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‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Recap and Reaction: “Chapter 5”

The house’s birth and final secrets come to light. The Polk legacy is spoiled. The Millers dare an escape. Welcome to American Horror Story: Roanoke, “Chapter 5“.

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

The End Is the Beginning Is the End…

Roanoke House

We see for ourselves the historic story of Edward Philippe Mott, a Philadelphia eccentric who purchased the house and grounds as a retreat in 1792. He filled it with artwork and insisted the Shakers building the house craft underground tunnels through the woods as well. Tragic accidents befell the builders throughout the construction. He left a wife and heir behind to live in the mansion with his black male lover, Guinness. You can see quickly why he’d want a private retreat.

The Roanoke villagers torment him and slash up the artwork. He blames the servants and locks them naked inside the root cellar, where they remain until found years later. The colonists soon roast Mott while his lover escapes. However, the police catch up with Guinness and jail the escaped “slave” and put him to death. The house stays in the Mott family until it dies with Dandy Mott in 1952. (See AHS: Freak Show for more on his life.)

Edward ends up being their savior, as he guides the Millers through his escape tunnels. He abandons them in the woods, where the Polks catch up to them. I had high hopes for the Polks and thought they’d be the kooky but misunderstood heroes. Turns out that Mama Polk (beautifully played in a cameo by favorite Frances Conroy) is just as crazy as the rest. The Polks have a pact with the colonists, and they deliver blood sacrifices in exchange for security for their bumper cannabis crop. Oh, and they also make jerky from human flesh. They’ve got Elias in their clutches, but his limbs leave a rancid taste in Mama’s mouth; he gets a hammer to the face to end his troubles.

En route to returning to the house, Matt makes one more escape attempt and kills Cain Polk in the process. Mama is very upset and hobbles Shelby in retaliation. This may or may not impact her yoga career, so we’ll see how the rest of the night plays out.

After their delivery and moments from roasting Flora, Ambrose says enough is enough and pulls his mother into the pyre. This provides enough distraction for the newly released Lee to drive up and ferry the Miller trio to safety and medical attention (with an assist by Edward). They all sleep together in a cheap motel and make plans to head back to Los Angeles. Shelby still has nightmares where The Butcher visits her, carried on a strange mist.

Cut short

Season 6 of American Horror Story

The end of the episode and tease for the next imply that we’ve hit the end of “My Roanoke Nightmare“, and perhaps Roanoke itself. The house is scuttled; the Polk, Miller, and White families part company.  It looks like all the Millers survived to tell the talk after all, which may be the point of the documentary we’ve been privy to. And we’ve finally seen the dandy role Evan Peters was to play. Was it worth the new format that confused many a fan and newcomer to the show? Perhaps. Now we wait for the foretold twist that we see in the misty next episode teaser.

American Horror Story broadcasts on Wednesdays on FX Networks.

For a full recap of “Chapter 5”, visit the American Horror Story Wiki.


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