We’ve reached the end of the sixth season of American Horror Story, with Roanoke wrapping up with even more nods to the reality television genre. And though she may have survived two seasons of “My Roanoke Nightmare,” Lee Harris’ nightmare still isn’t over.
The Roanoke Fandom
This finale episode opens with a fictional scenario in which the cast and crew of “My Roanoke Nightmare” appear on the Paleyfest stage in March 2016. They take questions from the crowd, and Sidney confirms that they do, in fact, have ideas for a second season of the show.
Most of the personalities onstage vie for attention from the audience, with Rory getting screams from fangirls and the actor counterparts in general trying to pull focus. One woman in the audience explains that she flew there from overseas because she identifies with Lee, and has a drawing she drew to give to her. It’s clear that the fandom of “My Roanoke Nightmare” is passionate, and I’m not entirely certain if Ryan Murphy is making fun of intense fans or celebrating them here.
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With a quick time jump, the same girl who gave Lee a drawing is in a YouTube video, saying the second season was crass and exploitative, but confirming that it got even higher ratings than the first installment. Chillingly, there’s another video on YouTube of the remaining Polk brother, Lot, stating that his family never got justice for what Lee did to them, and that if the law won’t take care of things, he will.
Lee Harris on Trial
On yet another fictional TV show, “Crack’d,” Lee’s story and her trial following the events featured in the second season of “My Roanoke Nightmare” are presented for a presumably eager audience. In it, someone from the prosecution for her first trial, Phillips, is featured saying he really thought they had her since the three murders she committed in the second season were captured on camera.
But Lee tested positive for extremely high levels of hallucinogenic drugs following her rescue, and her defense is able to argue that she was under extreme duress. The jury is sympathetic, and she’s acquitted of all charges.
So Lee is taken to court over Mason’s murder instead, with Lee’s taped confession as evidence. Flora is called to the stand to testify, and she reveals that she actually witnessed the murder of her father by her mother, stating that she watched as they fought and as her mother found a nearby rock and hit her father with it until he stopped moving. “You killed Daddy,” she states, and it seems like that should be the final nail in the coffin regarding Lee’s innocence.
But the defense questions Flora as well, and when asked why she felt so safe alone in the woods, she says that she wasn’t alone, she was with Priscilla. They paint the picture of a confused little girl from a broken home, who invented a friend. They suggest that she might have seen the taped confession and has false memories as a result of viewing it. In general, they make it seem like her word can’t be trusted to condemn her mother.
Sixteen days later, the jury comes back with a verdict of “not guilty.” One juror notes that she didn’t feel right sending Lee to jail based on “ghost stories.” So after all of that, Lee Harris walks free.
The Lana Winters Special
But is Lee really free? Following her trial, Flora won’t talk to her, and she goes to live with her grandparents. Lee has no one and nothing to live for besides her daughter, though it’s later noted that she’s a highly paid speaker and wrote a book about her experience.
In one last attempt to get Flora to listen to her, Lee agrees to an interview with the notorious Lana Winters. I’ll admit, I didn’t watch American Horror Story: Asylum, but it appears that she’s a key character from that season, and she makes it clear that it’s a big deal that she’s come out of retirement to interview Lee.
The interview is live and unedited, and Lana gets Lee to admit that the one thing that keeps her going is her daughter. She’s now fighting for custody of her daughter against Mason’s parents, and she doesn’t have contact with Flora. Lana invites her to tell Flora exactly what she feels she needs to hear, so Lee looks at the camera and tells Flora that she loves her and will never give up.
But then Lana makes a shocking statement, demanding to know where Lee has her daughter. Lee is visibly confused, and Lana reveals that an hour before taping, Flora was reported missing by her grandparents. Lee understandably freaks out, and says she has to go find her daughter, when there are suddenly sounds of gunshots outside.
Lot forces his way into the room, shooting a lot of innocent people with an assault rifle on his way in, and Lana tries to talk him down before he shoots Lee. She tells him what he’s doing is out of revenge, and won’t bring justice, and generally talks a lot more than I’d expect a madman with a gun to allow anyone to. He eventually knocks her out with the gun, but is shot by security guards before he can turn the weapon on Lee.
