This post contains spoilers for the ninth episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke.
On American Horror Story, the definition of "dead" is... loose. A haunted homeowner can have his neck slit and reappear fresh-faced and ethereal a few episodes later. A nurse can slam into a wall with lethal force only to resurface possessed by demonic forces. Or take Roanoke, where characters go missing in the cannibal hillbilly woods and swing by like it's no big thing; where an enchanted murderer can take a few stabs to the chest and pop up in the final 10 minutes to stalk her prey; an actress, cleavered in the shoulder, can fall 15 feet to the ground, climb up a 400-year-old ladder, and reenter the fray. They can also all die again, horribly. This the Ryan Murphy way -- and it's devilish fun.
As we've come to expect from seasons past, the penultimate episode of Roanoke played like a finale, with twists and turns and several yards of spilling small intestines. After rewiring itself in the sixth episode as the Big Brother-like reality series Return to Roanoke, a sequel series to the reenacted My Roanoke Nightmare, Murphy set a burning question in motion: what we were about to see was "found footage," recovered from a meltdown scenario on set where only one person survived. Who would stick it out until the end? We'd watch Evan Peters' budding A-lister Rory Monahan, Cheyenne Jackson's TV producer Sidney, André Holland's horny witch-lover Matt, Lily Rabe's struggling wife Shelby, Kathy Bates' unhinged thespian Agnes, and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Hollywood hotshot Dominic all bleed out before we'd have room to guess.
Three remained going into "Chapter 9": Angela Basset's Monet, Sarah Paulson's Audrey, and Adina Porter's Lee. So, clearly, it was time for Murphy to add more characters and pile on the fake-outs.
Could the "lone survivor" be Dylan, the My Roanoke Nightmare reenactor played by Wes Bentley, who served two tours in Afghanistan and apparently Ubered his way to the Roanoke house? No. Not even close -- the Polks did him in, then the Butcher did him in a second time. But he did provide a splash of hilarity in a rather bleak episode.