American Horror Story: Season 6 Episode 8 – Chapter 8
Where Episode 7 got us a little excited at the prospect of seeing the true and much scarier versions of the ghosts spread more horror, this week stepped a little too heavily into Mama Polk’s cannibalistic den, who, for us, is among the least interesting of the Roanoke threats. Below you’ll find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
Cannibalistic hillbillies is a trope that shouldn’t really be given too much screen time, due to its overuse in the horror genre. Whats more is we’d seen it all already; the writers had shown the real Mama Polk prior to this episode, yet they still opted to focus pretty much the entirety of Chapter 8 around her and her clan. It felt a little like filler material to us and we’d much rather have followed the real Butcher or the real Witch of the Wood.
What was interesting was the way that this week highlighted actor vanity. It is the underlying moral of this season (if you crave fame above all else then it might just be your doom) and one that’s been prevalent in other media recently too, with Nicolas Winding Refn’s excellent The Neon Demon. No other episode this season has highlighted it quite as heavily as this week did, with its various quotes of vanity (listed below).
We had Dominic stating that Sidney told him if he played a good villain then he might get his own spin off. We had Audrey stating that she felt like a part of her died when Shelby died and that she felt like she knew her better than she knew herself (which is pure nonsense for the sake of drama, as previously she spoke of how much of a mess Shelby was and she laughed at her). And most prominently, Audrey’s monologue to her fans: “If i die i just want you all to know I had so many performances waiting for you – so many things I was going to give to you as my fans.”
Apart from the barbarity of teeth-pulling, this week also offered up one of the most visually scary adversaries that the show has ever provided. This was The Chens (the Taiwanese family from earlier on in the season) crawling and contorting like arachnids along the walls and ceiling of the tunnel. Given that all of the other dead Roanoke resident looks exactly how they did when they died (i.e. normal), we can’t see why The Chen family looked like creatures straight out of an Asian horror film. It’s a flaw that probably won’t get explained and there might even be a little racism behind it (choosing the Asian characters to reflect Asian horror film tropes).
One thing that did truly surprise us this week was Lee admitting that she killed Flora’s Father. The way that this death was set up made it seem like the Roanoke ghosts were the probable cause and that Shelby was jumping to conclusions with her accusations, but it was interesting to hear Lee’s confession and to find out that Shelby – crazy as she is – was right. Another mild surprise was Shelby taking her own life after murdering Matt. While most people might have thought that Shelby would be the sole survivor, she’s now out of the running for that entirely.
We couldn’t help but feel bad for Dominic and the way that he met his end, despite his flaws. Cuba was a fun actor to have around and it does feel a little like they’re taking away the show’s strengths (Evan Peters, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lily Rabe) and leaving us only with the less effective actors.
We’re still quite a few episodes shy of the end (if this season follows the traditional 12/13 episode length) and we only hand a very small handful of survivors remaining, which does make us wonder what the writers will do with those remaining episodes. Wes Bentley (someone we’d class as a strong actor) has also only just turned up, dressed as Piggy Man, no less, so perhaps there are other actors designed to bulk up the numbers later on too.
If not, then might there be a third show that spawns? Perhaps some after the fact talk show that reflects on the found footage of Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell, but without the public actually having seen it. The writers’ endgame for this season remains to be seen, but we hope the give us a little more of the real Butcher and of the real Witch of the Wood before they close the season out.
Please note: We won’t be reviewing next week’s episode of American Horror Story, due to limited resources. We will instead return to reviewing American Horror Story in two weeks’ time (from Episode 10 onwards), as normal.
Image credits: FX