*sigh* So, I’ve had to revise my opinion of the American Horror Story series. To be honest, after Hotel, I had started to worry about the franchise despite there being a few individual gems in that season.
AHS: Roanoke has restored my faith in the writers and showrunners, and has jumped to the top of the list of my favorite seasons, with Coven a close second and Murder House third.
*** Spoilers ahoy, mateys. ***
Continue at your own risk. You have been warned.
I’ll see you after the jump…
I talked about the episode 6 “twist” episode, directed by the amazing Angela Bassett in this post.
TL;DR for the series: A couple moves from LA to NC and buys a house that is (of course) haunted. There’s a “blood moon” in October where all the local ghosts (mostly of the local missing Roanoke colony) come out to “play.” By play, I mean murder. The couple escapes with their lives (barely). A TV reenactment show goes back and films there, and interviews from the “real” people are interspersed with reenactments. Then, a second season is slated to be filmed, and the producer mixes the “real” people with the actors who played them. But since that was stupidly done during the blood moon, you can guess what happens. THEN, THAT footage collected is shown, the sole survivor is put on trial (acquitted) and goes to find her missing daughter (you guessed it, blood moon time) and stumbles on a ghost hunting show in the house. Murder ensues, fade to black…
That does NOT do it justice.
But I loved how the creators got back to their roots and how they did tie this season in with all the previous seasons. Literally. And the showrunners have revealed that, yes, the shows all exist in the same “world” although in different times.
Let me get my nitpicks out of the way first. There were a few minor plot flaws.
- Scathach the witch is the original Supreme (Coven). How? Is that something we find out later? How did she have a baby and it get raised?
- How did the cannibal hillbilly Polks get their buildings outfitted with cameras? And there was a comment one of them made about Sidney not being good for anything but taking pictures and drugs. At least, I thought it was about Sidney. So was he related/involved with the Polks? I wouldn’t put it past him.
- Why did they never follow up about the “real” Cricket’s and Dr. Cunningham’s disappearances with the show?
- Why were some bodies found by the cops if they were killed by the ghosts, but other bodies weren’t? (Cricket at the house, for example.)
- Where did the camera come from that captured the real Lee eating the pig’s heart that Scathach gave her?
- If Lee is under Scathach’s power, why didn’t she just fight back against the Butcher? Why wouldn’t she now be immune since Scathach has the Butcher’s loyalty?
- If the Polks are the ones who strung up Rory’s body, why did it just suddenly disappear from the house on the video after he was murdered by the nurses’ ghosts?
- Why didn’t they show us the real-life Mott ghost?
- What happened to Lee’s first daughter? Why was that even brought up as a plot twist if they weren’t going to explore it further?
Those are, in total, fairly minor plot flaws. Not like the gaping meanderings of Freakshow and Hotel. The writing for this season, overall, was TIGHT and scary, intense. Totally intense. Episode 8 especially was non-stop adrenaline and took some completely crazy-ass turns.
I know that I quit The Walking Dead after their bullshit season “cliff-hanger” (and it’s far more complicated than just that). And yes, I did DVR the season opener to watch later after seeing what happened on Twitter.
Dude. I read the graphic novels. (And yes, STILL reading those.) There was NO reason for them to handle filming Glenn and Abraham’s deaths like that. It moved too far into gore-porn and sickened me in a way that totally turned me off the show when heaped upon the weak writing and faked cliff-hangers throughout the season just to keep people watching because their writing was so damn weak. (Still watching Fear the Walking Dead.)
That being said, I totes get the irony of that juxtaposed with the fact that Shelby beat Matt’s head in the same damn week. But how they filmed it was different. And yes, there were some gory moments in this season. The reenactment deaths, we KNEW they were reenactments so they didn’t have quite the same impact. The ones that happened to “real” characters (episode 9’s hiker-kabobs of the kids from the fan website and Dylan’s disembowelment) were horrifying, yes. But still, the way they were filmed was more at a distance emotionally, and I can’t adequately explain why it FELT different to me. It pulled emotion from me, and it was extreme, but it didn’t feel like it crossed that line.
This season, overall, felt like a horror show. Hotel, while glamorous and gorgeous, just didn’t have that same…feel. There wasn’t an immediacy to it like Murder House and Roanoke. Hotel, and to a certain extent Freakshow, were too over-the-top in some ways and bogged down by too many rabbit trails that were never adequately explained.
I mean, the last image of Roanoke is the police officer driving Flora away, and the burning house is surrounded by press and more police, and in the distance we see more torches arriving from the ghosts (it’s during the blood moon).
WOW. I was like damn, I want MORE, even though that’s great storytelling on their part. We KNOW damn well what’s going to happen, and they leave it to our imaginations to fill in those blanks.
Everyone’s going to die. Period. The house will claim more victims.
THAT is amazeballs storytelling. Whether they pick up threads in other seasons is yet to be seen.
I know some people didn’t like the show-in-a-show format and yawned at the “twist” in episode 6, but that wasn’t the real twist. The real twist was that these people’s fates were already sealed, we just didn’t realize it yet. The worst was yet to come. That was withheld from us, at first. And while reenactments are usually far more dramatic than the reality, in this case, it was the reality, both at the house and away from it, that was far more dramatic–and horrific, in some cases.
This season was dark and gritty (as promised) and from the writing to the directing to the cinematography, it was excellent and satisfying.
Good job, AHS. I do wish this had been either longer in number of episodes, or that the episodes themselves had been fleshed out a little more. Although I know in horror, sometimes less is better. I get it. I don’t know if showing us more of the “reality” of the ghosts would have been a good thing or not. I would have liked some of those plot flaws I mentioned tied up, but I am satisfied at how this season went.
What’d you think of this season? Feel free to sound off in the comments!
On Facebook? I have a release event for it and have been posting sneak peeks and extras: https://www.facebook.com/events/1766419126955443/
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In Case You Missed It…
This is the third book in the “South Dakota Trilogy” story arc within the Suncoast Society series, made up of the following three books:
New books in print!
- One Ring (Suncoast Society 28, MFM, BDSM): Amazon | B&N
- The Strength of the Pack (Suncoast Society 30, MF, BDSM): Amazon | B&N
- Initiative (Suncoast Society 31, MMF, BDSM): Amazon | B&N
- Impact (Suncoast Society 32, MMF, BDSM): Amazon | B&N
- Home at Last (Suncoast Society 40, MM, BDSM): 12/05/2016
- A Kinkmas Carol (Suncoast Society 41, various, BDSM – Yes, a Kaden book. No, tissues are NOT included.): 12/23/2016
- Ask DNA (Suncoast Society 42, MFM, BDSM): 01/09/2017
- Time Out of Mind (Suncoast Society 43, MM, BDSM): Feb. 2017