With making reality television comes a lot of potential for trouble. You have to consider lighting, microphones, camera placement and other random concerns like your entire cast and crew becoming victims of a ghost-murder spree. On this week's episode of AHS, things were no different so let's start from the beginning. Despite not completely enjoying the big "twist" of Roanoke, the reality TV version of the series is beginning to better achieve success in the horror genre than the first half of the season.
We find the producer Sidney and others (PA, cameraman, etc.) in an offsite trailer watching the others from a distance when one points out he saw Rory get stabbed, pointing to a pool of blood with no real sign of a body. Before they can rewind, they hear the scream of an employee that gets them to run outside -- finding the body of the PA -- and good 'ol crazy Agnes (the actress behind The Butcher) appearing in character murders them all with her cleaver. While this is occurring, the others find the blood from Rory and assume it's a staged prank, despite the 'R' in murder being present. After murdering a production crew, Agnes takes herself to the cellar on property with the camera and begins to question her choices in life (like possibly heading the serial killer route), but the indecisiveness is halted as the Blair Witch stick figures surround her out of nowhere and send Agnes into a panic. Kathy Bates is really outdoing herself by adding 'psychotic actress' to her resume as no other could accomplish. Award season will see her plenty more next year, I can guarantee that.
The next day, Shelby retreats from the real-Matt/faux-Matt tension and notices a bloody camera lying on her bed. Of course, it belongs to the new documenter and tormentor Agnes, who strikes Shelby with her weapon, and she can do nothing but film her near-death experience so that they know Agnes is behind it. Luckily for her, the fake Matt finds them both and stops her in time for Shelby to live and Agnes to disappear. When things go further off the rails, the group decides to keep doing confessional interviews and completely documenting via cellphones. (Much like Gaga says in "Angel Down", I'm lost in the age of the social.) They haven't seemed to immediately grasp that nobody is watching and they are on their own, but I suppose it doesn't matter because, soon, there will only be one.
Three of them split up (Lee, Audrey and Monet), deciding to head through the secret tunnel for help until they hit the woods ... Which is when Agnes appears again, this time to be shot by Lee. Audrey takes a moment to record herself talking about the ongoing problems when blood begins to trickle down her face. As she looks up, she finds her husband's disemboweled body above her, and panic ensues once again. The hillbilly family we had seen appear earlier through reenactments attacks them (one is Finn Wittrock), striking them all with a cattle prod, and things couldn't be looking much worse for the three.
Back at the house, Matt, Shelby and fake Matt waited for some form of help to arrive, as Shelby was still seriously injured, but with nothing but silence they fall asleep late into the evening (again). Matt is awoken under a thrall, making his way to the basement where he begins to sleep with the witch (aka original supreme). The actor wakes Shelby up to show her what they were doing, and the witch flees into the shadows (but who is she?!), and Matt tells them that she's the real reason he returned -- their undeniable connection. This pushes Shelby to her breaking point, and she beats him with a fire poker(?), killing her former husband who she said she had such a "strong" love for. My only theory is that the supreme will bring him back, if possible, and he could be the sole survivor.
Things weren't looking too great elsewhere either, as Lee wakes up strapped to a chair while the cannibal family seasons her leg in preparation for their revolting meal. Poor Lee deserves so much better, but the next we see of her is a piece of meat being served to Monet and Audrey against their will. A definite dark turn for AHS, but, hopefully, a one-legged Lee can maybe kick some ass and escape if it's not her witch-loving brother? The episode comes to an abrupt end when we see Agnes dousing the home in gasoline, but she is surrounded by the real lost colony spirits with the one and only real Butcher. Agnes falls to her knees in awe, only to be killed by her idol with a cleaver through the skull. With Shelby and fake Matt in the house, surrounded, as well as the other three in dire circumstances, who knows what comes next in AHS -- but I'll admit, I can't wait to find out.
Overall Grade for "Chapter 7": 8/10
This episode has some major scares prepared that took a different approach from other seasons -- a welcome change to shake things up. Bates, Rabe and Paulson delivered some of their best acting this season, and I wouldn't be surprised to see any of them win an accolade for another strong performance. (Plus Gaga for that amazing witch-centric episode.)
Aedan's Final Thoughts on "Chapter 7":
- Shelby is not the woman I thought she was...
- I think we'll be seeing the witch of the woods again very soon.
- I have no idea what direction the series will take by the end, which is what makes it enticing.