Satan is a powerful entity wreaking havoc across the world for the sake of entertainment, with hopes to ascend and destroy the Catholic Church. He is a character in American Horror Story primarily portrayed by Lily Rabe (while possessing Sister Mary Eunice).
Satan is a fallen archangel who used to be God's favorite, until he fell from grace and became the first demon, also known as "The Source of Darkness".
While on Earth, Satan lacked a physical form and only existed in a host, as his fall from Heaven was so hot, it completely burned away his body. While in control of Jed Potter, his behavior was monstrous and uninhibited, feasting on the blood of animals and chanting dark, unintelligible incantations in dead languages. After Jed was exorcised at Briarcliff Manor, he took control over the body of Sister Mary Eunice, using her innocent guise as a cover to carry out subtle manipulations and mentally torture Briarcliff's inhabitants. He took special satisfaction in mocking Sister Jude, whose dark past involved a drunken hit-and-run resulting in the "murder" of a little girl, as well as Dr. Arthur Arden, whose previous life as a Nazi scientist allowed the Devil to blackmail him into carrying out his commands.
As time went on, Satan eventually chose to reveal himself to Jude, who he had previously encountered during Jed's exorcism, and Dr. Arden, who desperately followed Satan in hopes of seeing at least a glimmer of Mary Eunice, whose innocence he cherished. After Jude was removed as head of Briarcliff and incarcerated within, Satan grew closer to Monsignor Timothy Howard, promising to help elevate him through the ranks and make him Pope. His master plan was thus set in motion: a take over of the Catholic Church.
Personality and Appearance
His true form is a humanoid being with large, bat-like wings and a head reminiscent of a goat, from which two long, twisting horns protrude. Due to his status as a former angel, it is possible that he has no actual gender, though he is indicated to be male.
Largely cold, emotionless, and sly in disposition, Satan rarely smiled or laughed save for taunting others and mocking the fates of those harmed by his influence. He had very little regard for human life, and had no qualms in murdering and manipulating various mortals. He found great satisfaction in humankind's many flaws, and frequently reminded his victims of this in various violent and psychologically harmful ways. He could be perverse and sexually aggressive at times, having made advances on both Arden and the Monsignor, as well as expressing a flirtatious behavior toward Sister Jude. He seemed very comfortable in Sister Mary Eunice's skin, even in private, and used his hold over her body to take away her virginity without her consent, dominating what little bit of her soul still remained in her.
Though cruel and ambitious in nature, Satan was not without his redeeming qualities. He had strong values toward freedom of will and thought, believing firmly that no one should be told who they are or what they should be based on the rules of man and religion, and should, therefore, be able to make their own destinies. Unlike the behavior he exhibited toward adults, he appeared to be very docile around children, calmly and honestly exposing his true identity to Jenny Reynolds and smiling down at her in a friendly gesture. Despite this, the kind of behavior he encouraged in Jenny, as well as other individuals, such as Leigh Emerson, was violent and disturbing, and would thereby contribute to his overall plan of bringing destruction in the faith of God and the downfall of mankind.
In addition to his mind-breaking influence, Satan was endowed with many unnatural, otherworldly powers. Among them, the ability to possess various hosts until the moment of their deaths - only moving on to a new victim when the previous host's body was destroyed - as well as telekinetically moving objects with his mind and reading the minds of all those around him, where he took great joy in seeing other's darkest secrets and manipulating them for his own gain and amusement. Unfortunately, because the Devil thrived solely through possession, he could not escape the kiss of Shachath, the Angel of Death, as failure to escape his previous host's body in time would result in him being cast back into Hell, making the host both his strength and ultimate weakness.
Though long since banished by the Angel of Death to his eternal prison, Satan would continue to influence people for decades to come, accumulating his unseen presence in locations of massive tragedy across the world, manipulating the worst traits of their inhabitants to commit unspeakable acts of violence. Eventually, the Devil saw the perfect formula in Tate Langdon's abusive childhood to possess him into siring the Anti-Christ, Michael Langdon, whose presence would, at last, bring about the Apocalypse.
After initially getting into Briarcliff through Jed, Satan took over young, innocent Sister Mary Eunice, and slowly used malice and manipulation to get Jude fired from Briarcliff. Acting as Eunice, he replaced Jude as head of the establishment, becoming superior over Dr. Arden. "Mary Eunice" slowly began to get Monsignor Timothy's approval of "her" changes to Briarcliff's conduct and daily life for the inmates. This included a Christmas party, and a showing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", things Jude had previously described as being acts of turning "away from God". Still, despite the public face as sweet, innovative Mary Eunice, Satan was committing dark, far less subtle crimes in the shadows, such as killing the Briarcliff security guard Frank, setting serial killer Leigh Emerson loose on Jude, and killing a man Jude was using to get information on Arden (the Devil used this murder to reveal himself to Jude).
