The episode, entitled My Roanoke Nightmare, harkens back to season one when uttering the word, Croatan would make the ghosts of Murder House go away. Well, when the early settlers of Roanoke disappeared, the only clue remaining was the word Croatoan carved in a tree.
OK, now that we’ve established that .
The story is being told like a one of those police/crime stories on the ID Network. Actors recreating the stories often told by the real victims or depending on the cheese factor, actors as the narrators, too.
This is a story about an interracial couple played by two separate couples. I don’t recognize the actor narrating Matt’s account of the story, but his wife, Shelby is played by the wonderful Lilly Rabe. The couple acting out Matt and Shelby’s account of their Roanoke nightmare is AHS regular, Sarah Paulson and series newbie, new Cuba Gooding, Jr., who supplied us with our first naked male ass shot in the season premier .
They’re young and in love and living in Los Angeles. Shelby is a yoga instructor and Matt is a rising star win the world of pharmaceutical sales. He just got a promotion, Shelby just learns she’s pregnant and everything is hunky dory until while out celebrating, Matt is knocked out cold by a gang initiation. He’s rushed to the hospital with a broken orbital socket crushed to the hospital where he” have surgery and she loses the baby. Miscarries the right by her husband’s hospital bed.
Thanks to the magic of Hollywood, Matt is healed two minutes later and Shelby seems to coping but they decide to get out of Gotham, seek a small, simpler place. He suggests they go back east to his home state of North Carolina.
They’re picnicking in the woods (with very odd looking mountains in the background), and happen upon a 200-year old farmhouse that, with 12 adjacent acres, is for sale at auction with a starting price of a mere, $21,000. Matt and Shelby eek in delight then scope out the property , which is massive, old and scary, but of course they want it and show up for the auction which along with three inbred YOU SURE HAVE A PRETTY MOUTH hicks. They tell Matt and Shelby that they don’t want this house, then Matt remembering this is the the South, defiantly ups the bid to $40k. The hillbilly men are pissed and they grunt in anger and pile in an old pick up. The auctioneer cant get the hell out of the place fast enough.
They move in and start redecorating. It would cost six figures just to furnish one of the three stories, but they take paint brushes in hand and DIY as much as they can. The house is cleaned up, modernized but still sparsely furnished. Then they start to hear weird noises outside…..like a lot of people walking and a pig squealing. Matt runs outside and sees that their garbage cans have been vandalized. Just as he’s assuming this is the handiwork of the ZZ Topp wannabes, another can is hurled at him from 30-feet away.
Police are called. An officer arrives played straight—not an inkling of Barney Fife in the portrayal—he seems nonplussed by the story but seems to know Hillbilly guys Matt whom Matt has accused.
Over the next few days more noises which result in a skinned pig on their front porch. Matt decides not to tell Shelby whose already freaked out. He buries the pig somewhere on the on the property. The next day, Matt runs into town on errands and Shelby stays home yoga-ing in one of the house’s many unfurnished rooms and it starts to hail. Shelby walks outside and realizes the hail is human molars . As in teeth. This freaks her out more, especially since Matt is leaving the next day for an out of town trip. She frantically calls him and he comes home and she takes him to the back where minutes early it was raining teeth. And they see nothing.
So, Matt leaves and Shelby decides this night, despite seining the ghosts of twin women cross the hall in front of her, is the perfect night to go take a dip in the hot tub we’ve never seen before,. As she’s lying in the water, eyes closed, a glass of vino an arms length away, suddenly she’s forced under water and held there and from the camera shot, it looks like this small hot tub is a small swimming pool. She looks up and sees a face which I thought was one of the hillbillies. She’s released, rises up from the water and catches her breath enough to call the same nonchalant cop and Matt. He rushes home and the cop says Shelby told him people in period clothes, with torches were the offenders. Again, I thought I only saw one face above the water and it looked like one of the hicks at the auction.
Matt needs to leave again but he doesn’t want to leave Shelby alone so he calls his angry, resentful, ex cop sister Lee (played by the divine Angela Bassett) who was fired for abusing pain pills after being shot on the job. She and Shelby never liked each other. And that’s obvious.
They’re in the kitchen and Shelby is cooking dinner. I see a pork roast in a pan and Shelby chopping vegetables. She hears a noise in one of the home’s many hallways and when she returns, she can’t find her knife. IT’S STUCK IN THE PORK ROAST!!!!!! She accuses Lee of doing it, Lee denies it. A few hours later, Lee is in bed when she hears more of that odd squealing sound and then out of the darkness comes a rolling empty wine bottle. Lee thinks Shelby did this and goes to the library to accuse her. They get into it and hear more noises, this time, coming from the basement. They decide to Nancy Drew t and head down the stairs to see whats happening. They find a video set up, from a security system Matt had installed and there’s a video playing. It’s staticky, shows a large pig traipsing through the woods, like a man in a pig costume. then there’s a woman saying something and shots of trees. Then the lights go out and Shelby frantically calls Matt and once again, he rushes home. The next scene we see in a lovely homage to The Blair Witch Project, these odd twig figures strewn throughout the house. Remember if you will, those twig images the trio of filmmakers kept encountering in the Blair With Project which just happens to be premiering in series form on FX next week.
Permit me to backtrack a bit here….in the moments before the arguing Shelby and Lee hear noises in the basement, the camera takes us outside and we see angry villager types walking close to the house and peering inside every window because a home this big which has windows everywhere, are unobscured because I’m assuming window treatments for a house this size would also cost six figures.
OK, so were up to speed—-after the trio see all the twig figures hanging everywhere, Shelby loses it and jumps in the car shouting she’s had enough. Half a mile from Hell House, she hits what I thought was a scarecrow. Well, whatever it is is, it breaks the windshield. She grabs a flashlight from the glove compartment and checks out the area for a body. And she eventually finds one—a portly woman dressed in period garb, is lying in the road, she slowly gets up, dusts herself off saying nothing and walks into the woods. This wasn’t a close up shot, but to my delight, it was Kathy Bates. I’d recognize that body shape of of hers anywhere. I was hoping she would come back for this season. So, La Bates walks into the woods with Shelby following and Shelby ends up getting lost herself . She panics and runs and trips, of course, landing on the mulch-like ground which starts to undulate beneath her. She looks up and sees angry torch bearing villagers approaching her. And then, out of nowhere, what I think is a man, missing the top of his head runs up to her and falls at her feet as the torch wielding villagers merge closer, EL FIN.
That was it. The end of the premier episode. I wanted more, which is something I haven’t been able to say about AHS in years.
ONSERVATIONS: In a scene when the villagers were surrounding the house, I thought I saw one man carrying a bloody machete. Could that be connected to the headless man or could that have been a scarlet red kappa? Perhaps all this happened on a Friday night. Also, when Matt played back the security videotape , it looked to me like the big pig in his version was a large breasted naked women with a pig head.
I hate setting myself up for this season, but I like what I saw tonight. I can handle weird and strange but its got to have some context and for me, the show hasn’t had any of that since the premier season. And even then there were so many unanswered questions about Murder House. Seasons two through five tried too hard to be too weird. Last season had too many plot twists to be even remotely enjoyable. But since this season ,which is supposed to be an homage to the collective works of Steven King, perhaps Ryan Murphy and his creative team will effort to tell a better story.
And yes, there were a few moments tonight that actually startled me and kept me glued to the set. Bixby my dog needed to got outside to glorify the magnolias with bodily fluids, he had to wait . I keep forgetting i have VTR on my system. Based, on the amount in which the magnolias were glorified, I feel sure next week, his bladder will remind me .