Storm Before the Calm: How Will AHS: Roanoke End?


With just one episode to go, American Horror Story seems to have wrapped up, but the promise of an explosive finale has us more intrigued than ever.

The Roanoke Nightmare is over. The Three Nights in Hell have wrapped. Everyone is very dead, except Lee. And now, we’re left only with a finale that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have teased will be as shocking as the mid-season twist. Last week’s episode was a doozy, and seemed super finale-ish, so the fact that there’s still more to come has me feeling all of the feelings. I’m ready. I’m scared, as per usual. I’m the most skeptical. And, perhaps above all, I’m utterly elated that we’re about to get us a heaping spoonful of Ms. Lana Banana herself!!! But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s re-evaluate what we’ve just been through and assess what we could be in for.


What does the studio have to say for itself?

Ummm, mayhaps we’re forgetting amid all the mayhem that Three Nights in Hell was an “actual” television show, recorded, produced, and broadcast to viewers (within the world of this season). So, like…how are they explaining this to the public? How are they getting away with having been responsible for the deaths of the entire cast of one of their shows?! With Sidney gone, our mediator between the worlds of the inner workings of the show and the actual “real” reality has disappeared. Subsequently, our touchstone for the cultural reaction and television audience reception is gone. In other words, the fact that Sidney, the only person who was aware of both the show he was making/manipulating AND the audience that would be watching that show is dead, and so any questions we need answered about the production fall to…. We don’t know. We don’t know if the studio knew he was planning to orchestrate false scares. We don’t know why the studio didn’t think to check in at any point during the three days. We don’t know whether this segment of the series will even be addressed in the finale, though it seems crucial and impossible to ignore. We DO, however, know that the footage was gathered, edited, and released. By whom, and how whoever in charge is going to explain themselves, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Was that show ALSO fake reality?

Listen. There are so many layers to this season, so much to be analyzed about the comments Ryan Murphy is making on reality vs. fiction and audiences believing everything they see that truly nothing seems out of the realm of possibility for the finale. It would be incredibly shocking, require a ton of explaining, and call for serious back-tracking and reframing, but there is a scenario in which this “found footage” TV show is just that- another faked reality program presented as truth to audiences (and us) who blindly believed it to be reality. It’s not impossible to imagine that Ryan Murphy would drop the bomb of yet another show-within-a-show-within-a-show in this last episode. That would mean everything we’d been seeing this entire season had required layers upon layers of acting. It would mean, hypothetically, that Sarah Paulson was playing SOME MYSTERY STREEP-CALIBER ACTRESS who was playing Audrey Tindall who was playing Shelby Miller. It would mean that even when we stepped out of the FIRST reality show into the second reality show, we’d really been tricked again, and it’d all been manipulated for our viewing pleasure. It’d be amazing if it could be pulled off, but only time will tell where, and in which show, we’ll end up Wednesday night.


Will Lee tell the truth?

Either way, no matter what insane scenario plays out to shock us in the end, we know we’re getting (as predicted YOU’RE WELCOME) a 60 Minutes-esque interview wherein Lana Winters sits down with the sole survivor, Lee. At this point, and if we’re operating under the assumption that what we saw in the last few episodes was, indeed, reality, we know that Lee killed her husband, admitted to it on tape, later found the tapes, then, after having been tricked into becoming the next Butcher, murdered several people in a blood sacrifice on the last night of the Three Nights in Hell. The only thing is, if we’re to heed to disclaimer that was presented at the beginning of the season (along the lines of “everything that follows is what’s been able to be salvaged from tapes”) it’d appear as though, cuz we saw it, even Lee’s stealing the tapes was caught on tape!!!! Right?? Is she going to have to answer for ALL of her actions, or were we, as the actual TV audience and not the fake-reality-within-the-show audience, privy to information that those fictional viewers aren’t? The lines between drama and dramatic irony and reality are incredibly thin this season, and that’s kind of the point, but DAMN is it hard to know where we stand at all times!


Hopefully, things will become way more clear in the last episode. This season has been a wild ride, so I don’t foresee the finale being anything but entertaining and off-the-rails as it gets. It’s also been way more thought-provoking than I’d anticipated, and the nuances of the innate commentary on reality vs. fiction are leaving me desperate to see what sort of message Ryan Murphy and co. will choose to end on. Either way, and no matter what happens, we’ll always have Lana.

To witness AHS’s final chapter, tune in on Wednesday at 10PM E.T. on FX.