This season of American Horror Story has been shrouded in mystery (with the exception of ‘Roanoke’ leaking), and it only continues to take different directions even up until the preview for next week’s finale. Before we get into the potentially major change of pace for the finale, let’s begin where “Chapter 9” kicks off.
Recap: "Chapter 9"
The episode starts out with three new characters (Todd, Milo and Sophie) who run a My Roanoke Nightmare fanpage and hope to document the real haunted house and gain a massive new following on social media. Sophie (played by AHS fan favorite Taissa Farmiga) and her two friends discover the presumed-dead producer from episodes ago wandering the woods with visible trauma. They follow the girl into the woods and eventually find her vehicle with her body (clearly toying with them via apparition form), sending them to the police for any kind of help they can get.
The police (also known to have connections and an arrangement with the Polk family) tell each of the fans that their “prank” will not be tolerated, followed by a trespassing warning if they return to the property. Not willing to sit this one out, they agree to head back to the location for clarity on what is actually going on with the spirits and blood moon. Unsurprisingly, the younger adventurers are more focused on the fact that they’ve gained more than 20,000 followers and made #BloodMoon a trend on Twitter -- priorities. Lee and Audrey make their way to the Polk farm for the tape (with Lee’s confession), now aided by the actor Dylan, who played the butcher’s son. The actor is a showboat-y person entirely, constantly referring back to his military training.
When on the Polk property, Audrey discovers Monet, Dylan begins to work on hot-wiring a car, and Lee locates the tape she sought out in her defense. Audrey frees Monet, but one of two remaining Polk men finds them, and Audrey baits him to repeat his threat of “killing them real slow” so she can shoot him on-camera with no repercussions. They get outside and see Dylan is injured by the last Polk family member before they all spot the mob making their way towards them -- so the Polk survivor steals the car, and the others are left to deal with the spirits. Monet and Audrey flee while they can, leaving the slowed-down Lee in less than promising circumstances. Lee is shown crawling through the woods, presumably getting closer to dying, until the witch (and original supreme) comes out of the shadows to feed her a pig heart and possibly embody the spirit of the Butcher once more.
Todd and the other two fans of the show see her in the woods and approach the changed version of Lee, asking to talk to her -- but Todd is met with a blade, leaving only two fans of the series running around the wilderness. They arrive to the producers’ trailer and notice each camera with fixed images focused on the bodies of actors/former survivors. On one end, they see Monet and Audrey posted up in a room with a bottle and, on the other, the possessed Lee makes her way to the house to finish killing off anyone still alive. While the two could leave, as dedicated fans, they make the executive decision to save them if possible.
Audrey and Monet, next, watch the video Lee had tried to protect, learning the truth about what she had done to her husband. When Monet begins to state she would have been okay with the Polks killing Lee, she pops up behind them under the Butcher’s thrawl and wielding a blade. Monet begins to taunt the two-time Roanoke victim and is shoved by Lee from a balcony, falling to her death atop a broken chandelier. Audrey fights back and escapes to the outside of the house, but Lee catches up, stabs her, and locks her in a cellar, leaving the actress for dead. Sophie and Milo unknowingly arrive too late, where they are skewered and burned alive by the real Butcher and her ghostly cult following.
The next day, the police arrive after reports of a lynch mob from the live-stream, and a disturbing scene surrounds them with the bodies of multiple people scattered around the evil property with relentless death and brutality. It is then that Lee is found sobbing and in shock, possibly unaware of what she had just done hours before. Audrey is the next one shown to be alive, crawling her way out of the cellar and spotting Lee -- who she holds responsible for her near death experience. Audrey strips the gun from an officer and tries to kill Lee but is shot down by the other officers, and we see a final shot of Audrey’s lifeless body in the field -- making Lee the sole survivor of the Roanoke nightmare.
Overall Grade: 8.8/10
This was an episode that felt full of thrills from beginning to end, correctly wrapping up the mayhem of Roanoke. Lee was my second guess on the survivor of Roanoke, given the fact that she was present for the original murders and round two, making her upcoming sit-down interview with Lana Winters something to look forward to. The episode was a very strong chapter looking back on the season, and I truly hope Lana Winters is given plenty of time to showcase how incredible she is -- one of AHS’s best final girls, if not the very best.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts on "Chapter 9":
- The fan POV was a humorous addition, like the moment Sophie was sad of Shelby’s death because “she liked her.”
- I was actually rooting for Audrey to make it out of the Roanoke scenario, but that’s also in great part due to Sarah Paulson’s consistent performances as a layered actress.
- I can’t even explain how hyped I am for the return of the Lana Winters special. Lee should feel uber-flattered.