American Horror Story Season 6 Finale Review: Roanoke Chapter 10

The American Horror Story season 6 finale goes up in flames…literally.

This American Horror Story review contains spoilers.

American Horror Story Season 6 Episode 10

While American Horror Story season 6 was a horror coaster that shot to extremes of shock and gore, the finale was a Roanoke nightmare. Why this episode even had to happen remains an unsolved mystery. That fatal gunshot after a night of hillbilly cannibalism and phantoms fetishizing the work of Vlad Dracula should have been the exclamation point for this season. Instead, it had to suffer a slow and agonizing death of faux reality show after faux talk show ending in a hot, fiery mess. 

Spoiler: everyone dies. You probably already know that if you haven’t been skulking around in the basement doing unholy things with Gaga’s antlered ghost. The only survivor is Lee, but are you really a survivor when you’ve had your ear pickled, your flesh filleted and otherwise been so unimaginably traumatized it doesn’t take the end of a lunar cycle to transform you into a raving monster? 

Most of this episode revolves around the media circus suffocating Lee as she’s unwilling thrown on a merry-go-round of trials and interviews. Swarms of tabloid-happy reporters keep relentlessly trying to extract the answer as to whether the reality show star really has morphed into some malevolent demon. It’s the ‘90s incarnation of 20/20 on steroids complete with its own Barbara Walters—Lana Winters resurrecting herself from retirement with an eerily ageless face and hair bleached several shades blonder. 

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Lana being the only reporter Lee allows to interview her makes it especially eerie. Sisters in blood, both are the captive victims of kill-or-be-killed situation that meant either pulling the trigger or ending up in the morgue. I almost laughed when Lee was accused of “killing three innocent people.” While she should have let her ex go with a slap in the face and a restraining order, the Polks are a special subhuman species who hardly deserve to be advertised as innocent. Maybe it’s from smoking too much of that hallucinogen-marijuana hybrid detectives found in their basement of terrors, while overlooking jars of much more sinister things floating in brine. 

This is how the media messes with your brains depending on which Kool-Aid they want you to drink. Suddenly the Polks are guileless angels with a craving for human flesh while Lee starts to look like the next Charles Manson if you let that vicious prosecutor mesmerize you enough. While Lee did murder ex-husband Mason in a raging fit of desperation to keep him from hauling her daughter away, Flora’s incriminating testimony cuts off at the point her father stopped twitching. Its unsettling how there was never a coroner’s report to determine time of death because of how the body was actually found.

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If you can channel the ghosts of past episodes, Mason was discovered by his own ex-wife, shrieking deliriously when she saw his charred body strung up over the remains of a bonfire like something out of The Blair Witch Project. She incapacitated him, but (unbeknownst to her and everybody in that courtroom) never actually delivered the deathblow. He must have been lying unconscious until the blood moon rose. He probably came to when a cleaver gripped by a phantom hand flashed before his eyes. How did I come to that conclusion? The Butcher’s torch-wielding burn brigade doesn’t bother making enormous voodoo dolls out of corpses. They only roast people alive—and they want to hear them scream. 

You don’t need psychic powers or an extra episode to imagine what inevitably happened next after Lee was the last victim breathing as the blood moon melted into dawn. 

Her being acquitted after the Polk trial was something anyone could have easily imagined, more like expected, as she was trembling in the back of a police car at the end of the last episode. Extenuating circumstances will do that. Making the jury watch that gruesome found-footage video of her leg being basted and seasoned for the barbecue will also do that. How Lee is found not guilty after every other word out of Flora’s mouth was “You killed Daddy!” is a mystery. Unfortunately, the torture (both for us and Lee) doesn’t end there. It drags out into even more fabricated news clips that go up in flames, leading to an incendiary, but hardly explosive, ending.  

My verdict on AHS Season 6? Ryan Murphy strapped us into a haunted carnival thrill ride splattered with enough blood, ghosts and gore to give any horror fan that masochistically sought-after insomnia. The coaster just forgot to stop short of crashing and burning.

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