I said last week that chapter three of American Horror Story: Roanoke was going to be an important one. The first two episodes did plenty for setting the scene and giving the audience a taste of what to expect, but it was time to delve into the major theme of this season, the mystery of the Roanoke Colony. All we had seen so far was the constant terror that Shelby and Matt faced in their new house, but it didn’t have any context to it. This week’s chapter, however, changed that and gave the audience its first taste of the mystery of the “Lost Colony”.
This episode focuses on Lee’s missing daughter and their attempts to find her. After the cops and numerous search parties fail and Mason winds up dead, we meet Cricket Marlowe (Leslie Jordan), a psychic/con-artist who is an expert at finding missing children. Then, after an admittedly creepy séance (in part because of Leslie Jordan’s demeanor) we learn the Flora is allegedly still alive and has been captured by “The Butcher” and the rest ghost colonists. This is when things start to get good because we start to learn how the Roanoke mystery plays into everything.
“The Butcher”, played by Kathy Bates, is the ghost of Tomasyn White, the wife of Roanoke Colony’s leader. After her husband leaves the Colony to return to England for supplies, she is left in charge. She struggled to keep the colony fed and united and in the end is chained and banished to die alone in the woods by some of the colonists, including her son. Eventually saved by an unknown woman (Lady Gaga), she surrenders her soul to her and returns to the colony. She then forcefully demands control and moves the colony to where Shelby and Matt currently reside, thus finally linking the two stories together.
The episode ends with a bang and everyone out in the forest. Cricket sees “The Butcher” and makes a deal with her. If Lee’s daughter is returned, they will burn the house down and leave for good. Matt, however, slips away during all of this and is eventually found by Shelby unconsciously boning some hillbilly chick in the woods. Furious, she retaliates by turning Lee into the cops for what we assume is kidnapping her daughter and murdering Mason. The end of this episode definitely took a surprising turn, but I don’t get why Shelby was so quick to react to Matt’s haunting infidelity. You would think, based on all the events thus far, she would suspect something other than him wanting to get off to some random chick in the forest, but whatever.
In all, chapter three of American Horror Story: Roanoke took the major steps I hoped for. It’s no longer just about the frightening events of Shelby and Matt’s new house, but instead, we are starting to see the Roanoke Colony theme start to come out. We are now left wondering what this means for Shelby, Matt, and Lee. Will Flora survive her time with the dead? What role does Lady Gaga’s mysterious character play in all of this? And also, what’s going on with docuseries they have been showing us all season long? As long the season continues in this direction, answering the bigger questions, and is less about everyone surviving the new house, this could be a great edition of American Horror Story.