Explaining why and how he is rebooting the "Dark Phoenix" saga from the X-Men comics, Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg said that Jean Grey will be the "absolute center" of this new adaptation. This information comes from a Screen Rant interview conducted with Kinberg during New York Comic Con 2018.
This is technically Kinberg's second attempt to adapt the Dark Phoenix story, as he co-wrote the 2006 Brett Ratner film X-Men: The Last Stand. While Jean Grey's (Famke Janssen) struggle with the Phoenix Force was a primary plot point in that threequel, that storyline was run parallel with one about a potential cure for the mutant gene, arguably overshadowing the Phoenix story that was celebrated by comic book fans.
When asked by Screen Rant at NYCC what his approach to rebooting the Dark Phoenix saga was, Kinberg's main point was that Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner in this film) was the focus of Dark Phoenix, unlike in The Last Stand where she was one of several plotlines to be juggled. Her story with the Phoenix Force drives the plot of the film, says Kinberg, with the film depicting the effects that Jean's crisis has on the other X-Men.
The biggest lesson learned from X-Men: The Last Stand or X3 was that if you are going to tell a Phoenix story, tell the Phoenix story. Don't make it the subplot of the movie. Make it the plot of the movie. So in this movie Jean/Phoenix is the absolute center as you see her on the one-sheet of the poster. She's the center. The movie is about her. The movie's about her crisis and the ways that it then affects all of the people around her. Some of whom love her. Some of whom see her as an enemy. Some of whom want to take advantage of her. But she's at the center of it. So the lesson we really learned was to tell the Dark Phoenix story the way that it was originally told. And it's been told in other iterations, whether it be other versions of the comics or versions in the cartoons, she was always the center of it. It was always about her emotional, psychological breakdown and all of the things that then broke.
It is understandable that Kinberg would want to quell concerns about how his film will depict a popular storyline that in the eyes of fans, has been bungled before - it's worth mentioning that Kinberg apologized for The Last Stand. Not too many figures in Hollywood get a second chance to tell the same story that they did over a decade ago, so Dark Phoenix represents a rare opportunity for Kinberg. There is an emphasis this time on the character's "emotional, psychological breakdown," and it appears that Kinberg wants Dark Phoenix to be intimate in depicting Jean Grey's mental health while showing how she affects the other characters like Cyclops on a larger scale.
All of these points sound good on paper, but X-Men fans may have mixed opinions on the direction of Dark Phoenix, depending on who you ask after the trailer debuted. Some believe that Dark Phoenix already resembles The Last Stand greatly, despite assurances of its differences - one person even went as far to edit The Last Stand footage over the Dark Phoenix trailer. The news of constant delays and reshoots for the film have also made X-Men fans uneasy. Whatever the case, Dark Phoenix may be Kinberg and Fox's last chance to deliver an exceptional product on their own before the impending Disney-21st Century Fox merger hands their characters over to Marvel Studios.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is now the most successful digital launch title in the history of Activision's publishing catalogue, delivering big on the promise showcased in the trailers and previews leading up to the game's release. That means Black Ops 4 has already beaten the record previously held by last year's Call of Duty: WWII.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the latest in a long line of shooters published by Activision and developed by Treyarch. The game initially looked extremely strong in early demos, but was then met with some backlash from critics once Treyarch announced the developed had completely scrapped the planned single-player campaign for the game, instead choosing to focus on its multiplayer modes. While many would argue that the bulk of Call of Duty's franchise staying power is certainly intrinsic to the quality of its multiplayer, there were still reservations regarding the choice to completely eschew a traditional single-player campaign.
As it turns out, those concerns were unwarranted, and multiplayer is the name of the game when it comes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. A statement released by Activision yesterday confirmed the game's claim to the publisher's record launch day digital sales, and although no numbers were available, it's hard to imagine it hasn't been a wildly successful couple of days for the veteran duo of Activision and Treyarch. The total number of people who connected online to play Black Ops 4 also increased from last year's series release, indicating player excitement was also at an all-time high.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was also the first digital launch that saw Blizzard's Battle.net handle the PC platform side of things, and launch day PC digital sales more than doubled from last year's mark, which suggests that the new PC infrastructure has borne fruit already. Black Ops 4 also became the day one digital sales record holder for the PlayStation Store, while becoming the best-selling Activision Xbox One digital game on day one globally as well.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that critics have been enamored with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. In Screen Rant's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review, we said that "the Zombies offering is bigger than ever, multiplayer feels fresh and fun when it works as intended, and Blackout is just what the franchise (and battle royale genre) needed," awarding the game with a 4-out-of-5 score. Buoyed by similar reviews all around the web, it appears that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 could be on the fast track for a few more Activision records, and also proves that successful games don't necessarily need to have a single-player campaign to sell well, either.
The cast and crew of X-Men: Dark Phoenix did a wealth of mental health research to bring Jean Grey’s dark side to life. Dark Phoenix is the second time that the X-Men franchise will attempt to bring the iconic comic storyline to the big screen. The first attempt was during X-Men: The Last Stand which was a movie stuffed to the metaphorical gills with plots - that also happened to include Famke Jansen’s Jean Grey being resurrected and possessed by the Phoenix Force. It was so negatively received it nearly killed the X-Men franchise.
Dark Phoenix, meanwhile, is arriving at a strange time. A merger between Fox and Disney is imminent and the possibility exists for the X-Men to join the MCU, making it possible that Dark Phoenix will be an end of era of X-Men films. Even if Dark Phoenix is another finale, the movie is hoping to avoid the previous adaptation's problems by really delving into Jean Grey on an emotional level.
At New York Comic Con, Screen Rant spoke to Dark Phoenix star Sophie Turner about the film. Turner, who played Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse and will reprise the role in Dark Phoenix, revealed that the movie is taking her character’s transformation very seriously. The actress explained that in order to understand Jean better, she researched a lot of mental health issues:
As soon as Simon [Kinberg] kind of told me what the movie was about we just started straight away sharing ideas, sharing materials. Simon gave me a big, big book on schizophrenia. I actually found this thing online, on YouTube. And it was just kind of repeating, repeating, repeating, what it sounds like being a schizophrenic. So I used to walk around town with all these voices in my head. Kind of feel it out. And see what it felt like. We also explored Multiple Personality Disorder as well. And what that feels like to kind of wake up and not know what you did, What happened and that shear panic and how that affects you. Jean is just... this movie... She's so, so, layered. She's so complex in this movie. I really don't think that I've done more research for a role than for this one and I loved every minute of it.
The first trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix gave a pretty good idea of the tone of the movie. Understandably the teaser painted a picture of a dark and tortured Jean giving Dark Phoenix a bit of a horror movie feel. Taking the trailer at face value, Dark Phoenix will have a psychological thriller vibe with Jean slowly being consumed by the Phoenix. Turner’s comments double down on that ominous tone. It appears that the antagonist of Dark Phoenix won’t just be a possessed Jean wreaking havoc but also deeply exploring the evil force controlling Jean.
This route is the right way to go because one of The Last Stand’s (many) problems is how simplified Jean’s transformation was in the movie. The Phoenix in Last Stand was used more as a weapon by Magneto than her own character with any agency. Jean was completely trivialized. An element of the Dark Phoenix story involves Jean Grey becoming consumed by a force beyond her control and power. Yet there’s still a way to present that story that doesn’t lose the character or make her into plot device. Approaching the possession as an allegory for mental health would be effective and emotional manner to do it.
It also wouldn’t be the first time that the X-Men franchise has used real-life metaphors for supernatural stories. The movies, even more than the comics, have embraced the idea of mutants as stand-ins for the disenfranchised. The current X-Men continuity even began with X-Men: First Class, a movie set in the 1960s to further underline mutants' connection to the civil rights movement. If executed correctly a mental health metaphor could add a much needed new dimension to the classic story.
