American Horror Story: Roanoke – Chapter Four (Review)

Sarah Paulson as Shelby Miller

Chapter four of American Horror Story: Roanoke does several things. It shows that Flora is still alive and what Croatoan actually means. The word is used to banish the spirits that haunt the place so it is, in essence, a talisman of sorts.

The fourth installment also gives more background on The Butcher, aka Kathy Bates, and what happened to the settlers when they moved to their “final” destination.

There are at least two issues with this chapter however. These mainly have to do with the accents.  Bates’ cross of what appears to be an Irish and Northern English accent just feels wrong. In some instances it sounds too much like her bearded lady in season four.

Lady Gaga’s spirit of the wood also has an accent that makes no real sense.  Why is the sprite French? The intonations of all her lines make’s Gaga sound like she is imitating Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther films.

This may have some reasoning behind it but, once again, it makes no real sense for a wood demon to be of anything other than Native American descent.  After all, in that time period the main inhabitants of the “new world” were the indigenous tribes who lived there. The white settlers were very much in the minority and they mostly English, not French.

Dodgy accents aside, there was a good bit of horror in this episode.  The “pig man” appears a number of times and Denis O’Hare’s character dispatching the thing, not once but twice, was pretty impressive.  There is certainly something horrific about a man wearing a real pig’s head, complete with bristles, in just his filthy underpants.

Cricket dies. In some ways, for those who found him too much like the little rotund psychic in Poltergeist, it was a relief. Unlike Zelda Rubinstein‘s character in the other film about spirit abduction, Cricket’s motives have always been very circumspect at best.

He did, after all, ask Lee for $25 thousand to find Flora.

It was horrific to see how Cricket died. Being disemboweled is not pleasant and despite the annoyance factor of the character the punishment seems overly harsh.

Of course the southern psychic does “give” Matthew to the wood spirit as a shagging partner. He has worked out that the creature is long overdue for a little coital passion.

Dr. Elias Cunningham, the chap from the film found in the secret room, comes back to save the day, very briefly, only to die under an onslaught of arrows from the dead Roanoke denizens.

He does, however, give a bit of backstory about the place and shows what happens to previous owners of the property. From the Cheng family to the psychotic sisters who murdered their medical charges, he provides a little history for each doomed owner.

It is Cunningham who explains that once things get to this stage, the spirits, though very corporeal, are not able to be easily defeated. In fact they cannot really be hurt at all. The Butcher and her followers are too powerful.

One thing seems clear. Whomever has professed to being powerful enough to defeat Thomasin  has died. Both Cricket and Cunningham perished after claiming they alone could stop the villagers.

It looks like Priscilla may wind up being the savior that Flora and the Millers need. The child, who was a sacrifice when Thomasin and the rest were still alive, saved Flora from The Butcher’s knife.  Could the dead youngster be the way out for the family?

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX. Stop by and see what happens to this “Paranormal Witness” family next.


%d bloggers like this: