American Horror Story Recap “Reality Is What We Make of It”

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After weeks of conjecture and anxious anticipation, the huge American Horror Story: Roanoke twist is revealed- and it changes everything.

Well, guys. The twist happened. It happened REAL GOOD. And we all survived. Barely.

We open on the below message, and we immediately know that we were right about our assumption that “My Roanoke Nightmare,” our show-within-a-show, was, in fact fictional even within the fictional world of AHS. It was, to be clear, a HIT show, one so good that the network has been dying for a follow-up ever since. Enter Sidney,- Cheyenne Jackson!- the showrunner and a (presumably) much douchier and less tactful Ryan Murphy stand-in, here to over-confidently pitch a reality show based on Roanoke Nightmare. He tells us that as the masses tend to want reality and seem interested in the process, he’s going to film everything he’s doing.

We follow him into a meeting, where he pitches the second season to the network. The gist is as follows: the Reenactment Cast and the and Real People are going be put back into the house and filmed, 24 hours a day…during the blood moon. Very great idea. 10/10 would watch. The network is worried that, because clearly the haunting documented by the Real People was embellished and questionably true, the cast won’t be caught on camera doing anything of note. Sid, in all his singular-show-under-his-belt Hollywood wisdom, assures them that the cast will react to what they think is actually happening, even if nothing is truly going on. In a true Ed Harris/Truman Show move, he tells them, “Reality is what we make of it.” And as he bought the house from Matt and Shelby after the shooting of the reenactments wrapped, really, reality is what he makes of it. And with it, he’s gonna make a TV show.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

He first meets with Real Shelby Miller, who initially doesn’t want to have anything to do with the new show. She tells him that she only agreed to meet with him to set the record straight because of the horrible things people had been saying about them online. And also because people had been IRL harassing them, pulling stunts like leaving hatchets on their doorsteps. Internet’s starting to look pretty all right, huh, Shelb? We then learn that Matt and Shelby broke up after the reenactment wrapped. They thought the re-telling of their story would help them heal, but it seems it just broke them down. And what’s the traditional next step after separation? It’s “immediately date the famous actor who played your husband in a reenactment series about your life,” right? CUZ THAT’S WHAT SHE DID. Shelby maintains that the paparazzi footage of she and Dominic Banks (Reenactment Matt’s REAL name) was all the result of a meaningless weekend fling. But still, Matt refuses to speak to her. And so Shelby agrees to return to the house for filming in hopes of being close to Matt and reconciling. Though she does make the stipulation that she won’t be involved if Dominic is cast, a clause to which Sidney agrees right away. …and then three minutes post-meeting reveals that he’s not intent on delivering. Cool! Fake reality TV drama awaits!

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Meanwhile, back at the Roanoke Mansion, Sid and his assistant/partner, Diana, meet with a tech guy who demonstrates all ways he’s the rigged the house to make it seem like hauntings are afoot. The sink shakes, cabinets explode. He says he can make the windows blow in at Sid’s call. And, because we need at least one sane lady around at all times, Diana pulls Sid aside to be like “Uhhh, I thought this was reality TV so why are we going to fake like half of it just for the cheap scares?” It’s here Sid admits (or makes up) that he’s not doing this show for the scares; he’s doing it in hopes of finding out what really happened to Lee’s husband and bringing his murder to justice. That sounds like Sid. Selfless, helpful, honorable. And so our honorable host goes back to doing his honorable duty of hiding cameras all around the house so that the cast forgets they’re being filmed and subsequently won’t treat this as anything other than reality. But he’s pulled away from his world-bettering when a PA calls him outside to show him a ring of dead fetal pigs that’s been placed behind a tree. Diana asks if it could be the Polks, but Sid says they haven’t been seen in weeks. Blood moon’s a-comin’, friends!

Next, we meet Real Person Kathy Bates as Agnes Mary Winstead, the actor who portrayed The Butcher in the reenactment scenes. They interview Agnes and she talks about her audition, and the joy and comfort she found in playing The Butcher, who says she doesn’t see as a villain. Sid then brings up that she had been arrested and brought to a psych ward for diving too deep into the part. He recounts that she’d stolen props, and we see a TMZ-esque video of Agnes, dressed as The Butcher, chasing passersby around Hollywood with said cleaver. Actors are CRAZY!!!! She attempts to deescalate Sid’s line of questioning by claiming that she’s better now and her doctor has cleared her. But Sidney is sure she’s still unstable, and assumes the fetal pigs on set were her doing. She adamantly denies her involvement, but Sid has already summoned a police officer, and tells Agnes that the production has taken out a restraining order against her. She’s not to come within one thousand feet of shooting. Sid leaves with his crew, but Agnes follows them outside, shouting what sound like curses in The Butcher’s accent as they flee the scene. She tells them that she’s going to smite them, and suddenly, our real-life TMZ-caliber meltdowns seem supes boring.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Over on a different network, E! News to be precise, Real Lee is being interviewed about her involvement in the new series. She’s almost immediately asked about the allegation and rumors flooding the internet that Lee was involved in her ex-husband’s murder. On Fake Reality Internet, there are even petitions circulating to have Lee convicted of the murder. Of course, Lee maintains her innocence, and is adamant that she’s only doing the show because she’s a single mother and the money (and probably, yeah, a chance to prove her innocence) is worth it.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Back at the production office, Sid gracefully asks if he’d get in any legal trouble should Lee actually kill someone (again?) on the new season. He’s assured that he won’t, BUT he could get in trouble if Monet, Real Person Reenactment Lee, is knowingly provided alcohol. Since playing the part of Lee, she herself developed an alcohol problem, and so the network cannot give her any booze. Sid, little sweetie, gets real mad; after all, alcohol is the lifeblood of reality television. But before he can solve his detrimental problem, he and Diana get called back to set and find that a crew member had an accident (maybe??) with a chainsaw. Diana freaks out, asserting that something weird is going on with the house.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