We’re willing to bet that pretty much every gamer has fond memories of the moment when they discovered their first ever hidden location in a video game. Considering most players stumble upon this bonus content at an early age, it can be an incredible experience that makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about gaming.
The exhilarating rush you feel when you discover a secret area in a game never fades with age. It’s always exciting to stumble across extra levels, surroundings or even entire worlds. Not only is there the sense that you’ve achieved something others will likely miss, but video game developers often include generous rewards in recognition of players’ ingenuity. Sometimes they don’t.
Indeed, more than a few hidden locations offer absolutely no benefits whatsoever, which can be particularly galling in situations where arriving at that location required considerable effort. Sometimes, this is simply because the space in question wasn’t really designed to found: it’s just an area of the map that the development team abandoned and didn’t bother to remove. Other times, the location was intended as more of a fun little perk, with the thrill of the hunt and the novelty of visiting a unique spot treated as being reward enough. Either way, it’s good to know ahead of time which clandestine video game environments deserve your time before you set out in search of them.
For this reason, we’ve pulled together this handy list of 15 Hidden Video Game Locations That Are Worth Finding (And 15 That Are Worthless) – happy hunting!
30 Worth Finding – The Special Zone (Super Mario World)
Super Mario World’s Forest of Illusion is notorious for requiring players to locate a “secret” portal – or else remain trapped on an endless loop. However, this isn’t the only hidden content squirrelled away in this Super Nintendo classic.
There are two other bonus zones.
The first of these is the Star Road, which contains insanely convenient shortcuts to other game world locations. The second area, the Special Zone, will only be found by those players who explore the Star Road thoroughly. It’s actually a good thing that the Special Zone is so hard to find – the additional levels here are extremely difficult, so it’s best if only Super Mario pros attempt them!
29 Worthless – The Wrap Party (Deus Ex: Invisible War)
The Deus Ex franchise is celebrated for combining elements of various game genres, creating a winning hybrid gameplay formula. Thanks to the RPG aspects of the first sequel, Invisible War, players are able to directly influence how the narrative will unfold, and which of the five endings they ultimately unlock.
That’s right, we said five endings – which will come as a shock to gamers who never found Invisible War’s secret “Wrap Party” finale, which is accessed by taking a flag to a specific bathroom and flushing the toilet. Ironically, this bizarre ritual actually sums up the quality of this clandestine climax, which is randomly set in a nightclub populated with dancing characters.
At first glance, the Triangle bonus level of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 – unlocked by completing Classic Mode – isn’t that impressive. That’s before you realize that to get the most out of Triangle, you need to embrace your inner lunatic.
To uncover a hidden alien base, you need to blow it open by flipping the switch on the missile launcher of a nearby Apache helicopter!
Continue snooping around the alien base, and you’ll eventually come across a wormhole to an Aztec temple – but that’s not the end of the line. Curse all of the monkey gods in these ruins, and you’ll be transported to Hell itself, Triangle’s third and final secret area.
27 Worthless – The Chris Houlihan Room (The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past)
Full disclosure: the Chris Houlihan Room in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past does serve a purpose. Named after a Nintendo Power contest winner, this secret location manifests itself when one of five possible technical glitches occurs, and the game needs to shunt the player somewhere to avoid crashing.
It’s actually very useful, as nobody wants to see their game crash. That said, by it’s very nature as an in-game safety net, The Chris Houlihan Room isn’t exactly the most exciting hidden area you’re likely to discover, and it’s best not to find yourself there!
The thing about most hidden areas in video games is that, ultimately, they are meantto be found – but sometimes the developers bury this content too deeply. Take Warden Sharp’s secret room in Batman: Arkham Asylum, for example.
The team at Rocksteady Studios hid it so fiendishly off-the-grid that nobody had found it, months after the game was released.
Rather than run the risk of the room never being discovered, Rocksteady opted to throw gamers a bone and made it publicly known that blowing up a wall in Sharp’s office would pay dividends. We’re glad they did, as this back-of-house bunker – which offered a sneak peak at sequel Arkham City – was too awesome to go unnoticed.
25 Worthless – The Easter Egg Room (GTA: Vice City)
Rockstar Games – the gang behind the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto franchise – have a kind of “love/hate” relationship with bonus content. Sometimes, this material is genuinely deserving of players’ efforts to find it, whereas other times, it’s almost like Rockstar is trolling us all.
Landing somewhere in the middle is GTA: Vice City’s Easter Egg Room, a secret room that can be entered by jumping through a not-so-solid window adjacent to the Vice City News Building’s helipad. Inside, players will find a literal Easter egg mounted on a plinth. It's a cute gag, but not much else.
24 Worth Finding – The Secret Cow Level (Diablo II)
Occasionally, video game hoaxes can give birth to actual content further down the line. Such was the case with the Secret Cow Level in Diablo II – which was included by Blizzard as a tip of the hat to false reports of such a level existing in the first Diablo adventure.
The Secret Cow Level – accessed by generating a special, red portal using a certain set of inventory items – more than lived up to the hype.
Not only could you snag some decent kit from the Cow King boss, but (until the release of a subsequent patch) it was the perfect place to level up your character, too!
23 Worthless – The Ghostly Room (Call Of Duty: Finest Hour)
If super-surreal, vaguely-creepy settings are your jam, then maybe The Ghostly Room in Call of Duty: Finest Hour will be right up your alley. As for the rest of us? Well, let’s just say it’s likely to prove a total let-down.
Accessing this mildly spooky spot isn’t overly tough: you just need to lob a couple of grenades at a locked door in the Underground Passage, press the action button, then throw another grenade into the mix for good measure. On the other side of the now-open door is a lengthy corridor, at the end of which you’ll find unnerving portraits, floating candles, explosive teddy bears, and other weird (and useless) bric-a-brac.
22 Worth Finding – The Cake Room (Portal)
At various points during first-person puzzle-platformer Portal, the player is reminded that “The cake is a lie.” Well, whoever first said that clearly never found themselves in the Cake Room, which is home to one of these otherwise elusive treats, as well as your beloved Companion Cube.
Admittedly, it’s a complicated getting into the Cake Room – a combination of exceptional portal gun marksmanship, well-timed agility, and technical glitches all need to come together for you to arrive there. Ordinarily, this would be more energy than we’d be willing to expend for even the most delicious dessert, but then, Portal is no ordinary game!
21 Worthless – Inside The Icon Of Sin (Doom II)
The final boss battle in Doom II: Hell on Earth is arguably anti-climatic enough, without coming face-to-face with its underwhelming hidden area. For those unfamiliar with the finale of Doom II, the player battles a large, wall-mounted demonic face know as the Icon of Sin, whose weakness is the hole in its forehead.
By exploiting either a glitchy jump or a no clipping cheat, squeezing through this opening is doable.
You’ll be rather disappointed with what you find. In lieu of either another Hellish presence or even a grotesque brain, you’re greeted by the sight of programmer John Romero’s head, which is just silly.
20 Worth Finding – The Castle Roof (Super Mario 64)
When it was first released back in 1996, Super Mario 64 represented a landmark moment in open-world video game design. Indeed, gamers weren’t really used to the level of freedom afforded by Mario 64’s sprawling environment – which is probably why so few of them managed to get their mitts on all 120 stars scattered throughout it.
Those persistent souls who didacquire each and every star weren’t complaining about the outcome, however. Doing so grants players access to the castle’s cannons, which launch you onto the normally inaccessible castle roof. Up here, you’re met by Mario’s dinosaur pal Yoshi, who dishes out 100 extra lives and a nifty new jump ability!
