"Chapter 7" saw more bloodshed than usual, as Shelby also endured a vicious Agnes attack (only to recover and repeatedly pummel her husband's head with a crowbar, Negan-style); as the real Polks made their small-screen debut, captured Lee, and fed bacon bits of her leg to Audrey and Monet; and as the real Butcher almost split Agnes' face clean in half. These unfortunate highlights didn't just reinforce how much freakier you should expect the second half of Season 6 to be. They reinvigorated the show's sense of mystery, too.
How? What was most unnerving about Return to Roanoke tonight had less to do with the trauma that happened on screen -- we've already seen a disembowelment this season -- and more to do with the frequency at which it happened. The story that the real Matt and Shelby relayed to Sidney for My Roanoke Nightmare seemed freaky as hell, sure, but everything happened at a digestible pace. Now mayhem's coming at twice the speed, with exponentially more force.
The spirits are terrifyingly different. To an extent, that's to be expected. The reenactments were never going to be solid representations of what Matt and Shelby claimed to have experienced, but the ghosts we're seeing on Return to Roanoke are infinitely more malevolent and intimidating. If the real Edward Phillipe Mott is any indication, what we saw tonight didn't seem anything like Peters' semi-friendly underground-tunnel guide. These specters aren't taking their time introducing themselves, they have no patience, they don't even talk. Matt and Shelby's initial tale made it seem like escaping the haunted grounds was doable, like you could reason with the paranormal antagonists. The carnage and terror we're seeing now say otherwise.
Something about it all feels slightly fishy.
Is that what creator Ryan Murphy meant when he told E! Online: "You cannot trust [Matt, Shelby, and Lee]. What they said and what they explained in their version of [My Roanoke Nightmare] is not actually the truth"? The ghosts sure are different. What else about Matt, Shelby, and Lee's stories was fudged? As the chyron from last week explained, only one of the cast members makes it out alive.