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YMMV / American Horror Story: Roanoke

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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • The hillbillies at the farmhouse auction. No, they don't look like the most friendly or enlightened individuals, but the characters are quick to assume that they're deranged white supremacist terrorists. This attitude was justified with the reveal that they have been killing people for Tomasyn in order for her to leave them alone and practice cannibalism.
    • Though Matt himself acknowledges that he's extremely likely to assume racist intentions in others, which is understandable given his situation and recent events in his life, he also evinces an instinctive distrust of the police based on the same amount of evidence. This isn't necessarily the attitude taken by the show, just by the characters we've seen so far.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: It is strongly implied that Scáthach is supernaturally influencing Matt to coerce him into having sex with her and it is not really his choice, contrary to his (rather jarring) declaration of love for her in "Chapter 7". Additionally, his marriage to Shelby falls apart effectively because he withdraws from her, and in Return to Roanoke, he seems emotionally detached much of the time and admits he no longer feels human, all of which could easily be read as signs of PTSD. And despite claiming his relationship with Shelby is over, certain moments showing him softening towards Shelby or getting jealous and angry towards her and Dominic suggest he does still have feelings for her. This would make his brutal murder at Shelby's hands even more horrifying, as she might have murdered her husband due to his inability to cope with his trauma and Scáthach refusing to let him go.
    • We only have reenactment Mason to go off of; so it's vague as to how good or bad the person himself actually was.
    • This trope is an actual plot point: The first six episodes show us re-enactments of the various ghosts and murderers. Return to Roanoke shows us the actual killers and spirits themselves, who are revealed to be far more malefic than their fictional counterparts, both physically and emotionally. An example of this is Edward Mott's spirit, initially described as helpful, only to turn out to be a wrathful ghost who roams the tunnels beneath the farmhouse for all eternity, angry to be disturbed.
  • Anti-Climax: Many found the pacing and the abrupt ending to the first episode to be this.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • "Real Life" Lee is this both in and out of universe. It's telling that the various documentaries in the finale refer to her as the most polarizing figure on the (fictional) show; by the end of the real show, she definitely was.
  • Broken Base:
    • Audrey and the Butcher's accent is either distracting from the show or was purposely done to add to the characterization and storyline (many British viewers note that Audrey's accent does exist in real life, albeit rare enough that it causes her to sound snobbish while the Butcher and her colony sounds like actual 16th century settlers as detailed in Shown Their Work entry in the main page).
    • Whether or not the finale ended satisfactory. Some think it does and some think it is a complete disappointment to an otherwise decent season. A third portion like it enough but prefer "Chapter 9" to be the true ending of the show.
  • Complete Monster: Scáthach is behind centuries of countless disappearances and murders in name of her Religion of Evil since before the Salem trials. A descendant of Druids from the British colonies, Scáthach is an avid worshipper of the Old Gods who pledged her alliance to them to avoid her execution at the stake, killing several soldiers and leaving the Native Americans to take the fall for the mass murder. Coming across Thomasin White after she had been exiled by insurgents of Roanoke and left to die, Scáthach saved her in exchange for her soul and corrupted Thomasin into her right-hand woman, The Butcher. After all the rebellious settlers were executed, Scáthach forced the colonists to follow in her religious ways by practicing Human Sacrifice, with not even children being safe; when a deserter stole from the colony, Scáthach scalped him and watched as Thomasin roasted him alive. Declaring the colonists to be "children in need of discipline" for wanting to stop the bloodshed, Scáthach proposed the idea to perform the ritual of the Blood Moon on the land to enslave their souls for all of eternity; after Thomasin poisoned her people, including Thomasin's own son, Scáthach slashed her throat to conclude the massacre. With the Lost Colony slaughtering anyone who comes near Roanoke in brutal ritualistic killings and adding their souls into their ranks as fresh slaves, Scáthach still oversees them to make sure that her sacrifices are carried out. During the events of My Roanoke Nightmare and Return to Roanoke, Scáthach distorts Matt Miller's mind to turn him into her Sex Slave and later influences his sister, Lee Harris, obtaining her soul to make her the new Butcher.