19 Worthless – The Gabe Newell Room (Half-Life)
Remember how we mentioned that some hidden areas weren’t necessarily intended to be found? Well, we’d like to think that The Gabe Newell Room in Half-Life falls under this umbrella.
What sane person would actually want players to encounter an environment textured floor to ceiling with the same photograph of their face?!
Lending further credence to our theory that developer Newell didn’t really want gamers to wander into his bonkers room is that you can’t actually reach it without resorting to cheats. That’s right: only those who use the no-clipping cheat at the exact right moment in Chapter 3 will make it to the Gabe Newell Room. Lucky them?
18 Worth Finding – The Mile High Club (Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
As we've established, the Ghostly Room in Call of Duty: Finest Hour is worthlesss– which shouldn’t lead you to think that every CoD hidden location is a waste of time. On the contrary, we’d rate The Mile High Club bonus mission in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare up there with any unlockable content, ever.
Available to players who completed the single-player campaign and then took the time to watch the game’s credits all the way through, The Mile High Club is set on a hijacked plane. Making the most of this thrilling premise, it’s chock full of intense close-quarters combat, as players race through the confines of the aircraft rescuing hostages.
17 Worthless – The Island (GoldenEye)
The lonely island in GoldenEye 007 is a prime example of aborted video game content making it into the finished product. Early on, developer Rare dreamed up an entire sequence where players would get behind the wheel of a boat during the Dam level, commandeering it to the island visible on the horizon. The problem was, the technology available at the time made programming such a sequence practically impossible.
The cool idea was dropped, but the island itself remained.
Gamers have since used Gameshark cheat codes to set foot there, experiencing first hand what might have been.
16 Worth Finding – Big Blue (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
You know a hidden area is worth unlocking when it’s been blacklisted from the majority of official tournaments. Such is the case with the Big Blue arena in Super Smash Bros. Melee, which becomes available after gamers go 10 rounds with Captain Falcon as their player character.
True, Big Blue is a monumentally unforgiving environment – which might be why most official competitions prohibit its selection – but that doesn’t make it any less fun to play. After all, what could be more exhilarating than a four-way rumble where the combatants bound between floating platforms while the world races past them at breakneck speed?
15 Worthless – Sector 7-G from The Simpsons (Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic)
There's just no way we're willing to give Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic’s tribute to The Simpsons a thumbs up when it comes to worthy hidden video game locations.
Admittedly, it’s pretty neat that 3D Realms was able to sneak a rough approximation of Homer Simpson’s Sector 7-G work station into the game.
Whether it’s due to the dated, mid-90s graphics used for this homage, or simply the lack of any real benefit to finding it, our reaction was more “D’oh” than “Woo-hoo”.
14 Worth Finding – The Reptile Pit (Mortal Kombat)
The Mortal Kombat franchise has a proud history of tucking away bonus material in each of its installments, dating all the way back to the first entry in the series. Funnily enough, the earliest secret stage in the game actually ranks among Mortal Kombat’s best: a showdown with Reptile amongst the spikes of the Pit environment.
It wasn't easy to get there – gamers needed to decipher clues provided by the green-garbed ninja at random, as well as meet certain other conditions. We can all agree that the end result – an extra fight against a legendary opponent – more than justifies the hard work involved.
13 Worthless – The Puff Puff Room (Dragon Quest VIII)
Frankly, the only gamers likely to think that the Puff Puff Room in Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed Kingis worth locating are those who reallyenjoy the RPG’s offbeat sense of humor.
A visit to the Puff Puff Room involves being blindfolded while a woman rubs her “puff puffs” against your cheeks.
Other than this surreal experience, the Puff Puff Room doesn’t have much else to offer…unless you simply can’t live without a mini medal and a silver platter in your inventory.
12 Worth Finding – Guy Savage Mini-Game (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater doesn’t just feature a hidden area – it contains an entire mini-game that can only be unlocked following a special set of circumstances. Players first need to save their game prior to breaking out of their jail cell in Groznyj Grad. Next, they have to boot up that file, at which point they will wake up inside protagonist Snake’s nightmare: a horror-themed hack-and-slash joint!
Known as Guy Savage, this cool mini-game pits players against a horde of zombie-like enemies, which they can dispatch using the pair of swords at their disposal. Apparently, developer Konami originally intended to release Guy Savage as standalone title, but these plans were later abandoned.
11 Worthless – The Inverted Castle (Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night)
Criminally overlooked by gamers when it first hit shelves, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night fortunately went on to achieve cult classic status. Praised for successfully grafting non-linear level design and RPG mechanics onto the franchise’s action/platformer core gameplay, there was very little not to love about the game. In fact, perhaps the only unsatisfying thing about Symphony of the Night is the Inverted Castle bonus content. Unlocked by players who overcome Richter while wearing the Holy Glasses, this does what is says on the tin.
It flips the entire game map upside down.
True, it also tweaks the color scheme and throws new grunts and bosses at you – but it’s still basically the same game.
10 Worth Finding – The Painted World Of Ariamis (Dark Souls)
The games in the Dark Souls series are infamous for their eye-watering difficulty – which makes beating them all the more satisfying. The same can be said for pinpointing any of the franchise’s secret material: it's not easy, but it sure does feel good once you do it.
That’s what makes The Painted World of Ariamis hidden area in the original Dark Souls outing so great. It requires you to schlep all the way back to the start of the game to retrieve the appropriately-named Peculiar Doll. But once you’ve used the Doll to enter a magical painting boasting its own treasures and boss battle, you’ll be glad you put in the works!
9 Worthless – The Duck Race (Shenmue II)
In fairness, the Duck Race mini-game in Shenmue II totally fits with the action-adventure series’ commitment to presenting a fully-fledged virtual world. That’s certainly something this secret side-mission helps to accomplish; off-setting the larger-than-life aspects of the game’s main martial arts-driven narrative with a decidedly more mundane activity.
Unlocking this poultry-based rally is unreasonably tricky.
Not only are you expected to defeat Izumi Takano in a no-holds-barred street brawl – one of the toughest fights in Shenmue II – you’re also required to beat several arcade game challenges, as well. Again: this is all just so that you can take part in a duck race!
8 Worth Finding – Maian SOS (Perfect Dark)
Just about everything in Perfect Dark was perfectly executed – so it should come as no shock at all that this N64 shooter’s secret mission, Maian SOS, is so well handled.
After players have beaten the game as Joanna Dark on the Special Agent setting, they’re given the opportunity to take on the role of little grey alien Elvis. What follows is a wildly enjoyable romp through Area 51, as the player guides Elvis to do everything he can to escape confinement and relay a distress signal to his extraterrestrial brethren.
7 Worthless – The Secret Garden (Shadow Of The Colossus)
Marrying jaw-dropping visuals with revolutionary gameplay, Shadow of the Colossus is consistently ranked among the greatest video games of all time. The quality of the art design on display really can’t be overstated, and exploring this virtual environment was at least as captivating as the monumental battles that take place there.
Unfortunately, finding The Secret Garden – the secluded patch of land atop the Shrine – is a real bummer.
Scaling the Shrine takes sufficiently upgraded stamina, and then you’re forced to navigate a precarious pathway, only to wind up in a dull (albeit picturesque) setting that yields poisonous fruit.
6 Worth Finding – The Warp Zone (Super Mario Bros.)
Continuing the Super Mario franchise’s phenomenal run of form when it comes to secret locations, the Warp Zone in the first-ever console game, Super Mario Bros., is top-notch. All you need to do is sprint along the game score – which functions as a platform – at the top of the screen during the second level.
From here, you’ll eventually plummet to a modestly-sized room decorated with the friendly message, “WELCOME TO THE WARP ZONE!” There are also four numbered tubes, which correspond to the different game zones, allowing you to leapfrog well ahead of your current position.
