After months of teasing and speculation, last week's (September 14) episode of American Horror Story finally revealed the setting, theme and (eventually) the title of the show. Turns out this year the show is a literal horror story, as American Horror Story: Roanoke is actually/mostly a recreation, told through the frame of a true crime/ghost type program called "My Roanoke Nightmare."
...Or is it? In true AHS fashion, nothing is as simple as it seems. We know the "real" Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt Miller (André Holland), as well as Matt's sister Lee (Adina Porter) are in a studio somewhere telling their story. And we know that the reenactors (Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Angela Bassett, respectively) are taking part in the most realistic fake show ever. But what about Kathy Bates are her band of scalping pilgrims? Why was the ground shaking at the end of last episode? And who is Piggy Man, the literally pig headed man who lives in the woods?
Here's every big moment, secret, and weird out bit from "Chapter 2."
...And That's How You Make A Piggy Man
Picking up right with Scalpy and the Pilgrim Gang, Faux-Shelby watches as Kathy Bates and guest star, Suicide Squad's The Enchantress (Lady Gaga, probably?) turn a betrayer into a Piggy Man while ritually chanting things like, "I am the fire on every hill, I am the shield on every head." In case you want to make a Piggy Man at home: nail a pig tail onto a dude; tie a pig's head on his head; and then burn him alive! Nothing to it.
Anyway, of course nobody believes Faux-Shelby, because she's gluten-free and gluten-free people are crazy. Except this time, she also doesn't believe herself, thinking it's all an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the mountain men who wanted to buy their house. Oh, and that gives us the motivation we needed to stay in the house, straight from every horror movie, ever: the Millers have put all of their money into the building, and "won't let them win." Meaning the Mountain Men, not the Piggy Men, who are the true heroes of this story.
American Day Care Story
If you're living in a creepy old house filled with ghosts, surrounded by possibly villainous Mountain Men, and a gluten-free crazy lady who you just do not like, what's the best thing to bring there? A kid, of course, so naturally Lee has her daughter dropped off for the weekend (she lost custody after doing waaaaaay too many drugs while she was a cop [Lee, not the daughter]).
Does the kid start talking to a ghost in the house who says she's her friend? Of course she does, and the ghost's name is Priscilla. Happily, Priscilla has recruited Lee's daughter to "make it stop," and by "make it stop" she means "all the blood." Lee: "this is still all totally normal and just your regular Mountain Men shenanigans." <-- Not an actual quote, but in essence exactly what's going on.
Later when the kid's Dad shows up to pick her up, she's hiding, talking to Priscilla. The kid explains that she was going to give her doll to Priscilla, Queen of the Deserted Mansion, "as a trade. So she wouldn't kill us. They're going to kill us all. And save me for last." Then the Dad makes the only sane decision anyone has made on the show so far: he takes his daughter away forever.
Where Are They Getting All These Pigs, Though?
That night Faux-Shelby and Faux-Matt hear some weird noises, so they decide to head out into the woods, because, you know. They suck. There, they encounter a wild hog running by, and then a giant, burning structure filled to the brim with pig guts and a pig's head. Which begs the question: where are all these pigs coming from?
I mean, I guess we're supposed to be wondering who set the pig fire, and what the noises are, and how Faux-Will can talk to a ghost on a phone when the cord is cut (which is the next thing that happens). But seriously, what's the deal with all these pigs? Is there a pig farm nearby? Is this like that Twilight Zone episode where everyone has piggy-faces, and so secretly everyone we've met so far are pigs in human form?
Oh, also, Faux-Will sees those creepy nurses from last episode kill an old woman named Margaret, and then spray-paint an "M" on the wall to mock her, but it had nothing to do with pigs so I kind of don't care.
Off The Spooooooky Wagon
After her daughter is taken, Faux-Lee falls off the wagon. Seeing some knives over her head stuck in the ceiling, Matt muses that people do crazy things when they're drunk, and puts her to bed so the creepy nurse ghosts can take care of her (except not really, because she's alive in the confessional portions of the show, right? Right).
Getting out of bed before the nurses can paint a big "L" on the wall, she wanders around the house, seeing this week's stand-out, Tooth Rain style image: a wall full of writhing, bloody pig tails. And if that wasn't great enough, Piggy Man is dancing in the mirror! Honesty time: I kind of loathe how insane American Horror Story gets, but if this season is nothing but Piggy Man dancing in front of a wall of severed pig tails while it rains teeth, I'd be a happy camper.
My Indian Nightmare
Drawn by a mysterious woman, the Faux-Millers discover the surprisingly HD video tape of author Elias Cunningham (Dennis O'Hare) — the man we glimpsed in the Piggy Man tape in the first episode — who reveals he was living in a basement outside the house while investigating a true crime novel based on the two ghostly nurses. According to Elias, they were killing elderly patients in order to spell out their favorite word: "pigs." Just kidding, it's "MURDER," because this is a Shining riff on top of everything else.
And — are you ready for this? — they didn't finish spelling "murder," they only got as far as "murde" before something EVEN MORE TERRIFYING THAN THEM took them off the board. Or maybe they just always dreamed of visiting Murde, a small village in the Ratnagiri district of the Maharashtra State in West India?
Let's All Make Terrible Decisions!
Cunningham's tape spurs the Millers on to try to get their money back. But when they find out that they can't get all their money back, and can only sell the house for "a very competitive price," they immediately give up. Because when ghosts are trying to murder you, try to hold out for a competitive bid on your rat-trap of a horror house.
Meanwhile, Lee kidnaps her own daughter. Which doesn't seem to be a huge deal to anyone, except Priscilla, who immediately kidnaps Flora (that's the daughter's name! Pretty sure they didn't say it in the first half of the episode) and then leads her into the woods past a tree with pig tails nailed to it. Lee and Co. finally find some evidence of where she went... When they see Flora's hoodie hanging about 200 feet up a tree.
...Maybe you should have kidnapped her and taken her to Murde, instead?
American Horror Story: Roanoke airs Wednesdays at 10/9 c on FX.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story described a wall full of writhing, bloody baby arms. On second watch, it turns out they were writhing, bloody pig tails. We have corrected the piece to reflect this.