TV Snapshot: American Horror Story: Roanoke, Chapter 7 - Reviewed

Last week, AHS introduced the “show within a show” structure. My Roanoke Nightmare ended and we are now watching the sequel, Return to Roanoke: Three Days of Hell. Now a reality show, the cast includes both the re-enactors and the real life people who experienced the mansion first-hand. Slowly, hours burn as the spirit world and reality come together, creating a fuzzy line between the two, confusing even the actors.

One person in particular has completely lost their way. Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates) who played The Butcher, has transcended method acting, bringing her character out of the scripted dramatic re-enactment and has allowed the role to completely absorb her life. She claims playing The Butcher was her destiny and literally becomes the character, taking on all of her most gruesome traits, Bates selling every inch of the performance. Slipping in and out of what is likely a full-on mental breakdown, Agnes takes her psychosis to the limits, confronting the worst possible outcomes. Kathy Bates definitely steals the spotlight playing two different people at once. It’s quite outstanding to watch this seasoned actress show us how it's done.

Viewers will also be pleasantly creeped out by the introduction of some more reality-blurring characters in the woods, and yes, they’re equally as unsettling as their counterparts in My Roanoke Nightmare. When all of these characters start revealing themselves and their manipulative schemes come to a boiling point, some savage revelations are made here that will surely twist the course of the show.

Everyone has been contracted to record every second with camera phones so most of this episode is seen through that medium giving it that “found footage” look and feel. Some people might have a difficult time getting past the shaking of the camera, but it certainly tricks you into believing you’re watching an actual reality television show. Like most reality T.V. there is a “confessional booth” to document individual thoughts and along with the 75 cameras set up in and around the house, the audience – us – watch this faux show as it’s truly intended to be seen. From here on out, Roanoke will be seen as the recovered footage from the Return to Roanoke: Three Days of Hell production. American Horror Story changed the game by creating a new theme each season, the recurring actors playing different characters, and is now doing it again with season 6 being self-referential and brutally unique.