5 Worthless – The Warren Robinett Room (Adventure)
The Warren Robinett Room in Adventure attained a new degree of fame this year, when it played a pivotal role in the finale of Steven Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of Ready Player One. This increased notoriety is probably more than this retro Easter egg (possibly the first in video game history) deserves.
All the Warren Robinett Room amounts to is a cloistered space that acknowledges Robinett as the creator of this Atari 2600 gem.
We’re all for seeing creators recognized for their work, but that’s what credit screens are for!
4 Worth Finding – The FBI Bunker (GTA V)
An instance of the Rockstar Games crew creating hidden content gamers might actually get a kick out of, the FBI Bunker in Grand Theft Auto V is all kinds of amazing. Located in a hollowed out cave on a small island situated in the Pacific Ocean, the Bunker is entered by walking through a seemingly innocuous tree.
It can be disorienting to find yourself transported to this subterranean hideout so abruptly, but get your bearings quickly. You don’t want to alarm any of the heavily-armed FBI agents standing on guard, or miss your chance to poke around the military-grade hardware stored nearby.
3 Worthless – Beam Me (King's Quest IV)
How you feel about this King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella Easter egg depends entirely on how you feel about the prospect of meeting up with a game’s developers in general. That’s exactly what this secret level is: a chance for players to interact with virtual representations of the King’s Quest IV creative team aboard a spaceship.
Triggered by typing “beam me” in the prison cell corridor once you’ve vanquished Lolette, this secret room doespossess a certain goofy charm.
With no special items to be gained from making this social call amidst the stars, it’s far from essential.
2 Worth Finding – The Minecraft Area (Borderlands 2)
The Walking Dead season 9 episode 2, "The Bridge" left us with some big questions. Despite being only a couple of episodes in, The Walking Dead's latest run has been incredibly eventful and radically different. After an 18-month time skip, Alexandria and its surrounding communities are working together and thriving, as Rick Grimes seeks to re-establish some kind of civilization amid the zombie apocalypse.
However, the road to establishing this goal has been far from plain sailing. In The Walking Dead season 9 premiere episode, a routine supply run ended in the death of very-obviously-doomed newcomer, Ken. Then, just as Rick and Michonne were discussing re-introducing the rule of law, Maggie had political rival Gregory executed for a botched assassination attempt. Life didn't get much easier for Rick in season 9, episode 2 this week, with escalating tensions at the Hilltop and Sanctuary boiling over during the group's mission to rebuild a bridge and trade shipments mysteriously vanishing en route. At least Jerry has a girlfriend though.
While the second installment of The Walking Dead season 9 was certainly eventful, it also raised a number of pertinent questions and further developed some pre-existing mysteries. Here are the 6 most pressing unanswered questions from the episode.
The ongoing helicopter mystery returns in The Walking Dead. Last season, Rick Grimes caught sight of an airborne chopper and was understandably puzzled at who could be flying such a vehicle around during the apocalypse. Shortly after, it was revealed that the leader of the Scavenger group, Jadis, was somehow linked to the enigmatic chopper, with a line of communication to the person or people piloting it and a landing helipad located in her old Junkyard settlement.
This week's episode confirmed that although Jadis, or Anne as she's now known, has joined Rick's group, she hasn't revealed her secrets to them and after a night of passion with Father Gabriel (which, given how it came out of nowhere, is a mystery in itself), Jadis once again spied a chopper hovering in the night sky and looked noticeably concerned by its presence. The real story regarding this scene is Jadis' worried reaction. Clearly, she and the helicopter's owners were allies at some point, why would she be so concerned to see them now?
The Walking Dead's helicopter mystery is likely going to rumble on for a while yet and although this latest development only serves to create further questions, it also reminds viewers of this ongoing story arc and reassures them that an explanation is on its way.
The most significant new question raised in "The Bridge" is who exactly is behind the disappearances and attacks on various members of the Saviors. To no one's surprise, not every Savior is on board with the Rick Grimes revolution and this discontent caused some of the group to abandon the bridge-building project. None of them made it back alive and, to make matters worse, an ethanol shipment from the Sanctuary also went missing.
Initially, suspicion might turn to The Walking Dead season 9's announced antagonists, the Whisperers, who are known in the comics to attack enemies stealthily and silently. However, that fails to account for why only Saviors are being targeted and Justin's reaction during the final scene wasn't one of a man who'd just come face to face with a zombie-skin wearing assailant; it seemed he knew his attacker.
There are a few characters in The Walking Dead who might want to dispose of unruly Saviors. Daryl would be the most obvious, as someone who clearly thinks the group should've been slaughtered. Carol is another suspect, given her history of brutality and new position as leader of the Sanctuary. Or could a Savior such as Alden, who is desperate for the partnership with Rick to succeed, be trying to clear out the more troublesome members of his own group?
Whether Daryl is responsible for the Savior attacks or not remains to be seen but whatever the outcome, a sizeable question mark still hangs over his ability to assimilate back into the civilized world. Daryl is a savage survivalist energized by the post-apocalyptic landscape and openly admits that he'd rather be surviving on the road with a small group of trusted friends than living in a large, safe, thriving community. Tragically, the more Rick develops his new world, the bigger the gulf between himself and Daryl seems to get.
Under normal circumstances, this conflict of viewpoints might indicate an imminent stint away from the main group for Norman Reedus' character. However, it's Andrew Lincoln's Rick who has been confirmed as leaving the show. This would perhaps suggest that rather than giving in to his instincts, Rick's exit will force Daryl to deal with his hangups, settle down and fully join the effort to rebuild civilization. Aaron's line about Daryl making a good father was arguably teasing exactly that.
Another character set to leave The Walking Dead in the near future is Lauren Cohan's Maggie. Unlike Lincoln, however, it seems that Cohan isn't set to leave the show permanently and producers are hoping the actress will return further down the line. With the character still a key part of the The Walking Dead comic series, the reasons behind Maggie's departure were a mystery heading into season 9 but "The Bridge" may have just sewn the seeds for her exit.
Throughout the episode, Maggie's decision-making is called into question by Michonne, Tammy and Jesus but by the final credits, the Hilltop leader has made amends with all three, agreeing to send food to the Sanctuary and promising to discuss a legal system with Michonne, while releasing Earl to appease Jesus. And it was a passing comment during a conversation with Jesus that potentially hinted at why Maggie might leave.
Last season on The Walking Dead, a mysterious character named Georgie appeared, offering help to Maggie and providing her with a mightily convenient post-apocalypse handbook in exchange for some old records. In "The Bridge", Jesus stated that Georgie is intent on bringing Maggie over to her own community (which may or may not be the comics' Commonwealth), and although Maggie has refused her advances thus far, it would be the perfect way to remove Cohan from the show while keeping her available for future seasons.
The Walking Dead season 8 saw the conclusion of the "All Out War" arc, culminating in Rick finally defeating Negan and locking him up in jail to rot. After being absent in the season premiere, Negan finally made his season 9 debut this week. As Rick updated Negan on the communities' latest successes, the villain emerged from the shadows of his cell and claimed that Rick wasn't re-building civilization, he was merely getting it ready for Negan's own return.
The scene confirmed that a year-and-half behind bars hasn't calmed Negan's temperament in the slightest and the Saviors' former leader still has plenty of menace and fight. He seemingly also hasn't given up his lust for power and perhaps even sees the current network of communities as a more attractive prize than just reclaiming the Sanctuary would be.
However, comic readers will know that Negan's post-Savior arc isn't simply a quest for power and revenge, it's a total reinvention of the character. It remains to be seen as to whether the television adaptation will follow the same route but actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan has already hinted at his character's fragile mental state in interviews and Negan's TV arc is sure to be one of The Walking Dead season 9's most compelling.
