Warning: Spoilers below for Episodes 1 through 6!
The good news, “American Horror Story” fans, is that we finally know the big twist in Episode 6 of “Roanoke.” The bad news is that it’s horrifying.
As co-creator Ryan Murphy promised, the current season is split into two main parts. Episodes 1 through 5 saw “My Roanoke Nightmare,” a show-within-the-show that replayed Matt and Shelby’s harrowing experience at the Mott house with actors. Beginning with Wednesday’s Episode 6, the season turns into “Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell,” featuring the apparently ill-fated sequel helmed by Sidney, a producer played by Cheyenne Jackson, that was pieced together through hidden-camera footage out of necessity. Because everybody ― except one ― died.
And, because we don’t know who survived, we have the pleasure of spending Episodes 7, 8 and 9 nervously watching between gaps by our fingers. (We suspect the lone survivor will have Episode 10 all to him or herself; Murphy has said the finale has a wrap-up unto its own.)
In “Return to Roanoke,” Matt, Shelby, Lee and the actors who played them ―including, thankfully, Evan Peters for his character’s role as Edward Mott ― return to spend three days at the house during the blood moon, the period in which spirits can kill human beings. When “My Roanoke Nightmare” was filmed, the moon was following its regular, ho-hum cycle, and so the actors enter the sequel blissfully unafraid. Tellingly, however, a couple of them developed mental health and alcoholism problems since working on the first show.
OK, but why on Earth would any of the real Miller family members return to Roanoke? Lee only agrees to return to clear her name, since the American public thinks she murdered her ex-husband, Mason. Shelby returns in hopes of reconnecting with Matt, who refused to talk to his wife after her affair with the actor Dominick. But Matt’s motivations for returning are not yet clear.
Sidney had his special effects crew install some artificial scares, including faucets that turn on and windows that smash all by themselves. Since it’s officially Blood Moon Time, though, we know some real supernatural things are about to go down ― and they do.
Like the accidents that befell Mott’s construction crew, Sidney’s setup goes awry when a chainsaw-wielding workman inexplicably turns the blade onto himself. Producer Dee disappears at the hand of what fans have dubbed ManBearPig in a scene full of jump scares. Then, the actor played by Peters, named Rory, is taken out by the pair of nurses seeking to finally complete their creepy word game: spelling M-U-R-D-E-R out of their victims’ initials.
With any luck, Peters’ character will return in ghostly form. Rory, we learn, had married Shelby actress Audrey after “My Roanoke Nightmare” and is delightfully prone to answering phones with “Herro?”
It seems we might also get our money’s worth out of Jackson’s reckless producer, Sidney. As the architect of this awful sequel, we can’t wait to see him reckon with what he’s created.
“American Horror Story: Roanoke” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.