Once more, BIG spoiler warnings for the entire season so far of American Horror Story: Roanoke. Especially Chapter Five! And boy oh boy, do we have lots of images for you!
- Evan Peters is finally here on Roanoke! In possibly the best cold open American Horror Story has had since the “Freaks” tribute in Season 4’s “Showstoppers”, we find out he plays an extremely wealthy hardcore art enthusiast named Edward Philippe Mott. In 1792, he made the horrendous mistake of using the Roanoke cursed property to build a huge mansion as retreat for him, his art, and his lover Guinness*. And yes, he was an ancestor of the narcissistic sociopath Dandy Mott from American Horror Story Freakshow. “Madness always ran in the family,” Doris Kearns Goodwin (as herself) tells us.
On the night of the blood moon (we get a great shot of it hanging in the sky, crimson and sickly), his paintings get mauled and he freaks out (reacting as a parent would if they found their child’s head on a stick), screaming at his poor staff and then tossing them in the seriously deep root cellar (where they stayed until they had rotted into skeletal remains). Mott does not locate “the thief”. Instead, Tomasyn and her murderous supernatural gang drag him out of the house, impale him with a huge sharpened stake, and then push him into the fire while he is still screaming.
2. If Tomasyn is really, really pissed off at you during a blood moon, she can summon all her past victims. After the female Thai Ghost girl dropped into frame– about two seconds after Matt and Shelby told her to be brave because they were going to make it out of there– and made Flora scream, we knew they were going to wrap up the “My Roanoke Nightmare” true crime/reality show portion of the season (more on that later) and that we were in for one hell of a fun episode, so we turned of all the lights but our flatscreen, and sat back and let the roller coaster-haunted house thrill-ride begin.
Right off the bat, the Millers got the scary Thai ghost lady (if you are a Horror Boom regular, you already know we are huge, reverent fans of Thai ghost stories), who scuttles off speedily with poor Flora and eventually lets her go but leaves finger-shaped scars on her arms. The half-naked guy who has a pig’s head stuck over his own and makes horrible inhuman squeals, as well as the hunters who blew each other’s heads off proceed to corral the Millers for “an easy slaughter” while Tomasyn and her gang set the Miller’s cars on fire for good measure. Apparently, what Elias told them was true: all her former victims were still so terrified of her that she could control them when she needs them.
3. It turns out that Edward Philippe Mott’s severe social anxiety is what helps The Millers escape from the interior of the house and into the woods. In an extremely welcome return, he appears to them in the cellar (“Perhaps I may be of some assistance.”) and tells them he was the original owner. He leads him through the network of tunnels he included in the building (to smuggle out his beloved and expensive paintings if they were in danger) and tells them that though everything has been taken from him, he has been left with one sliver of grace: his solitude. “I can hardly suffer three more souls,” he explains. He gets them out of there and into the woods not so much out of kindness, but selfishness, but the Millers understandably don’t really give a shit because they just want to get as far away from the house as possible. To make the scene even more unnerving, his face flickers very briefly a few times in the light of his torch, revealing something far from human…
4. Elias wasn’t killed by the arrows, but it really would have been better if he had just died in the first place. Things do not improve for the Millers after Edward Mott dematerializes in the woods, away from the house as promised. Shelby realizes that in the forest, they are nothing more than prey. But, wait! Flora sees a light! Before they can wonder where the hell they are, they get whacked on the heads by shovels and unseen figures shove burlap sacks over their heads.
They end up in the same blood-curdling house where they’d seen the grotesque feral kids suckling the pig (who as I recall was dead or dying at the time–there were lots of flies around at the time, anyway). It turns out they are all members of the same terrible Polk clan, who are not only probably inbred, vicious, hostile, and insane hillbillys, but are also predatory cannibals! They kept poor Elias (who is terrified of “Mama Polk” and begs Matt to just kill him) alive so they could take his leg and his arm and eat him.As a small mercy for Elias, Mama Polk (Frances Conroy, another welcome familiar face along with Evan Peters) tries to eat a piece of “jerky” from him but spits it out, declaring that it, and Elias, are rancid. She says there’s no more use for him and they promptly cave in his head with a shovel. It isn’t pretty.
Oh, but it gets worse. It turns out The Polk family have had a deal with Tomasyn going back 200 years; they help provide for the blood sacrifice, and she leaves them (and their cannabis crops) alone. Could we mention that Frances Conroy can be really, really fucking scary when she wants to be? She delivers her most frightening performance–as Mama Polk– on the entire series to date.
As such, the Polks are going to return them to the dreaded house and the even more dreaded Tomasyn and her large group of murderous pilgrims.
5. Did we mention that Matt means well, but isn’t a rocket scientist when it comes to escape? They ride back in the bed of the pick-up with two of the Polks; Ishmael drives and Lot, played by Chas Bono, holds a shotgun pointed at them (also in the back). Matt makes his move and forces the shotgun away from him and his family, and successfully (though also possibly accidentally) blows Ishmael Polk’s head clean off (okay, maybe not so clean, but that head is mostly gone). Then he shoves Lot Polk over the side of the truck, leaving him sort of disabled on the road! Why, this is great news! Matt can simply shove the headless body out of the driver’s seat, grab the shotgun for back-up, hop in with his family, put the pedal to the metal and drive to safety at top speed! The keys are in the ignition, and the motor is even still running! Wait, Matt? Matt? Where are you going, Matt? Don’t run off into the woods, dummy, Lot is clearly not dead and still has his shotgun! Sigh.
