Now that the mystery of AHS’ sixth season has evaporated, we’ve had another week to settle into the most miserable house this side of Roanoke Island, North Carolina — which, yes, I’ve recently learned is not actually the same thing as Roanoke, Virginia, where apparently people are very upset Ryan Murphy has set narrative crosshairs on their least-favorite talking point in colonial American urban lore.
The ghost colony of Roanoke is also fast becoming the least favorite topic for Matt, Shelby, and Lee, too, who spend this week’s episode denying their surrounding danger like a Rent fan in Moscow.
We last left Shelby screaming in the middle of the woods, where she bears witness to the first of what I imagine will be many torch-laid circles dedicated to ceremonies, social events, and, in this case, human sacrifices (which theoretically does fall under social events). Kathy Bates’ character appears to be the leader of the tribe, and Gaga, her sort of forest-nymph sidekick, the rabid Tails to Bates’ possibly vaguely European Sonic.
Shelby watches as Tribe Elder Kathy Bathes calls herself “the queen of every hive, the fire on every hill, the shield over every head” and orders the murder of a colony deserter and thief. It’s death by pig roast, apparently, as a giant pig’s head gets placed on the man, whose scream transforms into that same squeal we’ve been hearing creaking through the mahogany back in the house.
And that’s all we get from this tribe of misfits for now, because, in keeping with the theme of uneventfulness this week, it may as well have never happened. That’s how much of an ostensible effect it has on convincing Shelby, Matt, and Lee that something is very, very wrong in Roanoke (and it’s not just that “Perfect Illusion” is underwhelming). Denial, denial, denial. How much can a person rationalize the irrational?
So, we’re back in the house where Shelby and Matt are thoroughly convinced it’s just the mountain-men hillbillies trying to drive them away, and even though Lee witnessed the very scary break-in-and-flash-mob-decoration of the foyer last week, she decides it’s in everyone’s best interest to host her daughter for a weekend visit. (Again: The status quo is racist hillbillies are trying to terrorize an interracial couple, so let’s invite an 8-year-old African-American child into the equation. Good idea, Lee.)
Unfortunately, Lee’s daughter Flora has a penchant for hide-and-seek, and horror movies have a penchant for children having imaginary friends. Combine the two, and you’ve got Flora suddenly corresponding with an unseen presence whom she’s calling Priscilla (which a quick Google search will tell you isn’t even on the top 50 most popular colonial girls’ names, so no wonder she’s a ghost).
Lee is spooked but girls will be girls! She leaves Flora to fantasize, because ghosts have not yet entered Lee’s threat consideration threshold just yet; instead, she’s more concerned with a vase that mysteriously breaks and a dirty old bonnet that falls out. If you didn’t know, bonnets are THE item for people in the 1590s. Everyone has a bonnet, from youngest baby to oldest living 36-year-old. If you didn’t have a bonnet, you wanted a bonnet. You can cool off with a bonnet! Protect your head in a bonnet! Use a bonnet to slowly weaken the fragile rehabilitated psyche of a mortal in the 21st century! Decorate a bonnet with lace! They are truly the most versatile.
NEXT: “They’re going to kill us. And save me for last.”