Does anyone else smell trout? Because something is damn fishy on American Horror Story: Roanoke.
"Chapter 5" wrapped up Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt's (Andre Holland) recount of their "real American horror story" on the show-within-a-show My Roanoke Nightmare, with the Millers (Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr.) escaping the Butcher's (Kathy Bates) clutches and seeking refuge at a cheap motel.
Although the emotional conclusion of Matt and Shelby's ordeal was clearly intended to paint them as innocent victims, nothing about their story quite adds up — particularly their far-too-convenient escape from the Butcher.
Are we really supposed to believe that after centuries of following orders, Ambrose (Wes Bentley) chose that moment to turn against his mother? And that Lee (Adina Porter/Angela Bassett) somehow arrived just in time to run over Piggy Man and provide the perfect getaway vehicle? And why in God's name is Shelby's sister wiring them money instead of just buying the flights herself? Who even wires money nowadays? You can just instantly transfer it online!
There are so many inconsistencies in Shelby and Matt's story that they can't just be coincidences. From the very beginning, a huge theme surrounding American Horror Story's sixth season has been the idea of an unreliable narrator. For the first time ever, FX and Ryan Murphy didn't announce the theme ahead of time, instead releasing a series of misdirecting trailers to throw viewers off from the true theme. After Roanoke premiered, Murphy and AHS co-creator Brad Falchuk then announced that "the thing you think you're watching is not what you're watching," and revealed there was a big twist coming in Episode 6.
It's highly likely that this theme is embedded deeply within the story itself. So far, we've only gotten Shelby, Matt and Lee's perspectives on the ordeal they allegedly endured and therefore, we've had to take their word as fact. But as the promo for "Chapter 6" confirmed, at least one aspect of this twist will be breaking the fourth wall and exploring the behind-the-scenes production of My Roanoke Nightmare, with Cheyenne Jackson seemingly playing one of the documentary's producers.
Jackson's character has already made it clear that he knows more about the Miller family than they would like him to, as evidenced when he asked Lee about her daughter Emily, who mysteriously disappeared when she was 4. It's possible that in the episodes ahead, we'll see Jackson dig deeper into the Millers' story and discover Shelby and Matt's version of events was simply their own attempt at misdirecting viewers.
If Shelby and Matt are lying, that would explain why their story includes such glaringly obvious references to horror films (a tact FX also used when creating the fake teasers for this season). These brazen parallels began as early as the season premiere and have only grown more common and over-the-top in the weeks since, culminating in the almost laugh-worthy collage of cliches that made up "Chapter 5," which included nods to The Shining, Misery, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Grudge.
It's no secret that Matt and Shelby are huge dumb-dumbs and so, not being creative enough to come up with their own story, it's entirely believable that they would choose to borrow from classic horror films to create their own fictional tale of survival — possibly to cover up their personal dark secrets, or perhaps simply out of desire for the money and attention.
Until the show confirms the Millers' true intentions, we'll never know for sure why they appear to be lying. But viewers should be extremely wary of everything Shelby, Matt and Lee have claimed to be true so far.
Check out a roundup of the most obvious the horror references used in Shelby and Matt's story below. Do you believe them?