American Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter 10” REVIEW

American Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter 10” REVIEW

0 comments 📅19 November 2016, 09:28

american-horror-story-6-10-roanoke-lee-hears %e2%80%a2-american-horror-story-6-10-roanoke-lee-hearsAmerican Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter 9” REVIEW


stars 3.5
Now finished airing in the UK on FOX
 Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Director: Bradley Buecker

Essential Plot Points:


  • We open at the Paleyfest where the cast and crew are on a panel talking about the show. It’s early 2016. No one’s dead yet. Sidney teases season two, Agnes is over eager to come back and the whole thing is just barely controlled. The panel finishes with the cast taking autographs and a freeze frame of Dominic holding up a toy machete.
  • Then, we find out the show aired and no one quite believed it was real.
  • Then, because we can’t have nice things, we see YouTube footage of the last surviving Polk vowing to kill Lee.
  • And then the show starts again! This time it’s CRACK’D, a documentary about Lee. We see footage from the show, repurposed to tell her story here.
  • The show discusses the multiple homicides Lee carried out on camera. ADA Philips is intent on getting her convicted but the defence gets Lee acquitted based on marijuana-related psychosis and hallucinogens. Lee was cleared of all charges based on reduced capacity.


  • Which led to ADA Philips going after Lee for the murder of Mason. The one she confessed to. We see the ADA talk about the phone call between Mason and Lee, and how what really swung the decision was that Flora saw them fighting.


  • We see court footage, intercut with another dramatic re-enactment, as Flora explains that she saw Lee kill Mason.
  • All seems lost until Flora is cross-examined. On the stand, she reveals she felt safe in the woods because Priscilla, the ghost, was with her. It effortlessly takes apart Flora’s testimony, weaponising her daughter’s testimony as a tool for the defence.


  • After 16 days, the jury found her not guilty. We see ADA Phillips explaining that the verdict is still the hardest one he’s ever had to swallow.
  • We see Lee refused access to Flora and ADA Philips reflect on how she may have avoided a sentence but she didn’t win.
  • And then we’re back. With AHS alumni Lana Winters! Hey Lana!


  • Lana pushes Lee on why she agreed to the interview. Lee responds that it’s because of what Lana went through with her son (AHS: Asylum, fact fans! Go see it and revel in just how different the Jessica Lange era was!).


  • It turns out that Lee took it on the hope that Flora was watching. Lana gives her a chance to address the camera directly and she does so.  She tells Flora she loves her and she won’t stop until they’re together.
  • And that’s when Lana asks where Flora is.
  • Flora was reported missing an hour before they went on air.


  • Lee freaks out. And then the gunfire starts.
  • Huraaaayyyyy – it’s the last Polk standing. Huraaaaaaayyyyyyohgod
  • Lana puts herself between Lee and Lot. She gives Lot the opportunity to tell his truth and almost talks him down. Then, he knocks her out and is seconds from executing Lee before he’s gunned down.


  • So, My Roanoke Nightmare, Three Days in Hell, the Lana Winters interview and now Spirit Chasers.
  • At this point if Cillian Murphy ran past in Arctic cammo while Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard yelled at each other, it would not surprise us.
  • So we get the Spirit Chasers , who are joined by Ashley Gilbert the actor who played Cricket. They break through the fence put up around the house and set up an array of cameras.
  • Because obviously that will work really well this time.


  • Ashley finds an old-fashioned bonnet and… Lee appears.
  • Lee, it turns out, is looking for Flora. It’s been two weeks since the Lana interview. Lee finds the bonnet and when the Spirit Chasers try and help Lee goes full Liam Neeson in Taken. The good one. Not the sequels.


  • Then poltergeist activity starts to mount. The thermograph camera captures one of the Chens on the wall. An upstairs audio recorder grabs Priscilla’s voice. Lee begs them to get out but they’re having none of it.


  • Doors slam. Figures appear on the thermo that aren’t visible anywhere else. Piggyman appears and Ashley tries to dispel him using “CROATOAN!”. He’s killed. One of the Chens grabs one of the hosts. Upstairs, the murder nurses appear and the two surviving hosts flee.
  • Lee is remarkably unmoved…


  • The cops arrive at the same time as a torchlight procession. The Butcher kills one of the other hosts and her camera man. The last one standing tries to war the police off and all three are killed by flaming arrows.


  • At the house, we see Lee on the thermo asking for Flora. Then her daughter appears…
  • Smash cut to 14 hours later and Lee is in an armed standoff at the house. We see Lana, home from hospital and interviewed for the first time since the attack. Lana talks about how singular Lee’s will is and how the only thing that matters is Flora.


  • In the house, we see Flora writing in the dust. Lee asks her daughter what she ate out in the woods and she explains that Priscilla showed her stuff to eat.
  • Flora has drawn two girls in the woods. Lee talks to her about how being a parent is like living in the space between the ideal you imagine and the reality of it.
  • Flora tells her he saw her kill Mason. Lee insists a girl needs her mother.
  • Lee tells her daughter that the only thing that matters is her. Flora wants to stay with Priscilla. When Lee tells her that she can’t survive on berries, Flora responds that she could if she was like Priscilla. Then she could protect her from the Butcher.
  • Lee volunteers to take her place. Because she’s like the Butcher, she took the same bargain, she could protect them. Flora asks Priscilla what she thinks. She’s been behind them all along.


