American Horror Story: Season 6 Episode 4 review – Chapter 4
“Mr Piggy” showed himself more fully this week, Flora made a reappearance and Lady Gaga’s very Melisandre-like Witch of the Wood was granted a backstory. Below you’ll find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
Before we dive in, we’ve noticed some discrepancy around the subtitle for this season. Where the ad break title screens flash up ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’ very clearly, throughout each episode, this appears to not in fact be the title of this season. Back in our review of Chapter 1 we pointed out that American Horror Story: Roanoke would be a much better and sleeker title, and we’ve since noticed that this indeed is the title for this season.
We noticed that within the promos for upcoming episodes the show does use American Horror Story: Roanoke rather than American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, so consider us corrected on that account. However, we do think the title screen using American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare make this very misleading for those who might not catch the promos.
We’ve stated before that on occasion this season feels like it’s trying to relive Season 1’s former glories. Where Chapter 2 directly imitated Season 1’s Home Invasion (very poorly), this week was a little gentler with its Season 1 references. As Shelby entered her bathroom and pulled the curtain aside, there stood what Dr. Elias Cunningham later dubbed “Mr. Piggy” – the pig-like creature with a man’s body.
This scene intentionally identically replicated the same scene in Season 1’s sixth episode, Piggy, Piggy, in which Derrick described his nightmare about seeing a pig man in his shower (which was played out on screen for the viewers). Where the nurses annoyed us a lot, this little rehash of a Season 1 scene didn’t bother us so much, as it plays more like an easter egg or swift nod than a rehash.
Another nod to Season 1 was the use of the word ‘CROATOAN’ to force ghosts to vanish. In Season 1 Violet was told that saying the word would banish Murder House ghosts, but when she put this in practise it didn’t do a single thing. Here, Dr. Elias Cunningham uses the exact same word and the advancing ghosts vanish in an instance, which alters the Season 1 mythos and shows that the word does work (perhaps only under certain circumstances or only against the Roanoke colony).
The manner in which Priscilla and the colony died was revealed this week, along with a fleshed out backstory for The Witch of the Wood (Lady Gaga), who was holds English origin. We did enjoy when she mentioned: “Other gods. Demanding gods. More ancient and thirsty gods,” as this firmly put H. P. Lovecraft in our minds. We’d love for this season to delve more deeply into this ancient God mythos, but the odds are that the writers will only skirt these archaic deities in dialogue, rather than focusing on them in any direct way.
The episode closed out with what has to be among the goriest scenes in American Horror Story history (don’t even mention that coat hanger scene from Season 2). This was Cricket Marlowe being disembowelled while still alive. Disembowelling has been used as a torture method in many different countries, throughout their bloody histories. For example, in the old English punishment of being “hanged, drawn and quartered”, “drawn” refers to be being disembowelled slowly on a wooden block by slitting open the abdomen and removing the entrails and other organs, which were then thrown on a fire.
Leslie Jordan’s portrayal here of the pain endured during the act of disembowellment was quite convincing and jarring to witness. We’re all for this, as – for a horror show – American Horror Story can often fall short of providing anything genuinely scary or horrific.
Image credits: FX