Warning: This article contains spoilers from American Horror Story: Roanoke.
After months of speculation about the basis for the sixth season, American Horror Story created a terrifying new world during the first five episodes with My Roanoke Nightmare. Told in a documentary style format, the show took us through a series of "dramatic re-enactments" of the fictional Shelby and Matt Miller during their stay at the haunted Roanoke farmhouse.
Although we are halfway through the season, it already seems as if all of the loose ends have been wrapped up, right? Not exactly. Series creator Ryan Murphy has promised that there would be a huge twist in the sixth episode of the season. Check out the preview for this episode below:
We've all heard the theories tying Roanoke to Coven or Murder House as well as the allusions to Lady Gaga's Scathach being of incredible importance but what if the next step in American Horror Story is not related to any of this at all? The Millers' terror may have been an important stepping stone but it may only have been be a minor part in the overall Roanoke story.
Cheyenne Jackson's Character Is Pivotal
The preview for next week's "Chapter 6" gives nothing away but it's clear that the next episode will be different from what we've seen in the past. With no mention of Shelby, Matt or even The Butcher, the promo focuses on Cheyenne Jackson's character — who if you didn't know was the person behind the camera interviewing the "real" life versions of each character.
"The camera never stops no matter what anybody says. Even If I tell you to stop keep rolling, you got it?"
Jackson's character has had very little to do so far but that looks like it is about to change in "Chapter 6." I wonder if maybe he's the director of the documentary. Either way, he's on a mission but what is he up to?
The My Roanoke Nightmare Subtitle Has Been Dropped
This season, American Horror Story has often used a title card with the words My Roanoke Nightmare. Used at the beginning and throughout for commercial breaks, it was believed that My Roanoke Nightmare was this season's subtitle.
Even previous episode promos have ended with the narrator saying "My Roanoke Nightmare, a true american horror story" which almost gives the impression that the show had dropped the American Horror Story tag altogether to sound more like a reality show. However, if we take a look at the conclusion of the "Chapter 6" preview, there is a huge difference.
The show is no longer referred to as My Roanoke Nightmare, instead it is being called American Horror Story: Roanoke — even the narrator says this now. As the Millers nightmare has concluded, there is no reason for the show to be referred to as My Roanoke Nightmare anymore. This obvious distinction means that the show is headed in a completely different direction.
My Roanoke Nightmare Was The Documentary Show Within American Horror Story
The documentary style of the show definitely gave AHS a sense of realism that it's never really had before. The more organic horror approach definitely helped too. Some fans were annoyed at the interview segments, commenting that they often took us out of the horror scenes. Also, the fact that Matt and Shelby were sitting doing interviews clearly meant they survived the nightmare of the Roanoke Colony. However, the interviews definitely allowed us as viewers to believe that what we were watching was real.
My Roanoke Nightmare also consisted of several other documentary tropes. There was an unusual intro title that told viewers that the show consisted of "true events" as well as warning them of the disturbing nature of the show. There was also a montage containing scenes from the episode, almost like a "coming up on this episode" segment. If I'm being honest, I didn't like this part as it often revealed too much too soon. But if you think about it, a lot of reality/documentary #TV series' have intro/opening segments like this. If you're about to argue that American Horror Story isn't a reality show, then bear with me and I'll explain why I used this reference.
My Roanoke Nightmare was never meant to be the name of American Horror Story's sixth season. In fact, My Roanoke Nightmare is the name of fictional reality show within the narrative — we have been watching the production of this show over the past five weeks. The first five episodes have been expertly constructed to look like a documentary show — the intro montage, the "true events" references, the use of actual historians etc. The important thing is that the Roanoke Nightmare has ended with the terrifying fifth episode and judging from the promo for next week, Cheyenne Jackson's character isn't finished the story just yet. With five more episodes to go, the story of #Roanoke is far from concluded.
Are you a fan of American Horror Story? Check out these interesting theories about where Roanoke is going next:
- How Scathach Could Be Responsible For Creating The Ghosts In Every Season Of American Horror Story
- Will Scathach Resurrect Some American Horror Story Characters From Past Seasons?
- Prepare Yourself, A Huge Twist On American Horror Story: Roanoke Is Headed Our Way
Will We Finally Have Opening Credits?
Despite the critical acclaim, there have been some complaints about this season American Horror Story, ranging from the absences of Lady Gaga, Evan Peters and Frances Conroy to the lack of the typical AHS opening credits. Peters and Conroy showed up in the latest episode and Gaga has been appearing frequently as the witch of the wood, Scathach. Now that many of our prayers have been answered could we be set to finally have opening credits for Season 6 with the horrifying conclusion of the Roanoke Nightmare?
Every single season of American Horror Story has had wonderfully crafted yet horrifyingly scary opening credits, each using a variation of the typical AHS theme tune. Many fans — including myself — were rather disappointed when we learned that Roanoke had no credits. Over time, this became acceptable to us because flashy campy horror credits didn't really work with the darker tone of the show. Now that we're entering into a new chapter for Roanoke free from documentary style, it is entirely possible that we may finally get the opening credits we have been longing for.
Could The Next Five Episodes Be Longer?
Over the years, episodes of American Horror Story have varied in length, ranging from about 45 minutes to 55 minutes. The season premieres of both Freak Show and Hotel remain the longest episodes, both running at a little over an hour. With Roanoke, every episode is roughly around 35 minutes long.
To be fair, documentaries are usually about 35 minutes with commercial breaks and the action takes place in several acts — like we see in Roanoke. It's likely that Murphy and the AHS team used this tactic to enhance the realism of the docu-style season. However, now that we will see what comes after the documentary series, it's likely that the next five episodes could be extended, even if just by a little.
How Will This Play Into The Twist?
We can only speculate about what the twist will be, but I think we can pretty much guarantee that it will be directly related to the changing format of the show. The dropping of the dramatic re-enactments means that we will now be viewing the show in modern day — no more flashback/interview sequences. While this will have it's perks it also means that we will probably lose Sarah Paulson or at least she will no longer be appearing as Shelby.
Remember, Murphy has already confirmed that we will see many fan favorite #AHS characters appearing in Roanoke and since this season is so supernaturally centered then perhaps Billie Dean Howard — Paulson's medium character from Murder House and Hotel — could make another appearance? With several connections to previous seasons already been made — specifically Freak Show — it's also possible that more connections will be made further down the line.
In the preview Cheyenne Jackson is exploring a rather modern looking building meaning that we are no longer at the Roanoke farmhouse — but where exactly is he? Could he be setting up another interview or could be going to do some more digging on the Roanoke colony? Perhaps this is where we will encounter some of our old favorite characters. Nothing is certain yet and the twist will likely blow our minds, but until then all we can do is wait.
There is no doubt that American Horror Story will change it's format after the conclusion the fictional reality series My Roanoke Nightmare. "Chapter 6" will be completely different from the first five episodes and Murphy has promised that we won't see the twist coming. Cheyenne Jackson's character is obviously the key to the whole season, but what lies ahead for us has yet to be revealed. My Roanoke Nightmare may have concluded, but the story of Roanoke is just beginning.
Find out what the twist will be in next week's American Horror Story on FX. Tell me what you think the mind blowing twist will be in the comment section below.