At one point, Satan confronted Shachath, the Angel of Death, demanding she leaves Briarcliff after the Angel was "called" by a dying inmate. Shachath reported that she had been invited, unlike Satan, whom she referred to as a cousin - "like Shachath, but fallen". The Angel also noted that she could hear Mary Eunice trying to fight against the Devil, and momentarily, Mary Eunice took control of her own body again, sobbing and pleading to Shachath to free her. The Devil quickly resumed control; before leaving, Shachath warned him they would meet again.
Soon, the Monsignor learned of Mary Eunice's possession after being told about it by Shachath, and he attempted to cast the Devil out of Mary Eunice. However, the Monsignor was overpowered and raped by Satan, who took his virginity and that of Mary Eunice's. Lost and helpless, the Monsignor consulted with Sister Jude - now merely Judy, a patient at Briarcliff herself. In her insensible, post-electroshock-therapy state, Judy could only warn Monsignor to kill Mary Eunice before it was too late.
Later, Satan confronted Timothy and repeated his promise to manipulate events until Timothy was made Pope so that the Church would finally be under Satanic control. Defying this, Msr. Howard attempted to appeal to any vestiges of Mary Eunice's true self and her inner virtue. This infuriated Satan, who attacked the Monsignor and promised to devour the "last morsel of Mary Eunice's soul". Briefly, Mary Eunice regained control of her body once more, tearfully telling the Monsignor she was tired of fighting against Satan, and that she wanted to "let go".
Taking pity upon the tearful nun and seizing advantage of her weakened state, the Monsignor quickly cast Mary Eunice over a nearby staircase railing. They exchanged one last gaze as the young nun fell before she hit the floor far below. Shachath then appeared, kneeling down before the fatally injured Eunice, who again asked the Angel to take her. "I'll take both of you", Shachath replied and kissed her, releasing Mary Eunice to Heaven and presumably casting Satan back into Hell.
According to Billie Dean Howard, Satan was able to exert his influence through the negative energy that he amassed within the Murder House. This allowed Satan to use the ghostly occupants of the Murder House as his conduits, as it was foretold that the unholy union of a ghost and a human would bring forth the Anti-Christ. This event came to pass in 2011, when Tate Langdon raped Vivien Harmon in an attempt to provide a child for the grieving Nora Montgomery. In doing so, he unknowingly allowed Satan to sire the Anti-Christ, who was born in 2012 and named Michael.
As the Source of Darkness and God's former favorite angel, Satan possesses vast supernatural abilities and is one of the most powerful beings in the universe. He was able to bestow Michael Langdon the powers of the Seven Wonders, as well as additional abilities, such as control over the afterlife in Hell.
- Immortality - As a fallen angel and demon, Satan is not susceptible to human weaknesses, thus being immune to all aging, disease, and death. He has lived for millions of years before the creations of humans. There are not any known ways to kill Satan, although human hosts possessed by him can be killed, forcing him to find a new host in order to avoid going back to Hell.
- Telekinesis - Satan can move objects and people with his mind. Satan demonstrated this power shortly after possessing Sister Mary Eunice, at first shaking a cross on a wall and later threatening Arthur Arden by tossing him into a shelf.
- Concilium - Satan can influence the minds of others through seduction and persuasion. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Transmutation - Satan can move instantaneously from one location to another. Satan possessing Sister Mary Eunice would sometimes appear out of nowhere and disappear without a trace, as displayed in its attempts to terrify Arthur Arden, and when it was threatened with a razor by Sister Jude it instantaneously teleported a several feet away from her.
- Interdimensional Travel - Satan can move freely through different dimensions.
- Divination - Satan can gain knowledge through indirect means. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Scrying - Satan has the ability to see things such as messages, visions, and prophecies on a reflective surface. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this powers.
- The Sight - Satan has the ability to see the past, present and future by coming in physical contact with anything related to that moment, such as a person or object. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Descensum - Satan can descend into the netherworlds of the afterlife. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Pyrokinesis - Satan can create, control and manipulate fire. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power. The fire Satan creates is a kind of more powerful fire, hellfire, which is able to destroy souls.
- Vitalum Vitalis - Satan can balance the scales of life and death. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Clairvoyance - Satan can enter into the minds of others, read their thoughts, and access their memories, granting him an inherent knowledge of others' past sins, regrets, and moral choices. Satan often enjoyed reading a person's mind to see their secrets, such as Sister Jude's alcoholic past and the "murder" she committed to its own amusement.
- "Night Vision of the Soul" - Satan has the ability to "see into the dark places that people try desperately to keep hidden." It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Stiricidium - Satan can control the weather, particularly through molecules of water. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Illusion Manipulation - Satan can create, shape and manipulate illusions, causing others to see, hear, touch, smell and/or taste things which do not actually exist or cause them to perceive things differently from what they truly are. Satan used this ability to manifests himself before Michael Langdon by taking on various forms, including a boy and a girl dressed in white, a handsome angel, Anton LaVey, Miriam Mead, and a black goat.
