"Chapter 8" Recap
After some slight confusion about the reality-style second half of American Horror Story, it is beginning to provide some intense new thrills that amplify the horror aspects of the series. With Shelby and faux-Matt watching Agnes getting murdered outside, things look grim for the remaining survivors, sending the unlikely duo into the underground tunnel. They don’t get too far before the spirits of the Chan family crawl from the ceiling at full speed (not a sight I’d want to encounter firsthand). Sure, they were just attacked there not too long ago, but they apparently wanted to see if things lightened up down below.
Cut to Lee, who thankfully is still alive, despite missing a few chunks of flesh from the hillbilly Polk family of cannibals. They begin to cut into more flesh, and, after blacking out, she wakes up to her ear missing -- a Polk family tradition called a “pickled ear.” I try not to judge family traditions, but I’ll make an exception on this one ... Lee tries to rationalize (imagine that) with one of the Polk sons about her daughter, unsuccessfully trying to see if there was any shot at keeping her alive. In the midst of the backwoods family function, we do discover that the pigheaded killer is actually a Polk family member who took note of the Butcher’s tendencies. Once she realizes her chances are slim, Lee says farewell to her sobriety and does lines of cocaine, now aware that she will eventually be turned into a piping bowl of bone broth.
Back at the house (even though there are no home-like attributes -- other than walls and family dysfunction), Shelby and Dominic make it back from the basement, narrowly escaping the Chan Grudge-like ghosts. Shelby looks as if she’s going to lose hope until the pity-party is thwarted by the pigman attacking once more. They run towards the staircase, dodging the nurses, Chans and pigman murderer during an intense sequence that gives credibility towards the descriptions provided earlier in the season. The two make it into a bathroom, and Shelby begins to express remorse for killing the man she loved, deciding to slit her own throat in front of Dominic and adding another former survivor to the death toll.
With Lee feeling closer to her end, she convinces the Polk son to film a goodbye video for her daughter, admitting to the camera that she was responsible for the death of her husband (Sidney’s entire purpose of making the sequel series). Lee’s last ditch effort involves suggesting the two get frisky (romance is clearly dead along with the Roanoke cast), and she uses an untied hand to stab him repeatedly and free herself. The actresses Monet and Audrey are held captive by the other Polks, who want to show off their collection of teeth necklaces -- deciding to add one of the ladies', as well. When they try to take Monet’s tooth, the chair breaks, and she runs away, leaving Audrey in the hands of the Polks still. The grimy mother arrives, sending her sons after her, and she stays behind, managing to pull Audrey’s tooth out. At that same moment, the Polks find Monet fairly quick, and Lee has snuck into where Audrey was captive, temporarily injuring the mother before setting Audrey free. Before they can leave, Audrey takes the moment to smash the vile woman’s head in and continuously thank Lee for setting her free. This is a pair where I wish could both survive, but I’ll be okay with one of them making it out alive.
Concluding that they have better overnight survival chances in the house as opposed to the woods, they go back to the property and Lee discovers the body of her brother. Lee becomes an emotional wreck, but Audrey helps her move through the gruesome scene to the upstairs bedroom to get a little high and decompress, of course. Audrey and Lee enter the bathroom, where they find Shelby’s corpse and a shocked Dominic. He tells them what occurred, but Lee refuses to believe Shelby could have ever killed the man she loved -- yet Audrey is more convinced that she knows Shelby is too self-centered to kill herself. They lock him out of the room, not believing his claims, but he is met by the pig-faced spirit who butchers him, as Audrey tells the audience she had many more strong performances to give. (I seriously am starting to love Audrey.) By the time morning comes, Lee convinces Audrey to return to the Polk farm with her and destroy evidence of what they did (more concerned about her confession, I’d assume). When they get to the door, they are met by the actor who portrayed the Butcher’s son, now dressed with a pig mask. I’m not quite certain where this will end, but it’s getting exciting to see what will come within the last two episodes of AHS.
Overall Grade for "Chapter 8": 8/10
The intensity and horrors of the episode have improved quite a bit from the beginning, making it feel more like a horror/survival scenario that asserts itself strongly. Audrey and Lee have both begun to show entertaining final girl qualities, so I would like to at least see one make it out to be interviewed by the ultimate final girl, Lana Winters of AHS: Asylum (recently confirmed to appear).
Aedan’s Final Thoughts on "Chapter 8":
- Audrey saying “I feel like a part of me has died” when she locates Shelby’s body was a great laugh in the middle of a bloodbath.
- There are definitely moments that indicate things will play out exactly like they did the first time around.
- With Lee as the only original left, my money is on her surviving -- unless the original supreme does something to somehow resurrect Matt.