It’s the TV success story of 2015. It topped Empire, The Walking Dead, and the Sunday night football. It’s My Roanoke Nightmare, and it’s not just a show anymore. It’s a show within the show, within the show, within the… Honestly, I don’t even know at this point. But it’s the big twist of this season of American Horror Story, and — in short — it’s just damn brilliant. Let’s break it down.
Meet Cheyenne Jackson’s Sidney, a visionary reality TV producer who brought a hit to The Network with My Roanoke Nightmare. He’s so visionary, in fact, he’s already selling the corporate suits on his next project: Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell. It’s so sick, it’s genius: He’ll unite everyone who lived in the house with the actors who played them, together again in Roanoke, living in the haunted mansion during the blood moon, a.k.a. “when all of the bad sh-t happens.”
As a non-believer in The Butcher and her ilk, Sidney also declares he’ll supplement the scares with his own ghostly fabrications. “Reality is what we make of it,” says the character who is absolutely going to die first when this plan backfires. For optimum Network greenlighting, Sidney’s also tied up some loose ends: He bought the Roanoke house from Matt, and he has a plan in motion to convince the group to relive it all. Plus, given the whole true-crime spree we’re on lately, he also reveals an ulterior motive beyond just making good TV: “I’m gonna be the guy who gets Lee Harris to admit what she did.”
So, the Network greenlights Return to Roanoke a few weeks before the blood moon, and Sidney heads up to Ojai with his producer, Diana, to land their first reprising recruit: Shelby! Count that as another surprise twist — the fact that beleaguered, almost-drowned, ankle-smashed Shelby voluntarily opted to head back to Miss Roanoke’s Home for Peculiar Pigs.
But there’s a reason she’ll return, and it’s also a doozy: Not only have Matt and Shelby separated, but she’s also been spotted having an affair with Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) — the actor who played Matt on the show! So, naturally, RealMatt is offended by her relationship with his cheap imitation and hasn’t spoken to Shelby since. That’s why she’s willing to head back to Roanoke, if that’s what it takes to hash things out with her husband again. Yes, if you ever thought Matt and Shelby staying in the house was dumb, get ready to comprehend their inexplicable decision to RETURN to it.
Shockingly, they’re not the only ones.
NEXT: Inside the actors’ hellhole