‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ recap: ‘AHS’ is back to fine and freaky form

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Spoiler alert! The following contains details from the season premiere of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse.”

“American Horror Story” went to the end to find a new beginning.

After a few disappointing installations in Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s pulpy horror anthology series, “Apocalypse” debuted on FX Wednesday night with, well, a bombastic start that sets up a crossover between the series’ first and third seasons, “Murder House” and “Coven,” respectively, and also rejiggers a franchise that had begun to collapse under its own absurdity.

Combining two previous stories and rushing to the end of the world is a smart way to tap back into the series’ roots and bring back some of its best characters. It also allows the writers to pull on some loose strings from those early seasons, like a certain murderous toddler murdering his nanny in the show’s very first season. It also feels like a logical place for the series to end (although nothing has been announced).

But beyond that, the first hour of “Apocalypse” makes it seem like “AHS” is back to creative form, too. There were whispers of something interesting in the first few episodes of “Cult” last year before the season devolved into predictable “AHS” drivel, but the opening scene of “Apocalypse” is a fantastic start. The sequence is a propulsive, riveting peek at what might happen if the world, and particularly, a very American, very Southern California slice of that world, were confronted with its immediate demise, in all its human and cartoonish foibles.

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