Previously on American Horror Story: Roanoke, we experienced the story of Matt (Andre Holland) and Shelby’s (Lily Rabe) nightmare in Roanoke, NC through a reenactment by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson. Matt and Shelby were on a TLC or Unsolved Mysteries type television show giving their portrayal of what happened to them when they moved into their new home.
To summarize their story: Matt and Shelby bought a house in Roanoke, North Carolina to escape a horrible memory in Los Angeles. Almost immediately upon arrival, they begin to experience strange happenings such as things moving on their own and loud noises. It isn’t long before it escalates to physical assault and kidnapping. Soon, Matt and Shelby learn that their house was built on the land where The Lost Colony died and, ever since then, the land has been haunted by their spirits. These spirits have killed the inhabitants of the house for hundreds of years as a sacrifice to the Witch of the Wood (Lady Gaga). Matt and Shelby were the next targets but, with a little help from the original owner of the house, the ghost of Edward Mott (Evan Peters), they manage to escape that fate and head back to Los Angeles.
Chapter 6 begins with the conclusion of My Roanoke Nightmare, the show Matt and Shelby were taking part in. Show creator Sid (Cheyenne Jackson) has pitched a second show to producers called Return to Roanoke where The Millers and the actors who played them will spend three days in the nightmare house. One might think that the couple would be smart enough to stay away from that house, but since the conclusion of the show, The Millers have separated and Shelby is willing to do pretty much anything to get Matt back, including putting herself back into harms way.
Sid takes the time to interview cast members including Agnes (Kathy Bates), who played The Butcher in the reenactment. Agnes became obsessed with her role and ended up in Holly Hill, a mental facility in North Carolina. This makes her dangerous for Sid’s new show and she is served a restraining order. This is smart as it has now made her a potential suspect for anything bad that happens during production from now on.
We now have a reality show with both the real people involved and the cast of My Roanoke Nightmare taking place in an evil house that only the real people understand is truly evil. The film crew has wired the house with various tricks to make the house seem haunted when, in reality, it already is. This and the cast showing up to stay in the house at all just shows how little the cast and crew actually believed the story told by The Millers in the first place. Unfortunately for everyone in that house, they are going to find out the truth soon enough.
Return to Roanoke has, with just one episode, already been more interesting and enjoyable than the entirety of the first five episodes. It is almost unfortunate that those first five episodes had to happen in order for this episode to exist. There are actually characters that could be likeable this time around. Agnes is already the first character I have liked throughout the show, but I still wouldn’t be upset if most of the people died. That being said, I have a feeling some of these characters will grow on me as Return continues. They are unlikeable now because they believe the haunting story is just a big lie but, as they discover the reality of the situation, they should hopefully soften a bit.
It feels strange to say this after such a disappointing start, but I am actually looking forward to next week. I truly hope this feeling continues.