EPISODE: CHAPTER 10
THE SCOOP: It all ends here. The finale of American Horror Story: Roanoke is upon us!
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THIS EPISODE YET, STOP READING HERE!
THE SKINNY: It's all come to this my good friends. After ten inventive and highly amusing chapters of American Horror Story: Roanoke, the end as finally arrived. So what did you think? Did the show give you a satisfying conclusion? Let's speak about that more below, but first reiterate what just went down. Keeping in line with the entire season, gears were once again shifted, this time looping back to the days just after the success of My Roanoke Nightmare. We get a Scream 2-Stab style bonanza of celebration for the stars of the show, who line up on a panel at Paleyfest for adoring fans to ask questions to. Then we get a pair of Youtube confessionals from other watchers of the show, one wondering if season 2 was real or fake, and one threatening Lee for killing his Polk kin. Speaking of Lee, we're then taken to another multimedia avenue, this time a show called Crack'd, essentially a People Vs. OJ style legal-documentary. A jury, a judge, prosecutors, defenders, all battle on TV over the innocence or guilt of Lee for mass murder. After a 16 day deliberation, Lee is acquitted for the charges of not just killing the Polk folks, but her husband Mason as well. Turns out the Polks laced their ganja with trace amounts of hallucinogenics, thereby absolving Lee's culpability.
In her third role of the season, the great Sarah Paulson plays Lana Winters, a Barbara Walters style TV tabloid talk-show host who has come out of retirement to interview Lee live on television. She wants the whole story, no bullshit. Lana gives Lee the third degree at first, but when the latter informs the host she only agreed to do the interview because of Lana's past. She too resorted to violence to survive when killing her own psychopathic son years prior. Lee felt the two were kindred spirits. But holy shit! As soon as Lee gives a heartfelt "I love you" to her daughter Flora on air, that crazy Polk f*ck busts into the joint with a smoking assault rifle and sprays the entire crew dead. He then knocks Lana out with the butt of his rifle before he too is plugged to death by a security guard. The camera feed cuts and the show goes off air.
Yet another faux-reality show is presented, a special episode of "Roanoke Spirit Chasers," in which various paranormal experts investigate the real Roanoke home to see if it's truly haunted. They recruit Ashley Gilbert (Leslie Jordan), the actor who played Cricket in season one. Of course, with the blood moon arising, they couldn't have picked a worse time. Lee shows up looking for Flora after a two week search, much to the chagrin of the Spirit Chasers and their ratings. But for what? The Chens show up, as do the nasty nurses, and soon pretty much all involved are savagely slaughtered in some shape or form. Ashley gets gutted, a female host the same, a torrent of arrows rain down from the blood moon to kill another three. Shit got good! The last multimedia blitz comes by way of a 24-hour news coverage from various networks, finally landing on Lana Winters at home in bed recovering from her attack.
The show ended with a great curtain call for Lee. In a vow to regain Flora's faith and love, Lee chose to in essence kill herself so she could adopt the ghost of Priscilla and live forever in the ethereal realm. She does as Flora implores, and soon a fiery explosion of the Roanoke house results in Lee's demise. Flora waives goodbye to her ghostly mom and best friend through the back of a patrol car. Most unsettling though, with a blood moon sky high, an army of torch-carrying minions once again descend on the ill-fated country-house. Some things never change.
But boy did this season. Much to be proud about should the whole AHS team feel after turning in one of the best seasons yet. Not only was the story compelling, but the entire look, feel, tone, tenor, storytelling devices and overall approach were drastically reshaped in a way that injected new life into a show moving past the five season mark. I loved how the show used multimedia to tell its story. I loved how much fun was made of reality TV shows and Blair Witch style faux-horror docs. I loved how the actors were afforded the chance to play multiple roles and how well they responded to the challenge. I loved what a revelation Adina Porter was in the show as Lee. I loved how grisly and gory the show consistently proved itself to be. Most of all, I really loved how well the mass secret was kept for months on end. In an age of social media blitzes and gross over-promotion, Roanoke gave us next to nothing beforehand. No overviews, no episode synopses, no preview pictures, nothing. They've kept the mystery intact, which is as hard these days as executing the material itself. Hats off to these guys and gals, this was the most fun American Horror Story has offered in a good while!
KILL OF THE WEEK: Since we got to know him over time, the death of Ashley (Cricket) was the one. Watching him get gorily ripped from thorax to naval was pretty damn gnarly!
BLOOD & GORE:
- Lot the hick sprays innocents with an AR, bloody bullet holes abound
- Ashley is gutted and left bleeding out from a 3-foot body wound
- A female host is slashed across the stomach, a well of gore bubbles up
- A rain of arrows descend from the blood moon and strike three people, thick grue coagulates
WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Lee's what the f*ck moment was also the most cathartic. In order to escape the hell for good and restore relations with Flora, she decided to adopt Priscilla's ghost and transfer into the ethereal plane. Suicide out of love!
MOST BIZARRE SCENE: For me the most bizarre scene this week was the one where the Spirit Chasers were brutally accosted. Not so much bizarre as it was vicious...the Chen ghost sliding down the walls, J-horror style, and braining that Seth Rogen lookalike. Good stuff!