American Horror Story: Season 6 Episode 6 review – Chapter 6
Finally, the “game changing episode” that Cuba Gooding Jr and others have long teased arrived last night. Like predicted, it changed up the point of view for this season, but in a manner not quite expected. Below you’ll find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
This week’s big twist was switching the the narrative point of view to a behind the scenes documentary crew who are filming the process of getting Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell made. Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell is the reality TV-style sequel to My Roanoke Nightmare, in which all of the actors and real life people from the show are placed back into the Roanoke house for the Blood Moon. At the helm of this new show is Sidney (Cheyenne Jackson from American Horror Story: Hotel).
Now, this does grant our wish of getting more Lily Rabe (which we’re questioning a little now, given that the real Shelby showed herself this week to be almost as crazy as the fake Shelby), yet not quite in the way that we assumed (we thought Sarah Paulson would be out of the picture). Instead of being left only with the real life Shelby and Matt, we’ve been thrown into a Big Brother-style set-up (why the show would want to liken itself to Big Brother is beyond us) that includes all of the reenactment actors too. It’s a unique approach that we didn’t see coming. The only problem is it does leave us stuck in the same old house with the same old scares; the only difference now is there’s a whole group of people instead of just two or three.
One issue that we had previously with the retrospective documentary set-up was that it ruined who survives. This is now discarded (which we wanted), except the show’s pretty much gone and ruined exactly the same thing once more by stating that everyone in the house dies except for one survivor. While this didn’t exact tell us who survives (hopefully they’ll leave that a mystery until the end), it does tell us that a lot of characters die, which leaves us baffled as to why the writers constantly want to spoil the kill list ad remove the suspense.
The episode’s opening claim that My Roanoke Nightmare had bigger viewing figures than The Walking Dead and how there are conventions across the country for the show did make us laugh, especially in light of how dire this season has been so far. A few times during this episode we were also very unsure as to whether the story told in My Roanoke Nightmare was real or not. This was due to certain lines of dialogue such a statement that the show “felt real” (but perhaps this is simply referring to the actors reenacting the story) and the line about the butcher not being real and how Sidney only wants real people this year. We concluded that many simply just don’t believe Shelby and Matt’s story, but that it’s real nonetheless (as this episode proved).
One thing you have to ask also is would Lady Gaga have been among the group in the house, if only her music career wasn’t so hectic at the moment (which is the reason she took a smaller role this season). She was, after all, a key figure in the reenactment. We were a little surprised also by Kathy Bates’ Agnes Mary Winstead being consumed so wholly by the butcher that she sometimes thinks she’s her. We quickly saw through it, however, as a thin plot device to make it so that she still attacks the house.
Another big question surrounding this is how will all of the real Roanoke ghosts actually look. We know them as the actors, but of course, they don’t look like that at all. It’s worth noticing that the only Roanoke ghosts that we were shown this season were Piggy Man (who always looks the same) and the nurses (who were conveniently shrouded in darkness, with quick cuts) – we paused the latter and it does look like these are different actresses. This does excite us a little, to see what the real Butcher and Witch of the Wood look like.
Where we asked for one favourite red head (Alexandra Breckenridge) in our wish list of additions, we got another favourite red head instead – Shannon Lucio (as Diana Cross), of Prison Break fame, who is new to the American Horror Story family. In line with the writers’ penchant to kill off our favourites, however, she died horribly before the episode closed out, as did another huge fan favourite – Evan Peters. So if it wasn’t enough aggravation for the Peters fan girls watching him lock tongues with Sarah Paulson, now Peters will no longer appear at all for the rest of this season. It seems a move designed to usurp expectations and Rory was mildly annoying, so we’re fine with it.
If you focus on the specific approached that this season has opted for, they are less straight up genres and are more pre-established horror methods for telling stories. The first was the B-grade style reenactment documentaries that you’ll find on bad TV channels. The second is now the found footage horror, which is still rife in cinema. We’re far more for the latter than the former, so it’s a slight step in the right direction – this season definitely needed a major shake up. With the numbers in the house and knowing that all bar one of them will die, there’s also an element of teen slasher to the remainder of this season, which we look forward to seeing.
Image credits: FX