Recap: AHS Roanoke - Chapter 2 (S6, Ep2)

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After the polarizing first episode that left us with Shelby running scared in the woods, this episode opens up with her encountering the fire pit where she is confronted with a gentleman missing his scalp and Lady Gaga looking like a refugee from a LARPing camp. As Kathy Bates chants, “I am the queen of every hive, I am the fire on every hill, I am the shield over every head, I am the spear of battle, I am both the tree and the lightening that strikes it,” she nails a pig’s tail onto a man who is tied up to a post. Shelby runs away only to encounter a deer and follow it (shades of Hannibal) back to… the fire where she gets to witness the rest of the human sacrifice. The man that has a pig tail nailed to him, a pig’s head placed over his own and is then spit roasted just like a pig is accused of being a deserter and stealing food. When Gaga catches sight of Shelby witnessing all of this from behind a tree, it all becomes VERY reminiscent of the bonfire scene in The Lost Boys. In all fairness, this is a DRAMATIC RE-ENACTMENT that we are watching. Directed by Michael Goi, who always gives us visually scrumptious episodes, he is still restrained by the fact that we are watching a fictitious show titled My Roanoke Nightmare. Goi still manages to put his touch on the episode while maintaining the cheesy jump scares and dramatic music cues that we expect from re-enactments on reality shows.

After waking up in the hospital and telling her story, everyone is still believing that Shelby is going cray-cray. Matt says that they will find somewhere else to stay, but Shelby decides she won’t let people push her out of her home. “If it was a fight they wanted, it was a fight they were going to get.” Well, if these idiots don’t stay in the house that is clearly haunted, we won’t have a show to watch.

Lee’s daughter Flora comes to visit her, but this quickly becomes a bad idea. Everyone knows that children can be very receptive to ghosts and Flora meets Priscilla in no time. Lee finds Flora having a conversation with someone in the basement, but Lee doesn’t see anything. When she asks who Flora is talking to, she learns that Priscilla is going to make a bonnet for Flora if she helps her. Priscilla is tired of all of the blood, she wants it to stop and Flora is going to help her make this happen. Later, Matt and Shelby investigate strange noises at night, in the woods because…I don’t know, I suppose they have never seen a horror movie and they never learn from past experience. Anyway, they find a giant stick figure with a pigs head and pieces of flesh hanging from it. The police come to investigate and everyone is still blaming those poor hill people. Even though we’re only in episode two, the fact that everyone keeps trying to blame all of these strange occurrences on the hill people or mental illness is already exasperating. Again, if everyone on this show was smart enough to know that supernatural forces were at work, they would also have been smart enough to vacate the premises and we wouldn’t have a show to complain about.

Matt finally gets his own special introduction to the house via a phone call where a woman is crying for help. Matt then sees two nurses standing over an elderly woman in her sick bed. In his dining room. After shooting their patient Margaret, they paint M on the wall, excitingly saying that M is for Margaret. This will all be explained later.

Flora decides to play Hide n Seek only to have her parents find her talking to Priscilla again. Flora then declares, “They’re going to kill us all. And save me for last.” Appropriately, Mason freaks out, takes Flora and says that Lee can’t see her. Lee falls off of the wagon and the nurses come to visit her while she sleeps it off. Meanwhile, Matt and Shelby see Priscilla staring at them. This leads them to find the cellar where the previous owner of the house was living. He has left a video diary where he explains that he cannot sleep because forces keep coming to him and showing him horrible things and, ultimately, physically harmed him. This led him to start living in the cellar and he explains that he is not crazy. He is an academic, an author.

