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Ms. Wilhemina Venable is the tyrannical matriarch ruling Outpost 3 with an iron fist. She is a character in Apocalypse portrayed by Sarah Paulson.

Background

Wilhemina Venable is the strong right arm of The Cooperative and is the former administrator of Outpost 3. Prior to the apocalypse, she was a secretary at Kineros Robotics, where she displays a similar brutality that marks her in Outpost 3.

Personality and Appearance

Wilhemina Venable is a tall, slim woman with a dominating and intimidating presence. She has dark red hair styled into a tall, sharp quiff. She dresses in opulent Victorian-esque dress and walks with a cane due to her scoliosis. Venable later adopts a purple color dress, reflecting her lust for power and to be one of 'the elite'. Since before the apocalypse, purple has always been her signature color.

Core to Venable's personality is her lust for power and control over other, even to the point of delusion. Underneath her unemotional, steely, dominating and sadistic nature is her hidden shame - namely her scoliosis, which had made Venable ashamed of her body and intimidated and fearful of human contact, particularly sex, which Venable, however, harbors a hidden desire for.

Story

She welcomes Timothy and Emily to Outpost 3, following the aftermath of the apocalypse. She explains to them that the outpost used to be an exclusive boys school until it was converted by The Cooperative of visionary minds into a refuge. She tells the pair that they are "purples", the upper-class elites who were specially selected for the survival. "Grays" are their servants, grateful for detachment from the fallout. Venable herself is the local Cooperative representative, and she explains the house rules to the newcomers: Leaving the building is forbidden, due to radiation hazards. Sexual contact, or any kind of "copulation", is also forbidden; the rule that the executed pair broke earlier.

Venable enters the common room, ringing the bell and announcing that dinner is ready. The "purples" get served nutritional cubes, and a frustrated Coco balks. Venable slaps her, warning them that even those supplies are meant for a few years and conditions must improve or options will be limited. She tells them that a carrier pigeon arrived inside the perimeter earlier, with a message from The Collective. The message reports that three other outposts have been overrun, and they are the only "civilized" people left. The rest are starving or dying.

Later, Miriam visits Venable in her room, and they pretend to be "purples", wearing their purple, presumably Victorian-era inspired attire. They conspire about dispensing sadistic punishments which Venable admits that she enjoys, and Mead, a former military agent, admits they've been making up rules and punishments as they go along; Mead set the Geiger counter to maximum sensitivity to frame Stu. They come back to dinner the next night with a surprise of soup instead of the typical cubes. Andre discovers bones in the stew and assumes the meat is Stu's remains, though Venable insists it is not.

Later, Dinah reminds a raging Andre that Venable also ate the meat, which would be poisoned if it were Stu's radiation-contaminated flesh. The purples notice that the song which played in the common room on the radio for several weeks, has changed to a song called "The Morning After". The refugees take it as a sign that they're going to be rescued. 

18 months later, the same song is playing and the refugees are desperately bored. Nuclear winter has killed off much life outside, and Venable announces a further ration of dwindling cubes. Gallant rages until the perimeter alert goes off. The gates open to a horse-drawn carriage, bearing Michael Langdon, an agent of the Collective with an unlimited clearance. Mead disposes of the horses while Michael Langdon parlays with Venable. He explains that he is there to evaluate the residents for possible transfer to the last remaining sanctuary as six have been overrun, and the remaining three beyond Outpost 3 are soon to be. He could take any, all, or none of them; those who do not meet his say-so will meet the same fate as the horses. [2]

Later at dinner, Emily asks Venable about the newcomer in her office, to which the administrator responds that all questions will be answered in due time. The servants lift the cloches over dinner to reveal the snakes that were killed by Mead in Emily's room earlier. The snakes are unexpectedly alive, which slither across the table, much to everyone's horror. The dinner guests assemble in the library, and Langdon enters to approach Venable. The other American compounds in New York, West Virginia, and Texas have been overrun and destroyed. He explains the purpose of The Sanctuary and that he will be evaluating candidates for survival. Those not selected will be given suicide vials in case of further incursion. Langdon later interviews Gallant in Venable's office.

