“American Horror Story” has switched things up this year with “My Roanoke Nightmare,” the show-within-a-show in which this year’s tale is being presented. But “AHS” fans are expecting a big twist that will shatter this new framework, and Ryan Murphy is promising that one will be coming. The question is what form this new twist will take.
In the preview for this tonight’s episode, we see more of the interviews from Matt (Andre Holland) and Lee (Adina Porter) as they continue to recount the horrors they witnessed in North Carolina. But for the first time, Lee stops speaking to an off-screen interviewer and looks directly at the camera. “You need to turn off those cameras,” she pleads. “I said turn off the cameras!”
Ryan Murphy has also revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview that the season’s sixth episode, which airs Oct. 19, will feature a big twist sure to turn the entire season on its head. So how will the eventual collapse of “My Roanoke Nightmare” play out? Here are some theories being bandied about.
The actual production of “My Roanoke Nightmare” will be haunted
What makes the format for this season so promising is that it can lure the audience into a false sense of security. After all, our three protagonists couldn’t have been harmed if they are on this show getting interviewed, right? Perhaps the warning Lee gives in the preview is a hint that whatever evil has been terrorizing them isn’t gone yet, and that they and the production crew are still in danger.
The interview segments aren’t being done by the real Shelby, Lee and Matt
Something strange that critics and fans picked up on right away is that the actors in the interview segments — Holland, Porter and Lily Rabe — are younger than the three main actors in the re-enactment segments, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett. Could it be because both the interviews and reenactments are being done by actors and that the real protagonists suffered a fate too gruesome for TV? It would be a clever way for Murphy and co. to rip away the aforementioned safety net “My Roanoke Nightmare” provides.
Sarah Paulson‘s character is really Billie Dean Howard from “Murder House”
For those of you who haven’t been with “AHS” from the beginning or binge-watched the series, Billie Dean Howard was the character Paulson played in season one. She was a medium who was brought to the Murder House to contact the spirits within it and expel those that wanted to kill its living inhabitants, namely Tate Langdon. In the season’s 11th episode, “Birth,” Billie Dean also mentions the Roanoke Colony on which this season is centered, citing it as an example of spirits being successfully exorcised from a haunted spot.
Billie Dean also mentions that she’s working on a reality show for Lifetime, and we later see her working with a camera crew when she returns to the series in the season finale of “Hotel.” It’s possible that Billie Dean’s experience with the paranormal landed her a job on “My Roanoke Nightmare” playing Shelby in the reenactment scenes. Her presence in the series would also serve as a starting point for “AHS” to start connecting seasons.
The interview segments come from beyond the grave
Finally, there’s the idea that “AHS” is going to reveal that Shelby, Lee and Matt have been killed by the Roanoke colonists. But unlike the “interview subjects are also actors” theory listed above, this hypothesis suggests that the show really is interviewing the three victims, but somehow doing so from the afterlife. This would make “My Roanoke Nightmare” into something similar to ABC’s short-lived true crime drama series “Final Witness,” which showed murders from the perspective of the victims.
Maybe one of these theories will be proven right. Maybe the “AHS” twist will completely blindside us and prove Brad Falchuk right when he told EW that “No matter what you think it is, it’s not that.” Either way, it’s clear that along with the Roanoke Colony, the major theme of “AHS” is the unreliable narrator. Murphy and Falchuk have conditioned their fans to be skeptical about everything the show presents them and to look for cracks in the characters’ accounts of what happened. This season may have opened with the promise that what viewers were about to see was “inspired by true events,” but “AHS” fans know by now that such inspiration can lead to anything.