American Horror Story Roanoke: 06×09, Chapter 9 (Review/Recap)

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This season of American Horror Story has been shrouded in mystery (with the exception of ‘Roanoke’ leaking), and it only continues to take different directions even up until the preview for next week’s finale. Before we get into the potentially major change of pace for the finale, let’s begin where “Chapter 9” kicks off.

Recap: “Chapter 9”

The episode starts out with three new characters (Todd, Milo and Sophie) who run a My Roanoke Nightmare fanpage and hope to document the real haunted house and gain a massive new following on social media. Sophie (played by AHS fan favorite Taissa Farmiga) and her two friends discover the presumed-dead producer from episodes ago wandering the woods with visible trauma. They follow the girl into the woods and eventually find her vehicle with her body (clearly toying with them via apparition form), sending them to the police for any kind of help they can get.

The police (also known to have connections and an arrangement with the Polk family) tell each of the fans that their “prank” will not be tolerated, followed by a trespassing warning if they return to the property. Not willing to sit this one out, they agree to head back to the location for clarity on what is actually going on with the spirits and blood moon. Unsurprisingly, the younger adventurers are more focused on the fact that they’ve gained more than 20,000 followers and made #BloodMoon a trend on Twitter — priorities. Lee and Audrey make their way to the Polk farm for the tape (with Lee’s confession), now aided by the actor Dylan, who played the butcher’s son. The actor is a showboat-y person entirely, constantly referring back to his military training.

When on the Polk property, Audrey discovers Monet, Dylan begins to work on hot-wiring a car, and Lee locates the tape she sought out in her defense. Audrey frees Monet, but one of two remaining Polk men finds them, and Audrey baits him to repeat his threat of “killing them real slow” so she can shoot him on-camera with no repercussions. They get outside and see Dylan is injured by the last Polk family member before they all spot the mob making their way towards them — so the Polk survivor steals the car, and the others are left to deal with the spirits. Monet and Audrey flee while they can, leaving the slowed-down Lee in less than promising circumstances. Lee is shown crawling through the woods, presumably getting closer to dying, until the witch (and original supreme) comes out of the shadows to feed her a pig heart and possibly embody the spirit of the Butcher once more.

Todd and the other two fans of the show see her in the woods and approach the changed version of Lee, asking to talk to her — but Todd is met with a blade, leaving only two fans of the series running around the wilderness. They arrive to the producers’ trailer and notice each camera with fixed images focused on the bodies of actors/former survivors. On one end, they see Monet and Audrey posted up in a room with a bottle and, on the other, the possessed Lee makes her way to the house to finish killing off anyone still alive. While the two could leave, as dedicated fans, they make the executive decision to save them if possible.

Audrey and Monet, next, watch the video Lee had tried to protect, learning the truth about what she had done to her husband. When Monet begins to state she would have been okay with the Polks killing Lee, she pops up behind them under the Butcher’s thrawl and wielding a blade. Monet begins to taunt the two-time Roanoke victim and is shoved by Lee from a balcony, falling to her death atop a broken chandelier. Audrey fights back and escapes to the outside of the house, but Lee catches up, stabs her, and locks her in a cellar, leaving the actress for dead. Sophie and Milo unknowingly arrive too late, where they are skewered and burned alive by the real Butcher and her ghostly cult following.

The next day, the police arrive after reports of a lynch mob from the live-stream, and a disturbing scene surrounds them with the bodies of multiple people scattered around the evil property with relentless death and brutality. It is then that Lee is found sobbing and in shock, possibly unaware of what she had just done hours before. Audrey is the next one shown to be alive, crawling her way out of the cellar and spotting Lee — who she holds responsible for her near death experience. Audrey strips the gun from an officer and tries to kill Lee but is shot down by the other officers, and we see a final shot of Audrey’s lifeless body in the field — making Lee the sole survivor of the Roanoke nightmare.

Overall Grade: 8.8/10

This was an episode that felt full of thrills from beginning to end, correctly wrapping up the mayhem of Roanoke. Lee was my second guess on the survivor of Roanoke, given the fact that she was present for the original murders and round two, making her upcoming sit-down interview with Lana Winters something to look forward to. The episode was a very strong chapter looking back on the season, and I truly hope Lana Winters is given plenty of time to showcase how incredible she is — one of AHS’s best final girls, if not the very best.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts on “Chapter 9”:

– The fan POV was a humorous addition, like the moment Sophie was sad of Shelby’s death because “she liked her.”
– I was actually rooting for Audrey to make it out of the Roanoke scenario, but that’s also in great part due to Sarah Paulson’s consistent performances as a layered actress.
– I can’t even explain how hyped I am for the return of the Lana Winters special. Lee should feel uber-flattered.

