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Reason A graphic gunshot suicide.

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American Horror Story

American Horror Story Drops You In A Roanoke Nightmare

And that's why you never buy an 18th-century farmhouse in North Carolina. ...Oh, there are going to be more episodes after this? Cool. Cool cool cool.

  • That'll Do

    Oh my god, the months-long cocktease is over!

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    WE HAVE A THEEEEEEEEEEEEME. Finally. (What might it be about? TheWrap has an explainer.)

  • Character Study
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    Misty, Bloody-Coloured Memories Of The Way We Were

    Name: Shelby and Matt Miller. "Why are there four photos?" GREAT QUESTION. The conceit of this season is that it's "inspired by true events," so we get both the "real" Shelby and Matt, played by Lily Rabe and Andre Holland; and their re-enacting doppelgängers, played by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr., and yes, it's IMMEDIATELY weird to see them acting all snuggly just months after one of them was working so tirelessly to put the other away for life on American Crime Story, but Ryan Murphy makes strange bedfellows.
    Age: Early 40s; late 40s.
    Occupation: Yoga instructor; pharmaceutical salesman.
    Goal: To continue being the couple their friends hate hanging out with because they're "too perfect," living a blessed life in Los Angeles with no foreseeable challenges to derail them!!!
    Sample Dialogue: Shelby: "They'd get in fights in the car on the way home from dinner with us because we made them feel like they weren't as in love as Matt and I were."

    Matt: "I pulled a hamstring and never took a yoga class again, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me."

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Gang Pledge vs. Matt

    On the very same blessed day, Shelby found out she was pregnant with her and Matt's first child, and Matt found out he got a huge promotion. Naturally, they went out to celebrate!

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    But that celebration was kind of short-lived? Some kid was sent to knock out a random stranger as part of his gang initiation, and Matt was that unlucky stranger. He ends up in the hospital with a broken orbital socket, which will require surgery; Shelby insists that she be allowed to see him, telling the doctor she's sure that if she's with him, he'll wake up.

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    And because Shelby and Matt are the PERFECT COUPLE, she's right.

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    But it's not all good news: Shelby suffers a miscarriage, and the doctors are never sure why -- the impact of getting knocked down on the street, or the stress of Matt's injury.

    When Matt's recovered, he and Shelby decide they're not as crazy about L.A. as they used to be -- go figure -- and Matt proposes moving to North Carolina, where he grew up and his mother and sister still live. "At the end of the day, we just weren't city folks," Matt says. Weird that their moving someplace where no violence is likely to occur is probably going to cut this "Horror Story" short!

    Winner: ...The South?

  • Place Of Interest

    As The Saying Goes, If You're Going To Buy An Old Farmhouse, Find The Oldest, Hugest Fucking Farmhouse In All Of North Carolina

    Matt and Shelby are exploring the woods when they happen upon a farmhouse built in 1792 -- three bedrooms on two storeys and a basement.

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    UH, THIS PLACE HAS THREE BEDROOMS? NOT THIRTY? I realize that home prices are sometimes lower outside major metropolitan areas and that your housing dollar might go further in North Carolina than Los Feliz, but this house is comically large for two people unless they're planning to have about ten kids and also possibly open a wing up as a TB sanitarium.

    But Matt thinks it's perfect! Meant to be! "Like the universe just wanted us to be there in that moment"! SURE, MAKES SENSE! They thought there was no way they could afford it, but it turns out it's being sold at auction, and the starting bid is $21,000. There's a little competish from some locals...

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    ...who try to warn the Millers off by telling them about the protected acreage around the house and the threat of hurricanes, but Matt impetuously bids it up to $40,000 -- his and Shelby's entire life savings (shocking that a Los Angeles yoga instructor hasn't socked more away, tbh) -- and end up getting it.

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    And the locals are all like WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, NEW FRIENDS FOR LIFE!!!

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    Eh, it's probably nothing.

  • Hell No!

