[content warning for creepy/violent images and discussions of violence and drug use]
Welcome back to the creepy crawly world of American Horror Story: Roanoke. Yeah, that’s the official title. Kinda lame if you ask me, but I guess it gets the job done.
I read that last week’s premiere was FX’s third most watched premiere in network history, so clearly the publicity train worked. I’ve also been watching The People v. OJ Simpson, which is a Ryan Murphy joint, and if it’s any indication of what he can do in 10 episodes, them I’m hype.
Let’s get started…
They still aren’t using the typical AHS opening title, which is fine with me because it always kinda grossed me out. The episode started with clips, sort of, like you see on docudrama type shows. The action opened where last week’s left off: Sarah/Shelby in the woods watching poorly-dressed hobos doing some sort of ritual.
Kathy Bates, once more employing an…interesting…accent is the leader, and apparently some bearded guy (I think one of the hillbillies from episode 1, but honestly I’m not sure) stole from the group and has to be punished. They nail a pig tail to his butt (ew) and put a pig head over his head and then burn him alive (really ew). Shelby makes some noise and the guys start chasing her, but she runs out into the road and almost gets hit by a car.
I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t 100% paying attention, but for some reason I got this weird sort of Twilight Zone feeling because the moment was so close to what happened to Kathy Bates where like…Shelby was really Kathy Bates and she’d dreamt the whole ritual? Or…Shelby wasn’t…a real person? I don’t know. It was weird, which I guess was the point.
Anyway, the driver turns out to be Matt’s sister Lee, and she gets Shelby to the hospital. Shelby tells the cops what happened, but when they investigate the woods they find nothing. Naturally. Matt/Cuba says they’ll find some place else to stay, but Sarah/Shelby says no way. They’ve got everything invested in that house, and she’s not about to let some crazy rednecks drive them away.
Back at the house, Lee’s ex-husband Mason brings their daughter Flora for a visit. Lee is working hard to stay sober after a prescription pill addiction caused her to lose her job, her marriage, and custody of her daughter, and she hopes this visit will be a fresh start…despite all the creepy shit around the house.
It starts off pretty much immediately, with Flora talking to an empty doorway and claiming she’s speaking to Priscilla, a little girl who promises to help Flora make a bonnet like hers if she “stops the blood.” Apparently Priscilla doesn’t like the blood. Agh.
Lee is understandably freaked. Adina/Lee tells us that she thought Flora was acting out, like kids sometimes do, but then she finds a broken vase with an old fashioned bonnet next to it. Priscilla stirring up trouble.
Later that night Matt and Shelby are sleeping when Shelby hears pig noises outside. She grabs a bat and runs out, Matt with her. He sees a wild pig, and as they stumble around in the pitch black forest they happen upon a creepy as hell effigy: one of the stick doll things, huge, with a pig head on top. On fire.
Matt knocks it down, which I thought was kinda stupid because it could’ve caught stuff on fire, and they call the cops. Of course this time the cops have to listen because duh it’s RIGHT THERE. They assure the couple they’ll go talk to the rednecks, and they offer 24-hour police protection, which they eagerly accept.
The next night (or maybe later the same night? the timeline in this ep was all screwed up) Cuba/Matt is awakened by a ringing phone. He goes downstairs to answer it and there’s a bunch of static, with a woman’s voice begging for help. Also, uh. The phone isn’t plugged in so THAT’S weird.
He hears a noise behind him and sees an old woman in a hospital bed. There are two nurses there, and when the woman refuses her medicine, one of the nurses pulls out a gun and shoots her. The other one paints a giant M on the wall in red spray paint as they chant “M is for Margaret!”
Cuba/Matt freaks out and runs outside to wake up the cop sleeping in the driveway. He comes inside to investigate, but of course there’s nothing. Adina/Lee, a former cop, worries that her brother and sister-in-law are getting a rep for being kooks. Probably.
