American Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter 2”

After a stellar premiere, was American Horror Story: Roanoke able to maintain momentum without going off the rails? Thankfully, the answer was yes. “Chapter 2” was a terrific installment that delved further into the history of the house. Suffice it to say, the house doesn’t have a history of being a place full of sunshine and rainbows.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

The episode began with Shelby’s encounter in the woods. We witnessed Kathy Bates‘ ghostly character put a pig’s head on the head of an unnamed man. As if that wasn’t enough, the mob then put him on a spit over the fire. Before dinner could be served (I think), Shelby was spotted and ran like hell to safety. As we learned from the IRL Shelby, she decided that the hillbilly locals must be the ones trying to frighten them away. Like so many of the people who’ve been on these ghost shows, they decided to stay. Big mistake!

I couldn’t understand why Lee would want to bring her daughter into this house. Sure, she’s a mother who just wants to be with her daughter, but Lee really needs some perspective. Even if the house wasn’t haunted and the hillbillies were the ones playing these tricks on them, it’s still not a safe environment for a child.

Of course, Lee’s daughter, Flora, quickly made a new “friend” that only she could see. Whenever there is a child in a horror movie, they are bound to say something creepy as hell. Flora explained to her mother that she needed to make a bonnet for her new friend so all the blood would stop. After the bonnet showed up through the broken window, you would think Lee would run for the hills and take her child with her.

Lee’s ex-husband, Mason was horrified to see the environment Lee would bring her into. Both and he Lee found Flora handing over her doll to her imaginary friend in exchange for not killing them all, because her friend said she would do just that and save her for last. Mason, who seems to be the most sane out of them all, got his daughter out of there the second he heard his daughter say such dark and malevolent words.

Flora wasn’t the only one seeing ghosts. During the night, Matt awoke to the phone ringing. On the other end was a woman crying for some sort of help. Matt was shocked to see the phone cord was cut but the voice was still coming through. The horror kept coming when he watched two nurses shoot their elderly patient in the head, before smearing her blood as the letter M on the wall. The cop on duty outside their house didn’t see anything and didn’t believe a word coming out of their mouths. IRL Lee said exactly what I was thinking… if Matt and Shelby keep acting so crazy and making these claims, the cops are eventually going to stop coming.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

After Flora was taken away, Lee quickly fell off the wagon. Even though she was a drunken mess, I found it insane Matt and Shelby thought Lee threw those knives into the ceiling. Have they been paying attention to the place they’re living in? While Matt and Shelby were investigating a woman outside their window, Lee was frightened by the two nurses and the Piggy Man popping out to give her a scare. Matt and Shelby couldn’t find the woman, but they found a cellar outside the home. The cellar looked lived in and there was a camera. Back in the house, Matt and Shelby watched the footage that someone clearly wanted them to find. On the tape was Dr. Elias Cunningham, played by Denis O’Hare. He explained that he was an author who traveled to this location to write a true-crime novel about the nurses. Bridget and Miranda were sisters with an insatiable need to kill their patients. They were selective with their victims because the first letter of their names had to spell out “murder.”

The word “murder” was never finished because the sisters seemingly disappeared. Many thought they fled the country, but Elias stated how they never left and something more evil got to them. Off of Elias’ video, Matt and Shelby discovered behind the wallpaper, the word “murde.” The word left unfinished. Elias claimed on the video that he was heading back into the house and could very well not come out alive. The final straw for Matt and Shelby was the meat cleaver covered in blood stabbed into their front door.

Matt and Shelby demanded the bank take back the house. Of course the bank didn’t do a damn thing. Matt and Shelby were stuck. To make matters worse, Lee arrived with Flora in tow. Mason called furious, but Shelby assured him his daughter would be alright. She probably shouldn’t have said that because Flora quickly disappeared out the front door. The three of them frantically searched outside, but all they found was Flora’s yellow sweater… stuck at the top of a gigantic tree.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

Despite the beginning showing off a lot of mysterious old-timey ghosts in the woods, the episode still painted a sense of isolation with very few characters being focused on. The pacing was slow enough to build tension, but never left me bored. The imagery of the woman standing off in the distance staring at the house was beyond creepy. Her image was distorted enough that you couldn’t quite make out what she looked like. Was she Kathy Bates, or was it someone we haven’t met yet?

Normally I would take issue with Matt, Shelby, and Lee’s stupidity not leaving the house, but you’d be surprised how many families are featured on these ghost story shows that stay for years under such frightening circumstances. From an outsider’s perspective, I would’ve been out of there after night one. It’s true that Matt and Shelby would lose all their money, but I say better to lose your money than your life!

The only thing that had me chuckling was Kathy Bates’ accent. What is that supposed to be? It sounded a tad hooky and over-the-top. Other than the accent issue, I was still drawn into both the IRL scenes and the reenactments. It’s a breath of fresh air to actually feel a sense of dread watching this show. There was not one scene in AHS: Hotel that made me as uneasy as these first two episodes of AHS: Roanoke. I was nervous that I would be let down after such a brilliant start to the season, but “Chapter 2” has me hopeful the show can continue to bring the scares.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

Check out a sneak peek for the next installment, titled “Chapter 3.”

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