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American Horror Story Roanoke: 06×08, Chapter 8 (Recap/Review)

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After some slight confusion about the reality-style second half of American Horror Story, it is beginning to provide some intense new thrills that amplify the horror aspects of the series. With Shelby and faux-Matt watching Agnes getting murdered outside, things look grim for the remaining survivors – sending the unlikely duo into the underground tunnel. They don’t get too far before the spirits of the Chan family crawl from the ceiling at full speed (not a sight I’d want to encounter firsthand.) Sure, they were just attacked there not too long ago, but they apparently wanted to see if things lightened up down below.

Cut to Lee, who thankfully is still alive despite missing a few chunks of flesh from the hillbilly Polk family of cannibals. They begin to cut into more flesh and after blacking out, she wakes up to her ear missing – a Polk family tradition called a “pickled ear.” I try not to judge family traditions, but I’ll make an exception on this one… Lee tries to rationalize (imagine that) with one of the Polk sons about her daughter, unsuccessfully trying to see if there was any shot at keeping her alive. In the midst of the backwoods family function we do discover that the pigheaded killer is actually a Polk family member who took note of the Butcher’s tendencies. Once she realizes her chances are slim, Lee says farewell to her sobriety and does lines of cocaine now aware that she will eventually be turned into a piping bowl of bone broth.

Back at the house (even though there are no home-like attributes other than walls and family dysfunction) Shelby and Dominic make it back from the basement, narrowly escaping the Chan Grudge-like ghosts. Shelby looks as if she’s going to lose hope until the pity-party is thwarted by the pigman attacking once more. They run towards the staircase dodging the nurses, Chans and pigman murderer during an intense sequence that gives credibility towards the descriptions provided earlier in the season. The two make it into a bathroom and Shelby begins to express remorse for killing the man she loved, deciding to slit her own throat in front of Dominic and adding another former survivor to the death toll.

With Lee feeling closer to her end, she convinces the Polk son to film a goodbye video for her daughter, admitting to the camera that she was responsible for the death of her husband (Sidney’s entire purpose of making the sequel series.) Lee’s last ditch effort involves suggesting the two get frisky (romance is clearly dead along with the Roanoke cast) and she uses an untied hand to stab him repeatedly and free herself. The actresses Monet and Audrey are held captive by the other Polks who want to show off their collection of teeth necklaces – deciding to add one of the ladies as well. When they try to take Monet’s tooth, the chair breaks and she runs away, leaving Audrey in the hands of the Polk’s still. The grimey mother arrives, sending her sons after her and she stays behind, managing to pull Audrey’s tooth out. At that same moment, the Polks find Monet fairly quick, and Lee has snuck into where Audrey was captive, temporarily injuring the mother before setting Audrey free. Before they can leave, Audrey takes the moment to smash the vile woman’s head in and continuously thank Lee for setting her free. This is a pair I wish could both survive, but i’ll be ok with one of them making it out alive.

Concluding that they have better overnight survival chances in the house as opposed to the woods, they go back to the property and Lee discovers the body of her brother. Lee becomes an emotional wreck, but Audrey helps her move through the gruesome scene to the upstairs bedroom to get a little high and decompress of course. Audrey and Lee enter the bathroom, where they notice shelby’s corpse and a shocked Dominic. He tells them what occurred but Lee refuses to believe Shelby could have ever killed the man she loved – yet Audrey is more convinced that she knows Shelby is too self centered to kill herself. They lock him out of the room, not believing his claims, but he is met by the pig-faced spirit who butchers him as Audrey tells the audience she had many more strong performances to give (I seriously am starting to love Audrey.) By the time morning comes, Lee convinces Audrey to return to the Polk farm with her and destroy evidence of what they did (more concerned about her confession I’d assume.) When they get to the door, they are met by the actor who portrayed the Butcher’s son, now dressed with a pig mask. I’m not quite certain where this will end, but it’s getting exciting to see what will come within the last two episodes of AHS.

Overall Grade: 8/10

The intensity and horrors of the episode have improved quite a bit from the beginning, making it feel more like a horror/survival scenario that asserts itself strongly. Audrey and Lee have both begun to show entertaining final-girl qualities, so I would like to at least see one make it out to be interviewed by the ultimate final girl Lana Winters of AHS: Asylum (recently confirmed to appear.)

