Recaps

American Horror Story: Roanoke “Chapter 3”

The third installment of American Horror Story: Roanoke,Chapter 3,” could have used another title… “Exposition.” After spending two episodes just as confused as Shelby, Matt, and Lee, audiences finally got some backstory on Kathy Bates‘ meat-cleaver colonist.

While one question was answered, more seemed to follow. Most importantly, who the hell is Lady Gaga supposed to be? Before we get to the mysterious witch?/enchantress?/demon? in the woods, let’s back up to Flora’s disappearance.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

With little help of a search party and the police, Lee was left wondering if she would ever find her daughter. Lee, Matt, and Shelby stumbled across Flora’s doll torn apart and placed together with parts of a dead pig. What does this show have against pigs? Seriously, piglets are adorable!

After searching further into the woods, they came across an abandoned farm house. Next to the house was a farm, and inside they found… ugh! Okay, I don’t get grossed out too much, but the sight inside that barn weirded me out. Lee, Shelby, and Matt came upon two feral kids suckling a dead pig.

It’s unclear if the boys belonged to the Polks (the hillbillies), but the residence did. The police believed the Polks took Flora and left the boys behind. These boys could only mutter one word, “Croatoan.” If you are as big of a fan as AHS: Murder House as I am, you will remember that Billie Dean Howard told Violet the story of Roanoke and the supposed power of that word.

Lee’s ex-husband, Mason, showed up and was rightly pissed off. First Lee kidnapped their daughter, and now she was missing. It didn’t take long for Mason to accuse Lee of hiding their daughter so she could eventually flee the country with her. After a confrontation, Mason left the house. This was a big mistake because his body turned up later that night after been burned and strung up on what looked like a pentagram.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

Mason’s sudden demise didn’t bode well for Lee after Matt and Shelby watched her on the video camera from that night. Apparently she slipped out of the house for four hours shortly after Mason had gone. Lee didn’t take the murderous accusation lightly. Before Lee could rip Shelby a new one, a strange man waltzed right into the house. It took less than one minute for me to love Cricket, played by the always marvelous Leslie Jordan.

Leslie claimed to be a medium and was volunteering his services in locating Flora. It didn’t take long before Cricket was able to deduce that Flora was taken by her ghostly friend, Priscilla. Feeling like they had nothing to lose, they all held a séance. Unfortunately, instead of making contact with Priscilla, Cricket came face to face with Kathy Bates’ ghostly character. Through Cricket, we learned that this woman’s name had been Thomasin White, but eventually received the unsettling name of… The Butcher.

The Butcher laid claim to the land and would do everything needed to protect it. It was also clear that The Butcher had not taken Flora and was certainly not fond of Priscilla. The Butcher is not a spirit to be messed with as evidenced by her ability to shatter all the windows. Once again, the word “Croatoan” was said and it was used as a warning.

Despite Matt’s insistence that Cricket was a fraud, Lee went to him and gave him the $25,000 he required to find her daughter. Lee was a believer after Cricket had mentioned the name of her other daughter, Emily, and how she wanted to know why her mother stopped looking for her. Hold the phone! Lee once had another child who went missing? This woman either has some horrible luck or the universe wanted to serve her some severe karma.

Cricket revealed how after he left the house, he took a stroll through the woods and got the 411 on the ghosts haunting the land. Before we talk about the backstory, I just have to say that I tend to hate it when backstory is just presented to the audience in one fell swoop. It’s lazy writing and also turns Cricket into a plot device. However, Cricket is such a memorable character already that I can’t get too mad.

So Cricket explained how The Butcher was the wife of the governor of the Roanoke colony. She was put in charge when her husband returned to England to retrieve supplies. Some men of the colony didn’t take to her leadership style. I don’t buy that excuse. They just didn’t like being governed by a woman. Not only did they banish her, but they put a spiked cage over head and locked it shut. Oh yeah, and this was all while The Butcher’s own son, Ambrose, played by Wes Bentley, watched and did nothing.

Photo Credit: FX

Photo Credit: FX

The Butcher found herself alone and dying in the woods when she was saved by Lady Gaga. I have no idea what to call her because like I said at the beginning of this review, she came across as a witch/enchantress/demon. In exchange for saving her, The Butcher had to surrender her soul and eat a beating heart. Tasty…

With heart in her stomach and revenge on her mind, The Butcher went back to her colony and promptly slaughtered those who banished her. However, Ambrose was spared. So what was The Butcher’s plan? She was ready to move the colony inland. This explains why the colony would claim the land surrounding Matt and Shelby’s home, even though the public thinks the Roanoke colony had settled near the coast.

With Cricket leading the way, Lee, Shelby and Matt went into the woods to ask The Butcher to convince Priscilla to give back Flora. As payment, Lee and Matt agreed to burn the house to the ground. With this news shocking Shelby, she looked around for Matt, who seemed to vanish. Shelby eventually found him, engaging in some wilderness sex with Lady Gaga’s character as the Polk hillbillies looked on and masturbated. As Matt returned to the house, he found Shelby pissed and Lee bring arrested.

This was another terrific installment that moved the narrative forward without being too overwhelming. With some backstory given about The Butcher, I’m curious to learn more about Lady Gaga’s character. What is she, and what are her motivations? While Angela Bassett is marvelous, it was Adina Porter that stole the show for me. Her portrayal as “IRL” Lee was restrained, but we saw the cracks of a woman deeply haunted and broken.

I have several questions going forward including:

  • What is the connection between The Butcher and Priscilla? I have the suspicion that The Butcher’s husband may have had an affair, and Priscilla is the result of said affair.
  • Is Lady Gaga able to possess or put people into a trance? Matt seemed to be in a blank state when he was having sex with her. Also, it’s possible Lee did kill Mason, but she did so while under a trance.
  • Why would Shelby give a damn about burning the house down? It’s just a house! You can live somewhere else that isn’t haunted by murderous spirits.
  • Where are you, Evan Peters?

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

Check out a sneak peek of the next installment titled, “Chapter 4.”

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