Spoilers for the most recent American Horror Story: Roanoke beyond this point.
Instead of all the blood and sex American Horror Story is known for, this week's Roanoke was one big info-dump, laying out the entire history of the Millers' haunted farmhouse - including an interesting connection to Freak Show.
When the season's breakout star Piggy Man resurfaced to attack Shelby (Sarah Paulson) and Matt Cuba Gooding Jr.), the beast was quickly felled by the previously presumed-dead Dr. Elias Cunningham (Denis O'Hare).
After the briefest niceties were taken care of, Elias dropped some heavy verbal exposition, revealing that the house had been a hub of paranormal deaths and disappearances since it was built in 1792 by Dandy Mott's (Finn Wittrock) ancestor, Edward Philip Mott, who was the first of many tenants to vanish. Since then, every person who has lived in the house has been subjected to the Butcher's (Kathy Bates) murderous ways.
In October 1952, three hunters were murdered. In October 1973, it was the entire Chen family. In October 1989, the Jane sisters. Notice a pattern?
According to Elias, the time the deaths always occur in is known as the Dying Grass Moon, a six-day-period leading up to the Blood Moon when the ghosts gain the ability to murder the living.
Sadly, Elias was slaughtered by the Butcher's people before he could explain any more. But as coincidence would have it, just as Elias died, Cricket (Leslie Jordan) returned and was able to fill in the rest of the story for the hapless Millers.
You see, Cricket ventured out into the woods to seek the ancient spirit (Lady Gaga) whom the Butcher worships. Upon proving himself to Gaga (and offering up Matt for her sexual enjoyment), Gaga agreed to give Cricket the full origin story of the haunted land, which went something like this:
After the Butcher led the Roanoke colonists inland, they thrived. But the cost of this success was human sacrifice (which is how poor Priscilla bit the dust). Needless to say, not all of the colonists were happy about this new tradition and Ambrose (Wes Bentley) led a revolt. Already a fairly vengeful person, the Butcher was convinced to turn her vileness up to 11 at the urging of Gaga. So rather than accept the fact that she's a bad leader, the Butcher decided the best punishment for her people's insubordination was to slaughter them all and enslave their souls to her for all eternity. Can you say selfish much?
And as if we didn't already have enough information to cram into our brains, the episode then took us even further back in time to reveal the backstory of Gaga's character in another info-dump, this time courtesy of Matt.
After being lured to the cellar for another sex session, Gaga revealed her story to Matt (Andre Holland), who then told it to the cameras. As he explained, Gaga was an English descendant of the druids who stowed away on a boat for America way, way, way back in the day. However, upon making it to the new world, she was sentenced to burn for being a witch. But Gaga managed to save herself by slaughtering all the soldiers who held her captive. For somewhat unexplained reasons, her old magic and the new world then turned Gaga into a wholly original magical creature. But after all these years, it seems Gaga has gotten lonely, because she asked Matt to join her (in immortality? In marriage? The details remain unclear) and he admitted he gladly would have - that is, until Matt was shaken from his sex haze by Shelby's screams.
Back in present day (finally!), the Butcher arrived at the farmhouse's steps intent on killing Flora to send a message to Shelby and Matt. Priscilla saved the child at the last minute, allowing her to run to safety inside the house with Matt and Shelby, but the Butcher came prepared with a backup plan. Her people soon dragged out Cricket, whom they had kidnapped earlier after he abandoned his Uber driven by - new character alert!!! - Rhett Snow to chase after Priscilla in the woods. The Butcher and Ambrose proceeded to disembowel Cricket, which is the stomach-curdling note we were left on.
So after that history lesson of an episode, what else is there to learn about the nightmare world Shelby and Matt have found themselves in? (Besides, of course, where Evan Peters is.)