Just when the I was worried I would get bored with this season, “Chapter 3” delivers a taste of a twist that may happen in the coming episodes. The beginning of the episode picks up where the last left off, the real Shelby, Matt, and Lee (Lily Rabe, André Holland, & Adina Porter) recounting the disappearance of Lee’s daughter Flora, with Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Angela Bassett reenacting the events.
The episode delivers several twits and blame shifts. It begins to bring back the drama and backstabbing that have become characteristic of the series (especially in Coven). We also finally get more of a glimpse of Kathy Bates and Wes Bentley, as Tomasyn White (“The Butcher”) and Ambrose White, respectively. Tomasyn was the First Lady of the Roanoke Colony. A coup occurred, removing Thomasyn from power in the colony, and she was stranded in the woods. Lady Gaga’s mysterious character, seemingly an entity with magical abilities, assists Tomasyn in taking back the colony.
While Tomasyn’s storyline is intriguing, the real treat from this episode comes from Leslie Jordan’s character, Cricket Marlowe. Cricket is a psychic who is led to the trio by a spirit. He discloses information about the disappearance of Flora that shock Shelby, Matt, and Lee. Jordan brings a vulnerable likeability to a charlatan character. Even when he asks for money to disclose more information about the disappearance of Flora, you can’t help but hope the trio gives in.
The most intriguing bit of the episode came when the fourth wall “broke.” Porter’s Lee gets frustrated with the camera crew interviewing her and tells them to turn the cameras off. The cameras back up, revealing the set that the interviews for “My Roanoke Nightmare” are filmed on, along with a crew member. The voice of the interviewer, sounding very close to the voice of Cheyenne Jackson (who has yet to be seen this season) is heard as well, asking Lee questions.
It has been stated by the producers of the show that there will be a twist later in the season. If the twist involves the breaking of the fourth wall, consider me excited. While I can appreciate the creative decision to emulate docu-series shows this season, if were to continue throughout the reaming episodes, I would be disappointed. If I wanted to watch a docu-series reenactment, I would change to the ID channel. If this isn’t the twist, I deeply hope Ryan Murphy has something else up his sleeve to keep me invested. Right now, my reason(s) for viewing are the performances from Paulson, Gooding Jr., and Bassett.
American Horror Story: Roanoke stars Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lily Rabe, Andre Holland, Denis O’Hare, Wes Bentley, Evan Peters, Cheyenne Jackson and Angela Bassett. It airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.