- Satisfying Desire - Satan can give everything humans want, such as power, knowledge, wealth, fortune.
- Possession - Satan can possess humans (and possibly other supernatural beings), taking control of a host's mind and body to manipulate for his own purposes.
- Sovereignty of Hell - As the Lord of Hell, Satan rules and oversees all dimensions in Hell.
- Soul Consumption - Satan devours the souls of those he is possessing, and can also cast souls into their personal imprisonments in Hell.
- Invisibility - As a spiritual entity, Satan is able to become seen or unseen at will.
- Intangibility - As a spiritual entity, Satan is able to become tangible or intangible at will.
- Healing - It is implied that Satan has the ability to heal the injury and wounds as Richard Ramirez asks him to do so.
- Immunity to Timeline Alteration - Unlike humans, but like other demons, Satan seems both aware and unaffected by the alteration of timelines.
- Cosmic awareness - Satan knows and understands what's transpiring across the universe.
- Power Negation - Satan can cancel out someone else's magic or voodoo curse temporarily. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Conjuration - Satan has the ability to conjure objects and beings from nothing or another location. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Enhanced Strength - Satan possessed a great amount of supernatural strength. It is implied that Satan has this power as he is able to bestow Michael Langdon this power.
- Bypassing Supernatural Restrictions - Satan can casually exceed supernatural restraints, such as setting a ghost free from a hellmouth or retrieving someone who did not return from Descensum.
- To Dr. Arden: "Now... I have work to do, and you're either with me, or you're against me. And if you're against me, even God can't help you."
- To the Mexican: "Why are you so fearful, my child?"
- To Dr. Arden: "You really think you're in charge? You touch me again, you'll die."
- To Jenny: "Poor Mary Eunice! Blah!"
- To Dr. Arden: "Did you celebrate Christmas in your Nazi household?"
- To Briarcliff inmates: "We all are going to be together in the dark watching The Sign of the Cross. A movie filled with fire, sex and the death of Christians... what fun!"
- To Frank: "Now? But the Christians are about to be eaten!"
- To Dr. Arden: "Rubies are the most glamorous of all. You couldn't have found them in this dreary town. Are they family heirlooms?"
- To Dr. Arden: "Jesus Christ... You're being pitiful Arthur."
- To Timothy Howard: "I'm done with you. And with your sweet nun, I'm about to devour the last morsel of her soul!"
- To Jenny: "I know everything. I'm the Devil."
- This is the first demon to appear on the show.
- The Devil is the third character portrayed by Lily Rabe. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
- According to Sister Jude, Satan uses the purity of Sister Mary Eunice as a shield to protect himself from the holy power of sacred objects, including the Bible, Crucifix, and Holy Water.
- Actress Lily Rabe, who portrayed Sister Mary Eunice, stated that the Devil's behaviors change depending on his host.
- Satan is the second immortal character to be introduced in accordance with each season; the first was his cousin, Shachath. The third, fourth and fifth immortal characters introduced were Marie Laveau, Delphine LaLaurie and Bastien (all of which later had their immortality revoked). The sixth was Papa Legba. The "seventh" were a handful of vampires. The eighth was The Addiction Demon. The ninth was Scáthach.
- Satan is heavily implied to be male or at least a masculine being, as Michael Langdon referred to him as "Father" and Vivien Harmon stated that Satan is Michael's "true father". The Devil also seems to engage in sexual activities with both men and women, indicating he is bisexual (if the term can be applied to an otherworldly entity). He possesses an extremely hedonistic and sexually voracious personality, taking great pleasure in the suffering of others via an overtly sexual manner, while simultaneously encouraging people to follow a lifestyle of overindulgence and base urges.
- As relayed by Papa Legba, Satan is hated by other powerful supernatural forces, such as the Voodoo Loas and the Old Gods. This is due to the fact that if the Devil were to successfully bring about the end of the world via the Anti-Christ - thereby ending mankind - other deities would lose their human worshippers and, thus, become irrelevant.
- The Devil is the most mentioned character in the series, being the only one to be mentioned in every season so far.
- Jenny Reynolds is the only known character in the American Horror Story universe to have personally befriended the Devil. Unlike all of the Devil's other interactions, which have been nothing short of manipulative and gory, he was calm and friendly toward Jenny, smiling at her softly while kneading bread dough and encouraging her to follow her dreams. Inside Sister Mary Eunice's body at the time, the Devil also exposed that he was not in fact Mary but rather using her body as his host, which he has never done with anyone else, and appeared to have a nurturing nature in Jenny's presence. It is unknown why the Devil was so affectionate toward her, though it may be because he saw her potential to be a legendary serial killer (three of which he is notorious for supporting and aiding in their times of need, including resurrecting from the dead so they could continue their murders). Although the behavior he encouraged in her was malevolent, he was genuinely very sweet to her, adding a heartwarming layer to an otherwise sinister situation.
