American Horror Story: Chapter Three – Croatoan (Review)

Sarah Paulson as Shelby Miller

Chapter three of American Horror Story: Roanoke cranks everything up  a bit.  In rapid succession there is the grizzly barbecue murder of Lee’s ex, the appearance of Cricket and Lee’s arrest for the aforementioned murder.  Matt is also caught shagging, Lady Gaga’s “woman of the wood” or whatever she is meant to be.

(It is interesting to note that in the backstory segment,  where Thomasin is saved in the woods, that the “sprite” turns out to be white. Surely at a time when white settlers were very much in the minority, would not the spirit of the forest been a Native American? Specifically a Croatoan?)

White manifest destiny issues aside, the third episode sees tensions between the Miller’s  and local police escalate. The family help the cops search the woods and Lee finds the first clue.

A dead baby pig is found wearing clothes. The creature has been decapitated and its arms, legs and tail have also been cut off.  The limbs and head are still there.

Shelby and Matt join Lee in the search for Flora and many other dead pigs and piglets are found. They follow the trail of pig bodies to a house of horrors. Later they stumble across an old  barn where they find two lads. The two youngsters are feeding from a sow  a’la Romulus and Remus.

Mason, Lee’s unpleasant ex husband shows up, makes some threats and then later accuses Lee of spiriting their daughter off and hiding her.  The angry ex pushes Lee to the floor and then storms out.

Later he will be found stretched out on a wooden structure burnt to a crisp.  Matt and Shelby discover that the CCTV cameras have captured Lee leaving after Mason departed and that she was gone for four hours.

Shelby wants to  tell the police but Matt dissuades her.

Cricket, a psychic, shows up and tells them he can find Flora.  He claims have connections with prior FBI cases and his bona fides check out.  He discovers the White backstory and the house’s connection to Roanoke.

Thomasin White was left in charge of the “missing colony.”

Because of a dispute she is banished and left to starve while the colony plan to make their move further inland.  White is visited by an attacking wild boar, aka pig and saved by the white spirit of the woods. Eating a still beating pig’s heart changes White into something else.

She returns to the village and kills two of the town’s planners sparing her son Ambrose.  Thomasin is now known as “The Butcher” and it is her spirit, along with her followers who haunt the land.

(Sidenote: Listening to both Wes Bentley and Kathy Bates speak in this episode their accents appear to be a type of northern English. Perhaps a Yorkshire background…)

Cricket, who is the Zelda Rubinstein in this Poltergeist homage, turns out to be helping the Millers, not out of the kindness of his heart, but for $25 thousand.  Matt is not amused and he orders the small psychic out of his house. 

Lee later pays him the money but Cricket still does not deliver. Instead he  tells the distraught mother that they must appease The Butcher and they broker a deal with the spirit in the woods.

Matt goes missing during the encounter and Shelby finds him having sweaty sex with the spirit of the woods. This act is being witnessed by two hillbilly types who are clapping their hands rhythmically.

Shelby returns home and Lee is arrested by the local police. Apparently Matt’s wife showed the CCTV footage to the cops and now Lee is suspected of Mason’s murder.

Chapter Three of American Horror Story had a number of dead pigs on offer. (So much so  it is surprising that Murphy and co have not put up the disclaimer: “No pigs were harmed in the making of this production…”)

There are a number of theories about how Murphy and Falchuk are tying in each episode of this season to prior seasons. Variety  have some interesting  theories and tie-ins about season six.

The one problem with this “tying in theory” is that the one thread that held all the seasons together, until five, was Jessica Lange.  Since she is not appearing in this season either, the theory may never be fully realized.

Meanwhile, back in Chapter Three of American Horror Story: Roanoke, Lee has been arrested, Shelby is very angry with Matt and he is confused about  everything.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX.



Special Guest Star – Lady Gaga

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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