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October 11, 1997 is the last testament of Dr. Elias Cunningham. He is a professor at Bradley University who came to the house two months ago to begin research on his new book. A true crime novel in the vein of Helter Skelter, his two main subjects are two nurses. Miranda and Bridget Jane were sisters who spent every moment together and worked at an assisted living facility in Rochester in 1998. It was suspected, but never proven, that they were behind the deaths of two elderly patients. They left and opened up an assisted living facility of their own in the house. The house had been unoccupied for fifteen years because the family that previously lived in it, a father, a mother and two daughters, had only lived there for a brief time before they left suddenly, leaving all of their possessions and no forwarding address. The ladies only accepted patients who would, clearly, not be missed by their family. The patients also had to fit the criteria of a very specific name requirement. The ladies were killing people based on the first letter of their name in an effort to spell out their favorite word:murder. Miranda believed that each soul they took would add a lifetime to their passion and ensure their love would eclipse eternity. On October 29, 1989 police were called to investigate, but the girls were gone. The only thing they left behind was the unfinished word MURDE on the wall and no matter how many times it was painted over, MURDE would appear again. The official story is that two homicidal nursers, who killed five elderly patients, fled the country. Dr. Cunningham believes what really happened was that they were stopped by something even more evil than them:something in the air, in the woods, in that house. After relaying this lengthy story which, basically, lets us know that there are numerous potential storylines that existed in this house, Dr. Cunningham says that he is going to go back into the house. He doesn’t know if he will survive entering the house again, but he has to see what’s there. While this seems like a stupid idea, it does provide us with a short, eerie found footage style movie courtesy of Cunningham.

Which brings me to…Dr. Cunningham obviously does not survive this house, but if we are watching the DRAMATIC RE-ENACTMENT of Matt and Shelby’s time at the house, then they must survive. Right? Well, that kills all suspense and also does not fit the typical storytelling of AHS. This very question had been bothering me until I read an interview with Murphy in Entertainment Weekly. Apparently, in episode 6 everything we think we know is going to change. But I digress.

After learning of this sketchy history, Matt and Shelby try to bully the bank into taking the house back, but it’s no good. They purchased it in auction and they were to do the due diligence of checking the history of the house. These two L.A. jerkfaces wanted a farm house in rural North Carolina? Well, they got one and now they have to keep it.

Conveniently, Lee kidnaps Flora and brings her back to the house. Because where else would you take your daughter whom just kidnapped? Somewhere besides the house where she was caught talking to dead people? No, that would make too much sense. While the adults talk about how Lee has well and truly shit the bed, Priscilla lures Flora out of the house. After the three of them frantically run around the woods searching for her, the only thing they find is Flora’s hoodie high up in a tree.

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Ending five minutes early, this episode delivered quite a bit of information. This house and the land surrounding it is infested with ghosts and none of them seem to be friendly. The lost colony of Roanoke was spoken of by Billie Dean Howard in Murder House, the pig man made an appearance and homicidal medical professionals also figured into the Murder House season. Murphy still maintains that all of the seasons are connected and it’s, mostly, fun to find the things that may or may not connect them.

You know what isn’t fun? People already deciding that this season sucks. Some people don’t like that Murphy, by his own admission, got bored with what he had been doing and switched up the narrative of the show. Some are still heartbroken over the missing opening credits that we had come to expect. The Evan Peters fans are ready to set the world on fire because he hasn’t made his appearance yet. (Or has he? Who’s running around the woods in that pig’s head?) It seems as though AHS can never truly win over it’s audience with each season, yet we all keep turning in every week. So, while there are already a million and one things going on with a million more being hinted at and it already feels like a bit too much I’m still having enough fun to sit back and see where this is all taking us. If nothing else, we will get to learn the origins of the Mott family. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see the lineage that spawned Dandy Mott of Freakshow.

Sidenotes:

Kids still play with jacks?

What’s up with the pig tails?

I wish wallpaper was that easy to remove.

Changing the street address doesn’t move the scene of a grisly crime. This girl still found the Tate murder house despite it’s change of address.

I sure hope this wasn’t the last we’ll see of Mr. Denis O’Hare this season.

Lisa Fremont

Twitter: @lcfremont
Images: IMDb & tvfanatic.com

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