*Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare. If you haven’t watched yet, proceed at your own risk.
American Horror Story has always been hit or miss for me. While I loved Murder House (season one), Asylum (season two) and Coven (season three), Freak Show (season four) was a mess. Hotel (season five) was a bit better, and featured some of my favorite performances of the series, but faltered from the show runners’ attempt to fit too many subplots into the season. Leading up to the sixth season, the creators took a different route, and decided to keep fans almost entirely in the dark—save for a batch of mysterious teasers—regarding the theme. The premiere episode, simply titled “Episode 1”, has finally arrived, and we can’t wait to talk about it. Welcome to American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare.
The mysterious theme wasn’t the only thing that changed this season. The 10-episode season is formatted in the style of a docudrama, and is based on true events. American Horror Story vet Lily Rabe stars as Shelby Miller, while fellow favorite Sarah Paulson stars as an actress playing Shelba in the reenacted scenes. In the same vein, Shelby’s husband, Matt, is portrayed by both Andre Holland and AHS newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr. Last but not least is Matt’s sister Lee, who is portrayed by Adina Porter and Angela Bassett. We also got a brief glimpse of Kathy Bates’ spooky new character towards the end.
At the beginning of the episode, we were introduced to the Millers. The seemingly perfect couple was thrown for a loop when Matt was attacked in the city. Following his recovery, the couple decided to move back to where Matt grew up in North Carolina. Both his mother and sister still lived there, so it felt like the safest bet for them. The pair moved into a massive home out in the middle of nowhere, after out-bidding a bunch of hillbillies for the property. Despite the bargain, Shelby admitted (to the audience, not her husband) that she felt like there was something wrong with the house. The set-up pretty much mirrored the beginning of The Amityville Horror.
Of course it didn’t take long for things to go wrong. Soon after moving in, the couple started to hear pig-like squeals coming from outside. Shelby also started to witness strange activity while Matt was away. The first time he stepped out, it stared to pour and hail human teeth. When Matt came back home, he told her the weather would take some getting used to. Things kicked up a notch when he left her at home alone to go on a business trip. After enjoying some peaceful alone time, Shelby was startled by the shutters banging outside. She also spotted creepy women walking down the hallway, a la The Shining. Things took a turn when she was nearly drowned while using the hot tub outside.
When Matt made it home, the police told him they found no trace of anyone else having been there. With that doubt in the back of his head, Matt asked his wife about what happened. She told him she saw guys in old costumes, holding pitchforks and torches. He thinks that it is probably just the racist hillbillies playing a trick on them as revenge for Matt and Shelby having outbid them in the auction.
With another business trip in his schedule, Matt asked his sister Lee, an ex cop, to come stay with Shelby. Of course, the two ladies were shown to not be so fond of each other. Still, having someone who could protect her, or at least keep her company, while Matt was gone seemed like a good move. But while the two were home alone, they accused one another of trying to play tricks. As they argued about it, Matt got a notification that the sensors he’d installed around the property’s perimeter had been tripped. When he checked out the security cameras, he saw a mob of people carrying torches headed to the house. When the women heard some noise, they walked down to the basement to investigate.
The sound had apparently been coming from an old TV set that was playing a twisted home movie. In the half hour that they were down there, the intruders had strung Blair Witch looking idols all over the house. When Matt finally arrived, Lee acted like Shelby was crazy, and Matt basically told her she was exaggerating. Upset that nobody was listening to her, Shelby took off in the car. The moment Matt called her on her phone, a woman appeared out of nowhere and Shelby hit her with the car. When she got out to chase after her, she got lost in the woods. The last thing we saw before the episode ended was a circle of people approaching her with upraised torches… and half their heads missing.
We’re already intrigued. What did you think of the season six premiere? Are you excited for the Roanoke Nightmare? Let us know in the comments below, join the conversation on Facebook, or start one with me on Twitter: @Samantha_Sofka.