For several weeks now creator Ryan Murphy has been teasing us that Chapter 6 of “American Horror Story: Roanoke” would be a game changer, stating that there would a be twist not like anything we’ve seen on the show thus far. Did he live up to his promise? As last week wrapped up, we realized that the story of Matt and Shelby had come to an end. But maybe that was just the first chapter. Promo photos from the show showed several shots of what looked like the “real life” Matt and Shelby inside the house. Would that mean they were returning, this time for real? Tonight, Ryan Murphy’s twist unraveled and answered at least some of our questions, and in true “American Horror Story” fashion, asked some entirely new ones.

We discovered that the original TV special “My Roanoke Nightmare” was a gigantic success with over 23 million viewers, surpassing juggernauts like “The Walking Dead” and “Empire.” Much like most real-life counterparts, the networks were clamoring for a sequel, a follow-up to satiate the rabid fans. In comes the creator of the first special, Sidney Aaron James (Cheyenne Jackson) who steps front and center in front of the cameras to pitch the next project in his series: “Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell.”


The idea is something akin to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY meets “Big Brother,” with cameras planted all around the house. The world would watch both the real participants and the reenactors locked in the Mott House for three days during the blood moon, the time when the spirits in the woods can attack with impunity. Not only would it produce real life drama and scares for audiences worldwide, but it would help prove Sidney’s theory that Lee was actually the one who killed her husband.

So there’s our twist. We’re now watching a show within a show within a show. Cobb would be proud of us. Immediately the lines of reality begin to blur, as happenings around the house and outer set could be the result of manipulation by the producers of “Three Days in Hell” or it could be influenced from forces that no one but the Millers really believe exists.

The fun part was getting to know all of the characters all over again and for the first time. We get to see the reenactors’ “true” faces: Sarah Paulson as actor Audrey Tindall, who portrayed Shelby, Evan Peters as Rory Monahan, who played Edward Mott, Angela Bassett as Monet Tumissee, Lee’s counterpart, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Dominic Banks, portrayer of Matt Miller. Of course, we can’t forget Kathy Bates as the unhinged Agnes Mary Winstead, who may very well believe that she’s actually the butcher.


We also got to see how everyone’s lives have been affected since the airing of “My Roanoke Nightmare,” the good and the bad. Some saw their fortunes skyrocket, and others saw relationships crumble. We also got to see the Captain Ahab drive of Sydney and his stereotypical push for ratings over safety and decency, and we’re left wondering who the real monsters are sometimes.

One thing is certain, the entire gang is together, and as the title cards eventually revealed, we have no idea who is going to make it out alive. The blood moon has risen and the sisters have found their ‘R’.

It’s halfway through the season and the real story is just getting started.

“American Horror Story: Roanoke” airs on FX Wednesdays at 10PM.

Jason Stollery has horror films encoded into his DNA, going so far as to name his sons Michael and Fred. He can be found on Twitter @smegghed, and on his genre film blog and podcast at filmguild.net