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Spirit Chasers Special
A message is shown onscreen, stating that the viewers are about to see a controversial episode of “Spirit Chasers,” yet another show within the show. It features members of a team called the Spirit Chasers who investigate paranormal phenomena, and despite the fact that a ton of people actually really did die at Roanoke during the Blood Moon, they decide to investigate the site for themselves during the same event later on. Clearly nothing bad will happen to them!
Ashley, who played the psychic on the first season of “My Roanoke Nightmare,” goes along with them, and it should be noted that they are there without permission, having cut through a barbed wire fence to get to the house. Unsurprisingly, some crazy horrifying stuff goes down during their visit.
Ashley finds a bonnet much like Priscilla’s during their exploration, and not long after, Lee herself appears. She’s looking for Flora, and basically tells them that they’re all idiots for being there during the Blood Moon and I can’t say I disagree.
While there, they capture thermal imaging of one of the Chens (the creepy horror movie little girls from earlier episodes of American Horror Story: Roanoke), and manage to get a recording of a child laughing as well. Eventually they think they see Priscilla on their thermal imaging camera, but just then, the Piggy Man appears behind them, and he promptly kills Ashley.
One of the Chens kills one of the Spirit Chasers, and even the murderous nurses appear at one point before everyone else on the team tries to run. The Butcher kills a young woman on the team, and as the cameraman and the final Spirit Chaser run towards approaching police officers outside, the Butcher kills the cameraman, and a bunch of arrows come out of nowhere and kill the final Chaser and a few cops. Only Lee remains.
The next day, a reporter explains on-air that they are in their fourteenth hour of the Roanoke house being “under siege.” Reporters and crew from television networks as well as several police officers surround the house, where they believe Lee has Flora and possibly one other little girl held hostage.
The actor who portrayed the professor character from “My Roanoke Nightmare” is interviewed, as well as Lana Winters, who is recovering following her hospital stay after Lot’s attack. She seems to feel a sort of kinship with Lee, as they are both women whom trouble seems to find.
Trouble is right. Inside the house, as Flora draws pictures in the dust on the floor, Lee tries to explain to her that the picture she had in her head of parenting just isn’t what the reality is, similar to how the pictures in our heads are always more perfect than the ones we draw. But Flora isn’t having any of it, and she’s clearly angry and resentful with her mother for killing her father.
Lee explains that she’s sorry, and that the only thing she has to live for is to look out for her daughter. She wants Flora to walk out and leave with her, but Flora explains that she wants to stay there with Priscilla. When Lee questions how she’d survive doing that, Flora replies that she’ll be fine — if she’s like Priscilla.
Upon further questioning, Flora explains that she wants to burn the place to the ground and die so she can protect Priscilla. She exclaims that that’s what she wants, and that her mother can’t stop her. It’s all a little horrifying to hear coming out of a little girl’s mouth, which I guess is kind of the point.
So Lee makes a deal with Flora. She’ll stay there with Priscilla, be a mother to the other little girl, and die so she can do so. She tells her daughter she can come visit the two of them whenever she wants, as long as it’s not during the Blood Moon.
Apparently Flora takes her up on her offer, because soon after, the police outside start seeing smoking billowing from the building. Someone smells gas, and suddenly an explosion rocks the house. Flora walks out, unscathed, and later, as she’s being driven away in a police car, she sees Lee and Priscilla together outside. They walk away together, and it turns out that Flora, not Lee, is the final survivor of the massacre at Roanoke.
Nearby, the Others are watching as investigators comb the scene, and a Blood Moon rises overhead.
So what did we think of this season? What was the theme overall? I think it had something to do with the dangers/horrors of making so much out of reality shows and their stars, and how our real lives and the news we follow gets more and more focused on sensationalism every day. But I may be thinking too much into this little FX horror show.
Did you enjoy the sixth season of American Horror Story? Let us know in the comments below!