Mason comes to pick up Flora, but she’s hiding. When they find her, she’s hiding in a little attic crawl space talking to someone. She tells them it was Priscilla, and she was offering to trade her doll so that the little girl wouldn’t kill them. She says they’re going to kill them all, and save her for last. Agh, Priscilla!
Mason flips out and grabs the kid, dragging her away without even letting Lee say goodbye. He also says he’s going to call the judge. So much for that fresh start.
Lee gets wasted, and Cuba puts her to bed. She sees the two nurses in the room and gets up to investigate. She has a vision of pig tails nailed to the wall, and then a dancing pig man in the mirror. It’s all very scary and I hid my eyes a little.
Meanwhile, Cuba/Matt and Sarah/Shelby see a little girl outside. She appears to be in colonial garb. Priscilla?! They follow her and find an old cellar, which they promptly go investigate together without telling anyone.
They get lucky and no one slams the door. Inside they find a tape of Denis O’Hare rambling madly into the camera about the history of the house. Apparently the nurses were sisters and lovers (!!) who killed elderly patients in a retirement home they founded. They fled before they completed their work, spelling out only MURDE using the patients’ first names.
Cuba/Matt rips off the ugly wallpaper in their living room to, sure enough, find the painted words on their wall. They call the bank guy about selling the house back, but he’s pretty much like too bad, so sad, you’re on your own.
As soon as the bank guy leaves, Lee drives up with Flora in the car. She’s kidnapped her kid. Why did they leave her alone??
Mason calls, and Shelby/Sarah talks him out of pressing charges or involving the police. Flora is in the living room doing her homework while the adults talk in the kitchen, and outside she sees the little girl. Of course she follows her. The adults discover she’s missing and search the whole house before they head outside.
The episode ends with the ominous sight of Flora’s yellow hoodie at the top of an EXTREMELY TALL tree.
This episode was creepy as hell! I usually like to write these pieces in my head before I sit down at the keyboard, so last night I was lying in bed going over the episode, and I had to stop. I got too freaked out because it was dark and stuff. I’m a grade A wuss, so take that as you will, but honestly this ep had some genuine scares.
We’re 2 episodes in and no one’s been sexually assaulted. That’s a weird standard, but honestly for AHS it’s refreshing. Think we can make it the whole season? It’s only 8 more episodes. Maybe we have a chance!
It’s clear that this house is some sort of Murder House type location, like in season 1. Denis O’Hare says that the owners before the killer lesbian nurse sisters just up and left without a word, and obviously Priscilla has been around the house a while. It’s weird that she first tells Flora she wants the blood to stop, but then later tells her she’s going to kill the whole family. Are there two little girls? Or is Priscilla just moody?
Matt and Shelby believe that the little girl led them to the cellar so they could find the tape and learn the history of the house as a form of protection. That jives with Priscilla 1, but not Priscilla 2. Also the same-looking ghost girl is who lured Flora out of the house, and it seems, at least from what little we’ve seen, that Flora is in danger. But maybe Priscilla lured her away to protect her? Or maybe it was Priscilla 2 and Flora’s in major trouble.
I’m so so glad Matt had some paranormal experiences of his own. He always said he 100% believed Shelby, but I was still getting that “crazy wife” vibe, where she experiences everything and no one believes her. Thankfully he saw the burning effigy and the nurses, and he’s the one who first believed Denis O’Hare’s crazy-face ravings.
Overall I liked this episode very much. As usual I can do without the blood (some dude was scalped, the pig tails, etc), but I do like the creepy vibe this season is giving us. A lot of people seem down on it because it’s not as in-your-face as previous seasons, but I LIKE that. Not everything has to be so incredibly shocking. I hope (as I usually do with AHS) that we learn more about the history of the house and the area as the season goes on.
- If Flora is hurt or killed, I will be Angry.
- Stop going into the pitch black woods in the dead of night.
- Watch a damn horror movie and learn some basic survival skills.
images curtesy of FX, Vanity Fair, and clarasolo