The only explanation we get for this stupidity (other than total panic) is his statement: “I figured I’d rather us take our chances in the woods than be slaughtered like pigs”. Nope, that still doesn’t make sense to us, there was very little chance of them being slaughtered if they had grabbed up all the shotguns and drove out of town as fast as they could, meanwhile NOTHING has ever worked out for them in the woods!** In fact, the woods are not even safe in broad daylight, especially during the blood moon! They run into the woods, huddle up together and hide (sort of) behind a log. Within seconds, Lot is standing over them with his shotgun pointed in their direction and soon after that, Mama Polk is so infuriated with them killing her son that she brings her shovel down on poor Shelby’s ankle, hobbling her in a gruesome mess.
7. Matt’s sister Lee, though, is thinking straight. “Whatever was going on, it was bad. Matt wouldn’t just ignore my call, especially if he had Flora,” she recalls, and immediately asks the cop leaving the station with her for a ride. When they get near the Roanoke house, with all the murderous colonists plus Tomasyn carrying torches and standing around a blazing inferno of a bonfire in front, she calls out for the cop giving her a ride to stop and tells him to call for backup. For some reason (possibly because he sees what is going on and says “fuck this, I’m outta here”) he pulls out and hastily drives off, but Lee hears Flora’s screams and heads towards them.
8. Apparently, Tomasyn’s son Ambrose (Wes Bentley) is still pissed at his mother for killing him. He has also had enough, because he snaps. Right before it looks like poor Flora is going to die horribly, Ambrose puts Flora down instead of into the fire and yells, “Nooooo! I shall not stand by and watch thou shed another drop of innocent blood!” Ambrose conks her over the head with a huge piece of wood, then pulls her into the fire with him. When the Millers make their getaway (thanks again to Lee, pulling up in a car and yelling for them to get in) Shelby looks back and sees Tomasyn engulfed in flames, but still blundering towards them.
Oh, and you know who else is not too fond of Tomasyn? Little Priscilla, who was Flora’s “invisible friend” and probably remembers Tomasyn bashing her head in with a giant rock. Seriously, watch the smile on her face as The Butcher burns.
9. Shelby still has nightmares. We get a fake-out at the motel, when Shelby makes her way slowly on crutches towards the door and sees smoke leaking in from under it. She opens it just in time to see a burning Tomasyn before The Butcher buries a cleaver in her skull… then she jolts awake. “To this day, I still have that dream,” Shelby tells us. “I’ve tried yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy… We escaped with our lives, but I never completely got over it. I’m not sure I ever will.”
10. “My Roanoke Nightmare” as we know it has ended, but we still have five episodes left in the season. Ryan Murphy told us that in episode six, everything would get turned on its head. From the teaser for next episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke, it looks like we are entering (at least partially) “found footage” territory. Cheyanne Jackson, who played the interviewer in the reality-show segments, is seen in what looks like some kind of studio interior telling the camera, “Rolling? The camera never stops. No matter what anyone says, even if I tell you to stop, keep rolling, got it?” Cuba Gooding Jr. also made a comment about “breaking the fourth wall”, which leads us to think we might see some of the “re-enactors” such as Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates playing themselves. Notice how we never got any closure on Lady Gaga’s primal witch character, Scathach? We think we might see her again. Hell, the Polks didn’t get killed off either (other than Ishmael), they just drove off.
- Evan Peters seemed to be having a blast playing Edward Mott. Nice to see a little snippet in the final act of the episode where he returns and cuts Matt and Shelby’s ropes so they “can make a grand escape”.
- If we were in the middle of building a house and heard a loud, horrible sound (the Closed Captions described it as an “inhuman howl”) coming from the woods in broad daylight, we’d dismantle the house and build it the fuck somewhere else.
- Doris Kearns Goodwin (who was wonderful to see cast as herself) reports that the “last Mott” died in South Florida in 1952. That story checks out. Good riddance, Dandy!
- So far, the AHS stars that we were told would appear as cast members this season but have yet to see are: Matt Bomer and Finn Whitrock. We wouldn’t be shocked to have a surprise appearance from, say, Gabourey Sidibe, Mare Winningham, Connie Britton, or NPH.
Aaaand, here’s the rest of those photos! Horror Boom does not own the rights to any of the American Horror Story images in this piece, FX owns the copyright. The ones here are provided for entertainment purposes only.
*Was I the only one that loved it when Evan Peters (as Edward Mott, that is) grabbed Guiness by his collar and pulled him in for a big deep kiss? The icing on the cake is that since Edward was part of the Mott family and had so far seemed pretty arrogant and snotty, we thought when he snapped, “Wait! Come back,” to Guiness it was going to be because he was going to bark some racist order at him. Instead, he passionately kissed him in front of his workers and staff.
**Unless you want to count Matt getting to bang Scathach (Lady Gaga), though from the look on his face, he wasn’t getting any pleasure out of it at all.