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  • Ending Fatigue: A lot of the main plot thread ended in "Chapter 9" with most of the cast dead and the identity of the Final Girl revealed (Lee). The fact that many feel that "Chapter 10" isn't a satisfying ending to the show as well as spending a significant portion of its running time with a character and subplot the audience has seen little of (Flora and her ghost friend Priscilla) also increase this sentiment.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • While the My Roanoke Nightmare portion of the show is incredibly polarizing among fans, the Reenactment counterpart of Prof. Elias Cunningham and Cricket are this, both for amusing Large Ham demeanor. Mama Polk is also amassing a fanbase of her own.
    • Diana Cross, the assistant producer for My Roanoke Nightmare and Return to Roanoke, for being the Only Sane Man that stood up against Sidney despite being killed by the Pig Man halfway through her introduction in episode 6.
    • "Real Life" Lee is this because she's the only Miller who seems to have some sense and has legitimate reason to return to the house (to prove her innocence). The fact that's she's trying to keep Monet Tumusiime from going down the path she did also won odds in her favor. However, the reveal that she was the one who killed her ex-husband, her action of trying to recover and destroy her confession and making a deal with Scathath to play a role to kill off 5 characters, all of whom are Darkhorses themselves, drop her from this status.
    • Badass Normal Dylan, the actor who was hired to play one of the Butcher's son and the Pig Man, as well as the the Army of Roanoke (Genre Savvy, Fan of the Past heroic bystander's) receive a fanbase of their own despite only being introduced and killed off in episode 9.
    • Both of Evan Peters' characters certainly qualify:
      • Edward Philippe Mott is related to Dandy Mott of Freak Show, which already helps. Sharing his some amusing, exaggerated mannerisms helped blow up his popularity, as did Evan Peters in a role that verged on Mr. Fanservice at points.
      • Rory Monahan for being a genuinely Nice Guy and fairly funny (which is all the audience can really ask for since nearly the entirety of the Return to Roanoke cast are loathesome Asshole Victims). A lot of viewers were not happy that he died first.
  • Epileptic Trees: The Pig Man was a source of frequent speculation as to his identity, even though it is explicitly stated in the beginning of "Chapter 2" that he was merely one of the Roanoke colonists who attempted to desert and was executed as punishment. After "Chapter 8," many people are under the mistaken impression that the Pig Man who appears in this season is the same as the Piggy Man mentioned in Murder House, even though it is outright said that Kincaid "Piggy Man" Polk, who does not appear in this season, was merely inspired in-universe by the Roanoke Pig Man and was a separate individual.
  • Fanon: "Chapter 4" features an attractive Uber driver named 'Rhett Snow', and many fans have started to theorize that he could possibly be related to Myrtle Snow since in American Horror Story, two characters sharing a last name is almost never coincidental.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Most fanfiction about the season doesn't feature Shelby paired up with her canon husband Matt. Instead, most of it features her and Audrey surviving the events of the season and getting together. This is mainly due to the fact that they are the reunion of Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe in the show, whose characters from previous seasons fans already shipped together massively, as well as Audrey being the actress who played Shelby in the In-Universe Show Within a Show.
  • Funny Moments: Sidney doing a Brief Accent Imitation of Cricket during the set up for Return to Roanoke.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Everyone's concern and protectiveness over Shelby after she gets attacked by Agnes. Many of them have their issues with her or plain don't like her, but they're still angrily yelling at Sidney and demanding he send an ambulance for her. Matt defrosts a little towards her and her biggest detractors — Lee, Monet, and Audrey — put themselves in a dangerous situation solely to try to help her.
  • Idiot Plot: Every single modern death could have been avoided if at any point either Shelby or Matt had put their foot down and decided to abandon the house. Matt's involvement is hard to determine as it's vague whether is his own stupidity or if it's the Scathach's manipulations; citing an excuse just to go back to his seductress's embrace. Shelby, on the other hand, doesn't know how to read a room or a person's lips. She should've accepted that it was over and moved on.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Murde" after the unfinished word "murder" on the wall written by the Jane sisters.
    • Comparing Cricket to Ongo Gablogian
    • Comparing Shelby to Negan after beating Matt's head to a bloody pulp in a manner very similar to The Walking Dead's Season 7 premiere, which aired only a few days prior.
