American Horror Story: Roanoke

american horror story roanoke poster review episode guide list
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Shorter season, changes up the show's format to play with reality TV

Gets too close to reality TV at points by emphasizing the bad

american horror story roanoke season 6 my roanoke nightmare title card review episode guide list

All the comforts of reality TV…and just as scripted

My Roanoke Nightmare is the show that no one can stop talking about.  The reality show in North Carolina tells the story of Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt (André Holland) and Matt’s sister Lee (Adina Porter) who are portrayed by Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson), Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett).  The horror experienced by Matt, Shelby, and Lee changed them forever but also had a big effect on those tied to the show.  When the producer Sidney (Cheyenne Jackson) pitches Return to Roanoke:  Three Days in Hell, the horror could begin again.

American Horror Story:  Roanoke is the sixth season of the FOX horror anthology series.  Following American Horror Story:  Hotel, the series aired from September 14, 2016 to November 16, 2016.  The season won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special with nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special (“Chapter 1”), Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic), and Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or a Movie.

american horror story roanoke lady gaga

This character could have been interesting but it felt Lady Gaga probably didn’t have time to do the show…and the character as a result didn’t do much

Each season of American Horror Story, you question what you are going to get.  It is a toss-up on plot, tone, and style.  After five season, you kind of get in a groove with the series and while this season follows a lot of the basic format, the series is something different than the other shows.

The basic show development is a four or five episode arc, a shocking event, two or three more episodes, and a resolution episode.  This is the format of American Horror Story:  Roanoke, but the short ten episode season makes better use of the time than some of the other seasons.  Here you have the original show My Roanoke Nightmare in classic interview-recreation scenes for the first five episodes and then you get four episodes of Roanoke:  Three Days in Hell followed by an after episode that ends up breaking the reality show format by the end.

american horror story roanoke kathy bates crazy

Crazy yet?

There was a lot of mystery leading up to this season of AHS with little being told about the plot.  A lot of the indicators was that the series was going to be based on the missing Roanoke colony straight-up, but instead that story is slid into another story of horror and revenge.  The format of the show with the actors and their counterparts is a fun twist, but sometimes it is a bit too close to a bad reality show.

The actors’ take their cues from these reality shows.  The style of acting and presentation in the show is different than other AHS seasons.  The attempts to have “less scripted” performances from the actors combined with “real people” trying to be actors in interviews makes for a really tricky performance for most of the actors.  As always Kathy Bates gives a great performance in her role and the previous season’s big star Lady Gaga does return but in a remarkably smaller role (as Scáthach).  Adina Porter as the character who has to go through the most is probably the strongest this season of the core cast because she’s having to do a lot with her performance since she is keeping secrets.

american horror story roanoke chapter 4 piggy man

Hold your head up high, Piggy-Man

With a reality show mentality, the production on this season is extremely different than other seasons.  The show does get that “fake reality” idea down, shaky handheld cameras (sometimes with actors’ footage).  Though set in North Caroline, the movie does look a lot more like Southern California (it was largely shot around Santa Clarita).

American Horror Story:  Roanoke was unique.  It also was shorter (a good thing), and it had a original look for the series, and I give credit to anything that make fun of reality shows (and the people generally who “star” in them).  I wanted a different bigger story, but I accept the American Horror Story: Roanoke plot…I was just glad it was a different feel to mix-up what threatened to become stale.  American Horror Story:  Roanoke was followed by American Horror Story:  Cult.

American Horror Story:  Roanoke Complete Episode Guide:

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 1 sarah paulson cuba gooding jr

“Chapter 1”

6.1       Chapter 1 Airdate:  09/14/16

Shelby (Lily Rabe) and Matt (André Holland) are telling their story.  My Roanoke Nightmare reveals how Shelby (Sarah Paulson) and Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.) moved to North Carolina after a traumatic experience in Los Angeles in an attempt to rebuild their life.  When strange things started to happened after the purchase of an isolated old farmhouse, Matt’s sister Lee (Angela Bassett) came to watch Shelby…and Lee and Shelby experienced a night they never expected.

american horror story roanoke chapter 2 hospital murder

“Chapter 2”

6.2       Chapter 2 Airdate:  09/21/16

Shelby, Matt, and Lee (Adina Porter) continue to tell their story as presented by My Roanoke Nightmare, and Matt questions if what Shelby claimed to have seen was his imagination.  Matt and Shelby find a hidden bunker and a message from a man (Denis O’Hare) who talks of the house’s history.  Bringing the police in and suspecting a local family, Matt questioned if the police were really going to help.  When Lee’s daughter Flora (Saniyya Sidney) came to the house, she told a story of a girl named Priscilla (Estelle Hermansen) who intended to do her and the family harm.  Flora’s playmate might have plans for Flora, and the results could be tragic.

