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‘American Horror Story’ Recap and Reaction: “Chapter 3”

The Millers entertain a visitor, Mason gets fired up, and Matt meets some locals. We get the secret history of Roanoke, but no explanation what Lady Gaga is. Welcome to American Horror Story: Roanoke, Chapter 3.

This article includes reactions to the episode in which specific details and events are discussed. SPOILERS may occur, so read at your own risk. The Millers tried tracking Flora through the woods, but found only her hoodie atop an impossibly tall tree…
American Horror Story Roanoke, Chapter 3

Off the Grid

Seriously, that’s one tall tree. Ghosts in AHS have never had the ability to fly before, so I’m curious how the mostly unseen Priscilla got up there. The county sheriff — in typical fashion — doubts the story as-is, but agrees to a multi-day search for Flora. Plenty of volunteers are working search grids, but the main find is Flora’s doll. At least, it used to be her doll; it’s been mutilated and given a pig’s head and legs, like a demonic Mr. Potato Head. Its counterpart is at the Polk farm, along with a bunch of dead animals, no electricity, and two feral boys caked in filth suckling from a dead sow’s teats. (Ordinarily, I’d just call that weird, but it has callbacks to “Murder House’s” twin brothers Troy and Bryan and Johnny Morgan’s lactating prostitute fixation in “Asylum“.)

So, it turns out that interrogating these two is a bit of a waste of time, since other than mimicking the searchers and yelling out “Flora”, they only know one other word: “Croatoan”. In a testimonial, Matt explains how they came to dread that word. Mason arrives to beat the crap out of these two innocent boys to get them to talk but settles for arguing with Lee. Mason lays the foundation for Lee’s kidnapping of Flora, then storms off into the night. After the remaining Millers are tucked into bed (or are they?), Matt gets a call from the police to identify a body. Far too big to reasonably be Flora, Lee identifies Mason’s ring pulled from a charred corpse tied to a wicker hoop hanging from a tree.

I call dibs on the responsible parties decorating my house for Halloween because it’s doubtless the same as the people who strung up the totem ornaments inside the house.

The next morning, Matt reviews security footage from the cameras he strung up outside, which neatly establish the date (September 30, 2014) and Lee’s lack of alibi (she left when Matt and Shelby were asleep). Where was this system when Matt was trying to show the police that Flora ran off, or that Shelby got assaulted in the hot tub, or the dozen times this system would have been convenient? Either way, Lee is furious that her brother and sister-in-law would consider that she’s capable of murder.

American Horror Story Roanoke, Chapter 3

A Lucky Cricket

While they’re reviewing said security footage (and with the possibly malicious Polks still at large), an uninvited visitor walks right in the unlocked front door. The diminutive man meanders around the house, and we learn through testimonial that he’s a renowned medium that works with the FBI on missing person’s cases. He was summoned by a spirit to leave New Orleans and help out in North Carolina. Most of it seems like cold-reading (including pointing out the Harry Potter nook under the stairs where Flora hid), but we learn later that Cricket is indeed a genuine medium.

Pretty quickly, he convinces the family to hold a séance to get answers from Priscilla. The Butcher shows up, wrecks some things, and breaks those beautiful giant expensive windows when Cricket uses the word “Croatoan”. Unlike when Violet Harmon tried that code word in “Murder House”, it actually did something. Having established his bona fides, Cricket demands an immediate fee of $25 000. Matt demands that the extortive (and probable fraud) medium leave immediately (especially since the Millers can barely afford to replace those windows).

On a personal note: I’d love to see Cricket fleeing from fraud prosecution, as he’d be a small medium at large.

On his way out, he whispers something to Lee that gets her attention. Apparently, this is not her first abducted daughter. When confronted by this, testimonial Lee seems absurdly surprised and angry. I want to know how the producers knew about this daughter, and Matt doesn’t seem to.

Cricket doesn’t go home to New Orleans and instead wanders into the woods. He gets a download of history on Flora’s captors, and how the lost colony of Roanoke came to move inland while starving under The Butcher’s leadership. Her real name is Thomasin White, and she made a pact with Lady Gaga’s as-yet-unnamed antler-horned woman in exchange for servitude.

Lee pays Cricket, who goes with the Millers to broker a deal with The Butcher: they’ll leave and burn down the house in exchange for Flora. Shelby is not cool with those terms, but Matt is not available for comment. He’s a fair distance away, having sex with the horned woman, attended by masturbating Polk brothers. Shelby had an opportunity to interrupt but walks home instead. When he comes home, he has no memory of the incident. Lee has a nastier surprise waiting when she gets home, as she’s immediately arrested.

American Horror Story Roanoke, Chapter 3

Untold Stories

It’s becoming more certain that there’s a big twist coming within the next 3 episodes. I feel like this episode would have used the already established medium Billie Dean Howard if it wouldn’t have been terribly confusing (as both she and Shelby are played by Sarah Paulson). That said, it’s totally conceivable for the entire Roanoke story to wrap up in 2 more episodes. The trick here is that the show is trying to play it both ways, drawing it out with little information (what is the horned woman, and who are the Polks, what is the role of Elias Cunningham, etc) and condensing the timeframe. So much of the story is being left untold.

American Horror Story broadcasts on Wednesdays on FX Networks. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming.

For a full recap of “Chapter 3”, visit the American Horror Story Wiki.


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