Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for American Horror Story. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched.
Ever since American Horror Story returned with its mysterious Roanoke-themed sixth season, the audience has been wondering two things: where is Evan Peters, and is there more to this season than meets the eye? After four episodes, we still don’t have answers to either of those, but we (along with folks around the web) have a sneaking suspicion of where things are headed, and who Peters is playing. Before you decide to cry “Croatoan,” settle in and prepare for our full recap of “Chapter 4”.
Before we dig in, I want to throw a popular theory out there. A lot of people, myself included, are all but certain Peters is the Piggy Man. On top of being listed as a main character this season, the AHS vet’s name has appeared in the credits, event though his face hasn’t. Unless he’s one of The Butcher’s (a.k.a. Kathy Bates’) clan members, and we’ve only been getting brief glimpses of him since Chapter 1, the only role that makes sense is the shirtless man who’s been running around with a pig mask/head-type thing. Right? Right.
Okay, maybe that isn’t it at all. Based on how secretive the show runners have been this season, his name could be some sort of misdirect. As for the other theory that’s been making the rounds, it seems to be coming true as far as I can tell. Each episode of season six is referencing a past season of American Horror Story. Some theorists have gone so far as to say that each episode is referencing the sixth episode of the corresponding season. With that in mind, I went into Chapter 4 expecting a reference to Freak Show. While subtle, it was definitely there. The Mott family was alluded to by Elias Cunningham (Denis O’Hare), the former owner of Matt and Shelby’s home.
Following the conclusion of last week’s episode, Shelby confronted Matt about his sexual encounter with Lady Gaga’s witch of the woods character. After tearfully denying any knowledge of what happened, Shelby said she believed Matt and they moved on, just in time to get chased around the house by Piggy Man Peters. Thankfully, Elias was there to save the day and lay down some more knowledge about the mysterious chain of deaths surrounding the house.
According to Elias, the original owner of the house is Edward Philippe Mott. While that’s the only time the name was mentioned, it’s a nod that we’ll be finding out more about their past (as promised by Ryan Murphy). He also explained why the psychopath nurse sisters from episode two disappeared. Despite being vicious killers themselves, they too were victims of The Butcher. Dedicated to keeping her own land, the ghostly leader offed the pair in a gory way.
The one thing all of the stories had in common is that they happened during the same six-day lunar cycle. It is during this span of days, between the first quarter moon and the blood moon, that the ghosts trapped there are able to kill. Of course, the start of that cycle just so happens to be the night Elias showed up to warn the couple. But with Flora still missing, and Lee at the police station being questioned for her daughter’s disappearance (thanks Shelby), Shelby and Matt are not ready to leave.
The good news is that Elias knows where to find Priscilla, the little girl who abducted Flora. The bad news is that once they find Flora, she’s surrounded by hostile ghosts that are able to hurt them, thanks to the lunar cycle. While Shelby and Matt made it out unscathed, Elias was shot with a barrage of arrows. For a man who has supposedly survived as the owner of the house for all these years, Elias is not good at surviving a day with Shelby and Matt. Maybe he should have stayed in the cellar.
With O’Hare’s character sadly out of the way (don’t worry—according to the actor’s Twitter account, Elias will be back), the only person left to help Shelby and Matt is Cricket (Leslie Jordan). Following the gory display in the woods, Cricket returned to tell the couple that Lee’s daughter Flora isn’t dead. As a psychic, he can sense her life force, a power that he may or may not fuel with Coke Zero (he’d kill for one).
His plan is to go out into the woods and suss out the enemy’s weakness at night. Somehow, Cricket makes it back alive to explain more about The Butcher’s past. Apparently, the Roanoke clan never disappeared but instead moved to the area where Shelby and Matt are living. When Tomasyn’s (a.k.a. The Butcher) son Ambrose (Wes Bentley), and several others in the colony explained that they were fed up with the group’s unholy practices, which included sacrificing Priscilla, The Butcher rewarded them with a violent death, culminating with her own demise at the hands of the Witch of the woods.
The mass murder/suicide was a strong form of blood magic that resulted in the group being tied to the land indefinitely. Cricket, however, has a plan to stop the ghosts in their tracks once and for all. Too bad the ghosts have other plans and capture and disembowel Cricket in front of Matt and Shelby. Poor Cricket, R.I.P. (chapter 3-4), gone too soon.
You know who wasn’t gone too soon, and still very much alive? Flora. The little girl finally made it back to Matt and Shelby’s house at the end of the episode thanks to Priscilla. Sure, she almost died a terrible gruesome death as a blood sacrifice (which could still be in the cards for her), but for now she is safe and sound.
As a side note, Matt had another sexual run-in with the Gaga witch during this week’s episode… it was weird, but informative. During the encounter, Gaga told Matt her own back-story. According to that account, she was a British descendant of the Druids. After stowing away on a boat to America, the girl was caught and imprisoned, with the intention of burning her at the stake for being a witch. Using her persuasion prowess, Gaga was able to get out of her cage via killing all of the soldiers there and unfairly blaming it on Native Americans.
So what did you think of this week’s episode? Who do you think Evan Peters is playing? Let us know in the comments below, join the conversation on Facebook, or start one with me on Twitter: @Samantha_Sofka!