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American Horror Story: Roanoke: 4 Theories on What the Next Big Twist Is

Is AHS going to pull a Scream 3?

Sadie Gennis

Ryan Murphy has confirmed that nothing is quite as it seems on American Horror Story: Roanoke. According to the FX anthology's co-creator, there's a game-changing twist coming down the line.

"You'll see starting in Episode 6, the show has a huge turn and the thing that you think you're watching is not what you're watching," Murphy told Entertainment Weekly.

"Even though the subject matter has gotten out, it's irrelevant because nobody gets what we're doing," added co-creator Brad Falchuk. "No matter what you think it is, it's not that. Then, Episode 6 comes and you're like, 'Wait! What happened?'"

So what could this impending twist be? We have a few theories ourselves.

​Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr., American Horror Story

1. The fourth wall will break completely: As it stands now, Roanoke exists on two levels: the real people (Lily Rabe, Adina Porter, Andre Holland) recounting their personal horror story straight-to-camera in the faux docu-series My Roanoke Nightmare, and the actors portraying these people in dramatic reenactments for the same show (Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Angela Bassett).

Because of this format, the storyline currently lacks any suspense. We know the main characters live, because we see them telling their story on TV. But what if AHS goes full-on Scream 3, with the horrific events the actors are fictionalizing onscreen bleeding into their real lives. The show could then follow the behind-the-scenes production of My Roanoke Nightmare as Shelby (Rabe), Matt (Holland) and Lee (Porter) are forced to relive their trauma, while the actors playing them are subjected to it for the first time.

American Horror Story: Roanoke: Let's Defend the Indefensible Fake TV Show

​Lily Rabe, American Horror Story

2. The storytellers are already dead: Just because we see Shelby, Matt and Lee doing confessionals about their lives, doesn't mean they lived to tell the tale. Maybe they're recounting their life stories from the beyond, a format most memorably used in the disastrous Lifetime Elizabeth Taylor biopic Liz & Dick. In AHS' first season, which already happens to have many parallels to Roanoke, most of the lead characters were revealed to be ghosts, so this twist really isn't as ridiculous as it might sound.


3. Reality will be swapped: What if Shelby, Matt and Lee really did die, and what is allegedly dramatic reenactments of their traumatic experiences is actually reality? In this scenario, every scene with Paulson, Gooding Jr. and Basset would be real (and not part of the show-within-a-show) and Rabe, Holland and Porter would be the actors hired to play Shelby, Matt and Lee for a faux documentary about their deaths. This wouldn't be the most exciting twist, but it could at least add suspense back into the series, since it would open up the lead characters to more danger.

​Wes Bentley, American Horror Story

4. It's going to turn into Rashomon: So far, we've only gotten confessionals from Shelby, Matt and Lee. It's possible that the perspectives will switch halfway through the season, allowing us to see the same storyline from other characters' points of view.

Everything about this season -- from the misdirecting teasers that led up to it, to the bizarre show-within-a-show format, to Shelby, Lee and Matt's inability to get other people to believe their stories -- have one thing in common: an unreliable narrator. We wouldn't be shocked if Murphy took this theme a step further, turning everything we think we know about this season upside down by undercutting everything we had previously taken at face value.

If any of these twists turn out to be true, we hope it's this one. American Horror Story has always been a great place to explore ideas surrounding sex, addiction, the pressures placed on women and the pressures to conform to social norms. But turning the show into meditation on storytelling itself would be a truly unexpected twist, and one that would justify its currently inexplicable format.

What do you think the big twist will be?

American Horror Story: Roanoke airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.