Let’s not waste any time before diving into the big reveal of “Chapter 8” in last night’s American Horror Story: Roanoke. Lee really did kill her husband Mason! If you’ll recall, Mason was found dead in the woods, burned and hanging from a giant stick doll, in the third episode this season. Lee has maintained her innocence despite the fact that she has been largely blamed for Mason’s death (but never formally charged with a crime). However in what she thought would be her last words to her daughter Flora in a video recorded by Jether Polk (Finn Wittrock), she finally confessed to the crime. The bad news: She managed to escape and is now leading Audrey to her certain death back to the Polk compound to recover the recording.
The only question I have is, did Lee really set up that crime scene herself? Or did she discreetly murder and then sensibly dispose of Mason’s body and the ghosts were like, “lol no,” and strung him up like that? It’s mostly unimportant in the grand scheme of things other than to try to get into Lee’s head. Lee is clearly hiding another secret because we still don’t know why she agreed to come back to the house to begin with. Not only was she fully aware that there were murderous ghosts and murderous hillbillies there, but she was also knowingly returning to the scene of her crime. It seems pretty obvious that they’re setting Lee up to be the survivor of the season, if for no other reason than both Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett’s characters are both terrible people, and not even in an interesting way. What else are you hiding, lady??
So by the end of the episode, we have left Lee, Audrey, Monet, and the new guy. Oh right: the new guy! He only appears in the last seconds of the episode but Wes Bentley shows up at the house as Dylan, the actor who played the Butcher’s son in the reenactments. Early prediction: he gets his head smashed in by a hammer or other blunt object. Now let’s walk back through the deaths.
Mama Polk and Jether Polk
Last week I mentioned that I am not a fan of the torture porn genre, so overall I was definitely not a fan of the live human-eating, teeth-pulling, rape-insinuating scenes in the Polk compound this week. Some of the more disturbing things we learned about the Polk family include: their history of cannibalism goes back centuries, to when wanderers slaughtered and ate the family’s last pig; the male offspring have all been procreating with Mama Polk (a la The X-Files‘ “Home”) to keep the family’s lineage going; and they like to eat their victims alive to keep the meat fresh and because fear makes it tangy or something like that.
Fortunately Lee manages to escape and kill Jether by seducing him into releasing her bonds (RIP, Finn Wittrock) and Mama Polk similarly eats it when the newly freed Lee stumbles upon her trying to rip Audrey’s teeth from her mouth. She disables Mama long enough to free Audrey, who then bashes her skull in with a hammer. We’re up to three skull bashings now! Unfortunately, there are still two Polk brothers out there chasing after Monet (who also managed to escape), and now Lee and Audrey are about to head straight to them.
Back at the house, Shelby and Dominic Banks are being chased every which way by the Piggyman, the Chen family, the serial killer nurses, and pretty much every other dead thing that once died on the property. Eventually they make it to the relative safety of the bathroom… which, I don’t know why the ghosts couldn’t just materialize there and kill them, but whatever. Faced with the realization that she killed the only man she ever loved, Shelby realizes that best case scenario, she spends her life in prison; worst case scenario, she gets horribly murdered by ghosts, and decides to end it then and there by slicing her own throat. Now she and Matt have eternity to spend hating each other as ghosts on the Roanoke property. It’s almost poetic, if you think about it.
Lee and Audrey somehow make their way back to the house where they find Matt and Shelby both dead and Dominic Banks holding a knife, not exactly believing his story of what went down. As such, they lock him out of the bedroom, where he is promptly slaughtered by the Piggyman. RIP, Dominic Banks. What you lost in being not a terribly good person, you made up for by being a wonderful scene partner.
- Lee is definitely in cahoots with the ghosts somehow, right? Notice they did not bother her or Audrey when they came back to the house. As I said earlier, she’s still hiding something and I can’t wait to find out what it is.
- It’s apparent in this episode that the Polk family compound does, indeed, have cameras set up all over the place. Who is recording all this? Did Sydney make a deal with them?
- Sarah Paulson is playing Audrey to such perfect spoiled selfishness with lines like, “If I die, I just want you all to know I had so many wonderful performances waiting for you.”
- Oh hey, Taissa…
Who is the guy in the helmet, though? Next week’s episode appears as if it will involve three amateur ghost hunters, just in time for the blood moon.