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‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Recap and Reaction: “Chapter 4”

A surprise ally reveals the past and warns of the future. People lost are found. The colony’s darkest hour cuts deep. Lady Gaga’s character gets a name (sort of) and an origin story. Welcome to American Horror Story: Roanoke, Chapter 4.

This article includes reactions to the episode in which specific details and events are discussed. SPOILERS may occur, so read at your own risk.

Death and Taxes

Elias

Shelby confronts Matt about his sexual encounter in the woods with Lady Gaga’s horned woman (which he doesn’t remember), and his secret deal to leave and destroy the house (which he does). She is soon attacked by the pig man, who materializes in different places around the house. The pig man chases Matt and Shelby, slashing at them until Elias Cunningham, the crazed professor from the videotapes, strikes the ghost from behind.

When the attacking pig — er, man — gets back up, the professor raises his hand and banishes the creature with the word “Croatoan”. This should be your new magical word whenever you want to remove any unpleasant people from your midst. I can just see all the kids using it at Halloween. Or when you’ve run out of Halloween candy, and kids are beating on your door.

The professor-ex-machina says that he’s sorry he got behind on his taxes, which is how the couple ended up with the God-forsaken house. This proves Benjamin Franklin right: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”  The married couple root around the professor in the basement through his historical records (which, really, these were here the whole time?) and we graphically review some of the highlights of former residents in the house. This actually takes a bit more time than it should, since they should already be running.

As a note, the builder of the house was Edward Phillipe Mott, a family name that should raise an eyebrow if you saw American Horror Story: Freak Show. To make a long story short, people get sacrificed in the house on a specific lunar cycle every few years in October. Which sounds a LOT like the plot of Jeepers Creepers.

Elias insists that they leave (since the cycle starts that night), but the Millers must find Flora first. Elias knows where they can find Priscilla. Matt and Shelby must clear Lee’s name by finding Flora, who must be hiding with the ghosts of the other victims on the periphery of the land. They encounter the horned woman, and Shelby chases her. Grisly ghosts converge on them, and Shelby tries in vain to banish them with the keyword “Croatoan”. Elias tries to plead with Priscilla to release Flora, and he is shot to death by the arrows of the Butcher’s party. I think there’s a The Sixth Sense twist going on with Elias, and I don’t think he’s as dead as we’re led to believe. I doubt he actually ever left that house alive, if you get my drift.

The Last Supper (in October)

Kathy Bates as The Butcher in American Horror Story Roanoke

The Millers flee back to the house, where Cricket is waiting. Cricket detects that Flora is still alive, but does not appreciate that they reneged on the deal with The Butcher. She is no longer willing to negotiate, as the lunar season empowers her and she’s in a position of strength. Cricket leaves and is shaken after a further parlay, this time with the horned woman (who the captions name “Scáthach”, as does social media later, though she’s never called that in the episode). He recognizes her growing power, but he also offers Matt’s sexual favors to her as a negotiating tactic.

She transports him in memory to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a community whose bounty is dependent on human sacrifice. Ambrose objects to the sacrifices to the Pagan deity, saying that his mother had turned her back on the Christian God, and he led a rebellion. Scáthach detailed a plan to her. Under the auspices of a special communion of repentance, the Butcher poisoned them all and stabbed her son, killing the community and fettering their souls to the land. The last living mortal offered herself to Scáthach. Scáthach killed her, and thus completing the dark sacrament. Just in case you thought this reflected the Jonestown massacre, you’d be right. It’s like a demonic Thanksgiving, too. But both of those happened in November, not these indicated six days in October.

Cricket relays the history to the Millers and takes an Uber back to his hotel room to prepare for the battle that night. There’s a gratuitous joke where Cricket tries to “pick up” the Uber driver that picked him up. The driver nearly runs over a fleeing Flora.

Hours later, the Millers await Cricket’s return. Matt leaves behind a sleeping Shelby to follow the siren’s song of whispers to the cellar. Scáthach awaits him there, and he is unable to resist her charms. While they have sex, her history unspools into his mind. She was once an English woman who crossed centuries before; then she became a new immortal and a practitioner of dark sorcery.

The Butcher has found Flora and is to sacrifice her in front of the Millers. But with Priscilla’s help, she is able to escape to Matt and Shelby. Cricket, as it turns out, chased after Flora and was captured. The Butcher guts him while the Millers watch. Ambrose assists his mother in disemboweling the medium. In hindsight, the grisly nature of this scene is, again, gratuitous. Let’s hope these characters all come back as ghosts and there’s an American revolution afoot.

Connective Tissue

Kathy Bates as  in American Horror Story Roanoke
The Butcher

The exposition info-dumps here are getting more and more egregious; it’s increasingly apparent that this is not a reenactment. People in the fan sphere were really hoping for more of a connection with Dandy Mott, but there’s one throwaway reference, and that’s all you get.

American Horror Story; broadcasts on Wednesdays on FX Networks.

For a full recap of “Chapter 4”, visit the American Horror Story Wiki.


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