Can The Saviors Be Tamed?
Perhaps the overriding theme of The Walking Dead season 9, episode 2 is whether Rick's decision to try and include the Saviors in his new world was the right call or whether he should've finished them off at the end of season 8. A definitive answer to that question has yet to be provided and for every cooperative Savior, there's one failing to set off a siren or dropping a log on Aaron's arm.
The issue continues to divide Rick's group and the situation is only likely to get worse once news of the missing Saviors begins to spread. Last week's episode showed that there is still support for Negan within the Sanctuary and this too will surely grow as the group's living situation worsens. "The Bridge" was careful to highlight both sides of the moral dilemma but, ultimately, The Walking Dead season 9 will need to show whether or not sparing the Saviors will come back to haunt Rick.
With mystery aircraft, rogue Saviors and an unknown attacker lurking in the bushes, The Walking Dead season 9 has plenty of ground left to cover and with only two episodes aired, there could be plenty more questions lined up for viewers. Not all of these mysteries are guaranteed to be cleared up in the current run of episodes but, certainly, The Walking Dead will not be short of talking points in the coming weeks.
With Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, developer Treyarch packed three separate multiplayer games into one and according to early reviews this approach has mostly paid off. Our Black Ops 4 review praised the Blackout battle royale addition for its polish and fun, even if its not too innovative. With this approach of three different modes, it means three different challenge systems for players to sink their teeth into. While standard multiplayer and Zombies contain challenges Call of Duty players have seen plenty of times in past iterations, Blackout has some unique and often times tough challenges to offer.
Indeed, completing challenges in Blackout may not be an easy endeavor for the uninitiated, especially if they've never touched a battle royale title before. Like unlocking characters in Blackout, some of these challenges must be completed during a single session of Blackout, which could lead to confusion and frustration if a player doesn't know exactly what they're doing. That's where we step in.
This Blackout challenges guide is here to answer all your questions on the mode's lengthy list of challenges and objectives you must complete to earn them. Read on below for tips on how to become better informed before heading into Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s take on battle royale.
Blackout's Professional Challenges
Professional Challenges are one of two types of challenges that comprise the Career Challenges. Professional Challenges relate more to victories and securing top-tier placement in Blackout. Most of these challenges have three tiers to complete. Professional Challenges include:
My First Time: Win a game of Blackout.
Winner Winner: Win 10 times.
I’ll Do It Myself: Win any Duos or Quads Game as the last player alive on your team 5 times.
Solo Victor: Get 5 wins in this mode.
Duos Victor: Get 5 wins in this mode.
Quads Victor: Get 5 wins in this mode.
Solo Conquest: Place Top 5 in this mode 10 times.
Duos Conquest: Place Top 5 in this mode 10 times.
Quads Conquest: Place Top 5 in this mode 10 times.
My Participation: Place Top 25 10 times.
Unthinking Act of Murder: Eliminate 10 enemies.
Career Scavenger: Scavenge 1,500 items.
Professional Mastery: Complete all Professional Challenges.
Blackout's Survivalist Challenges
Survivalist Challenges are the second part of Career Challenges, and these focus less on winning games and more on surviving and making sure your teammates do the same. While there are still some kill-based goals for players to achieve, these challenges are more for players who are more comfortable in a supporting role for their team or duo. Survivalist Challenges include:
Team Player: Revive a squad mate 25 times.
Heal Up: Use any health item on yourself 100 times.
Armored Up: Acquire and equip armor 50 times.
Backpacker: Collect 50 backpacks.
Got The Drop: Kill 25 enemies without taking any damage from them.
Amphibious Assault: Eliminate an enemy while underwater 5 times.
Getaway Vehicle: Escape 10 times from a fire fight using a vehicle.
Perks? Really?: Finish a game in the top 10 with a perk activated 25 times.
Equip It and Mint It: Eliminate enemies 25 times using equipment.
True Sniper: Kill an enemy at long range using a sniper rifle 5 times.
Roster Update: Complete 5 Unlock Missions.
One Step Ahead: Finish 25 games in the top 10 without taking damage from the collapse circle.
Survivalist Mastery: Complete all Survivalist Challenges.
Blackout's Heroics Challenges
While Survivalist and Professional Challenges combine to comprise up Career Challenges, Heroics are one part of the Operations Challenges. Heroics are focused more on kills and revenge against enemy players. These are for the more bloodthirsty types who crave kills even more than victory or support. Heroics Challenges include:
Destroyer of Vehicles: Destroy 10 occupied vehicles.
Revenge is a Dish…: Eliminate the player that put you in Last Stand 10 times.
…Best Served Cold: Eliminate the enemy player that killed your squadmate and place Top 5 in 5 different games.
This is Just Cruel: Win a game without being downed 5 times.
Pack Hunter: Eliminate 2 or more enemies from the same Squad 5 times.
Nope: Eliminate the enemy that damaged you 10 times.
Path to Peace: Win a game with no kills.
Keen Focus: Kill 5 enemies while blinded or concussed.
Frantic Defense: Take damage while unarmed and kill the attacker 5 times.
Get Straight to It: Kill 2 or more enemies within 30 seconds of deploying 10 times.
Clutch: Kill an entire enemy Squad singlehandedly in a Quads match.
Masochist: Place in Top 5 using only the first inventory item picked up.
Heroics Mastery: Complete all Heroics Challenges.
Blackout's Vehicular Challenges
Vehicular Challenges are the second part of Operations Challenges, and naturally these focus more on both traveling in vehicles (as well as the player’s Wingsuit) and killing other players with vehicles. These challenges are perhaps the most straightforward ones available in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode and are designed for that one player in your group who always insists on driving. Vehicular Challenges include:
Destruction Derby: Destroy any occupied vehicle with another vehicle 1 time.
Just In Time: Exit a vehicle that is about to be destroyed by a locked on rocket 5 times.
Silent Gliding: Travel 10 miles in a Wingsuit.
Road Trippin’: Travel 10 miles in a land vehicle.
Water Rat: Travel 10 miles in a sea vehicle.
I Believe I Can Fly: Travel 50 miles in an air vehicle.
Saw it in the Movies: Kill 10 enemies as a passenger of any vehicle.
Top Tour: Drive or Pilot all vehicle types in a game of Blackout 5 times.
Road Rage: Run over an enemy player and kill them with a land vehicle 5 times.
Hijacker: Kill 1 or more enemies that are passengers in a land vehicle 5 times.
Pirate: Kill 1 or more enemies that are passengers in a sea vehicle 5 times.
Scoundrel: Kill 1 or more enemies that are passengers in an air vehicle 5 times.
Vehicular Mastery: Complete all Vehicular Challenges.
Blackout's Dark Ops Challenges
Dark Ops Challenges have no counterpart, unlike the other challenges in Blackout. These challenges are not known by players until they are completed, so naturally this portion of the guide will be updated as more are discovered. However, some Dark Ops Challenges have already been uncovered by players. These include:
Open the Blast Doors: At the Fracking Towers, between two of the towers directly in the middle of the location, push a button in the center of the bridge connecting them to open the blast doors.
Zombie Jams: Play the jukebox at the diner west of the Array location.
Red Light, Green Light: At the Cargo Dock, loot an underwater stash of supplies. The stashes can be found by following the buoys.
Baller: Score a basket with a basketball at the Estates location.
Back in the Ground: Kill 100 zombies.
Fist Fighter: Punch another player to death.
Practice Makes Perfect: At 90 meters away or more, shoot a bullseye on a target at the Firing Range.
