This episode contains some spoilers for this episode and previous ones.
Although I still don’t like the absence of the opening titles, what they have instead really does work to add to the style and tone of this season. Opening with a few scenes that give a glimpse of what’s to come or what’s happened since the events of the previous episode with warnings crossing the screen advising viewer discretion. It all adds to the feel of a paranormal documentary. Although I, like some people, would like to see the credits make a comeback, what they’ve been replaced with does surprisingly work.
So after the introductions the episode picks up pretty much where the last one ended. The police have now been called and arrived, but the search for Flora is still ongoing. With moments like this it does really feel like this season might be one that you can watch from stat to finish without breaks and it would flow and feel consistent. Of course that’s something we’re going to have to wait for the season to end to see for sure.
The episode, like the previous two, still does a good job at using music and ambient sounds to create suspense, tension, and just to generally set the scene. For that I’m stating to think I’ll never be able to fault this season. Overall, with that and many other aspects, it feels like so far this season has managed to keep on track and keep itself in check.
Although in the past I’ve said that having Shelby, Matt, and Lee talking about past events bothered me because it could suggest they survive any life-threatening situations, they still do a good job of not revealing too much. Throughout the episode whenever Lee would get emotional talking about the search for Flora I was never sure whether she was crying because they never found Flora/she turned up dead, or if she was crying because remembering that horrible time still upset her, despite finding Flora alive. We don’t find out by the end of the episode, and maybe we won’t find out till much later.
Mason turning up dead in the moment wasn’t to surprising. The second we saw the body it obviously wasn’t Flora, so why call the house? It was clear then that it was Mason. What was surprising was that he died at all. I had a lot of questions at that point. Mostly how it came to be and why. Any number of people mentioned and seen in this episode and previous ones could be involved. I get the feeling his death is going to be more connected to everything and that will be revealed in more detail as the season progresses.
The lost colony of Roanoke was rumoured to be a huge part of this season. Just because the season is called “My Roanoke Nightmare” doesn’t mean they were definitely going down that route, but it turns out they are. There seemed to be a lot more hints towards it and I feel like the colony and its disappearance is going to be the major focus of the season, and will be revealed slowly but surely over the course of it, cementing itself and attaching to all the branching story lines (like the nurses in the previous episode).
As the episode progressed it added more and more detail about the Colony and how it might fit into the season as a whole. We got to see the Colony in its own time, and it seems like they’re sticking to the real life story about them going missing and the speculation around it. However, this is American Horror Story so of course the reasoning for their disappearance might not be all so human in this version. The real story, although true, was considered a ghost story in its own right so depending on what they do American Horror Story’s version might not be so far fetched.
It seems that not only are they going for the ghosts and haunting vibe, but they’re also going a step further into seemingly including demonic presences. Although a lot has been revealed so far, there’s still a while to go, so more could arise.
Having the interviewer voice pop up suddenly was surprising (mostly because I didn’t expect them to ever include the interviewer), but it was definitely better that they did it now rather than later down the line. It quickly became clear that they had chosen to include this to help push characters to speak of matters they wouldn’t have and to reveal facts that couldn’t be revealed any other way because the characters didn’t want to talk about it so therefore would not have brought it up on their own.
Admittedly seeing the set was a little off putting, it gave a behind the scenes look to the paranormal documentary, and I’ll be honest in saying that most documentaries I’ve seen that take on the format American Horror Story is trying to recreate don’t show the behind the scenes (that’s not to say that some don’t). It took me out of the moment in a weird way, and if they have more moments like that in future I don’t know how I’m, going to feel about it.
I will say, there is one positive aspect. It could mean that this isn’t supposed to be that we’re seeing a documentary as it’s airing but rather as it’s filming. Therefore meaning that although Shelby, Matt, and Lee survived the events they’re recounting they’re still not safe, anything could happen to them during the process of filming. It could change from being such a formal documentary to the cameras catching the “real” Shelby, Matt, and Lee experiencing supernatural danger.
Talking about the interruption from the interviewer, is Emily related to everything happening now? Why bring her up? Sure, it’s another example of when Lee had a child go missing and provides more depth to her character, but it needs to relate more than that, otherwise they could easily have written it out. They could have just as easily taken out the moments with Emily and the episode would have panned out the exact same. Hopefully more about her will be explained later.
I’ll give them some credit. Although what the characters do and don’t believe goes up and down like a yo-yo it’s believable, for now. Shelby believes that strange things are happening and that things aren’t always what they seem, but when Matt disappears into the woods at an important point and is found having sex with someone in front of two guys who seemingly hate both him and Shelby, Shelby is willing to believe that that’s all true and refuses to accept that it could be a trick or something more sinister at play. Moments like this could end up feeling inconsistent and like poor writing, but for now it works. There are plenty of people in the world where what they’re willing to believe will change depending on the circumstances.
This episode definitely had a lot more emphasis on the lost Colony. Although it seemed a little didn’t to the previous two episodes, it was still consistent thanks to the glimpses of the Colony in previous episodes.
I enjoyed this episode and I am enjoying this season, but right now I’m still not sure what to think.