Spoilers for the most recent episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke beyond this point.
Before we dig into the blood and guts of this week's American Horror Story, let's just take a moment to congratulate ourselves on making it this far. Sadly, the same can't be said of Elias (Denis O'Hare), but you can't win 'em all, you know? After all the mystery and misdirection surrounding Season 6, we are now only seven days away from experiencing the major, perspective-changing twist heading our way in Episode 6.
So come next week, will anything that happened in tonight's episode actually matter that much? Maybe, maybe not! But until we know for sure, let's treat everything that went down with the same reverence the Jane sisters reserve for the word "MURDER."
As historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells the My Roanoke Nightmare producers, Mott suffered from so much social anxiety that he left the stress of Philadelphia behind for an isolated piece of land where he could be alone with his prized art collection.
And despite the occasional odd instances during construction, Mott, his art and his black male servant/lover moved into the farmhouse as planned. But two days after settling in, all of Mott's artwork was destroyed by The Butcher (Kathy Bates) -- not that Mott believed his other servants when they told him this. Determined to get to the truth, Mott threw his servants -- with the exception of his lover -- into the cellar naked and without food, planning to starve them out until someone confessed to being the art "murderer."
No surprise here, this plan backfired terribly. In the middle of the night, Mott was dragged from his bed by the colonists to face the Butcher on the front lawn. As part of their sacrificial ritual, The Butcher had Mott staked through the chest and burnt alive. Mott's lover managed to escape, only to wind up being thrown in jail for Mott's murder. And sadly, in the midst of all this tragedy, no one learned about the trapped servants until it was too late for them too.
Back in 2014, Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Shelby (Sarah Paulson) and Flora are trying their hardest to avoid a similar fate. But when they to escape, a ghost of the Chen daughter (who has basically turned into Samara from The Ring), Piggy Man and the three hunters corral the trio towards the Butcher. Thanks to sheer lucky, Shelby, Matt and Flora manage to make it to the basement, where Mott offers to lead them to safety through his secret underground tunnels.
Once they get to the woods, Shelby, Matt and Flora's troubles are only beginning. The pot-growing Polk family abducts them and drags them back to their house where, as it turns out, they've also been keeping Elias. But while the doctor is alive, he is definitely not well. Mama Polk (Frances Conroy) has been using Elias as her own personal butcher shop, chopping off his leg and his arm for meat. Elias begs Shelby and Matt to kill him, and he soon gets his wish when Mama decides his meat is "spoiled," so she has her sons smash his head in with a hammer.
As if that isn't traumatic enough, Mama Polk explains that she's taking the Millers right back to their farmhouse as part of their family's deal with the Butcher. You see, a long time ago the two factions agreed that if The Butcher leaves the Polks alone, the Polks would allow the Butcher to keep consecrating the land, even helping find her victims when people aren't on-hand.
But on the way to the house, Matt and Shelby attack Chaz Bono Polk and his brother, killing the latter in their escape attempt. Unfortunately, the Millers don't make it far before being recaptured by the Polks, and as punishment for her son's death, Mama Polk takes an ax to Shelby's ankle.
So at long last, the Millers are taken before The Butcher, who decides to break her promise to Priscilla and kill Flora first. This is clearly a step too far for Ambrose (Wes Bentley), who betrays his mother once again and drags both of them into the bonfire, allowing Mott to free the Millers.
Unsurprisingly, not all the ghosts are so kind. Piggy Man soon makes a move kill Flora, but the beast is felled at the last minute by Lee (Angela Bassett), who conveniently returns just in time from her police interrogation to save her daughter's life and drive the whole family back to safety.
Reflecting on their experiences from the safety of the Roanoke Nightmare set, Matt (Andre Holland) calls their survival a miracle, while Shelby (Lily Rabe) simply declares that she's happy she never has to see that house again. But has Shelby never seen Scream? Or any horror movie at all? She clearly just jinxed herself! And when American Horror Story breaks the fourth wall next week and shows us the behind-the-scenes production of My Roanoke Nightmare, I'll bet the producer (Cheyenne Jackson) has a very upsetting surprise in store for his latest stars.
What did you think of this week's episode?