There are a lot of challenges in Blackout for players to achieve, and undoubtedly more to come as the mode evolves. These will naturally help with gaining merits and leveling up Echelon ranks faster. This should help players avoid too much frustration when trying to make progress in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode and there's certainly a lot to do for the completionists.
WWE 2K19 is a step in the right direction for the long-running wrestling series. Developed by Yuke's and Visual Concepts, this year's iteration represents a massive improvement from WWE 2K18 which was the definition of obtuse and broken. There are a variety of modes available in WWE 2K19 and the core wrestling gameplay has been fine tuned to strike the perfect balance, offering a strong mix of strategic and button mashing fun.
However, just because WWE 2K19 is better that doesn't mean it’s fantastic. Wrestling fans looking for a modern licensed video game can't do much better than WWE 2K19 but they also don't have many other options. WWE 2K19 edges the series closer to excellence but some of the but annoying lingering issues keep it from being a complete victory.
The main issue of WWE 2K19 is the same as it’s been for many years, and that's the MyCareer mode. MyCareer should be any wrestling fan’s dream. Using WWE 2K19’s impressive character creator it’s possible to create a wrestling superstar and take them from the amateur rings to the real deal. Throughout the experience there are guest appearances by real-life wrestlers and the mode embraces RPG mechanics. The voice acting varies in quality and the storylines are rather ridiculous, but that’s par for the course with WWE. The concept and story of MyCareer are solid but everything surrounding them is a waste of potential.
And that's mainly because progression is broken in MyCareer. The starting stats of every wrestler are woefully low and only incrementally move up with time. The biggest sin though is that most of the unlockables are stored behind loot packs. Everything from outfits to entrances to even moves are locked behind these random loot packs which can all be purchased with microtransactions.
It’s certainly possible to earn in-game currency to purchase these loot packs and not spend an extra dime but it's not an easy or time efficient experience to try to complete the game in this manner. WWE 2K19 is designed to siphon money out of the consumer. Even if you do spend real-life cash there’s no guarantee of getting the right item because of the random nature of the loot packs. Individual items are up for sale but they’re so exorbitant that the emphasis is on gambling with virtual currency. It sucks all the fun and enjoyment out of that mode.
Luckily, WWE 2K19 has resisted the urge to put loot packs into all of the game’s modes. Microtransactions are limited almost entirely to MyCareer which is unfortunate but a step in the right direction. Everything else in WWE 2K19, which is a lot, isn’t locked behind another pay wall.
A brand new addition to WWE 2K19 is one of the game’s best experiences, Tower Mode. It’s very similar to Mortal Kombat X’s Towers or Injustice 2’s multiverse mode, offering a collection of matches that routinely rotate. They add in weird modifiers or institute special conditions to win a match. These can be as insane as dialing up the movement speed of the wrestlers or as simple as pinning an opponent in a certain time frame. The creativity and cycling of the match types means the mode never gets stale.
It also builds on WWE 2K19’s greatest strength which is the gameplay. There are more approachable and faster fighting games than the WWE 2K series but none of them nail the feel of a wrestling match. There’s forethought and logic in WWE 2K with its reversals that counter moves and a new payback system realized with a power-up bar that can change the momentum of a match. Yet there’s also just plain chair-smashing, face-punching mayhem in store. More than any other game in the series, WWE 2K19 has a control scheme that's easy to pick-up but difficult to master.
WWE 2K19 does give a lot of chances to master them too. Besides the obvious exhibition matches there’s WWE Universe, which casts you in the role of WWE’s CEO. In MyUniverse the scheduling of matches and the storylines of the roster of wrestlers are all up for grabs. WWE 2K19’s Superstars list isn’t any bigger or smaller than any other cast but there’s a nice mix of classic and modern wrestlers that will appeal to a wide variety of fans. The presentation and uniqueness of the various wrestlers is rather impressive too even if the commentary is robotic and leaves a lot to be desired.
If Tower Mode is the highlight of WWE 2K19 and MyCareer is the bottom of the barrel the last mode, Showcase, falls somewhere in the middle. Showcase follows the exploits of one real-life wrestler and hits on various moments in their career. WWE 2K19 offers an inside look at Daniel Bryan. For Bryan fans there’s a lot to love. For everyone else it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
The selling point of Showcase is also its downfall. Showcase presents its story like a WWE documentary and has playable matches of the big moments in Bryan’s career. During these matches there are specific objectives that must be hit so it lines up with real life events. In a frustrating move though WWE 2K19 doesn’t add any checkpoints in a match so if one objective is missed the entire match must be replayed from the beginning which means the same 20 minute bout can (potentially) be played ad nausem.
WWE 2K19 is a good game and avoids some of the major issues of WWE 2K18 but it’s also not as great as it could’ve have been for the franchise. WWE 2K19 is a half-measure that will hopefully lead to an even more improved sequel in WWE 2K20 but for now the franchise achieves adequacy … in spite of greedy microtransactions.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has revealed his vision for a crossover between The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale. After penning some of the most popular stories of the long-running series, Aguirre-Sacasa became the Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics in 2014. In the time since, he adapted Archie and friends for the small screen, offering a fresh, noir take on the characters. First airing on The CW and later, internationally, on Netflix, Riverdale proved to be a surprise hit, almost doubling its ratings between seasons 1 and 2. It shows no signs of stopping in a True Detective-inspired third season.
Speaking exclusively with Screen Rant at New York Comic Con, Aquirre expressed his love for comics. He noted his particular fondness for crossovers, revealing in the process his lingering idea for how Riverdale and the world of Sabrina Spellman could work. Check out his full statement below:
"I grew up reading comic books and I loved when there were crossovers. I'm a big, big fan of them. You know it's always a question of finding the right story and making sure that you don't puncture the tone of every other show... On Riverdale they are like 'we can't crossover because we don't have supernatural stuff on Riverdale.' And that's true... But I always say that the Riverdale kids on a dare could like break into the haunted house in Greendale and it's ya know the Spellman house on Halloween. It's about finding the right story and the right time. I think right now the big priority is launching Sabrina as its own thing and making sure that Riverdale as gonzo as it's ever been. But yeah as a fan and that's what I am when it comes to these two shows really. I'm a fan of these characters. I'd love for there to be a crossover."
The idea of crossover would no doubt also appeal to fans. The concept of crossovers, after all, has worked very well on The CW. Fellow comic book properties such as Arrow and its spinoffs often connect with each other in an MCU-esque shared universe. With Sabrina moving to Netflix, however, the process will no doubt be trickier to accomplish. Concerns of a tonal clash are also valid ones. The concept of something slightly occult-ish was teased at the end of Riverdale season 1 when Betty's locker was vandalized with pig's blood and a crude effigy. Although such elements will be further explored in season 3, nothing truly supernatural has ever emerged. As such, it would be difficult to blend the moderately reality-based Riverdale with the truly monstrous and demonic world of Sabrina.
It wouldn't be impossible, however, especially if Aguirre-Sacasa remains committed. It wouldn't be the first show to venture outside of their respective genres, however. Dawson's Creek once featured an episode similar to the concept laid out by Aguirre-Sacasa, with Dawson and friends making a Blair Witch-style documentary on an arguably haunted island. As long as such concepts remain ambiguous to the core characters on Riverdale, rather than definitive truth, there is someway leeway in letting them have a run in with creepier forces at a supposedly haunted house. Equally, seasons of Supernatural often feature episodes far outside of their traditional. Sabrina's magical abilities could easily allow for similar fun, with her skills potentially opening the way to other dimensions and the like, where a certain red-headed athlete and his crown-wearing best friend could be waiting. In the meantime, merely trying to ensure both series are as good as they can be is probably the best idea.
