FX’s American Horror Story season six episode five is one of the most disturbing episodes of the entire series. Airing on October 12, 2016 and titled ‘Chapter 5,’ the fifth episode finally revealed Evan Peters’ character who, it turns out, was the original owner of the house. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin kicks off the episode by saying there aren’t many homes with a history as interesting as that of the Big Shaker Mansion on Sappony Road built in 1792.
Next comes a reenactment of an auction in which the mansion’s owner, Edward Philippe Mott (Evan Peters…it’s about time!), buys the whole lot. He takes the collection back to the mansion which is still being built and will include an underground tunnel system so that the artwork can be smuggled out if anything should happen. Even back in the 1790s there were creepy happenings in and around the house.
Edward left his family behind and moved to North Carolina with his lover, a slave named Guinness. But even though he gave up his wife and kids to be with Guinness, he confessed to loving his artwork more than he loved his partner.
Just two days into owning this North Carolina mansion, Edward’s awakened by loud noises and finds his paintings have been destroyed. He thinks one of the people working for him did it, but they swear there were strangers hanging out in the woods. He locks his employees in the cellar, naked, telling them they have to confess in order to be released. He looks up and sees the blood moon above the trees.
Later that same night, Edward’s attacked in bed and brought outside to stand before The Butcher and her people. They shove a large stake through his chest and then hold him over a fire, as you would a marshmallow. When the authorities find him dead, they charge Guinness with murder. The house ultimately passed down through generations of Motts before being sold in 1952. Goodwin says no one ever stayed there for long and she would never spend a night there, especially not when there’s a blood moon.
And now we’re ready to catch up with Flashback Matt (Andre Holland) in the process of calling 911 to report a mob outside his home. Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr) and Shelby (Sarah Paulson) watch the mob gathered outside, standing by a fire and calling for their blood. The blood moon hangs in the sky over the scene, and because they didn’t leave when asked they will now have to die. Matt wants Shelby to take Flora and leave in the truck and not stop for anything. Before they can leave, a terrifying creature makes Shelby drop Flora. Outside, the mob lights the truck on fire. Matt and Shelby finally find Flora but the Pig Man appears as do some of the people with missing parts of their heads.
Matt, Shelby, and Flora are herded toward the cellar and seem to be trapped until dead Edward tells them he can help. They’re afraid but really don’t have any other choice. He shows them the tunnel under the house.
Current Shelby (Lily Rabe) explains Edward told them he was the original owner and they didn’t have time to question him.
Flashback Shelby and Matt follow Edward into the tunnels and learn that he was killed by The Butcher. They walk a mile in the dark, smelly underground and emerge in the woods. Edward leaves them there, saying he can’t take them any further.
Current Shelby says in the forest they were “nothing more than prey.”
Flashback Shelby, Flora, and Matt are barely out of the tunnel when they’re attacked and taken to the farmhouse where they found the feral boys. The hillbilly Polk family are there, as is a badly injured Elias (Denis O’Hare). The Polks found him full of holes and their mom has been keeping him alive. He’s missing body parts and crying, “Momma took my leg!” begging Matt to kill him. Just then Momma Polk (Frances Conroy) appears and offers Matt, Shelby, and Flora some jerky (Elias warns them not to eat it). None of them do, and Momma Polk is insulted. She tastes the jerky herself and throws down the tray, upset that it’s spoiled. Because Elias is “spoiled meat,” there’s no reason to keep him around and Momma Polk has one of her boys smash his head in.
Momma Polk doesn’t like Shelby and Matt because they bought the house, and they readily agree to give it to her and tell her she can move in tomorrow. Momma Polk says she wants to keep it empty because her kin made a deal with The Butcher years ago and her family is not bothered by her because of it. The Butcher needs fresh blood once a year and Momma Polk and her boys help supply the people who will be sacrificed.
Matt and Shelby beg to be let go but the Polks are going to take them back to The Butcher.
Current Shelby says the only place worse than being with the Polks was being at their own house.
Current Lee (Adina Porter) recalls being questioned over and over again by the cops who were holding her after Shelby turned her in.
Flashback Lee (Angela Bassett) repeats the same story to the sheriff in the interrogation room. She demands to be charged or let go, knowing they only have 48 hours to do something with her.
Current Lee says sticking to the truth got her released because they weren’t able to trip her up. Outside the station she turned on her phone and found out Matt and Shelby had found Flora.
The Polks take Flashback Matt, Shelby, and Flora back to their house but Matt is able to grab the gun from one of the Polks and escape from the back of the pickup truck before they reach the house.
Current Matt says he thought they would be safer in the woods than facing The Butcher.
Flashback Matt, Shelby, and Flora are spotted by one of the Polks after Matt’s phone buzzes. Lee figures out something’s wrong because Matt ignored her call and asks the sheriff who was just interrogating her to take her back to her house.
Caught by the Polks once again, Momma Polk screams at them for killing her son. She can’t kill them but she cripples Shelby so she can’t run. Once again in the back of the truck, Shelby’s only concerned that Matt saves Flora.
Current Matt says he actually gave up and just tried to be there with Shelby. He thought they would both die as soon as the truck stopped. Shelby cries thinking about all the things she wanted to do with her life, including becoming a mother.
Flashback Matt, Flora, and Shelby are taken to The Butcher and her people. The Butcher says Flora is going first and poor Flora screams bloody murder.
Current Shelby calls what happened next inhumane.
Flashback Lee and the sheriff pull up and see The Butcher’s group with their torches in front of the house ready to kill Matt, Flora, and Shelby. Lee tells him to call for backup but instead he literally backs up and flees the scene, leaving Lee alone to try to save her family. The Butcher announces the land belongs to the colony and just then her son takes action. He pulls his mother into the fire as Edward sets Shelby and Matt free. The Pig Man is just about to kill Flora when Lee runs him over with a car. The Butcher emerges from the fire completely immersed in flames as Lee speeds away with her family.
Current Matt says he still can’t explain everything that they saw. Shelby says those months were a terrifying nightmare and she’s grateful she’ll never have to go back.
Flashback Matt, Shelby, and Flora check into a super cheap motel, not having any money left to their names. But, at least they’re alive and together. Shelby, on crutches, is heading to the shower after Matt finishes his up and as she opens the door, The Butcher slices her head open with a cleaver.
Current Shelby says to this day she still has that particular nightmare. Nothing has helped, not even therapy. She’s not sure she’ll ever heal.
And that’s apparently the end of Shelby and Matt’s ‘Roanoke Nightmare’. The teaser shows the subtitle’s been changed to just ‘Roanoke’ and it appears Cheyenne Jackson will have an important role in episode six.