First thing’s first, via their ‘AHS’ Facebook page, FX has confirmed that Season Six is officially called ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’, which is nice for me, as typing out ‘My Roanoke Nightmare’ every time I had to refer to it was a bit much.
Now, as we’ve seen in seasons past, every cycle of ‘AHS’ takes place in the same world… a world filled with beautiful people who all strangely have equally beautiful doppelgangers running around, although sometimes in different time periods. I *believe* the first instance of a crossover came in S4, ‘Freak Show’, in which one of the Freaks in question was Pepper (Naomi Grossman), the “pinhead” that previously appeared in S2, ‘Asylum’. (Lily Rabe’s Sister Mary Eunice later appeared, depicting how Pepper went from the Freak Show to Briarcliff Mental Institution.)
Also revealed in ‘Freak Show’ is that Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) had her legs sawed off in a snuff film by Hans Gruber, which was the true identity of ‘Asylum”s Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell).
Things really went into the blender with last season’s ‘Hotel’ which included appearances by realtor Marcy (Christine Estabrook, S1 ‘Murder House’), Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe, S3 ‘Coven’) and Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson, S1). But even more importantly, it was revealed that Lady Gaga’s Elizabeth Johnson/The Countess went to have an abortion at ‘Murder House’ performed by Dr. Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross). Her baby however, was not human and Dr. Montgomery couldn’t kill him. Instead, the baby grew up to be the Infantata.
There has even been speculation that Charles and Nora Montgomery (Lily Rabe) might be related to Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts, S4), that’s just based on their shared last name. But it’s possible… why not?
But there’s more to all this than characters from one storyline popping up in others. There are certain thematic elements that tie certain characters together.
In the first episode of ‘Roanoke’, we meet Matt and Shelby Miller (André Holland and Lily Rabe as the real couple, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson as actors playing them in a made-for-TV reenactment), a couple that suffers a violent assault on Matt and a miscarriage for Shelby. As a result, they leave Los Angeles, the setting for ‘Murder House’ and ‘Hotel’ and move to rural Roanoke, NC where they find a dilapidated
shithole dream farmhouse and move in.
Now, if we go back to S1, why did the Harmons move from Boston to LA? Well, Ben (Dylan McDermott) had an affair with one of his students, but his wife Vivien (Connie Britton) had… yep, suffered a miscarriage! And they also move into a haunted
shithole dream house. (I wonder if Marcy has… sorry, HAD a branch of her real estate company in North Carolina.)
What’s interesting is that the Harmons are estranged, but the Millers are shown to be an extremely loving couple. While the Harmons moved to LA, the Millers moved FROM LA. Are the Millers the Bizarro Harmons? Hmmm…
Not quite the same, but along those lines, at the beginning of S5, Wes Bentley’s Det. John Lowe had become estranged from his wife Alex (Chloë Sevigny) after their son Holden was abducted five years prior.
Ryan Murphy has previously said that S6 would involve children. Could that really mean the loss of children, as miscarriages, abortions and abductions seem to be a recurring theme? Add to that, in ‘Roanoke’, Matt’s sister Lee (Adina Porter/Angela Bassett) has lost custody of her daughter after getting fired from the police department for abusing prescription pills and in S4, Elsa Mars lost her “spiritual daughter” Ma Petite, who was killed by Dell the Strongman. (Okay, that one was a stretch.)
But perhaps the biggest connection to S1 is the very setting ‘Roanoke’. In real history, 117 settlers in the colony of Roanoke apparently vanished into thin air with no trace ever being found. The only clue was the word “Croatoan,” the name of a local Native American tribe, carved into a tree trunk.
In S1, Billy Dean Howard recounts this story and says that the ghosts of the settlers haunted a native tribe until an elder cast them out repeatedly shouting the word “Croatoan!” But when Violet (Taissa Farmiga) tries to perform the ceremony to banish Chad (Zachary Quinto), the guy in the rubber suit, it doesn’t work. And considering that the ghosts of the Roanoke settlers are still around in the new season, it doesn’t appear to have worked in the first place.
Oh and then there’s the most disturbing image from the S6 premier:
When reenactor Shelby and Lee go into the basement to investigate strange noises, they find a TV playing a grainy video including the image of a man wearing a huge pig head. Earlier in the episode, reenactor Matt finds a dead pig on the Miller’s front porch. He decides not to tell the already shaken Shelby and takes it into the woods and buries it.
In the S1 episode ‘Piggy, Piggy’, Derrick (Eric Stonestreet) is one of Ben’s patients who suffers from anxiety and low self-esteem based on an urban legend about a Piggy Man, which is basically a variation on ‘Candy Man’ and ‘Bloody Mary’, involving looking into a mirror and repeating the name three times. Unfortunately, Derrick gets killed after saying the final “Piggy Man”… but not by the actual Piggy Man.
Could such a throwaway scene turn out to actually be crucial now, six seasons later?
And that’s just after one episode! What other throwbacks are coming our way this season?
Well, did I miss anything? What other tethers are floating around out there in the ‘AHS’verse?