I’m not going to lie and will just flat out say this was definitely not one of the best episodes of AMERICAN HORROR STORY. While the majority of ROANOKE has proven to be a successful twist on the formula fans are familiar with, “Chapter 8” felt more like a filler episode necessary to help assist in creating a full length season.
There was a lot of screen time spent on the Polk family which is the least interesting aspect of the season. While they added some backstory when in the foreground, placing this family front and center was not scary or at all exciting. What we did get through was a surprising confession from Lee who finally admits on camera that she did in fact kill her ex-husband. Her motives are clear: he was going to take away Flora from her and she was willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that didn’t happen. I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming. Not sure how that changes the audience dynamic towards her, but I can totally see that confession coming back to haunt her and her willingness to stop anyone else in the cast from exposing her truth. This motive alone is what gets her to want to head back after escaping with Audrey. Of course she doesn’t tell Audrey the exact truth, but merely convinces her that there’s footage of them killing members of the family that will be exploited across the internet. This was mostly over a boring conversation between Lee and one of the Polks and he gave an uninteresting history lesson of the family tree.
Speaking of, Monet managed to escape out into the woods, leaving Audrey behind and it’s not too clear if she was caught or not. Either way, we still have a few episodes to go and I’m sure the crew at Ryan Murphy & Company have plans for her. Lee helps Audrey get away and it’s not making much sense why everyone is continuing to film themselves. At this point, things have obviously spun out of control and real lives are at stake. It’s one of those rare instances where the found footage angle is starting to take me out of the show as I don’t believe that they would keep filming. It’s safe now to use conventional filmmaking techniques and still manage to scare viewers. Also, I’m not believing that Sidney would have managed to get hidden cameras at the Polk residence without notice.
Lee and Aubrey make it back to the house, only to find Matt’s bashed in head and Shelby with her throat slit. While Dominic tells them the truth about Shelby being responsible for Matt’s death and then taking her own life, they don’t believe it for a second. One thing this episode offered was a glimpse into another side of Lee, one filled with rage that motivates her to lock Dominic out of the room only to be hacked to death by the Pig Man. They sleep through the night but before they begin their walk back to the Polk’s, they are greeted at the door by Dylan aka the Butcher’s son from “My Roanoke Nightmare” aka Wes Bentley. I’m not sure why this was treated like it was some kind of shocking cliffhanger as we knew nothing about this character nor do I get the impression he’s going to add much. The preview for “Chapter 9” looks to add some more characters and hopefully some fresh blood to the mix because it’s starting to feel a bit stale.