    Figure Shit Out, Matt

    After hearing creepy-ass noises while he and Shelby are just trying to bone in their new house (so either the danger she felt didn't seem that urgent or it made her horny), Matt goes down to investigate.

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    Matt tells us that his first thought was that he'd heard raccoons or bears. ...Sure?

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    But then a bear couldn't do that. So his next thought was that the hillbillies he beat out at the auction were annoyed about both that AND the fact that Shelby and Matt are an interracial couple. But this implicit threat of violence won't scare Matt away from his absurdly way-too-big, way-too-creepy, way-too-insufficiently-illuminated house! No sir, not this fucking GENIUS: "We ran away once, and we weren't going to be victims again." Hey, is the other half of that "we" part of your decisionmaking here? JUST WONDERING.

  • Snapshot

    SO THEN SHELBY'S GOT HER OWN PROBLEMS

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  • Character Study

    Goodnight, Ladies!

    Name: Unknown.
    Age: Mid 20s?
    Occupation: Nurses?
    Goal: To scare the living shit out of Shelby on her first night alone in this stupid house.
    Sample Dialogue:
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  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    And Then Shelby Learns A Tough Lesson About Rural Bathing

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  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Matt vs. Local Law Enforcement And Subsequently Shelby

    Matt rushes home from his sales trip to Raleigh (first a busted eye socket and now this -- does the glamour ever STOP with this guy???) to comfort Shelby -- but first, he gets the local sheriff's version of events -- basically, that Shelby is crazy and/or full of shit. She told a tale of getting nearly drowned by a bunch of torch-wielding weirdos in old-timey costumes, but there's no physical sign that anyone was anywhere near her that night. HMMMMM. Matt suggests that it was a racially motivated attack, and the sheriff sighs that it was probably "the Polks," and that he'll try to deal with them, but that they can be hard to find. Matt yelps that he and Shelby need protection, and the sheriff's like "GET A GUN." (I'm anti-gun but if I lived in the ass-end of the country in a joint the size of four White Houses, I might get one too?)

    So THEN Matt has to go in and talk to a still-shaken Shelby. He gently tries to point out what the sheriff did with regard to the holes in her story, which Shelby does not care for: "I wasn't imagining things, Matt. I wasn't. Do you think I'm lying to her?" Matt immediately backs down, telling Shelby he believes her "100%" and babbling that he's sorry.

    Winner: Shelby, ish. I mean, she still has to live in this house even though, as she tells us, "I didn't want to live there." OH, WORD? THIS TARGET FOR FUCKING TOOTH RAIN DOESN'T FEEL LIKE HOME? OH, YOU CRAZY, HYSTERICAL WOMAN, YOU!!!

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  • Character Study
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    General Lee Awesome

    Name: Lee.
    Age: Early 50s.
    Occupation: Disgraced former cop. (We'll get to that.)
    Goal: In conjunction with the security cameras Matt's set up to allow him to monitor the house from his phone...

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    ...to look after Shelby when Matt goes back to Raleigh on his sales trip. This is not an assignment Lee relishes, though, because she and Shelby kind of hate each other.

    Sample Dialogue: "Yoga's not a job. I used to play volleyball in high school. Back then, yoga was called stretching, and it was something you did before, not as exercise."
  • That Quote
    "Lee judged my yoga, and my gluten allergy, and my two years of college. She thought I was too much of a phony for her brother to marry."
    - Shelby -
  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    How Lee Became A Disgraced Former Cop

    Unlike Shelby and her two years of college (taking Asian Studies with a minor in Dance, probably), Lee got a degree in Criminal Psychology from UNC and was on track to make detective. But then she got hurt on the job...

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    ...and got addicted to her pain meds. One day, she had taken more pills than she can now remember when a "serial rapist" came screaming around the corner where she was parked in her cruiser, nodding out. She gave chase and drove him into a hazard, and then...