    • Misspelling "Scáthach." Variations have included Scat Cat, Sasquatch, Succotash, Scary Touch, and Scatatatata. Also Shachath, which was the name of Frances Conroy's character in Asylum.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Tomasyn White crossed it by murdering the entire colony including her son and sentencing them to haunt the land.
    • If he didn't cross it by forcing the crew to remain on site even after the chainsaw murder, Sidney definitely crossed it with his psychological manipulation and torment of Agnes, to drum up ratings when she inevitably snapped.
  • Nightmare Retardant: It is a little calming knowing that since it is a show within a show, the three characters introduced so far all survive and all of the things we see are simulated in universe. Until episode 6, that is.
  • Replacement Scrappy: "Real Life" Mama Polk is this due to the fact that the Reenactment version is much more sympathetic and played by Frances Conroy.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Reenactment!Shelby, Matt and Flora receive this treatment due to the general bad writing surrounding them and the fact that the format of the season left most of the emotional lifting to the "Real Life" Shelby and Matt. Lee somehow managed to avoid this on both counterparts. A semi-Take That, Scrappy! was put upon Shelby and Matt's "Real Life" counterpart from episode 6 onward. when it was revealed that their marriage is on bad terms due to Shelby having an affair with Matt's actor Dominic, and she suffers negative publicity as a result.
    • The Reenactment counterpart of the Jane sisters are also disliked as well for their over the top villainy in a more subdued season and being almost completely unnecessary for the main plot. Their only positive contribution (prompting Prof. Cunningham to go to Roanoke) could have easily been done by any other ghosts. Although their "Real Life" counterpart receive much warmer reception for being incredibly creepy and fit in with the subdued season.
    • Real Life Lee already has an entry as a Base-Breaking Character, but her reveal as Mason's murderer, the Final Girl and the sole focus of the finale cements her as this for a portion of the fanbase.
    • Much like the Jane sisters, the Polks are often considered this for being unnecessary side villains and their appearances turning the series into grisly Torture Porn instead of real horror.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Many viewers think that the My Roanoke Nightmare segment is too long, badly-written (even if there is a case to be made for it being intentional In-Universe) and pointless due to its Foregone Conclusion of Matt, Shelby and Lee being alive. This sentiment only increases when the Return to Roanoke half aired in episode 6 to much critical acclaim.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
    • My Roanoke Nightmare is styled as a documentary with talking head interviews with the "real" people and actors reenacting the events they're recounting. Consequently, we know that Shelby, Matt, and Lee must survive the events of the season.
    • In contrast, Return to Roanoke is styled as a found footage reality show that explicitly states that all but one of the participants will be dead by the end, so we know that almost everyone is going to die.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Army of Roanoke, a trio of funny, sympathetic, somewhat insightful teenage fans of the show who are sneaking into Roanoke during the Blood Moon and one of them is played by AHS alumni Taissa Farmiga. They could have been given a lot more screen time and contribute more to the main plot instead of just being introduced and killed off in episode 9.
    • Flora and Priscilla are also this given that they ended up being Satellite Characters to Lee's storyline and disappear in the second arc. This caused the audience to feel cheated and annoyed that the finale spent a significant screentime on the two of them.
  • Too Cool to Live: Diana Cross, the Only Sane Man that is aware of Sidney's intention and on her way to shut down the production of Return to Roanoke, naturally gets killed halfway through their introductory episode by the Pig Man.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After narrowly surviving the Blood Moon, Matt, Shelby, and Lee all decide to GO BACK during the next Blood Moon FOR A TV SPECIAL.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Cricket is very easy to mistake for a woman due to his androgynous voice, appearance, and name. His Camp Gay mannerisms don't help.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The dramatization portions of My Roanoke Nightmare have the same special effects and budget as any other season of AHS, which is considerably higher than the sorts of shows it is styled after, making it a very awesome looking documentary in-universe.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Fans who criticized the show in the past for turning into a Campy Black Comedy are pleasantly surprised at the show's return to being a true Horror Story. However as the show went on, due to the unusual nature of the season, it got more mixed reception possibly making it the most divisive of all.
    • There's also the fact this season has a reduced episode count and running time for most episodes. A common criticism of Freak Show and Hotel was that they both didn't have enough story for 12/13 episodes, and that there was a lot of Padding in the longer episodes.

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