[Warning: The following article contains spoilers from American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare "Chapter Two."]
American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare "Chapter Two" got so weird so rapidly we had to play the opening scene twice to process it all.
What kind of weirdness? We'll tell you what kind of weirdness, but you'll have to see it to believe it. We pick up from where we left off in "Chapter One," when Shelby has found herself lost in the forest, bearing witness to the world's worst barbecue.
Some poor man is getting a curly pig tail nailed onto his butt as he's roasted on a giant spit. Kathy Bates (whose character is as yet unidentified) translates the nearby Croatoan's slithers for her eager crowd of colonially garbed miscreants. Croatoan spends the majority of its time crouching like Quasimodo, lisping, and breathing heavily, a far cry from Gaga's statuesque Countess in AHS: Hotel. After witnessing all of this from behind the incredibly insufficient safety of a cartoonishly petite tree, Shelby is ultimately discovered by Croatoan, runs out of the forest, and almost gets run over by Matt's sedan. She processes everything she's seen as she recovers in the hospital, chocking it up as an elaborate prank by those damn rednecks from the real estate auction.
Matt's sister Lee makes the inexplicable decision to bring her daughter Flora to the farm house. It's no shock when Flora promptly disappears. Lee discovers her having a casual chat with "Priscilla," an imaginary colonial friend lurking in the shadows. Noted: Lee is maybe not a bastion of parental guidance.
Flora tells Lee that Priscilla is going to "make her a bonnet" like her own because she's going to "make it stop." Priscilla is "tired of all the blood." The name "Priscilla" will never be the same. Just then, the sound of a window shattering echoes through the halls. As it happens, the culprit was the aforementioned garb: a bonnet is found near a broken vase in the front room.
Meanwhile, Shelby and Matt have fully convinced themselves they must stay at the house and fight the inbreds they're sure are responsible for the shenanigans afoot.
Later, in the middle of the night, a pig's wail wakes them both up, and Shelby runs straight into the forest with a flash light.
"Hello? Who's out there? Show yourself!" she screams through the fog shortly before running into it. She disappears just as a wild pig takes the opportunity to emerge from the foliage, scaring the bejesus out of Matt. He runs in after his wife, only to find her entranced with another pig burning on a stake in the middle of the forest. The scene is not too different from the experience that put Shelby in the hospital, but there are no miscreants present this time around.
The cops are little help, but the unluckiest couple on planet earth is finally granted full-time police protection as the sheriff begrudgingly promises to keep a squad car in their driveway until they find redneck leader Ishmael Polk and the rest of his crew.
Shelby and Matt get home, Matt answers a phone call (courtesy of an unplugged phone) from a distressed old woman, and walks into the other room to see that same distressed old woman on a gurney being shot in the head by two sadistic nurses.
Matt books it out to his newly acquired security guard, only for the whole horrific scene to be gone by the time they both get back in.
"It's crazy how a person can rationalize the irrational," he explains of the experience after admitting he thinks he might have suffered neurological damage from the attack in LA...which at this point, by the way, must have felt like a cake walk.
The next day, Flora is once again caught hanging out with Priscilla. "They're going to kill us all," Flora recounts Priscilla saying, "and save me for last." Lee's husband Mason (who'd been visiting) gets the hell out of there with Thora in tow. Lee later admits that's the day she once again "fell off the wagon."
In the morning, Shelby and Matt discover her drunk on the kitchen floor, trying to pick up a bowl she's just broken. They suddenly look up to discover five knives stuck into the ceiling, which Shelby attributes to Lee's drunken silliness.
Matt helps Lee up to bed, who is promptly approached by the same nurses who shot the old lady, though no one else realizes at the time. They're all too distracted by the young female figure standing outside, staring unflinchingly at the house. I mean, really, manners. They go outside to pursue her, only to run into an old cellar entrance.
Lee awakens to discover the nurses, who quickly disappear. She attributes her next two "hallucinations" — a throng of bloody, wriggling larvae-like creepies on the hallway wall, and a human-sized pig man in the mirror behind her — to herself being "two sheets to the wind."
Don't drink, kids.
Shelby and Matt realize someone had at one point been living down in the cellar, which houses such antique items as a CRT TV and a 10-pound video camera. Enter Dr. Elias Cunningham (Denis O'Hare): On one of the tapes the two find in the cellar, Cunningham can be seen speaking to the camera, explaining he isn't living in the house because he felt safer in the cellar. He says the date is October 11, 1997, and reveals himself as an author and university professor.
He's seeing things. He's being physically attacked. He came to the house to research the story of two deranged nurses (sound familiar?) Miranda and Bridget Jane, who had run a twisted assisted living facility out of the very house Shelby and Matt were now inhabiting. They chose elderly people to take care of (too soon?) based on the first letter of their names, killing them one by one in order to spell out their favorite word: "M.U.R.D.E.R."
As the story went, the nurses eventually disappeared, leaving mass carnage and a nearly completed "M.U.R.D.E." on the wall. Officials later attempted to cover it with paint, but it would always come back, so they put wallpaper on it.
The nurses weren't the first evil presence in that house, Cunningham alleges, and it was a pre-existing force that made what they did there possible.
Cunningham is then seen entering the house, still filming himself, telling an unseen force to "show itself." The video cuts out as that force manifests, just as Shelby and Matt hear a bloody clever being plunged into their door.
Something is not happy about their new discovery.
The couple decide to confront their real estate banker, who tells them to kick rocks and like it. They're stuck with the house, won't be getting their money back, and have officially invested all their life's savings in the farmhouse from hell.
Just then, Lee shows up with Flora. She's clearly taken Flora without ex-husband Mason's approval, which Matt is concerned about. Technically, Matt says, his sister had committed a felony kidnapping.
Like clockwork, Mason calls the house freaking out, but Shelby convinces him not to involve the authorities.
Unfortunately, Priscilla (who it turns out is the same young female figure Shelby and Matt had seen outside just a day before) is still in hot pursuit of Flora. Much to the family's horror, the three find Flora's little yellow hoodie flapping vacant at the top of a 30-foot-tall tree at the end of the episode.
American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare returns to FX on Wednesday, September 28.