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    "It would have been his third strike," Lee tells us. "You ask me, it's the one time the law worked exactly the way it should." Theoretically, even this piece of shit's life has value, but on the other hand, Lee has a point. But the celebration was cut short when one of her fellow officers looked in her car...

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    Lee got fired; her husband filed for divorce. Lee ended up getting custody of her daughter only three days out of fourteen. And now she's stuck babysitting her brother's dumb hippie wife.

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  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Shelby vs. Lee

    As you might expect of two people who basically loathe one another yet are thrown together by circumstance, things between Lee and Shelby get off to a rocky start: Shelby hears a weird noise (there's no other kind in this stupid place), and when she comes back to the kitchen, the knife's disappeared from her cutting board and ended up stabbed in the hunk of meat she's cooking. When Lee enters, Shelby yells at her about it, though Lee never actually says anything to indicate that she even did it, which I would think would be the more pressing issue to deal with? However, both Lee and Shelby just blow past that...

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    ...so that Lee can ask -- rather respectfully, considering there's no love lost between these two -- whether Shelby could refrain from drinking inside the house as long as Lee is staying there: "I know it's your home, but I'm hanging on to my sobriety by my teeth here." We don't actually see Shelby agree to this reasonable request, and if Lee didn't either, it may be why she gets so mad when she hears a weird noise (see above), comes out to the hall, sees an empty wine bottle rolling toward her, and assumes Shelby's messing with her. Shelby denies it, but the two are yelling at each other so vehemently that they don't hear the commotion that has triggered the security cameras...

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    ...nor Matt, trying to call them and tell them about it.

    Winner: Literally no one.

  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    Nothing Good Ever Happens In An American Horror Story Basement

    Eventually the ghosts or whatever get sick of waiting for Lee and Shelby to notice them and decide to quit being subtle, making noise so loud they can no longer ignore it and follow it to the top of the stairs to the basement. But it's cool -- Lee doesn't have any reason to be scared of going down there because she's got a gun, right? Wrong! It's upstairs locked in a drawer. But she's going down there anyway, and Lee is going with her because she's too scared to stay upstairs by herself. (...Okay, I feel that.) Once they get down there, they see that the whiny noises are coming out of an old-ass TV playing a video that's CREEPY AS FUCK.

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    But as soon as Shelby decides she's ready to go back upstairs, the power goes out. She tells us that she and Lee probably only stayed down there twenty or thirty minutes, but that it "felt like forever." And when they finally emerge and return to the ground floor, they realize it's not a much cooler place to be than the basement was?

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  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Shelby vs. Matt & Lee

    Matt raced back home from Raleigh AGAIN when no one answered his phone calls, and yet when Shelby plays the basement video for him, he's like, whatevs. His view is that the rednecks faked the video to scare Matt and Shelby into leaving, which even if that is what happened is MAYBE A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO GO? Matt asks Shelby whether the cops have seen the video; she says they don't care (surely true), and when Lee lectures her that they need to let the cops do their job, Shelby's had it, officially, telling Matt adamantly, "We have to leave." "It's our home, Shel," Matt tells her. "Our life's savings. Where are we gonna go?" I don't know, MAYBE RALEIGH?! YOU SEEM LIKE YOU CAN'T GET ENOUGH, BRO. Shelby doesn't offer a suggestion as to their next hometown, though; she just gets in the car and hauls ass -- the first smart thing she's done in this episode, frankly.

    Winner: Shelby...for now.

  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    No No No No NO No No No No. (No.)

    Shelby's driving to somewhere ghosts aren't trying to kill her, not knowing there is no such place. When Matt calls her and she looks away from the road to pick up his call...

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    ...she shows why you should not do that. As Matt, on the line, plaintively begs her to tell him what's going on, Shelby tries to locate who- or whatever she hit, finally seeing a figure in period clothes brushing herself off.

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    When her victim shambles off into the forest, Shelby follows, hoping to convince her to let Shelby take her to the hospital. But as soon as Shelby's stepped off the road, basically, she's lost. And then...fucking terrified.

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