Episode 6 has a "huge turn and the thing that you think you're watching is not what you’re watching," Murphy told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. "No matter what you think [the twist] is, it's not that," Falchuk added. "Then, Episode 6 comes and you're like, 'Wait! What happened?'" Here's a look at how the series has been planting seeds for its big reveal. Fair warning: some of the observations below could be misdirections, and others legit breadcrumbs -- we'll update as the season progresses.
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What's up with those feral kids?
One of Chapter 3's more disturbing parts -- in an episode full of 'em -- had Flora's search party discover two filth-covered kids suckling a dead pig. The police determined the kids were related to the Polks, the hillbillies who tried to outbid Matt and Shelby for the house in Chapter 1. What's intriguing is the Polks have long since left the area, according to police, but someone deliberately led Matt, Shelby, and Lee to the kids with a trail of mangled pig-human hybrid dolls. Do these abandoned children really belong to the Polks? We have yet to see any female Polks, so who gave birth to them? Could they be the offspring of Lady Gaga's character?
"Croatoan" is here!
Mentioned multiple times last night, the Native American word should be familiar to AHS viewers. In Season 1, it's referred to as a spell to banish ghosts. Here, the feral kids mutter it upon receiving offers to eat chocolate. Shelby calls it "a warning." And it's also the word TMZ found etched into a tree on Season 6's set, a clear nod to the Lost Colony legend -- historically speaking, Croatoan was the name of the Indian tribe that lived near and likely interacted with Roanoke's 16th-century English settlers.
We got our first break from the documentary
And it was kind of messed up? During an especially traumatic scene -- about the disappearance of her other daughter -- the real Lee (Adina Porter) asked for the cameras to be turned off. She noted the red recording light stayed on. Do the producers not have their interviewees' best interests at heart? We also finally got to hear the interviewer pose questions last night, and some fans have theorized that the voice belongs to Evan Peters or (more likely) Cheyenne Jackson. The break in the doc format was a delicious bit of foreshadowing that seems to validate the chance of a camera crew scuffle later on. To whom does this crew belong?
Who else serves Lady Gaga?
At the end of Episode 3, Shelby saw Matt having sex with Lady Gaga's character, hillbillies watching in the background. He looked possessed, definitely under her spell. Does that mean we have a demonic baby in the oven? Gaga's character isn't bound by space-time, and aside from Flora, she seems to be what links all the other characters together: she appears in the 16th century to Kathy Bates' Butcher character, she pops up next to The Butcher's spirit in the forest in present-day, and she's clearly visible to Shelby and Matt. Does she have power over everybody? How far do her spells extend? Could she be manipulating the camera crew, too? And can she still haunt the real Matt (André Holland), Shelby (Lily Rabe), and Lee (Porter) outside her wooded stomping grounds?
Whose side is Cricket on?
For all his purported white-knighting, Leslie Jordan's medium comes across as more manipulative than helpful. He claims he's the only one who knows where Flora is, but he hasn't actually revealed her location yet -- you need $25,000 just to get a history lesson from this guy! Is he good, or is he a warlock? Kathy Bates and Lady Gaga's real-life emissary, perhaps? Are Matt, Shelby, and Lee pawns in a separate game of his? And how did he know about Lee's otherchild -- is he a kidnapping conman who fronts as a psychic?
Have you noticed the old AHS tie-ins?
As Redditors and several others have pointed out, clear parallels link the first three Roanoke episodes to prior American Horror Story seasons. The Season 6 premiere told a boiled-down Murder House story, with a wealthy couple buying a haunted house after a miscarriage. The second episode showcased a mix of Murder House and Asylum vibes, after giving the psychotic sisters, Miranda and Bridget Jane, a big chunk of the spotlight. And this week's episode? It leaned heavy into Coven by bringing Jordan back and locking Bates in a scold's bridle -- remember what happened to her Delphine LaLaurie character? If the series keeps following this pattern, you'll want to be on the lookout for something Freak Show-related next week (likely Dandy Mott), followed by Hotel (Matt did mention high-tailing it out of town to a nearby hotel). What does that mean for week six? A reboot? A massive collision or crossover? Keep paying attention to the anthology's connective tissue.
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Sean Fitz-Gerald is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment, and his favorite theory is that real-life Cricket is Ango Gobloggian. Find him on Twitter: @srkfitzgerald.