American Horror Story Recap: Chapter 5


Old horrors continue to ensue, new villains emerge, and our heroes finally appear to be safe- for now.

Spoilers for American Horror Story: Roanoke appear below.

After last week’s delightfully repulsive climax, we start things slow this week and open on a talking head. It’s a “historian” (I’m quoting because I do not trust anything these guys are showing me anymore. WHICH “REAL LIFE” IS REAL?!??) who’s come to explain the house’s background. Immediately, the most exciting piece of house-related information we’ve gotten all season emerges in the form of a very fancy Evan Peters being revealed as the home’s original owner. He’s an avid art collector from Philadelphia with alleged severe social anxiety who escapes to Roanoke to build a house in which to revel in solitude with his art. And also with his servant-turned-lover.


THAT’S RIGHT! Evan Peters is playing a gay, anxious, art-collecting heir who, in his first episode, proposes to his lover that they rouge each other’s nipples!! THIS. SHOW. IS. GREEEEAT. And even greater? His character is named Edward Mott. As in Dandy Mott. As in the murderous loner from AHS: Freak Show. Chapter 5 delivers within its first 5 minutes, folks. ANYWAY, the historian reveals that Edward soon leaves his family to solely live in his Carolina Castle with his lover, Guinness. It seems to be going well. Edward appears to be happy, he loves his new home, his partner, and, of course, his art. He even goes so far as to tell Guinness that he loves his art MORE than he loves him, so that super duper checks out with the whole “socially-inept-loner” thing.


As was bound to happen, one night soon after moving in, Edward hears noises and goes downstairs to check it out because NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE’S ENTIRE HISTORY HAS EVER KNOWN HOW TO TACTFULLY HANDLE A SITUATION. Turns out, it’s worse than murderous ghosts or intruders: his art has been destroyed, and he loses it. He lines his staff up and demands to know which one of them did it. One servant says she had seen a white-dressed woman in the hall destroying it, but he won’t believe it. So he does what any sensible person would do when faced with uncertainty and anger: he locks them all up naked in a root cellar in the yard “until the murderer confesses his crime.” Chill!

At this point, we come to understand that it’s the blood moon, and if you’ve been watching, you know what that means: it’s a dangerous, deadly ghostly free-for-all. As Edward attempts to sleep again, he is dragged downstairs from his bed, and who’s standing down there but The Butcher with her tribe surrounding a fire telling him she’s gonna take his blood to consecrate the land WHICH IS HERS and don’t you forget it! Edward is impaled and then set on fire. No body was ever found, nor were the servants in the root cellar, who all died (presumably) miserable deaths. Back in the present, the historian, whose story so far has been a TOTAL heart-warming romp, finishes by telling us that mental illness continues to run in the Mott family, and that the last known Mott died in Florida in the 1950’s. WHICH WE WATCHED HAPPEN. IN SEASON 4. BECAUSE IT’S DANDY. Whether or not this historian is “real,” she’s sure dropping a ton of season 6 truth bombs, and I, for one, love her for it.

Back in the present, reenactment-Matt calls the cops from the house because, if you’ll remember, the Kathy Bates mob has surrounded the house. Again, quick reminder, the ghosts (or whatever they are) are capable of actual murder ‘n stuff because of the blood moon, which just so happens to be happening now. Matt tries to get Shelby to escape with Flora and leave him in the house to deal with everything. While Shelby and Flora head down the stairs to escape, a super terrifying backwards crab walking tiny girl with America’s scariest face LEAPS ONTO FLORA and drags her away. Also this scary girl thing can climb walls. Then a bunch of pigmen show up with weapons. Truly nothing that’s happening here is okay with me.


Matt and Shelby, with Flora in tow, flee, and get trapped hiding in the basement. It seems hope is lost until Edward Mott (!!!!) shows up, claiming he can help them escape. He leads them through a bunch of tunnels and tells them that The Butcher killed him and he’ll keep her from killing them. Talking head Shelby tells us that they walked over a mile, and some places underground in that tunnel the walls were moving with infestation. Cool, cool. Another fun feature to add to the Craigslist listing. Back in Reenactment Land, Edward suddenly stops in the middle of the woods and just leaves them there, claiming that it’s okay because if they die, they’ll at least die out there in peace. Huh. Alright. Now left alone and in seemingly worse shape than when they were simply hiding INSIDE a house, all of a sudden, walking through the forest (as “prey,” as Shelby puts it), burlap sacks are thrown over Matt and Shelby’s heads and they’re pulled away.

