the three.

Finally, we see Satan as the Unholy Ghost, if you will. As far as we know, this is actually Satan (it’s not like he hasn’t appeared in the series before, as the devil possesses Sister Mary Eunice in Asylum). Unseen and, according to Madison, apparently influencing Tate, Satan is Michael’s true father. Of course, we feel the need to temper that with a “probably,” since this is still American Horror Story, and a twist could be coming.

But the one who whispers in Michael’s ear to do bad things? The one who inspires him, if you will? The one who is presumably always present? That’s what this true father does.

However, we’re probably not going to see two of the three again. Tate and Ben are still stuck in the Murder House, and it’s established that those scenes take place before the apocalypse really kicks off. And, in some ways, these two fathers have failed anyway. There’s no real point in keeping them around, not when Michael has learned to communicate with the third all on his own.

Is there a sense of inevitability to Michael and the devil being so closely tied? Yes, because of the nature of the season, where the flashbacks happen after we see Michael’s true face and after longtime fans recognize him for who he is. But at the end of it all, it’s important that the man the show has led us to believe is the Antichrist has his own opposing set of influences.

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The question is: Can American Horror Story investigate this more, with Ben and Tate out of the way and only a few episodes left in this season?