It’s one thing to see people constantly tormented by monsters and the paranormal, but to show an hour of human-on-human torture is a bit much. Chapter 8 of American Horror Story: Roanoke centered completely on the cannibalistic Polk family, splitting its time between their unnecessary family history and gruesome torture scenes. Last week’s brief time spent on the Polk clan was by far enough, an entire episode was just lazy.
Originally I enjoyed the idea of these idiotic and self-centered characters getting what they deserved. I mean I still can’t get passed the fact that they all decided to come back to the house. You would think anyone who does this deserves some psychotic paranormal torture, but AHS has beaten this into the ground. I never thought I would feel bad for these characters but it’s hard not to at this point.
This doesn’t mean they are worth rooting for. For one thing, Lee and Audrey decided to go back to the house after escaping the Polk farm. I get that the woods are full of crazies, but why go back to the house you know you will die in? When they returned, they found Matt with a bashed skull, Shelby with a slit throat, and left Dominic to be slaughtered by the Pigman, and they still spent the night! Then they decide to go back to the Polk farm to retrieve the video of them killing various Polk’s because for some reason they thought that would help hide what they did. You can feel bad for all the suffering they’ve gone through but in no way, are they worth rooting for.
In general, though, nothing really important came from this episode. However, we got to see Lee at her best. While tied up to a chair and having chunks of her flesh taken out we got to see her strategize how she was going to get out. She first tried to get the Polk’s to see her as a human, but as mama Polk said, “If you ain’t Polk, you ain’t people”. After that failed, she tried to relate to Cain Polk (Finn Wittrock) by talking to him about Christmas and promising him a role on TV. What did work, was her ability to attract him sexually. It was interesting to see her succumb to reality while still putting up a fight. This week we saw a character with multiple layers. She was emotional because she knew her daughter was somewhere out there, she was strong and fighting for her life, but also accepted what she thought was her certain fate. This was the deepest portrayal of a character all season and if anyone deserves to be the lone survivor it would be her.
If you want an episode that is pure torture and gore, Chapter 8 of AHS is it, but as far as intriguing television and something that adds to the story this week, fell short. We’ve already seen plenty of this and now it feels like the writers have run out of worthy content and are just stalling until the big reveal in Chapter 10. If this episode did anything, it reoffered that this season was never about the Roanoke mystery. It had about an episode’s worth of interesting Roanoke content and the rest has been unoriginal and uninspiring “horror”.