So I’m doing another two weeks worth of recaps at once because, while the hype was there and the exact nature of this season was a surprise, Ryan Murphy hasn’t shown us anything new in the past couple of weeks. There’s really not been much happening for me to discuss beyond simply telling you “here’s what happened.” And that’s a huge pitfall in this show so far.
At the very least, last season offered some interesting mythology and takes on vampires and pseudo-historical events to analyze (re: criticize), and you’d think with a take on Roanoke there’d be a ton here to discuss. But there really isn’t. And I think it’s the very nature of the season that has me even more bored than usual. Though Murphy promises a twist this week in the set-up, I’m not incredibly convinced in his ability to hold my attention at anything close to an average level.
I might be a little scathing here, but American Horror Story is the face of horror television right now and Ryan Murphy has had a monopoly on all things horror over several seasons. What’s he doing with that? The same exact thing he’s always been doing, except with an extra filter for us to watch it through in the form of a mockumentary. It might be interesting if he were using it to make some kind of social commentary, a la Blair Witch; but alas, it’s purely fluff entertainment. We’ll see if this week picks up with his promised “twist” but for now, here’s a recap of what’s happened so far to refresh you (I don’t blame you if you forgot):
Original Airdate: October 5, 2016
He shows them his research in the basement on disappearances linked to the house that all occur within the same lunar cycle in October. He then insists the family leave the house as the lunar cycle is set to begin again soon. They refuse to leave without finding Flora first, and Cunningham takes her to where Priscilla is keeping her. On the journey they encounter the horned woman and when Shelby chases after her, she becomes lost in the woods once again. She attempts to fend off the closing in ghosts with the Croatoan spell while Cunningham is killed before he can convince Pricilla to release Flora. The Millers gather and rush back home only to be met by Cricket.
Cricket says Flora is still alive but he is displeased on them going back on their word to Thomasyn. She is now unwilling to negotiate further with them as her power will be much stronger during the lunar cycle. On his way out, Cricket is blinded by the horned woman; he offers up Matt at as a sexual slave and in return she offers him memories of the Lost Colony, revealing their crops are the result of human sacrifice. Thomasyn offered up the entire colony as a sacrifice, poisoning them all and binding their spirits to the land forever. On his way back to tell the Millers what he has learned, his Uber nearly hits Flora who flees and Cricket chases after her.
The Millers fall asleep that night before Matt is awakened and lead down to the cellar where the horned woman is waiting for him. He engages in…activities with her and learns her true identity as a Scottish woman who stowed aboard a ship headed for the New World and was sentenced to be burned as a witch when she was blamed for the ship’s misfortunes. However, turns out she’s descended from druids and holds some mystical power that, when combined with the magic of the New World, allowed her to overpower her captors.
Shelby finds Thomasyn about to sacrifice Flora and she calls for Matt. With Priscilla’s help, Flora escapes and runs to her family. They rush for safety inside the house while Cricket is revealed to take Flora’s place as the sacrifice and is viciously disemboweled.
Original Airdate: October 12, 2016
We open the episode with history on the house. We learn that Edward Philipe Mott (Evan Peters) originally built the house when he moved south from Philadelphia attempting to escape city life. For some reason he felt the need to construct the house with several hidden passages leading out into the woods and, as you might have guessed, several deaths occurred during its construction. Mott left his family to live in the house with his lover Guinness.
Strange things begin to happen to the pair and one night Mott awakens to find his artwork destroyed. The staff claims someone broke in and then ran off into the woods after vandalizing parts of the house. Infuriated and disbelieving, Mott locks them all up nude in the cellar until they confess, and he also sends Guinness away. A few nights later he is impaled and burned at the stake by Thomasyn while the unfortunate servants were left to die of starvation in the cellar. Decades later, Dandy Mott (who you will all remember from American Horror Story: Freak Show) inherits the house and died in 1952, leaving the house open for sale. It passes through owners who all disappear without a trace over the years.
In the present, Matt calls the police about the mob but they refuse to take his report seriously based on previous calls. Ambrose calls for the family to surrender, but instead they concoct an escape plan. Their plan is thwarted, however, when several spirits begin attacking them. The spirit of Edward Mott appears to them and leads them through the tunnels to safety outside of the house. But once they are in the woods, the Polk family confronts them and takes them back to their compound.
They find the body of Cunningham there as well and Mama Polk explains she and her family provide sacrifices to Thomasyn in exchange for protection. Matt attempts to escape and manages to kill one of the Polks but Mama Polk breaks Shelby’s leg. Elsewhere, Lee is released from questioning and taken back to the house. As the Millers are taken to the bonfire and Flora is about to be sacrificed, Ambrose throws both himself and his mother into the fire. Mott returns and frees the Millers. Lee arrives and the family gets into the car and flees to Los Angeles.