SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve seen Season 6, episode 10 of “American Horror Story,” titled “Chapter 10.”
In a single hour, “American Horror Story” managed to jam in another true-crime documentary, a journalistic special, and a ghost-hunting show… all while bringing a close to Lee’s tumultuous story. And in the end, we find out who really survived the events of “Roanoke’s” horror: Not Lee, but her daughter, Flora.
We start the episode with an almost strange retrospective, looking back at a more innocent time. The cast of “My Roanoke Nightmare” gathers for a Paleyfest panel, even featuring Trixie Mattel, and it seems to lampoon the event that TV industryites and fans know all too well, with the audience screaming in excitement to Rory’s canned answer on what his favorite color is. The scene, jarringly different in tone from the rest of the episode, is meant to show just how big a phenomenon “My Roanoke Nightmare” was, standing in stark contrast to the controversy that would go on to envelop it.
After the events of “My Roanoke Nightmare” Season 2, Lee is, unsurprisingly, a polarizing figure. She was caught on camera killing multiple people, and thus, stands trial for murder. “AHS” co-creator Ryan Murphy must have taken inspiration from his own “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” The world watches the trial unfold, and Lee’s legal team manages to conjure up a winning defense: the strong strand of marijuana grown by the Polks must have made Lee go crazy, in addition to her torture. She’s acquitted on all charges.
But the district attorney, convinced that she’s guilty, brings her back into court on the accusations that Lee killed her ex-husband, Mason. Flora is brought to the stand, and testifies that she saw Lee kill Mason with a rock in the woods. But Lee, in easily one of her most morally questionable moves, convinces her lawyer to bring up Flora’s ghost friend, Priscilla, discrediting her story as coming from an imaginative child. Once again, Lee is acquitted, but Mason’s protective family pulls Flora away, worried of Lee’s influence on her.
Here’s when long-time “AHS” fans get a real treat. Sarah Paulson brings back her “Asylum” character, journalist Lana Winters, for a special, “60 Minutes”-esque live interview with Lee. (Impressive note: Paulson has now played Audrey playing Shelby, Audrey as herself, and Lana Winters, in a single season. It’s almost starting to look like “Orphan Black.”)
Lee had plenty of opportunities for interviews, but she passed on the likes of Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer for one reason: she and Lana have a lot in common. As Lee notes, Lana killed her son, Bloody Face, in the traumatic events of “Asylum.” But even with that connection, Lana doesn’t go easy on Lee. In fact, just an hour before the broadcast, Flora went missing, and Lana essentially accuses Lee of kidnapping her once again.
As Lee gets up to rush out and find her daughter, she’s interrupted by a vengeful Polk, who shoots up the set and threatens Lee. Lana bravely tries to talk him down, but he knocks her out with a hit with his gun. Even in this tenuous situation, Lee still manages to get out to hunt for her daughter.
Meanwhile, the Roanoke house remains a fascination. Despite the fact that it’s been closed to the public, what seems to be a knockoff of “Ghost Adventures,” “Spirit Chasers,” descends on the house to check it out. The investigators, joined by “My Roanoke Nightmare” actor Ashley Gilbert, break into the residence, and set up cameras to try to catch any sort of paranormal activity. Oh, and it’s during the Blood Moon. Because of course it is.
As the investigators are spooked by a few bumps in the night, they come across something they certainly never expected: Lee. She’s returned to the house to look for Flora, and the investigators want to help her. Lee, for her part, warns them that the spirits are coming… but no one actually believes that, right? Clearly, they should have. As Lee continues to look for Flora, the investigators, Ashley (did they have to kill off Leslie Jordan twice in one season?), the cameraman, and even a couple of police officers that show up to find the trespassers are all killed. But Lee’s granted her wish, as she finds Flora.
The two survive the night, and Flora reveals that she’s been living in the woods with Priscilla for two weeks. Lee tries to convince to come back home, even admitting that she did in fact kill Mason, but Flora refuses. This isn’t just your average teenage rebellion — Flora wants to die so she can stay with Priscilla and protect her from the Butcher forever. Lee, however, makes her an intriguing counter-offer.
Since Lee has faced off against the Butcher and won before, she offers to die on the property and protect Priscilla herself, subjecting herself to an eternity on the hell-like Roanoke land. It’s a convincing enough argument that Lee’s made. As the show comes to a close, Flora leaves the exploding house to a hoard of police, as Lee lets Priscilla kill her.
In the end, “Roanoke” lived up to its promise. Only one person made it out alive: Flora (remember that ominous warning of how the spirits would “save Flora for last?“). “Roanoke” proved to be a wild ride from start to finish. From “My Roanoke Nightmare” to its twist conclusion, it was consistently hard to predict just what would come next. And even though she died, Lee finally found peace: making the greatest sacrifice so that Flora could live.
What did you think the “American Horror Story: Roanoke” finale, and the season as a whole? Let us know in the comments below.