American Horror Story: 6.05 Chapter 5

Is this the end of the Matt and Shelby saga?

In Episode Five we find Shelby, Mat and Flora still trapped in the house frantically trying to figure out an escape of their current nightmare as the hoard of Roanoke people are outside the house anticipating for them to come out to execute them. This episode is perhaps the season’s biggest twist as we unexpectedly see the end of the Shelby and Matt saga. Creator Brad Falchuk has been reported this week as saying that the season will feature three interlinked stories. I am guessing Falchuck had some explaining to do as episode five ends with our protagonists (SPOILER ALERT) managing to successfully flee. Perhaps not really a surprise, viewers knew all along as the commentary by real-life Shelby, Matt and Lee suggests they made it out alive to tell the story.

As the three are held prisoners in their own home, not wanting to surrender to the deadly hands of The Butcher, they make their way to the basement. It is there where Evan Peter’s character Edward Philippe Mott makes a grand appearance as yet another ghostly presence. Peters plays Edward Philip Mott, an English aristocrat who built the house to live as a recluse along with his paintings and his secret male lover. Sharing the same fate as previous inhabitants, he ends being slaughtered by the otherworldly colonials residing in the forest. Mott provides temporary relief by helping the three escape the house, guiding them through a secret tunnel from the basement leading to the depths of the forest. However, their salvation is short lived as it is there they fall into the merciless hands of the inbred hicks.

We were introduced to the hicks in the first episode, when Matt outbid them in the auction of the house. We discover that the hicks reside in the house which Shelby and Matt came across in episode there, it was there they found the two feral boys, whilst looking for Flora. A gruesome scene follows; Matt, Shelby and Flora still unwilling to surrender, but are dreading what’s in store for them by these filthy, uncouth, low-life human beings. We meet another matriarchal figure, that of Mama Polk, played by the superb Francis Conroy. Mama Polk and her family have secured a deal with The Butcher where they are allowed to live on the land and in return stop anyone trespassing on the land as provide human sacrifices on occasion.

The three are now driven back to the house, tied up at the back of a truck. On the way Matt unsuccessfully tries to attack one of the boys and ends up shooting him dead, but doesn’t manage to escape. They arrive back to find the colonials still waiting for them. Mama Polk hands them over to the The Butcher and she takes Flora first ready to throw her into the flames. In a bizarre twist The Butcher’s son, Ambrose White, takes hold of his mother and pushes her into the fire instead. Apparently Ambrose has been fed up with her killing of innocent people, hinting at the oppression she had over her colony and the freedom her death would bring. At the exact time the newly released Lee shows up at the house, managing to get into one of the cars in the driveway and manages to whisk away the three to safety.

That seems to be it for the Matt and Shelby story, a masterfully executed and intriguing one at the that. The constant horrifying images, the continuous suspense and the fast paced plot were simply brilliant. This is coupled by high level acting by all the cast, especially from our leads; Sarah Paulson’s terrified and soppy Shelby and Cuba Gooding Jnr’s dumbfounded and weak Matt were the perfect guides through this supernatural documentary styled fable. The episode’s ending does surprisingly provide closure which is unlike American Horror Story to do so. At the same time it does feel abrupt for a story to end mid season. This raises the question as Falchuk mentioned the stories are interlinked; is the new story going to be a continuation? Is it going to originate from any of the sub plots present from the last five episodes? There is a plethora of them to choose and expand on. Or will be at a totally new strand? I guess we will find out next week.

Daniel Theophanous

Updated: Oct 16, 2016

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