In his latest stand-up set, comedian Louis C.K. told the audience he lost $35 million as a result of his admission to sexual misconduct allegations. It was a year ago that Louis C.K. answered a New York Times story in which five women accused him of sexual misconduct over the course of many years. As a direct result of that admission, The Orchard dropped their plans to release C.K.'s film I Love You, Daddy, leaving the movie in limbo.
In addition to the loss of his film deal, C.K. also lost his deal with FX, the network responsible for his producing his acclaimed show Louie. HBO too cut ties with the comedian in the wake of his admission of misconduct. C.K. elected to disappear from the public eye in the months after the allegations against him, but he's recently resurfaced with a series of stand-up shows that have been met with a decidedly mixed reaction both by those in attendance and the public at large.
As reported by Laughspin, Louis C.K. made another of his controversial "comeback" appearances last week, and this time the comedian discussed the sexual misconduct allegations as well as his decision to publicly confirm them. C.K's show went down at the West Side Comedy Club in New York, and according to those in attendance, at one point C.K. claimed to have lost $35 million as a result of his admission. C.K. also said he'd been "to hell and back" during his year off from comedy. AMarie Castillo, who hosted the event, posted an image of herself welcoming Louis to the stage (see below):
Castillo told Laughspin of C.K's set:
"It’s like he didn’t even skip a beat with the year he had. He was so genuine and reflected on how weird his year was, tried out some new dark and dirty material…Sounds to me he is owning up, acknowledging, and trying to figure it out."
Other sources who were in the audience told Laughspin C.K.'s set was more confident than his other recent shows, where he had refrained from addressing the misconduct allegations. According to the site, comedians in attendance laughed harder at C.K.'s jokes than those in the audience.
Many who have been in attendance at C.K.'s string of recent surprise stand-up appearances have expressed discomfort at him showing up unannounced, while others have met the comedian with cheers and applause. Not surprisingly, there has by-and-large been a sharp divide between how women have reacted to C.K.'s appearances and how men have reacted. Also not surprisingly, comedians have generally been more welcoming of C.K. than audience members. Of course, the allegations against C.K. were leveled by female comedians, who accused him of various acts of misconduct spread across several years. Rumors of C.K.'s inappropriate behavior circulated for a long time before he was finally accused and was forced to admit to the misconduct.
Now however, it seems Louis C.K. is trying to put the allegations behind him and return to his stand-up career. As evidenced by the violently divided reaction to his recent appearances, it will take a lot for the comedian to win back the audience he enjoyed before the controversy over him erupted into the public eye. There are some who say C.K. should never be allowed to return, while others argue he has done his penance and should be able to go on with his career.
As any true fan ofAmerican Horror Story already knows, this TV mashup of frightening nightmare tropes and straight up soap opera devices goes over the top when it comes to plot twists. It’s as if series creator Ryan Murphy challenges himself every season to see how many monsters, criminals, and mythical personages he can cram into each subsequent story. On top of that, layer upon layer of character developments, unexpected consequences, and defied expectations take viewers on the ultimate scary funhouse ride each and every episode.
Sometimes, these twists and turns can be totally mind-boggling and utterly entertaining. Then again, there are many other times when Murphy’s choices become distracting, annoying, or worst of all – just plain old dull. It’s a tricky proposition with the stakes being so high in this ghastly show: reanimated criminals, hotel ghosts, mobs of rabid lunatics – and oh yes – the literal end of the world. That’s a lot to keep up with!
There’s no taking away from American Horror Story’s astounding experimentation in storytelling. Where most shows do scripts and production by the numbers, this series takes some pretty incredible chances. So it’s no surprise that we will find failures as easily as successes in this mad doctor’s laboratory of TV goodness! We must ask that only the most intrepid of fans come and explore American Horror Story’s greatest hits – and biggest misses. Do you dare enter this macabre list?
Here are 10 Plot Twists That Hurt American Horror Story (And 10 That Saved It).
20 The Aliens in Asylum (Hurt)
American Horror Story both learned from its mistakes and retained its triumphs for the second season Asylum. From the first frame, this story was far more creepy, more visually impactful, and delved much further into madness than its inaugural effort. The confines of a retro institution for the insane afforded a new sense of dread. There were ghosts, forbidden human experiments, and even an angel of the afterlife. Then, in the middle of those supernatural tropes, Asylum was suddenly invaded by aliens from outer space.
This was set up to be about ghost and demons. Alien abduction is an entirely different genre.
Imagine having Predator show up in The Conjuring? However, we would love an all-alien season in the future!
19 Coven-Apocalypse Crossover (Saved)
For years and years, avid followers of American Horror Story have postulated fan theories about how all the seasons may be connected. Small hints here and there were flagged by attentive viewers. Creator Ryan Murphy himself has proven in the past that there might just be a few connections between the different stories here and there. With Apocalypse, all doubt is cast aside.
The witches from Coven arrived with the stated purpose of defeating the evil Langdon child from season one. For AHS fans, this is akin to Avengers: Infinity War’s marvelous climax of the MCU film events that came before.
18 Roanoke's Documentary Reveal (Hurt)
The Roanoke season is clearly one of the lesser efforts to come from the series, but it’s certainly not due to a lack of bold experimentation. The season premiere cleverly portrayed itself as a typical cable documentary show, “reenacting the true story” while periodically cutting to the “real people behind the real events” to reflect on their own drama. It was a cute gimmick.
It was a terrible distraction and made the show drag.
This wasn’t an easy thing to pull off, so American Horror Story definitely gets an “E” for effort on this fail.
17 Making the Shrink a Psycho in Asylum (Saved)
What happens when you’re stuck in a terrible situation that came about from the best of your intentions, with no hope for salvation – and then, someone shows up to help you? It’s a wonderful feeling. After all you went through, you escape thanks to your savior. Only now, you find out that your “savior” was the worst monster of all! That, horror fans, is what true horror is all about.
Zachary Quinto warps light years away from his Spock role in Star Trek to play one of the most duplicitous psychos in television history. His transformation from helpful psychiatrist to evil kidnapper broke our brains and we can only thank the good doctor for that.
16 The Cop’s Missing Kid in Hotel (Hurt)
Nothing is worse in any kind of dramatic TV series than a case of the old “Who Really Cares?” blues. When you’re trying to hook the audience on a plot which is supposed to engage minds into the plight of fictional characters, it’s an all-or-nothing deal. When it works, you’ve got fans. When it doesn’t, you’ve got nada. In the messy Hotel season, there were a whole lot of stakes which are supposed to make us care but fall flat. One of the core subplots is Detective John Lowe’s quest to find a missing son.
Has he been found? Or is he hallucinating?
After all of the other twists this guy goes through, the missing kid thing gets stale and does little more than waste screen time.
15 The Witches' Hells in Coven (Saved)
There is something very satisfying about poetic justice. Anybody who loves a good story often hopes that the ending fits the narrative and that everyone gets their just desserts, whether that means punishment or reward. In the third season of American Horror Story, we follow a Coven of witches who range from utterly naïve to the worst kind of manipulative.
It’s often hard to see who is “innocent” in this group of ladies with shifting motivations and who isn’t. In the end, we find that each of their individual ultimate fates fit like a pointy black hat. One of the worst is doomed to endlessly repeat a terribly uncomfortable situation, while another encounters a type of release. No spoilers, but these codas round out all that came before quite nicely.
14 Tate’s Secret Past (Hurt)
One of the problems with hanging out with ghosts is that they aren’t necessarily in their right minds. In the first season of American Horror Story, Violet Harmon's friends are, unfortunately, all ghosts. One of them – the spirit of Tate Langdon – may or may not have not done some very terrible things back when he was a regular person.
Even though it’s very probable that he has, in fact, been quite naughty, he keeps denying it.
