Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Recap: M is for MURDER on AMERICAN HORROR STORY

pixeltracker

This weeks episode of American Horror Story came with the series' subtitle "Roanoke". Thus, the possibility that this will be several anthologies or hauntings captured in a faux- documentary episodic format is pretty much debunked; however, that doesn't mean that this season will be in anyway straightforward. This is American Horror Story after all!

This week we picked back up where we left off. At the start of each episode, rather than the opening credit sequences we are used to, we get a television-style flash of images previewing the upcoming episode with little snippets of Shelby and Matt's "Roanoke Nightmare". It's an interesting format to present any series that hinges on suspense and horror; allowing us to basically preview what we're about to watch, but just as one would think the doc style itself would spoil the atmosphere and it doesn't, this part of the format doesn't either. They both shouldn't ideally work and go against the filmmaking constructs of showing not telling and being present, however they still somehow leave your mind once you are invested in the events of the reenactment.

We find Shelby stumbling through the woods again, and Kathy Bates, along with Lady Gaga, are once again brought back to shine. Kathy Bates commands every single scene she is in, tackling a VICIOUS and terrifying cult leader this year. Lady Gaga is playing what appears to be a dingier, stranger version of the Enchantress, but she seems to be rocking it just fine.

This cult stands around this man who stole from them or their people and in order to punish him, decide to torture him and tie pig body parts onto him, transforming him into a giant roasting spit. Poor Shelby can't just have one relaxing day without stress and she comes upon the cult. They see her but she runs away and gets out just in time. Next we see her in the hospital, with Matt by her side, and the two have had rather large role reversal, other than just their position as patient and visitor. Now Shelby thinks it's best for them to stay in the house. She thinks that fighting back and not backing down is the best option. Not to mention the fact that they couldn't leave if they wanted to as they can't get their money back, which we will find out later.

Thus, with nothing being powerful enough to intimidate these people to just pack up and leave, Lee yearns to reconnect with her young daughter and in comes Flora to the creepy murder house. Despite the goings on, Lee thinks it's a good idea to have her in the house if she keeps her "inside" and "a close eye on her." However, of course as soon as Lee leaves her child for just a second, she is gone. Lee finds her talking to what appears to be an imaginary friend, who she says is named Pricilla and is "tired of all the blood," something a child probably wouldn't just think to say on their own.

Shelby and Matt hear another noise in the middle of the night and Shelby's newfound 'pep' in her step means she is not sitting back any longer. She charges out of creepy murder farmhouse and see a strange meat roasting effigy, topped with, of course, a pig head. For once, the police actually see what Shelby and Matt call them in for and finally agree to do something; give them 24/7 protection of a squad car outside their home at all hours. As the horror story format tells us though, this most likely wont do much.

We are proved right when Matt wakes up in the middle of the night to find a ghost scene replaying itself in their home. The two nurses Shelby saw the previous night kill and old woman they were meant to care for, claiming "M is for Margaret." The officer, of course, sees none of this when he enters the home and once again Shelby and Matt seem like the couple who cried wolf.

When her father comes to pick her up, Flora is missing once more and Lee claims it's because she's playing a special game of hide and seek where she doesn't tell anyone she is hiding. Lee finds this cute as opposed to how most parents would react with the will to murder their child for such a scare. They eventually discover her talking to herself once more in this creepy crawlspace build into the wall. She tells them she was talking to Pricilla again and was planning to offer her doll as a peace bargain so that she would not murder them all. Flora's dad leaves with her in a rush, understandably so after hearing your child being to say things like "they're saving me for last," blaming Lee.

Having a complete breakdown to the possible forever loss of her child, Lee loses it and gets drunk after trying so hard at her sobriety. Matt and Shelby find her in a mess downstairs but leave her to follow a disturbing colonial girl standing outside their home, because...why not? They find a cellar that is beyond horrifying and, like any normal people, after even stating that they could have been lured out there as a "trap", they decide to go straight down into it. There they discover the video tape that tells them all.

Denis O'Hare is back and has videotaped his own "Roanoke Horror" in a Blair Witch-eqsue vlog. He recounts his horrors that he dealt with in the home and the force that resides in it that is trying to kill him. The home, he discovered, used to be an assisted living facility that was run by two nurses who were believed to have killed two of their previous patients before they quit. They set up their own facility and there they proceeded to murder all of their patients, accepting people by the first letter of their name solely so they can spell out their favorite word...you guessed it! MURDER! However, their game is cut short because a greater evil in the house stopped them from completing their favorite word. They were one letter away, missing solely the "R". Possibly R for "Roanoke"? Or, if any new characters come join our house of horrors and their names being with an R, we know that it probably wont end well for them! Denis O'Hare's character decides to go back into the house once more to confront the evil and directly challenges it to show itself. It does, and we only get a glimpse, but it's a horrifying glimpse nonetheless. There is something greater going on here and we're on our way to discovering what exactly that its.

It's interesting that Shelby and Matt, our protagonists, are getting all of the information quite quickly, deviating from the usual horror movie format, as opposed to the archetypes they've been sticking to the rest of the season with the naivety and blind braveness that Shelby and Matt so often and frustratingly encompass.

As Matt and Shelby find out from the bank that they are well and truly stuck, life can't seemingly get worse. That is until they see Lee driving up to the house with a kidnapped Flora in the backseat. Shelby and Matt talk Lee down from her craze and Shelby really steps up, protecting and defending Lee when her husband calls, completely deescalating the situation. This moment was truly beautiful and it was nice to see them bonding. It was the first moment that they truly felt like family. Their connection and the strength of their bond was so present in that moment. All of which is broken of course when creepy Pricilla lures Flora out of the house. Shelby, Matt, and Lee go out looking for her but she's no where to be found. All they find is her sweatshirt all the way atop an incredibly tall tree, with Flora no where in sight.

This episode continued to keep the interested of it's viewers and hold the suspense and fear that AHS fans have been craving to be back in their screens ever since season1. Last week felt like a true renewal of this show, yet a revisiting of it's origins and this week solidified that notion. However, where could we be going form here? With (newly) Emmy Award winning Sarah Paulson teasing that there's something greater going on this season. "It's not necessarily connected, but something's happening. Something's happening that people are going to go nuts for. They're going to go nutty bobo nut town," Paulson told Variety. That doesn't sound like the kind of reveal or turn that could just happen if the show continues down this formulaic ghost story setting which, while is completely scary and satisfying, isn't anything new. One of the best theories out there of what this "nutty bobo nut town," plot could be comes from a Vanity Fair article recently published where Joanna Robinson poses the possibility that perhaps the fourth wall of this docudrama could be broken. Perhaps worlds will collide when the reenactment team of actors being to be actually haunted on set and the real life Shelby, Matt, and Lee are forced to confront their "Roanoke Horror" once again. That would take this ghost story to a new level and explain why they chose this style of storytelling other than aesthetic and reference purposes. One can only hope that this season goes anywhere near that level of brilliance as we continue with it, and that it doesn't fall down the same trap that every recent season of AHS have fallen into. You certainly don't want the fan theories to be better than your actual show, but this show has the power, talent, creatives, and ability to supersede all expectations, as the opening of this season itself has proven!

Watch a promo for next week's episode below:

Photo Credit: FX


Related Articles View More TV Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Jessica Naftaly

Jessica Naftaly, a NYC native, is currently a film major at the School of Visual Arts, with a focus in directing. She has a passion (read more...)