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Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the sixth episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke.
True to Ryan Murphy's word, American Horror Story: Roanoke broke its own story open tonight with a wall-shattering twist that gave audiences the "real" story behind the show-within-a-show My Roanoke Nightmare, which was apparently all a bunch of hogwash. (Or was it?) And that hogwash (or was it?) will presumably come to full light in the sequel-within-a-show Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell, the brainchild of Cheyenne Jackson's skeezy producer Sid. Oh, and everybody but one person is apparently dead by the time this story ends. Huzzah!
So here's how it all breaks down. My Roanoke Nightmare inexplicably became the TV event of the century - quite unlike all those paranormal shows that cable has been churning out for years - and Sid's goal is to reclaim that popularity with a follow-up series that puts both the interview subjects and the reenactment actors living in the scare-filled house together for a few days, not coincidentally as the Blood Moon is overhead. And everybody's got a crazy new story to go along with their very short lifespan.
Sarah Paulson tries out a new accent to play the British actress Audrey (who played faux-Shelby), and she's currently in a romantic relationship with Evan Peters' Rory, who played Edward Phillippe Mott, the person who built the central haunted house. Angela Bassett's Monet is something of a wild card, as her time playing Lee turned her to alcoholism. Kathy Bates' Agnes, who played The Butcher, is apparently mentally troubled and sometimes thought she actually was The Butcher, even harassing Audrey over it. Nobody wants to hang out with Audrey.
As far as the behind-the-scenes characters go, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe) and husband Matt (André Holland) had marital problems, which led to her having a lost weekend with her fictional husband, the actor played by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Shelby and Audrey take little time in revealing their lack of a friendship.) When Gooding Jr.'s Dominic Banks arrived at the house, Matt attacked him in one of the more cheer-worthy moments in the episode, capped off by an enraged Shelby.
What's made clear during this NEW reality show (that never aired) is that this location truly is haunted, and as much as Sidney would love to believe that his effects team and accidents are responsible for the strange events, real horrors are coming for everyone. They have appeared to Rory, who got slashed open by the killer nurses, who finally got to add the "R" to their wall art. Hopefully Evan Peters will still be around in some format or another.
The doomed don't even have to have been involved with the original My Roanoke Nightmare, as evidenced by the bizarre vehicular death of Diana Cross. Lady Gaga's Supreme really exists, and the Pig Man is real. And thankfully, the personal drama built up between all the characters is real, too. Nothing helps out "found footage" more than characters who actually matter to viewers.
American Horror Story: Roanoke will continue to introduce characters that might not be who we think they are every Wednesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. As you start contemplating how all of this will fit into Season 7 and beyond, check out everything else making its way to the small screen in the near future by heading to our fall TV schedule.