Is he lying? Does he not remember? The way it’s done becomes a kind of teenage drama side distraction and by the time we find out for sure, we just don’t care.
13 Dandy Becomes Twisty in Freak Show (Saved)
In Freak Show, few characters are more easily hated than the sociopathic and extremely spoiled rich mama’s boy known as Dandy. From the first time we meet him, his childish needs and insane delusions of grandeur are harbingers of some of the worst human behavior to come. It’s as if he was born to be the perfect narcissist – think American Psycho on steroids – and he has nowhere to go but down.
As Dandy indulges deeper into the realms of depravity, he takes on the mantle of the haunting Twisty the Clown, a sort of ethereal figure who may or may not have demonic properties. This transformation is sort of a final chrysalis into the wholly evil person Dandy was destined to become, and as such, helped drive the Freak Show season into an especially frightening place.
12 Man-eaters in Roanoke (Hurt)
Let us clarify something off the bat: there’s a difference between someone having someone over for dinner and having someone for dinner! During American Horror Story: Roanoke, it was definitely the latter situation.
As buffets of fear go, this one left us hungry for less obvious, more surprising fare.
As mentioned, this season was choppy. A lot of the genre-mashing that usually fuels AHS ground up the works here. The man-eating subplot was no different. Worse, it fell into the clichés horror audiences have known since at least The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but without the show’s usual signature secret sauce added to the proceedings.
11 Michael is the Antichrist (Saved)
Ever since the curtain call for season one of American Horror Story, fans have wondered how you start a horror series with a child who is destined to destroy the world. Think about it: can anything ever really happen after the end of times? It seems that the Apocalypse season is out to answer that question once and for all.
By bringing back Michael Langdon, the stakes for this season could not be higher. For fans living with knowledge of Michael's antichrist status in the back of their minds for close to a decade, this adds a subtle extra layer of fear. It’s a brilliant return that means the battle for the planet Earth could not be more exciting to watch!
10 The Weird Gas in Cult (Hurt)
It’s hard to really critique American Horror Story: Cult. After a rather uneven season of the Roanoke storyline, fans could be forgiven for believing the series was on a downhill slope, never to recover. How wrong they were. Cult enters a chapter which perfectly mirrored the anxiety of modern politics, but it was not without its clunky moments. One subplot has to do with a bunch of secret government-looking types gassing the streets in the dark of night.
It was a huge mystery which was answered with a bit of a thud: it was a metaphor for gaslighting and nothing more.
This element did not live up to its potential and became a minor blemish on an otherwise stellar season.
9 Elsa’s Afterlife Experience in Freak Show (Saved)
As stated earlier, many of the characters in American Horror Story can be morally ambiguous, leaving audiences unsure of whether or not to cheer for them. One such character is Elsa Mars, the purveyor of the “Cabinet of Curiosities” circus group she leads around the country. She is seen being both exploitative of the remarkably unique players in the troupe, and truly acting in their best interests. It’s only after we learn some key moments in her own backstory that we see her for who she truly is.
In the afterlife, she has a redeeming experience where those she wronged accept her with open arms. It’s the kind of conclusion that makes fans want to go back and watch the character closely all over again.
8 Stevie Nicks is a Witch in Coven (Hurt)
If there could ever be said to be a no-brainer coup of casting for American Horror Story, it would have to be bringing in Stevie Nicks to portray herself in Coven. As fans of the singer may already be aware, Nicks likes to dress up in what is arguably “witchy” gear and has this earth-mother aura about her.
H aving her come out as a “real witch” on the show was an awesome idea – on paper.
On the show itself, however, she felt decidedly underused, more of a prop than any meaningful addition to the cast. Nicks’ appearance on the show slowed things down, even though her on screen time was fairly limited.
7 The Monstrous Gathering in Hotel (Saved)
Next time you throw any kind of party, make sure none of the guest list includes the wretched invitees hosted American Horror Story: Hotel. For those well-versed in true crime, names like Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, and John Wayne Gacy bring a chill down the spine. Never heard of them? Look them up. Then watch just how perfectly they are portrayed in one of the more disturbing get-togethers ever on TV.
We’ve heard of folks being “the life of the party” but this crowd is the literal exact opposite of that! We’re jumping out the Hotel window if we see them come in the door.
6 Sister Jude’s Cliché Backstory in Asylum (Hurt)
Yet another morally ambiguous character in the American Horror Story mythos is Sister Jude in Asylum. Masterfully portrayed by core AHS cast member Jessica Lange, she is mostly seen as a cruel mistress who is more interested in petty punishments than in seeing anybody cured at her mental institution. An attempt is made at one point to earn her sympathy through her backstory: she used to be a hard-drinking bad girl with no self-respect until that day she drove drunk and ran over a kid. This causes her to repent by becoming a nun.
Heard that one before, right? Of course, we all have.
This is one of those lazy character elements mistakes the show sometimes makes, but we forgive it. Asylum was crazy good!
5 Kai gets elected (Saved)
As mentioned earlier, American Horror Story: Cult is a brilliant metaphor for the contemporaneous political situation it mirrors. There is no mistaking that this season was an open critique of a movement many saw as dangerous to the country. Whether one agrees with that assessment or not, AHS did an excellent job of tracking how a messed up young man can go from being a hateful bigot to a position of real power.
It is this central plot which keeps the audience riveted to the entire season, making it perhaps the most compelling plot of the series as a whole. Beyond the obvious shock value, the story unfolds brilliantly, leaving fans more well-acquainted with cult worship than perhaps they would care to be.
4 The Mystery of the Rubber man (Hurt)
The very first season of American Horror Story introduced the latex-suit wearing ghost Rubber Man, who was at once scary and (for some people) alluring. It was a great image: this slick black beast emerging from the ceiling to fulfill desires while also being a harbinger of doom. It was used heavily in promotional material and had a nauseating encounter with Vivien Harmon.
Audiences were desperate to learn more about it.
In the end, it was kind of a dud: it was the ghost of Tate Langdon all along. Yawn. We were hoping for something more esoteric than the obvious!
3 The cause of Apocalypse (Saved)
As stated, season one of American Horror Story had its ups and downs. It was a problematic inaugural outing exactly because it was so audaciously ambitious. By the end of the story, one could have been left with the feeling of, “So what if there’s a bunch of ghosts running around a house with such a horrific past?” It was with great pleasure then that fans discovered the truth: all of the events were actually a part of a bigger scheme, one which would bring about the end of the world.
It made season one much richer. When Apocalypse brought Michael Langdon back to fulfill his purpose – it’s exactly what we had all been waiting for. Ryan Murphy played a long game and won our horror hearts!
2 The Found Footage Portion of Roanoke Season (Hurt)
When all is balanced out, American Horror Story's narrative risks succeeded much more frequently than they flopped, but the “found footage” device in Roanoke was definitely not a win. Ever since The Blair Witch Project blew horror fans’ minds back in 1999, the found footage genre has seen a lot of films and TV shows explore the “realism” of the technique, most often to less than effective results. Unfortunately, Roanoke was no exception.
There were so many different sources of found footage used that it strained credulity.
It was another clunky trope that missed the mark and made this season even less enjoyable.
1 The Langdon Child’s Final Act in Season One (Saved)
We can go on and on about what an awesome character Michael Langdon in. He’s the son of the devil, the guy who is going to make the world burn, tand he worst terror ever brought about to humanity. And all throughout season one, we are given horrific signs of who he is and what he may become, but it’s that last thing we see him do in season one that seals the deal.
His adoptive grandmother, Constance, finds him wearing a smile on his blood-covered face. Yes, at the tender age of a toddler, the boy has committed his first act of evil. The whole idea of the innocence of youth is deconstructed.
What's your favorite twist in American Horror Story? Let us know in the comments!