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‘American Horror Story’ Recap: Victims Fight Back in ‘Chapter 8’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve seen episode 8, Season 6 of “American Horror Story,” titled “Chapter 8.”

When we last left the “Roanoke” gang, things were not looking good, to say the least. Those who weren’t being held captive by the cannibal Polk family where at the mercy of the spirits on the house. By the end of “Chapter 8,” we’ve lost some lives, but there’s a flicker of hope: the captives have escaped.

We pick back up with Shelby and Dominic, who just watched the real Butcher slaughter Agnes. Luckily, Shelby hatches an idea: find the basement tunnel that Edward Mott led them through last time to escape. Their plans are dashed, however, when the Chens show up, forcing them back into the nightmare mansion. (It’s worth wondering if Edward had some way to ward off the evil spirits in the tunnel. After all, Matt, Shelby, and Flora ran into little trouble in their first go through the passage.)

In their return to the house, Dominic badly mangles his hand, and Shelby has a moment of weakness. But Dominic, being a good actor, as Shelby points out, gives her a pep talk, and they start moving again — only to be greeted by the Piggy Man, the evil nurses, and, well, just about every other angry spirit in the house. As if that weren’t enough, the chandelier falls from above them, and Shelby again injures her ankle.

They find some brief respite in a bathroom, but Shelby, thoroughly injured, is shattered. There’s no hope for them left, as she sees it. Having killed the only man she ever loved, Shelby slits her own throat and kills herself, leaving Dominic alone.

Lee, meanwhile, is still being tortured by the Polks, as they slice into her body for meat. Mama Polk shows no mercy, but alone, Lee manages to forge a connection with one of the Polk boys. After he cuts off her ear, and describes quite a disturbing Polk family Christmas, Lee brings up her daughter. The Polk boy asks her if she loves her child, and of course she does — all mothers love their children.

But Mama hasn’t been giving enough attention to this Polk boy, as he feels a little left out. His brothers got to be on TV, so why didn’t he? Lee offers him a chance at stardom — a promise that she could, conceivably, follow through on — but he rejects the notion, and reveals the origin of the Piggy Man. Surprise: He’s a Polk! A man who slaughtered hogs and brought them to the World’s Fair in the 1800s, he traded killing hogs for killing humans.

Lee, though, knows when she’s on to something. The Polk family certainly isn’t the brightest bunch, and definitely at their weakest when they’re not under Mama’s supervision. In a moment of mercy, it seems like, the Polk boy offers Lee some cocaine, to ease the pain of Mama’s next slice. A former addict, Lee at first rejects the drugs, but, realizing that she is going to die anyway, goes ahead and gets high. The Polk boy then agrees to film a goodbye video for Flora in case Lee dies, and Lee makes some interesting revelations.

She says that she did, indeed, kill Mason, a fact that doesn’t totally add up. She insists that she worked alone, but even if she had the intention to kill her ex-husband, how did she strap him up in the tree by herself? She could be lying to simply end her daughter’s doubt, and give her some closure. Or she could be lying to get closer to the Polk boy.

He admits that he likes her, and in a cringe-worthy scene, Lee seduces him — and it works wonders. After he frees her hand, Lee kills him and escapes. Well, she limps away, anyway. Her leg is still a mess.

In all this, did you forget about Monet and Audrey? They are also in Polk captivity, and the family is about to harvest their teeth. As one of the Polk brothers zeros in on Monet, her chair breaks under them, giving her a chance to escape. Escape she does — but she leaves a poor Audrey still strapped to a chair. And Mama Polk needs teeth.

In another hard-to-watch scene, Mama Polk taunts her, and makes it clear, if it wasn’t before, that the Polks weren’t responsible for Rory’s death (it wasn’t their style, anyway). Audrey still has plenty of fight left in her, but Mama Polk yanks a tooth right out of her mouth. Before she can continue, though, Lee shows up in the nick of time, hitting Mama and freeing Audrey. If you didn’t get enough head-bashing in the last episode, Audrey finishes her off, slamming her head in with a hammer.

They head back to the house, and make a grisly discovery: Lee finds her brother, Matt, and his bashed-in head in the basement. Audrey manages to help her carry on, and they head upstairs, where they find (what else?) another grisly discovery: Shelby’s dead body in the bathroom, and Audrey provides some brief comedic relief in the form of a self-centered reaction, crying out, “I feel like a part of me is dying with her!”

Dominic is quite literally holding the knife, and Lee can’t believe that Shelby could’ve killed Matt and herself. Even Audrey interjects, “She was too self-centered to commit suicide. I played her for six months, I know her!” Dominic’s innocent, but he’s done too good of a job pretending to be the villain; they cast him out, and he’s killed by the Piggy Man.

In daylight, Audrey and Lee try to escape, but Lee wants those tapes of them killing the Polks, in fear of the tapes falling into the wrong hands and making them look like the savages. Audrey tries to help her out of the house, but they run into what appears to be the Piggy Man — but it’s not. It’s Gillian wearing a costume.

Can Gillian help them, and maybe bring in some back up? If only one person leaves the house alive, will it be Audrey or Lee? And how do their phones still have battery? Weigh in with your thoughts below.

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