American Horror Story: Season 6 Episode 7 review – Chapter 7
With homicidal haste, the show took steps to make certain that the body count was high this week. Where last week’s murder of Rory made it seem like we might lose one or two of our characters each week from hereon in, the writers flipped that expectation on its head by killing of (and/or maiming) a large handful of our reality hopefuls.
One of these surprises was Sidney himself meeting his end, which occurred at the hands of Agnes. It became apparent why this move needed to be made, however, as soon as we saw the remaining tormented characters plea for help to the cameras. Removing Sidney and the crew is a surefire way to ensure that no help ever arrives – because no one’s there to hear their pleas.
Certainly the best thing about the big revamp of this season is that we now get to see what the real Roanoke ghosts look like and for once the show is playing the “less is more” card. This week we saw what was very likely the real Edward (in the tunnels), as well as the real Witch of the Wood and the real Butcher (played by Susan Berger, who looks wonderfully evil here).
For the most part, all of these real ghosts were shown from a distance, or hastily, which definitely increases the horror factor. Their appearance is also a lot more harrowed and darker than My Roanoke Nightmare showed them to be, which again makes them all the scarier. The only thing we’re not so sure about is how most of them seem to screech like dinosaurs. While this is scary, it does seem a little over the top to us.
We were also shown the real hillbilly cannibals in their full glory, with none other than Robin Weigert playing the head of the clan, Mama Polk. Those of keen memory might recall that Robin also played a character in Episode 2 of American Horror Story: Asylum (Cynthia Potter). The horror involved in these scenes felt very reminiscent too of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with the familial enjoyment of torture.
While it’s been clear before now that these characters (particularly the actor characters) are obsessed with fame, the degree of this obsession was heightened this week. From Dominic Banks stating: “what’s more important than screen time?!” to everyone’s incessant need to film everything (they claim it’s for documentary evidence of their demise, but we wouldn’t put love of the limelight past them, as being a minor factor also).
It made us think of how wonderful Black Mirror is at commenting on society’s obsession with always being on our phones and often filming everything. There’s an episode in Season 2 of Black Mirror where everyone does exactly that and recent episodes of Season 3, such as ‘Nosedive’ and ‘Playtest’ make very similar observations.
Amidst the havoc and mayhem, the writers took Shelby’s instability to a new level by having her flip out at Matt and murder him when he revealed that he only came back for The Witch of the Wood, due to being in love with her. This revelation from Matt – the cause of which is no due to him being under a spell of some kind – was a nice little twist that we didn’t see coming and we wouldn’t be surprised if more of the actors take the opportunity to axe off people they don’t like, in the heat and guise of the mayhem.
While we’re still not overly thrilled with this season, this episode did stand out to us as the first time that the season has come into its own. This is the point where the risky twist is showing its merits and the first time where we can actually envision the writers sitting in the writers’ room and getting excited about showing viewers this idea. It might have taken half a season of tedium to get there (which certainly lost the show less patient viewers along the way), but the ends are slowly beginning to justify the means now and we’re enjoying the endgame of it all. We only wonder what the handful of remaining episodes will hold, if the pace at which the characters are being killed of is maintained, as at this rate we’ll soon be left with only that mystery sole survivor.
Image credits: FX