Evidence of the Character's Identity
A hotly debated topic is whether the entity that took over Mary Eunice was, in fact, Satan himself, or a lesser demon. However, in the show, the character was frequently referred to as "the Devil" (and even "Satan" on a couple occasions), including when he talked about himself. Show creator Ryan Murphy has stated, when describing the character, "This is a much more sly devil, a more sly Satan. I like the idea of the devil as ambitious.". Furthermore, Murphy has stated, regarding Eunice/Satan's end, "We didn't want she dies and the devil goes into someone else. I liked the idea that the only thing more powerful than the devil is the Angel of Death, which is actually the cousin of the devil."
- If the Devil is actually Satan himself, then he is directly linked to Murder House. According to Billie Dean Howard, he is associated with Michael Langdon, the Anti-Christ fated to bring about the end of the world. Given that each season has been confirmed to exist in the same shared universe, this theory is highly likely, implying that the Devil may return in a future season. This is hinted throughout Apocalypse, until directly confirmed by the events of Return to Murder House.
- Sister Mary Eunice was killed after being thrown from the top of a spiral staircase by Timothy Howard, during which the camera panned from a birds-eye view as she fell to her death. In Welcome to Briarcliff, Sister Jude refers to this staircase as her "Stairway to Heaven"; consequently, Mary Eunice's descent downward may be symbolic of the Devil's fall from power or Lucifer's fall from grace. Interestingly, several seasons have featured similar spiral staircases, and all have been displayed from a birds-eye view at least once or more in their retrospective seasons. All of these staircases exist in places known for having dark and sordid histories – the Murder House, the Roanoke House, Briarcliff Manor, Mott Manor, and Outpost 3 – implying a possible connection to the Devil. This may be further supported via the as-of-yet-explained demonic murals found painted on the walls of the Murder House, which have a striking resemblance to those painted by Constance Langdon - the grandmother of the Anti-Christ.
- The warlock John Henry Moore initially thinks that Michael Langdon's display of power in police custody is merely a case of demonic possession, implying that demonic possession is something that happens fairly routinely and does not necessarily involve the Devil, but rather demons in servitude of him
- In Home Invasion he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Leah.
- In Piggy Piggy he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Leah.
- In Spooky Little Girl he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Billie Dean Howard.
- In Welcome to Briarcliff he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Dr. Arthur Arden.
- In Spilt Milk, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Sister Jude.
- In Continuum, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Sister Jude.
- In Boy Parts, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Zoe Benson.
- In The Replacements, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Madison Montgomery.
- In The Sacred Taking, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Joan Ramsey.
- In Edward Mordrake: Part 1, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Ethel Darling.
- In Devil's Night, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez.
- In Chapter 4, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Ambrose White and Shelby Miller.
- In Holes, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Kai Anderson.
- In Charles (Manson) in Charge, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Tex Watson.
- In The End, only his voice can be heard.
- In Forbidden Fruit, Michael Langdon speaks to him via a Satanic ritual, asking him for guidance on how to dispose of the Salem witches
- In Could It Be... Satan?, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Michael Langdon, Miriam Mead and Cordelia Goode
- ref>In Boy Wonder, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Miriam Mead
- In Traitor, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Papa Legba
- In Sojourn, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Michael Langdon and Madelyn
- In Fire and Reign, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Jeff Pfister, Mutt Nutter, and Cordelia Goode
- In Apocalypse Then, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Michael Langdon, Cordelia Goode, Myrtle Snow and Mallory
- In Camp Redwood, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- In Mr. Jingles, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- In Slashdance, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- In True Killers, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- In Red Dawn, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- In The Lady in White, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez and Lavinia Richter
- In Rest in Pieces, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez and Xavier Plympton
- In Final Girl, he makes no appearance, but is mentioned by Richard Ramirez
- Episode: Tricks and Treats
- Episode: Nor'easter
- Episode: Dark Cousin
- Episode: The Coat Hanger
- Episode: The Name Game
- Episode: Episode 100
- Episode: Birth
- Episode: Pilot
- Episode: Return to Murder House
- Episode: True Killers
- Episode: Red Dawn
- Christina Radish, Lily Rabe Talks American Horror Story: Asylum, Her Character’s Fate, Favorite Storylines, and More, Collider.com, Jan 16, 2013
- EW 'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on fate of...
- EW American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy teases season 3
- Murder House (location)/Wall Murals
- Episode: Spooky Little Girl
- Episode: Afterbirth
- Episode: Could It Be... Satan?