Elsewhere, Timmy and Emily find that Langdon has a functional laptop, and discover inexplicable emails about Venable's administration. The emails written by Langdon report that Venable's rules are falsely made-up and she must be executed as soon as possible. Langdon visits Venable to determine why she has been violating protocols and making her own rules. She says she was given secret orders, and he retorts that he drafted all such orders. They square off about who is really in charge of the Outpost. He relays a story about a woman and child covered in lesions from fallout exposure. He says he did not give them the satisfaction of mercy. Venable thinks none of her charges are worthy to move onto the Sanctuary (aside from Dinah, of whom she knows little). Langdon tells Venable to undress for a physical examination, which she rebuffs. He unzips her blouse to find she suffers from extreme scoliosis, which brings her great pain and shame. She asks if she has passed his test, and he says no.

They are interrupted by Mead, who is summoning Venable. Mead relays Evie's tale about Gallant having a sexual affair with a leather-suited figure and they suspect Langdon as the figure, neither knowing Rubber Man's true nature nor that Langdon overhears their plotting. Venable interrogates a chained and nearly nude Gallant, while Mead whips him. Gallant keeps giving sarcastic answers and Venable realizes that he is enjoying being whipped, and the women walk away.

Timmy and Emily speculate on what Langdon's emails mean and they realize that since Venable's rules are irrelevant, nothing is stopping them from having sex. Mead intrudes on a sleeping Tim and Emily and drags them away. The young lovers confront Venable about her made-up rules, and she sends them to their punishment. Mead takes them to a chamber for execution where Tim shoots her in the torso in an escape attempt and later, Mead's torso full of circuit reveals her to be a robot. [3]

Quotes

  • To Timothy Campbell and Emily: "The house rules are simple. You will refer to me only as Ms. Venable. You may never leave the building. If you wander out onto the grounds, you will not be allowed back in due to the danger of radiation contamination. You will take your chances with the canker pus monsters beyond the gates."
  • To Miriam Mead: "It's our world now, to remold as we see fit."
  • To Michael Langdon: "And nothing would be more humiliating to a man such as yourself than to learn that a woman had more information than he did."
  • To Miriam Mead: "I will never forget your loyalty to me."
  • To Delivery Girl: "I am HR, bitch."

Notes

  • Ryan Murphy revealed to EW that Sarah Paulson is "very excited about the dental appliances she will be wearing on the show." [4] She was one of the first characters to be confirmed.[5]
  • According to FX Network official press release, her name is spelled "Wilhemina". [6][7]
  • The surname 'Venable' originates from Eure, France, probably named after Late Latin venabulum ("hunting ground"), a derivative of venari ("to hunt").
  • Venable is the eleventh character portrayed by Sarah Paulson. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast. She was one of the first characters of Apocalypse to be revealed. [7]
  • Venable is Sarah Paulson's third character to die in the course of the series in which she appears.

Gallery

References

  1. In Could It Be... Satan?, she appears as a corpse
  2. Episode: The End
  3. Episode: The Morning After
  4. Stack, Tim (January 09, 2018). American Horror Story 8: Sarah Paulson will be wearing 'dental appliances,' says Ryan Murphy. Entertainment Weekly.Com. Retrieved on 2018-06-18.
  5. Webb Mitovich, Matt (2018-08-03). American Horror Story: Apocalypse Characters Include Billie Dean, a Bitchier Madison... and the Harmon?. TV Line. Com. Retrieved on 2018-08-03.
  6. Official poster released for Apocalypse crediting "Ms. Wilhemina Venable".
  7. 7.0 7.1 American horror Story - Apocalypses official trailer released (Correct Name Spelling). FX Networks.com (2018-09-06). Retrieved on 2018-09-10.