by Alexandra Libertella
The first episode of Season 6 of “American Horror Story” can be described in one word: weird, but in a completely different way than any previous season. The show starts in a documentary format, so there are two versions of each main character- the real characters who narrate what was happening, and the acting characters who reenact the terrible events. Once it started, I was unsure as to if I was watching American Horror Story or a real investigation murder mystery show. This is a hit or miss for the season, but so far I like the creativity about it.
The name of the season is “Roanoke,” and the name of the documentary within the season is “My Roanoke Nightmare.” Historically, Roanoke was the first English settlement in the New World, located in North Carolina. The show is set here, where all of the colonists mysteriously disappeared in 1590. This setting will prove crucial to the plot.
The married couple, Shelby and Matt, start out in Los Angeles but decide to move to North Carolina because the neighborhood was unsafe. They bought a beautiful, extremely old house there, for a suspiciously low price (wonder why it would be so cheap!). At the house auction, we meet a group of southern men who are visibly resentful at the couple’s purchasing of the house. This foreshadows that some disasters will occur at the house, and Matt and Shelby will definitely assume that it was the men sabotaging them.
A very strange element is introduced right when they move in- an audibly squealing pig. He’ll become a motif in this season. At first, they dismiss the pig as the country men playing tricks on them. Since her husband is traveling for work, Shelby finds herself alone often in the new house. She sees human teeth hailing outside and while in the hot tub, colonist-dressed people nearly drown her. Understandably, Matt does not believe her claims and thought she just wanted to move out.
Matt’s sister is then introduced in the documentary commentary section, and stays at the house. She does not believe Shelby’s outlandish claims at first either, until she experiences the terrors of the house first hand. Shelby and Lee were locked into the basement of the house and saw a video of that pig-man (the same squeal that Shelby previously heard). The prior dweller here said he was attacked by that creature in the video. While they were in the basement, the “colonists” terrorized the ground floor, stringing around mysterious figures that I couldn’t really distinguish.
Of course, in typical horror movie fashion, nobody believes Shelby or Lee, the police don’t care, and they stay in the house. But Shelby had enough and decided to drive away- but, no, at the beginning of her journey she hit a colony-woman with her car, and had to chase her back into the woods and proceeds to get lost. There, in the middle of the forest, she witnesses the colonists (Ghosts? People? It’s unclear) performing a fire ritual holding pitchforks.
The first episode of Roanoke strongly and suspensefully ends here. I did enjoy it and thought the documentary style was very risky but it truly works. This is “American Horror Story”, always pushing the envelope in their productions. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of Season 6.