They find themselves in a dilapidated shed, where Elias (previous owner, guy in the tapes they found in the cellar) is laying on a table, bleeding, and with half a leg missing. The “inbred” men (tried to outbid Matt & Shelby for the house, suspected of subsequently harassing them, now known to be The Polks) are sitting around in the shack holding shotguns and looking totes fun and not-murdery. Elias tells Matt and Shelby that the men are all crazy, and warns them to “get out before she comes.” Elias and the men keep referring to “Mama,” who the Polk bros seem to revere and Elias seems to be terrified of. Elias begs Matt to kill him. Suddenly, the aforementioned Mama comes back in (IT’S FRANCES CONROY!!!) and offers Matt and Shelby jerky, but they won’t take it. It turns out it’s Elias’s leg meat, so, like, good call, guys.


After finding his leg jerky sub-par and deeming him “spoiled,” one of the Polk boys hits Elias with a hammer and kills him, at Mama’s request. Mama then focuses her attention on her new wards, and starts to scold Matt and Shelby for buying the house. Matt offers to sell, but Mama says she doesn’t want it- she just had the boys bid on it to keep it empty for The Butcher to fulfill a deal her predecessors made to allow her to spill blood on the consecrated ground every year. Shelby and Matt promise not to ever tell anyone anything they’ve seen in an attempt to be set free, but Mama says they’re essentially in too far with The Butcher now to get out unscathed. Talking head-Shelby tells us the only place worse than being stuck in the Polk’s bunker is being back in their house. So guess all is well then?

Meanwhile, Lee is being held and questioned at the police station because Shelby had called the cops claiming that Lee had something to do with her ex-husband Mason’s death. The cops think she killed him because he was likely going to turn Lee in for kidnapping Flora. Lee is eventually released after having been found innocent, and receives texts from Shelby and Matt saying that Flora is found and safe.

Back in the custody of the Polks, Matt and Shelby and Flora are in the back of a pickup truck. One of the Polk brothers is holding a shotgun up to them. As they drive, Matt and Shelby get a handle on the situation and stir things up, causing the shotgun-wielding Polk to shoot the driving Polk. Shelby kicks the shotgun Polk off of the moving truck, and they run. Matt, Shelby, and Flora huddle up and hide from Shotgun Polk on the forest floor, but Matt’s phone starts to vibrate, and he quickly finds them. He’s ready to shoot.

BACK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN, Lee intuits that something’s wrong because Matt ignored her call, and she asks the police officer to escort her back to the house. In the forest, Mama, furious that Matt and Shelby overthrew her sons, comes to the woods and starts to go BANANAS. She takes an axe to Shelby’s leg, which renders her foot so messed up, it’s nearly hanging on by a tendon. Mama puts them back in the truck to bring them home, and while driving, Shelby (who thinks she may be about to die) makes Matt promise her that he’ll save Flora. Talking head Matt tells us he essentially gave up in that moment, because he was sure Mama was going to murder them once the truck stopped. And what do they encounter once they get back to the house? The Butcher, the bonfire, and her followers blocking the way into the house.

Talking head Shelby is lamenting how she felt in the back of the truck, near death: she tells us she’d wanted to do more with her life, like be a mother, and open a yoga studio. All that stereotypical stuff. Reenactment Land brings us back to The Butcher, who greets Mama knowing one of her sons had been killed that night. Mama and her sons get in the truck and drive away without a fight from The Butcher or her followers. Their alleged familial deal seems to be one of mutual respect. What a fun gang! The Butcher’s men then grab Shelby and Flora and carry them over toward the fire. Lee arrives with the cop and orders him to call for backup, but the cop immediately drives away without helping. Cool, guy!

The Butcher starts her ceremony, again, attempting to consecrate the land, but one of her men stops her, hits her over the head, and drags her into the fire saying he won’t let her shed another drop of innocent blood. Edward, suddenly showing up again, cuts Matt and Shelby free and tells them to escape. They get into the car just as The Butcher hops out of the fire and runs toward them.


And then it’s suspiciously suddenly casually back to talking heads Shelby and Matt. They seem to be wrapping up their story. The apparent end of Reenactment Land, as described by the talking heads, shows the family in a motel and hoping to escape to LA once Shelby’s sister sends them some money. Shelby promptly has a nightmare wherein The Butcher comes to the door and axes her in the head, and talking head Shelby tells us that though they escaped with their lives, she hasn’t gotten over what happened, and she’s not sure she ever will.

What. WHAT. That’s certainly not the end. And with more than half a season to go, the twist that’s inevitably coming next episode- one that hopefully goes far behind-the-scenes- has me more excited than The Butcher during a blood moon.


Next: The 30 Most Shocking Moments in All Of American Horror Story

Tune in to American Horror Story: Roanoke Wednesdays at 10PM E.T. on FX.