She leaves, refusing to be a part of the filming anymore. As she drives away, she tapes herself giving her version of the argument, claiming that that she doesn’t want Sid to make her out to be a crazy person, and that she had to stop shooting. She suddenly stops the car, and ahead of her on the side of the road is a super creepy colonial-dressed woman. She drives away, stating that she doesn’t even want to know who it was. But almost immediately, a pig-masked person appears in the backseat. The car shakes, blood spurts, and in the little flash we see, she appears to be dead in the driver’s seat. We’re hit with a title card that tells us the exact details of her death are not known, and that her body was never found.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

And here’s where it all starts to go down, people. Sarah Paulson suddenly appears on our screens, talking directly to the camera and stating, IN A BRITISH ACCENT, that this is her very first confessional for the new show. Her name is Audrey Tindall, and, as we know, she played Shelby in the reenactment. What we don’t know but are about to find out in the most painfully adorable way possible is that the real-life counterpart to Edward Mott (disturbed art aficionado who built the house and got murdered by The Butcher) IS NOW MR. AUDREY TINDALL. Audrey and Rory (¡¡Evan Peters!!) hit it off on set and are now married in “real” life. Also did I mention that Sarah Paulson is BRITISH. Anyway their first night in the house, Rory is taping Audrey and they see someone outside the window. We get a bit closer to the source and suddenly (what appears to be) Agnes breaks through the glass with her cleaver.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

The rest of the cast and crew is now arriving, just on time, and Sid helps them search the house. Here, Audrey recounts to Shelby (TWO SHELBYS!!!!! kind of) her history with Agnes. Allegedly, after losing a Saturn Award to Audrey, Agnes had begun stalking her as The Butcher. But because this is “reality” TV now and nothing needs to make sense, this conversation suddenly turns into Shelby accidentally saying something about Audrey and Rory’s age difference in an attempt to congratulate them, and there’s a bit of a disagreement. The wheels for Shelby on Shelby girl bickering are now in motion. Sid comes back having found nothing suspicious in the house (besides the things he planted probs) and tells them to all get settled in. He wants (real) Shelby and Matt to stay in a room together, but Matt’s still mad at her, and asks for the basement. Lee then starts yelling at Shelby for breaking Matt’s heart and also for that tiny thing where she called the police and made the entire world believe that Lee murdered her husband. Shelby claims it was just a mistake. So far, she’s the LEAST valuable player here.

As her fight with Lee dwindles, Shelby catches Audrey laughing at her while bragging that the way she portrayed Shelby, pathetic and fiery, was right on target. Matt then walks in on the three actors talking about their shooting of the reenactments and hears them stating that nothing weird happened in the house. He notes that it wasn’t during a blood moon. He tells them to look out the window and they all see that the blood moon is now nearly full. Suddenly, we’re disrupted with another title card disclaimer that tells us everyone involved in the show DIED over the next three days….except for one person. The footage was never aired, but some was later compiled. That compiled footage, I’m presuming, is what we’re going to be seeing the rest of the season. TWIST TWIST TWISTY TWIST!!!!

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Later that night, Rory and Audrey are outside in the hot tub, Monet is inside drinking alcohol she’s somehow found, and Real Lee is walking around the foyer when who but THE BELOW MONSTROSITY walks in, unbeknownst to her. Shelby then sneaks into the picture and makes sure Lee is otherwise occupied so she can go into the basement to talk to Matt. Matt admits that they shouldn’t have come back, and Shelby asserts that because Sidney’s in control and cameras are rolling, no one would let them get hurt. Matt still thinks the whole thing will happen again and they won’t make it out alive. MATT: 2, SHELBY: BIG FAT 0.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Real Lee and Monet are in the kitchen, where Real Lee sees Monet reaching for a drink. When Lee comments on it, Monet says that she’s only a drunk because, during filming, she had to live in Lee’s head for months. Monet then calls her a murderer, and Lee demands that that’s not who she really is, but just the way Monet chose to play her.

Back in the basement, Shelby’s trying to convince Matt to leave even though five seconds ago she was like, “We’ll all probably be fine.” Enter Dominic (Reenactment Matt), who is immediately attacked by Matt. At this point, Shelby realizes she’s being set up to fail, and lashes out at the cameras (read: Sid). There’s a lot of bleeped out cursing and Shelby is donezo.

Upstairs, however, Audrey is in the bathroom taking a nice long shower, but when she gets out? Immediate Pigman. She’s convinced it’s Sidney who set her up, and that it was planted it there just to scare her.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Rory, ever the gentleman, goes upstairs to investigate. As he searches the hall, he closes a closet door and behind it are the Ghost Nurse sisters, who immediately slash his throat.

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Downstairs, Audrey is working real hard to convince the rest of the cast that the scares are all just for television, when Matt walks in looking spooked. He’s just happened upon the sisters’ signature move- the scrawling of “MURDER” on the wall in blood. As the legend goes, the word is spelled out by borrowing the first letter of the name of each of their victims. Matt stands in front of the cast and declares, “R is for Rory.”

Courtesy: twitter.com/tinawargz

Next: American Horror Story Recap: Chapter 5

I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER been more excited to watch this show as I am now that it’s a show within a show within a show. Next show? Wednesday at 10 PM E.T. on FX.