American Horror Story Season 6 Episode 5 Review: Chapter 5

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So... is that really it?

Of course we know that American Horror Story Season 6 Episode 5 is not actually the season finale – we were given the briefest hint of a promo for the next installment at the end of this hour. Yet, I have to wonder where the show will go from here, given that Shelby and Matt's story seemed to have wrapped up fairly tidily.

The Nightmare Doesn't End - American Horror Story

It was basically ghost-a-palooza in the Roanoke house, as the blood moon went into full effect and the Butcher's wrath increased accordingly.

We opened on the backstory of the house itself and the house's first owner, Edward Philippe Mott. This information was relayed via an extraordinarily dry and uncharismatic historian "appearing" on the docu-series-within-a-series "My Roanoke Nightmare."

It seemed pretty clear that it was a purposeful choice for the historian to have such a completely flat affect while telling the tale, but I honestly have no idea why. It was sort of funny, though, especially when she followed up on the more outlandish Edward lines like, "But first, let's rouge each others' nipples."

Edward was a really interesting character, and I'm glad we finally (FINALLY) got to see Evan Peters.

The art never judges. I envy it. Life in two dimensions. Frozen in forever beauty. To watch the world go by, unencumbered by the gossip and pain of three-dimensional men. I love them, you know. The paintings. Even more than I love you.

Edward Philippe Mott [to Guinness]

I also enjoyed the fact that the writers subverted the going theories for who Peters' character would be – the two most popular guesses I saw were the Pig Man and the docu-series producer. That Evan Peters played a gay, British version of Marie Antoinette (aka, NONE OF THE ABOVE) was really just the icing on the cake (ha, cake, get it?).

At the very least, Edward is a character entirely unlike any we've seen Evan Peters play before. He was a relatively-out gay man with severe social anxiety and an obsessive love of art living in the late eighteenth century. Definitely nothing remotely like the variety of teen-heartthrob characters he played throughout the first four seasons.

If anything, he's most similar to the cartoonish and over-the-top Mr. March of American Horror Story Season 5, fancypants accent and all.

Edward moved to the seclusion of North Carolina to get away from everyone and live peacefully with his servant/lover Guinness and his huge collection of art.

Unfortunately, he chose a bad place to do all that. As we've heard (SO MANY TIMES) by now, this land is the Butcher's sacred land yada yada consecrate the land with your blood ("bluud") yada yada. She's kind of a broken record, isn't she?

The Butcher's gruesome methods of killing have ceased to shock me. I think Cricket's intense and prolonged disemboweling on American Horror Story Season 6 Episode 4 was it for me – nothing could remotely top that, though Edward's spike to the chest and spit-roasting wasn't exactly *nice* to look at.

It was also incredibly sad that his lover Guinness was jailed for his death, and doubly sad that all those poor innocent servants starved to death in Edward's underground cellar. What a way to go.

Bonus points, though, for the super solid American Horror Story Season 4 connection: Edward Mott was Dandy Mott's ancestor.

Their matching surnames aren't just a coincidence – the historian indirectly confirmed as much when she mentioned that the house remained in the Mott family for years, despite rampant madness in the line, until the last Mott died in a scandal in Florida in 1952. That's our Dandy.

Dandy Mott AHS

What a delightful fellow he was.

In the "present-day" reenactments, Matt, Shelby, and Flora were subject to ghost-a-palooza while trying to escape from their house and the Butcher. For whatever reason, the Butcher and her people can't just magic their way into the house, whereas the house's former residents can come and go as they please.

The Butcher's victims herded the family downstairs, in an attempt to help the Butcher get to them. The Pig Man is still terrifying, but he may very well have been unseated by the Grudge-like Asian crabwalking ghost thing. That... That was unsettling. Deeply unsettling. Like, "I'm sleeping with all my lights on now" unsettling.

Just when we thought things were dire, Edward showed up to escort them out of the house, through the underground tunnels he'd built in the basement. He wasn't doing it from the kindness of his cold dead heart, though – he just didn't want more ghosts around bugging him, if the Butcher successfully killed them.

Shelby: Is that why you appeared? To save us?
Edward: No. You're my bane. My ruin.
Shelby: We're no threat to you.
Edward: All that I was is no more. Everything precious turned to dust. I have but one last sliver of grace -- my solitude, such as it is. I can hardly suffer three more souls.

Edward's dialogue was gorgeous in a Masterpiece Theater-y sort of way.

Things quickly went from bad to worse when Shelby, Matt, and Flora wound up with the cannibal Polks, led by Francis Conroy's "Mama" Polk. Welcome back, Francis Conroy! She's far and away one of the show's greatest recurring actors. Her "Mama" was terrifyingly unhinged, in only the brief time we saw her.

Shock of all shocks – Elias was still alive when Shelby and Matt ran for it on "Chapter 4," though he wished he'd died (and did die, for real this time, soon enough). Instead, he was kept alive as food for the Polks, until his "meat" went rancid. GAG. Talk about body horror. That's straight up uncouth Hannibal-type craziness.

Despite a brief attempt to escape – which only resulted in the death of one of the Polk sons and Shelby's ankle getting chopped nearly in half in retaliation – the family wound up back in the Butcher's clutches, thanks to a treaty made between the Butcher and the Polk family ages earlier. They'd have been goners if not for a well-timed intervening by Ambrose, the Butcher's son.

This wasn't an entirely surprising turn of events. Ambrose has looked distinctively unhappy with his mother's actions all season and overtly opposed them back when they were all still alive. It was cathartic to see him stab his mother and tumble them both into a fire though, obviously, that's not nearly enough to destroy her.

Lee conveniently drove up just in time to run over the Pig Man as he made a move at Flora, and the family high tailed it out of town to a nearby motel. And that's that. Right?

To this day, I still have that dream. I've tried yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy even. We escaped with our lives that night, but I never completely got over it. I'm not sure I ever will.

Shelby

Shelby's "final thoughts" certainly made it seem like "My Roanoke Nightmare" is over. They escaped the Butcher and lived to tell the tale. Sure, she's plagued by nightmares (who wouldn't be?) but, technically, the telling of their story should be over.

So what now?

Given the promo, it seems likely that the action will now focus on the documentary crew and/or the "real life" Shelby and Matt as they film the interviews years after the actual events we saw depicted in the reenactments. Whether their troubles begin anew or spread to an entirely new group remains to be seen. 

Stray thoughts:

  • It's hilarious that Edward took a sec in the midst of his rage over the destroyed Peale to actually get into full wig and powder to question his servants about the painting's "murder."
  • Edward ripping himself out of his blanket encasing was a great, subtle callback to the mattress monster of American Horror Story Season 5.
  • Interestingly, we didn't see Lady Gaga's forest god-witch Scathach at all during this hour. That's a bit worrisome – because, obviously, she's still out there, lurking about. Raise your hand if you also anticipate her showing up, Matt's demon offspring in tow.
  • It was pretty clear to me for the last several installments that the producer was Cheyenne Jackson, which has been confirmed now by the new promo. His voice is pretty distinctive.
  • Wes Bentley's accent was painful. PAINFUL. Kathy Bates' was over the top, sure, but I have no idea what Bentley's is even trying to be.
  • I hope Sarah Paulson drinks some super soothing tea after she scream herself hoarse on every damn episode.

What did you think of "Chapter 5"? Leave me a comment with your thoughts below and remember that you can watch American Horror Story online right here at TV Fanatic to relive any of the "My Roanoke Nightmare" craziness!

Chapter 5 Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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