  • Outside, at night fall, smoke begins to pour from the house. A gas explosion detonates and as the SWAT team go in, Flora comes out.
  • Inside we see the gas ignited by Priscilla, shooting Lee in the chest. Her last words are, “It’s gonna be okay.”


  • Outside we see Flora, eyes dead, look at the house her mother both killed and died in. Then, we see Lee and Priscilla, intact and quite dead, standing nearby. Lee waves. Her daughter smiles and is driven away in a police car. Lee and Priscilla walk off into the woods hand in hand as the Settlers make their way down towards the burning house…


Last year, the best element of Hotel was the glorious, defiant way that Liz Taylor’s story slowly took over the show. This year, the best element has been entirely structural rather than character-driven. That’s not a bad thing but it makes for a very different show.

Or in this case, five shows.

The Lana Winters interview is an inspired idea which is why it’s doubly frustrating when bloody Lot bloody Polk has to burst in and remind us of what a terrible idea the rednecks were. Paulson clearly relishes being back in the skin of the world’s most severe, toughest newswoman and we’d love to see more of Lana in future seasons. Plus, those early scenes do a really good job of showing the common ground she has with Lee as well as how little she trusts her. Plus, the reveal on Flora’s disappearance is arguably the series’ most dramatic moment.

And what comes after it isn’t bad it’s just… light. Not in tone, the Ghostface… sorry Spirit Chasers die a LOT and in uniformly awful ways. But rather they are entirely free of context in a series that has been about nothing but. The first half told Matt and Shelby’s story, the second told the story of Matt, Shelby and the cast and the finale… really just cleaned house. As a result, the Spirit Chasers join the world’s least lucky teenage hikers last season as plot devices who speak rather than actual characters.

Which isn’t to say this episode’s bad; it’s not. None of them have been. But in the rush to clean up (and we never did find out why the Polks have YouTube accounts and locked-off camera positions did we?) the show chooses spectacle over character. Which, when faced with what looks like a verbal duel for the ages between Lana and Lee, can only disappoint.

That being said, the ending is amongst the most haunting the show’s done. It’s also a neat curdling of Liz’s ending last year. There she died in the hotel so she could be with her friends forever. Here, Lee dies at the house so she can spend eternity working off her sins and giving her daughter a chance at a normal life. It’s an appropriately complicated, haunting final beat for a haunting, complicated season.

Next season, who knows? We know more crossovers are coming and honestly we can’t wait. AHS has never been better than it’s been for the last two seasons and we can’t wait to see what follows Roanoke. But we’re betting Sarah Paulson and Adina Porter, the standouts this season, are both going to be a big part of it.

The Good:

  • Adina Porter and Sarah Paulson. Just wow. Amazing performances from two of the best actresses working today.
  • “I did what I had to do.”
    “Exactly.” Such a loaded and powerful exchange.
  • Lana! So nice to see her again. Also great to see Paulson get a chance to play her… third? Yeah, third character this season.
  • The audacity of it is kind of amazing. This is a season ten episodes long that featured five separate TV shows nested inside it and still managed to tell a coherent story.
  • The payoff. We’re a sucker for “redeem yourself by fighting an eternal pointless but never quite pointless enough holding action” endings and this was a doozy. Lee isn’t a heroine by any means but she’s braver than almost anyone else we’ve seen on the show.

The Bad:

  • Bristol Windows? Are you ****ing kidding me?
  • Also what in the Blue hell is up with her accent?
  • So we get the promise of the two best cast members on the show going toe-to-toe for 40 minutes and it’s interrupted by a redneck from central casting and the bit no one liked that much from Inception? BOOO!
  • Oh God the rednecks were awful. AWFUL. Just AWFUL. Lot showing up here made our hearts sink and he disappointed exactly as much as we thought.
  • So who survived? We see two of the Spirit Chasers and two cameramen definitely die but the title card references a survivor. Who was it? The Seth Rogen-alike dragged up the wall? And what happened after the show ended? Did the Pilgrims march in and slaughter everyone again or did burning the house down drive them away?

And The Random:

  • The Spirit Chasers are not only a rib on the wave of paranormal TV shows that involve frightened people yelling into night vision cameras, but a salute to the Ghostfacers from Supernatural. Who would clearly have run a mile from the Roanoke House.
  • This season is a big part of the long term plan for AHS and proves conclusively that every season happens in the same universe. There’s a really good article breaking down the connections here. Personally our favourite link is one of the subtlest: the Roanoke ghosts follow the same rules as the Hotel ones. Die there, be there forever.
  • Paleyfest is an amazing conference/convention that actually does stuff like that. This year’s line up is here.

Review by Alasdair Stuart


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