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 3 butcher kathy bates wes bentley

“Chapter 3”

6.3       Chapter 3 Airdate:  09/28/16

My Roanoke Nightmare tells about the disappearance of Flora and the discovery of feral children at a nearby farm.  With Lee’s relationship with her ex-husband Mason (Charles Malik Whitfield) falling apart, Matt and Shelby began to question if they really knew what Lee was capable of.  The appearance of a psychic named Cricket (Leslie Jordan) who claimed to know information about Flora’s disappearance threatened to drive a wedge between Shelby and Matt, and his story of a woman named Thomasin “The Butcher” White (Kathy Bates) of Roanoke could give Lee, Matt, and Shelby the answers they needed.

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 4 cricket disemboweled leslie jordan

“Chapter 4”

6.4       Chapter 4 Airdate:  10/05/16

My Roanoke Nightmare looks at the aftermath of Cricket’s attempt to free Flora and Shelby’s belief that Matt cheated on her.  The appearance of the man from the tape named Dr. Cunningham provided some filler for some holes in the house’s past, but even Dr. Cunningham struggled to make peace.  With Lee taken in for questioning, Shelby and Matt turned again to Cricket for help in freeing Flora, but Cricket discovered the truth of the legendary lost colony of Roanoke origin and the woman known as Scáthach (Lady Gaga).

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 5 evan peters

“Chapter 5”

6.5       Chapter 5 Airdate:  10/12/16

Doris Kerns Goodwin gives some of the home’s backstory and tells of the building of the house by Edward Philippe Mott (Evan Peters).  The final chapter in Lee, Matt, and Shelby’s story is told on My Roanoke Nightmare as Matt and Shelby fight to keep Flora from the Butcher’s mob.  An encounter with the Polk family who tried to purchase the house revealed the fate of Dr. Cunningham…time was running out and a sacrificed was needed.

american horror story roanoke chapter 6 episode 6 sidney james pitch cheyenne jackson

“Chapter 6”

6.6       Chapter 6 Airdate:  10/19/16

My Roanoke Nightmare is a worldwide success and the creator Sidney James (Cheyenne Jackson) is gearing up for a sequel.  With Return to Roanoke:  Three Days in Hell, Sidney plans to bring the actors and their inspirations together for the Blood Moon in North Carolina.  Convincing Shelby to return to the house is difficult but her relationship with Matt could make it happen.  Lee has been destroyed in the press and sees the special as a means to prove her innocence.  Actors Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson) and Rory Monahan (Evan Peters) have gotten married while Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) has fallen apart playing Lee.  When Sidney and his producer Diana Cross (Shannon Lucio) visit Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates), they learn that Agnes the might not be returning for season 2.

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“Chapter 7”

6.7       Chapter 7 Airdate:  10/26/16

The first night has turned deadly with Rory’s murder, but Agnes’s desire to be in the second season could mean any chances of getting help could be scrapped.  An attempt at a rescue by Audrey, Lee, and Monet leads to an encounter for the real life Polk family…and they aren’t happy about their portrayal in the show.  Trapped back at the house, Shelby and Matt are forced to hash out their differences with Dominic watching…and the real Butcher (Susan Berger) might have something to say about the TV series.

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 8 lee polk family adina porter

“Chapter 8”

6.8       Chapter 8 Airdate:  11/02/16

Lee, Monet, and Audrey are held prisoners by the Polk family and learn that they could become the main course.  Dominic and Shelby try to escape the house and discover the Piggy Man has come for them.  An escape attempt by Lee, Monet, and Audrey has mixed results but surviving to morning might be impossible.

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 9 sophie green taissa farmiga

“Chapter 9”

6.9       Chapter 9 Airdate:  11/09/16

Sophie Green (Taissa Farmiga), Todd Connors (Jacob Artist) , and Milo (Jon Bass) hope they can be influencers…and streaming from the location of My Roanoke Nightmare during the Blood Moon seemed like a good idea at the time.  The arrival of Dylan (Wes Bentley) gives Lee and Audrey hope that they can escape, but Lee realizes her confession of the murder of Mason could land her in jail.  A return to the Polks could mean salvation for Monet, but when Lee encounters Scáthach, all bets are off.

american horror story roanoke season 6 episode 10 ending adina porter

“Chapter 10”

6.10     Chapter 10 Airdate:  11/16/16

Fallout from Return to Roanoke:  Three Days in Hell has Lee faces prosecution for her actions at the house with her own daughter tapped to testify against her.  Lot Polk (Frederick Koehler) has plans for revenge against Lee and uses her scheduled interview with Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) as a means to enact it.  When Flora (Simone Baker) disappears, Lee realizes she will do anything to find her daughter.

Related Links:

American Horror Story:  Murder House (Season 1) Review and Complete Episode Guide

American Horror Story:  Asylum (Season 2) Review and Complete Episode Guide

American Horror Story:  Coven (Season 3) Review and Complete Episode Guide

American Horror Story:  Freak Show (Season 4) Review and Complete Episode Guide

American Horror Story:  Hotel (Season 5) Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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