WARNING: This article contains MASSIVE American Horror Story: Roanoke spoilers, so if you're not up-to-date, maybe give it a miss!
In tonight's episode of Roanoke, we saw several interesting things happen. From the welcome return of Evan Peters and the Mott Family, to the chaotic demise of The Butcher, Tomasyn White (Kathy Bates) at the hands of her own ghostly son Ambrose (Wes Bentley), there was a lot to take in, and for good reason.
With only 37 minutes, we as viewers received what appears to be the climax of the season's story, sped up into a bite-sized chunk of leg jerky (yes, I'm talking about THAT scene). Why the rush? With several more episodes to go, why in the hell is the story engine seemingly loosing steam already?
Well, unlike previous seasons, this loss of steam isn't due to bad writing, and the characters are definitely not simply floundering around lost in a lake of half-formed character arcs. No, it seems that we are in fact gearing up for plot two of the story.
A Second Story
Plot two you ask? Yes. If you recall in my first article regarding this season, I suggested something. Something that has, from what I've seen, become a pretty prevalent theory among the fan base at this point; so prevalent that one has to wonder if Ryan Murphy and his team didn't do a good enough job hiding it in the first place.
Well, regardless of their sneakiness, the theory I proposed (alongside many others) seems to have been all but confirmed in the teaser that was just released for next week's edition. The teaser, which you can watch below, depicts a previously unseen character (presumably the director of My Roanoke Nightmare) leading the cameraman through a building, informing him to keep rolling, no matter what happens.
If you hadn't caught onto what's been happening in the series thus far, this may have seemed pretty strange, but really is playing exactly into the kind of meta-fictional device AHS has been developing all along.
We've Hit Real Time
With the conclusion of the backstory that involved Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr) and Shelby (Sarah Paulson) moving into the house and narrowly escaping the Butcher and her army of colonial cultists, we can now move onto more interesting details. We're about to go full Blair Witch.
It's hard to say for sure based off the small teaser clip, but my guess would be we are about to see the actor versions of the cast thus far stand alongside several of their real-world counterparts (or possibly even the real-world enemies of their acted characters), and face off against an even greater evil that has been slowly brooding all the while in the background.
That's right — Mother Monster herself — Scáthach (Lady Gaga) the witch/evil fairy/pagan/demon/whatever.
If you noticed, Gaga's creepy-as-fuck character was nowhere to be seen this episode. She wasn't even mentioned, yet the plot kind of just got resolved without her. The blood moon came, some rednecks ate people meat, Shelby's leg got broke and they all escaped to a motel with decidedly creepy-looking beds.
But they have been playing Scáthach up for the past few episodes!
There are too many subplots connected to her that are yet to be satisfied. What's with the creepy sex hypnotism she has going with Matt? What was her end goal in converting the Butcher to her back in colonial times? And what, for that matter, is her end goal now?
Yeah, there's no way they're done with Scáthach.
Interestingly enough, if they carry on her storyline, they're probably going to have to swap Gaga out for a "real-life" version of the Witch and maybe have Gaga as an actor fighting alongside the others for the season's remainder.
Regardless, we sill have a hell of a lot of questions that need answering.
A Smooth Transition
We will have to wait and see how everything pans out in the coming weeks, but so far, I have been pretty damn impressed by the way the writers have subtly set us up for this transition to occur.
Beginning with the realization that if the real-life counterparts are telling their story on screen then they must have survived, we immediately as an audience created space in our imagination for the plot to continue on after the end of the flashback story.
Then there were some really beautifully written subtle moments, like when Lee asked if they could stop filming for a moment, or when you heard the voice of the director or interviewer speaking off camera to the real-life counterparts.
These small moments, that could easily be mistaken as simply being conventions of the mockumentary genre, actually subconsciously plant things in our minds. These little "ticks" tell us things. They tell us that the filming is not polished or complete. We are not necessarily watching My Roanoke Nightmare as it airs on TV (at least not in its entirety), we are watching it either mid-filming, or in some stage of post-production. The episodes may have been filmed, produced and aired individually up to a certain point, but as the series has progressed, the documentary elements have become less and less polished.
All these things point towards the big shift that Ryan Murphy has been talking about for Episode 6.
“You’ll see starting in Episode 6, the show has a huge turn and the thing that you think you’re watching is not what you’re watching.” (Stack, 2016)
We are jumping head-first into meta territory, and I don't know what it will give us (whether it will be good or bad), but I do know one thing: It should be one hell of a ride!
Thought the last episode was f***ed up? Well, that's just one episode in a show that's no stranger to pushing the limits:
What do you think is in store for us next episode? How are they going to balance out the ensemble cast of characters once we have the actors alongside their true versions? Let me know in the comments below!
Stack, T. (2016, September 22). American Horror Story: Roanoke twist will happen in Episode 6. Retrieved from http://www.ew.com/article/2016/09/22/ahs-roanoke-exclusive-twist