Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you're not yet caught up on the current season of American Horror Story, then you might want to give this a miss.
After last week’s rather average edition to the American Horror Story: Roanoke plot, fans of the show will be pleased to see that episode 3 takes the story in a much more compelling direction. There’s so much great stuff happening on screen this episode; from the despairing hunt for Lee’s daughter through the woods by day and the flamboyant psychic Cricket (Leslie Jordan), to Kathy Bates’ big reveal as the Butcher of Roanoke, we had a lot of great story progression to sink our teeth into. But by far the most interesting aspect of episode 3 was the appearance of Lady Gaga’s character in a colonial forest flashback sequence.
But as the credits start to roll, us viewers were left with one big question: Who or what is Mother Monster’s character in this season?
Believe me, there’s some very interesting things going on here that suggest a few equally haunting answers. So let’s hurry up and get the disco ball rolling…
1. Gaga Is Priscilla
I know, I know, Lee’s daughter in the last episode seemed to think Priscilla was a little girl, and my new favorite character — Cricket, suggests the same thing in this episode when he explains:
“Priscilla is real. She’s a child, she has a fondness for corn-husk dolls. She died in the late 1500s…”
But is it possible that this could simply be a misinterpretation on the part of the two characters who seem to have contact with her? The first clue that causes suspicion regarding this is that Priscilla’s name in the episode is always mentioned in very close proximity with Gaga’s two cameo’s. This could imply a connection between the name and that character. Pairing that with Gaga’s child-like (albeit creepy) voice during the flashback and the strange sense of innocence in her performance, we could very well be looking at the face of Priscilla when we look at Gaga.
Although considering that Gaga does take up a decent amount of screen time this week, that may just be coincidental and is probably the least likely answer to our question.
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2. Gaga Is An Evil Faerie
Back in July, the entertainment website known as Popwrapped caused a bit of a stir with their claim to know not only the theme of the upcoming season, but also that in it, Gaga would be playing an evil faery. You can see an image of this claim below:
The idea was pretty quickly shut down; nobody really gave much credence to it. It seemed to absurd. However, now that we are three episodes in, we can perhaps revisit the suggestion and see that there may be some truth to it after all.
In the flashback sequence with Kathy Bates’ character, Gaga makes her first real appearance. Slaughtering what sounds like a wild boar to save Bates’ life, Gaga appears dressed in some pretty pagan outfitting, and grants the Butchers’ freedom in exchange for her soul, via the devouring of the boar’s still beating heart.
If Gaga is a faery, she’s most likely a fairy in the more traditional sense. By traditional, I mean old world pagan folklore, in which faeries were often malevolent creatures that would abduct children (another possible connection to the Gaga as Priscilla theory), and cause all sorts of horrible things to happen.
Gaga is revealed almost to be floating through the dark woods, coming to Kathy Bates to make an infernal deal with her. She speaks in a high-pitched, child-like ethereal voice, a voice that we may expect from… an evil faery.
Those nerds out there with an interest in folklore and mythology will probably know that there are several possible origins for these supernatural creatures. Many of which would tie quite well into the American folk-horror genre:
Faeries are often considered to be fallen angels who did not follow Satan into hell. Alternatively, they are described as the souls of the dead who are too sinful for heaven and too saintly for hell. They can be the remnants of an ancient civilization surviving by
“…stealing tools, food, animals, even women and children from invaders (colonists), attacking solitary travelers who wander into their territory, or haunting isolated farms where they do work in exchange for food.” (O'brien, 2011)
A final interesting aspect to Faerie folklore is faerie social structure: there is the Seelie Court who are generally good natured and the Unseelie Court who are described as always being hostile towards humans. Is it possible that Gaga’s character, is a magical forest-dwelling being from a pagan culture, a remnant of the hostile Unseelie Court?
Maybe, but probably not.
3. Gaga As The Unknown
Lastly, we have what I believe is the most convincing answer. Gaga is playing a character that is something else entirely. This is different to me just saying “I don’t know what Gaga’s character is,” when I refer to her as the unknown I mean it in a more Lovecraftian sense.
If we look at all the evidence presented to us thus far about her character, we see elements of the ghost, of the faerie, of the witch…. But we also see a couple of other, perhaps more concerning things as well.
We see the use of — as I mentioned before — infernal deal making, something perhaps more akin to demons. But if this season is supposed to be connected to previous ones, the show’s lore doesn’t exactly allow for a traditional Judeo-Christian interpretation. Granted we had the Angel of Death way back in Season 2, but a Grim Reaper type spirit can be found in pretty much every culture around the world displaying the same characteristics as every other so I don’t think this is very strong evidence for a heaven vs hell playing field. There is still the possibility though.
But being a long-time fan of the idea that AHS should actually do a Lovecraftian themed season (considering Lovecraftian horror is perhaps more American horror than any other theme we’ve already had), I’m hoping she’s something a bit more sinister.
In the trailers building up to the release of Season 6, we saw several references to aliens and alien abductions. So is Gaga an alien? Well, alien abductions have a lot in common with faerie abductions in folklore, so that muddies the water a bit as well (or perhaps links it all together).
Lastly, and I have been SAVING this for last, I want to talk about Gaga’s dialogue in the flashback sequence. Did anybody else notice that when she delivered her lines she just opened her mouth and the words echoed out? She didn’t move it, her lips didn’t formulate words, she just stood there, slack-jawed and the words echoed out as if they came from a voice recording deep inside her throat.
Could it be that Gaga’s character is simply imitating a human being? This is for me, the most convincing argument. If you are an otherworldly creature, trying to make contact with people, what would you do? I would make myself look like one of them. However, I probably wouldn’t know the ins and outs of how humanity works. It would stand to reason that I’d understand that sounds come from a human’s mouth, but I’d not necessarily know that lips and a tongue are required to make those sounds.
A Little Bit Of All Of The Above?
I think that Gaga’s creature is an amalgamation of all of the above, and perhaps even more, imitating human beings for some unknown goal. An alien in the truest sense of the word, and that is perhaps what will make her character one of the more interesting monsters to grace our screens in recent years.
But what do you think? Do you agree with me? Or am I waaaay off? Let me know below in the comments.