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

  • Audrey saying “I feel like a part of me has died” when she locates Shelby’s body was a great laugh in the middle of a bloodbath.
  • There are definitely moments that indicate things will play out exactly like they did the first time around.
  • With Lee being the only original left, my money is on her surviving unless the original supreme does something to somehow resurrect Matt.

American Horror Story Roanoke: 06×07, Chapter 7 (Recap/Review)

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With making reality television comes a lot of potential for trouble. You have to consider lighting, microphones, camera placement and other random concerns like your entire cast and crew becoming victims of a ghost-murder spree. On this week’s episode of AHS, things were no different so let’s start from the beginning. Despite not completely enjoying the big “twist” of Roanoke, the reality TV version of the series is beginning to better achieve success in the horror genre than the first half of the season.

We find the producer Sidney and others (PA, Cameraman, etc.) in an offsite trailer watching the others from  a distance when one points out he saw Rory get stabbed, pointing to a pool of blood with no real sign of a body. Before they can rewind, they hear the scream of an employee that gets them to run outside – finding the body of the PA, and good ‘ol crazy Agnes (the actress behind The Butcher) appearing in character murders them all with her cleaver. While this is occurring, the others find the blood from Rory and assume it’s a staged prank, despite the ‘R’ in murder being present. After murdering a production crew, Agnes takes herself to the cellar on property with the camera and begins to question her choices in life (like possibly heading the serial killer route) but the indecisiveness is halted as the Blair-Witch stick figures surround her out of nowhere and send Agnes into a panic. Kathy Bates is really outdoing herself by adding psychotic-actress to her resume as no other could accomplish. Award season will see her plenty more next year, I can guarantee that.

The next day, Shelby retreats from the real-Matt/faux-Matt tension and notices a bloody camera lying on her bed. Of course it belongs to the new documenter and tormentor Agnes, who strikes Shelby with her weapon and she can do nothing but film her near-death experience, so they know Agnes is behind it. Luckily for her, the fake Matt finds them both and stops her in time for Shelby to live and Agnes to disappear. When things go further off the rails the group decides to keep doing confessional interviews and completely documenting via cellphones (much like Gaga says in “Angel Down” I’m lost in the age of the social.) They haven’t seemed to immediately grasp that nobody is watching and they are on their own, but I suppose it doesn’t matter because soon there will only be one.

Three of them split up (Lee, Audrey and Monet) deciding to head through the secret tunnel for help until they hit the woods… Which is when Agnes appears again, this time to be shot by Lee. Audrey takes a moment to record herself talking about the ongoing problems when blood begins to trickle down her face. As she looks up, she finds her husbands disemboweled body above her and panic ensues once again. The hillbilly family we had seen appear earlier through reenactments attacks them (one being Finn Wittrock) striking them all with a cattle prod and things couldn’t be looking much worse for the three.

Back at the house, Matt, Shelby and fake Matt waited for some form of help to arrive as Shelby was still seriously injured, but with nothing but silence they fell asleep late into the evening (again.) Matt is awoken under a thrall, making his way to the basement where he begins to sleep with the witch (aka original supreme.) The actor wakes Shelby up to show her what they were doing and the witch flees into the shadows (but who is she?!) and Matt tells them that she’s the real reason he returned – their undeniable connection. This pushes Shelby to her breaking point and she beats him with a fire poker(?) killing her former husband who she said she had such a “strong” love for. My only theory is that the supreme will bring him back of possible and he could be the sole survivor.

Things weren’t looking too great elsewhere either, as Lee wakes up to being strapped to a chair while the cannibal family seasons her leg in preparation for their revolting meal. Poor Lee deserves so much better, but the next we see of her – is a piece of meat being served to Monet and Audrey against their will. A definite dark turn for AHS, but hopefully a one legged Lee can maybe kick some ass and escape if it’s not her witch-loving brother? The episode comes to an abrupt end when we see Agnes dousing the home in gasoline, but is surrounded by the real lost colony spirits with the one and only real butcher. Agnes falls to her knees in awe, only to be killed by her idol with a cleaver through the skull. With Shelby and fake Matt in the house, surrounded as well as the other three in dire circumstances, who knows what comes next in AHS – but I’ll admit, I can’t wait to find out.

Overall Grade: 8/10

This episode has some major scares prepared that took a different approach from other seasons, a welcome change to shake things up. Bates, Rabe and Paulson delivered some of their best acting  this season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them win an accolade for another strong performance. (Plus Gaga for that amazing witch-centric episode.)

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-Shelby is not the woman I thought she was…

-I think we’ll be seeing the witch of the woods again very soon.

-I have no idea what direction the series will take by the end which is what makes it enticing.