American Horror Story: Roanoke gets extra bloody in this episode, “Chapter 5,” and not everyone makes it out alive. Will Lee be stuck in custody while her family fights for their lives?
This episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke opens with an interview with a historian who seems versed in all things having to do with the property the Millers purchased. She reveals that the house was originally built in 1792 by an art collector named Edward Mott, who came from family money and had severe social anxiety. It’s implied that his family is in fact the Motts that we’ve come to know from a past installment of American Horror Story.
Edward is played by Evan Peters, and his character moved to the area after leaving his wife and heir to be with his lover, an African American servant named Guinness. He also has an unhealthy attachment to the paintings in his collection, once even telling his lover in the middle of them having sex that he loves them more than he loves Guinness. He says that he envies them and their two-dimensional world. It’s certainly not a stretch to think that this guy could be related to Dandy Mott.
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During the building of the house, there were several instances, such as a worker falling and breaking their leg, and within days of Edward moving in, he wakes one night to find his beloved paintings all damaged. He is horrified, and gathers all of his servants to scream at them and demand to know who committed the act. He doesn’t believe it when one woman tells him she swears she saw two people out by the woods around the time she heard him scream.To punish them all until the perpetrator confesses, Guinness locks them all in the root cellar with little to no provisions.
But even Edward meets an untimely end, when, during the Blood Moon, he is dragged out to a fire by the Butcher and her group, staked, and thrown onto the flames while Guinness escapes on a nearby horse. But because no trace of the fire is found, he is charged with the murder of Edward and throw in jail for the crime. He doesn’t reveal the whereabouts of the servants, and their bones are eventually discovered in the cellar. Yikes.
Back in what we presume to be the present, Matt, Shelby and Flora are trapped inside the house while the mob taunts them outside. Flora is attacked and dragged away by some creepy girl straight out of a horror movie at one point, and the Pig Man and some hunters, previously killed by the Butcher, also work together to corral the small group to be delivered to the Butcher. Their cars are even set on fire so they couldn’t escape if they could even get to the vehicles.
But then, an unlikely ally appears in the form of Edward, who leads them far into the woods via tunnels he had built from the house. He tells them he’s only trying to prevent the Butcher from killing them because they are “his bane” — all he wants is his solitude, and the numerous murders keep far too many spirits around for him to achieve that.
Edward takes them into the woods and leaves them there, cold and alone and frightened of the squeals they can hear from pigs nearby. Then the Millers realize just where they ended up in the forest — within sight of the Polk property. They are attacked again, this time by the Polks, and brought into their nearby house to face even more horrors.
The three of them are taken into the house, and Matt and Shelby are horrified to find Elias on a nearby table, missing his leg and clearly in great pain. He warns Matt that the Polks are crazy and they need to get out while they can, begging the other man to kill him and revealing that “Mama” Polk took his leg. And when Mama comes in, she brings fresh jerky with her and offers it to their captives — jerky that was likely made from Elias’ missing leg.
But when she tastes the meat, she laments that it’s spoiled, making the rest of Elias useless to her and her family. One of her sons then bludgeons the man in the face, killing him in front of Matt, Shelby and Flora. The Millers tell the Polks that they can have the house, that they’ll leave the very next day, but Mama won’t agree to this. Apparently, the Polk family made a deal with the Butcher over 200 years prior to ensure that they and their crop — cannabis — would be left alone, if the Polks leave the Butcher and her group alone. Unless, of course, she needs assistance with a sacrifice during the blood moon.
Mama Polk is mad that the Millers led the police to her “babies” and had them taken away, and between that and the deal with the Butcher, Matt, Shelby, and Flora are not about to be let go by the Polk family.
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Matt, Shelby and Flora are thrown into the back of a truck and driven towards their property by the Polks, where they are sure to meet their deaths. Matt decides to fight back, attempting to wrestle a gun away from one of the Polk sons who is in the back with them, and in the tussle, one of the sons in the front seat of the truck is shot to death. The one with the gun is knocked out of the vehicle, landing hard on the ground nearby.
When Shelby, Matt and Flora try to run, they are quickly found by the Polk son with the gun after one of their phones vibrates with a call from Lee, who was held at the precinct until the authorities could no longer keep her without clear evidence of something to charge her for. She knows, thanks to texts from Matt, that Flora was found, but doesn’t know the danger her family then ended up in.
Mama shows up, and swears to them that they won’t be able to run again, especially after getting one of her sons killed. She has Flora hidden in the truck, then takes an ax to Shelby’s ankle, making her unable to run and Matt unwilling to leave her. They are then put in the back of the truck again and tied up. Shelby tries to get Matt to promise to save Flora, who is still in the front seat. However, Matt has realized that there’s no way out, and the three of them are driven back to the house, where the Butcher and her group are waiting.
Mama and the Polks deliver the Millers and Flora to the Butcher, who is sympathetic to the other woman for having lost a son that night. Well, at least her words sound sympathetic, though it’s hard to tell with her. Then the Polks get in the truck and drive away, leaving Shelby, Matt and Flora to their fate.
The Butcher takes Flora to be killed first, despite Priscilla’s reminder that she said she’d kill the girl last. But before the matriarch can kill the little girl, her son turns on her, screaming that he won’t stand by as she sheds more innocent blood. He then throws them both into the fire instead, and Edward comes to the rescue once more, cutting the ropes on Shelby and telling them to make a “grand escape.” But of course, Shelby still can’t run.
Luckily, just then, Lee is driven to the site in a police car, with an officer she instructs to call for backup, only for the other person to drive away and leave her there. And apparently one of the cars there is still working, because she uses it to ram into the Pig Man before he can get to Flora, then to help Matt, Shelby, and her daughter escape as they’re chased by the fiery outline of the Butcher. The Millers believe their survival was a miracle, and Shelby is relieved she’ll never have to go to the house again. Or will she?
The four of them go to a motel and get takeout, while they await Shelby’s sister wiring them enough money to get back to Los Angeles. They’re seemingly safe there, and relax and settle in to eat and watch t.v. — though, notably, the images on the screen do appear to be of scenes older than current day. It might mean nothing, but it makes me wonder.
While her family relaxes behind her, Shelby notices smoke coming from underneath the door, and when she opens it, the Butcher is standing there, and the woman hits her in the face with her cleaver. Just then, Shelby wakes up, revealing that since their experience at the house, she has had that dream many times, and everything she’s tried to stop it, yoga and meditating and the like, do nothing. She tells the documentary interviewer that she’s not sure she’ll ever get over it, and we are left with that ominous line when this episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke ends.
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(Image courtesy of FX)