American Horror Story: 6.07 Chapter 7
It seems that creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, have completely let loose in this episode. Almost everyone is massacred and their killings are relentless and gruesome. Furthermore, the supernatural element seems to have subsided to give way to an even more graphic and blood thirsty reality.
It is the various characters which end up killing each other that is causing most havoc. Kathy Bates’ Agnes Mary Winstead shows up at the grounds of the house, full of rage; furious and vengeful for not being included in the show. Dressed up as The Butcher, holding an axe, she's all psyched up and ready to kill; starting off with a failed attack on Shelby, she then goes on to kill producer Sydney, his assistant and the cameraman. However, Agnes finds her own fate when real life Butcher, a woman of no words, shows up and with no hesitation axes through her head, killing her.
Sara Paulson’s acting chops have been put to the test in this season. Her characters are constantly being put through the wringer. If she is not being Shelby who was persistently plagued by malevolent forces between episode one to five, she is being tormented as British actress Audrey Tindell by more physical forces. In just this episode Audrey escapes an axe attack from The Butcher, discovers her husband Rory hanging dead from a tree mauled by some being, to the final scenes of being captured by the hicks. The real life hicks, turn out to be even more hideous than the re-enacted ones. These hicks are these pot growing, cocaine fiend cannibals. In fact they manage to kill Lee and try to force feed her meat to Desiree and Audrey, who are all tied up waiting to be tortured. In a way American Horror Story provides a space for such filthy and vile individuals to exist; creating a world for them which is truly disgusting but also captivating to watch. Their missing teeth, incoherent drawls, unwashed hair and inbred looks, make for such great visual fodder.
Lily Rabe’s Shelby also has her moment in the episode. In a fit of rage, as if possessed, she kills her beloved husband Matt, brutally bashing his head repeatedly with a crowbar after seeing him have sex with forest spirit Scathach in the basement of the house. Viewers may recall the re-enactment scenes where Shelby caught Matt having sex with Scathach, in the woods in episode four, but excused Matt at the time as he appeared to be under her spell. Matt is still under her spell and that was the sole reason of returning to the house was to be with her. The episode ends, once again with Shelby and Dominic Banks, the re-enacted Matt, trapped in the house with the colonials outside waiting for them to come out; a repeated scene which perhaps may have some significance.
Oddly enough its the first time in the whole series that I felt that I was watching a horror film rather than a TV show. Perhaps this is because of the way the scenes switch from one camera view to the next. From hand held jerky cameras to CCTV footage to filming on camera phone, coupled with characters’ erratic desperate behaviour making the terror palatable; it gives it an another extra layer of ‘realness’. There is hardly any relief in the episode; things get to such a state in that one can’t possibly imagine what its in store in the eighth instalment. It begs the question: how could the story develop any further when it seems like none of the characters will make it out alive for the plot to move forward?