Chapter 8 (American Horror Story)
|American Horror Story episode|
|Directed by||Gwyneth Horder-Payton|
|Written by||Todd Kubrak|
|Original air date||November 2, 2016|
|Running time||40 minutes|
"Chapter 8" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of the anthology television series American Horror Story. It aired on November 2, 2016, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by Todd Kubrak and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.
After Dominic (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Shelby (Lily Rabe) witness Agnes' (Kathy Bates) murder by the Butcher (Susan Berger), the colonists' ghosts surround the house and seize their attack. Shelby and Dominic, after both each regain their composure briefly, set their escape plan through the basement's passageway but it is infested by the Chen family's ghosts who attacks them. The other ghosts resurface in the house and attack, severely injuring both Shelby and Dominic in the process. The two were forced to hide inside the bedroom's bathroom but Shelby could no longer handle the situation to survive out of guilt after murdering Matt (André Holland) and commits suicide as Dominic watches in horror.
At their family compound, the Polks continue torturing Lee (Adina Porter), Audrey (Sarah Paulson) and Monet (Angela Bassett) as their act of retribution in exploiting their sadistic felony and the kidnapping of their grandchildren. Mama (Robin Weigert) and her reluctant son Jether (Finn Wittrock) are butchering flesh from Lee's leg. From the matriarch's narration behind their actions as a family ritual, the Polks first resorted to cannibalism with a group of pig thieves as their first victims during the Great Depression. The son cuts off Lee's right ear, detailing another family tradition of presenting pickled ears as gifts during Christmas. After Mama left Jether to watch over Lee at the cellar; the latter compensates the son, insisting that he was being treated by his family as an inept, by giving him the fame and attention that he desired for. Jether, who displayed his interest to Lee without any intent to kill her, refuses and explains that he will never live up to his ancestor Kincaid Polk who emulated the Piggy Man and murdered several people at the Chicago World’s Fair back in 1893 which gave way to an urban legend thereafter. After refusing his offer of drugs to her; Lee demands Jether to explain more of the Polk's family tradition and in case of her impending fate, requested to record her last message to her daughter Flora on camera. In her message, Lee confesses that she did murdered her ex-husband Mason out of resentment at his primary custody to Flora. Afterwards, Lee uses the advantage of her freedom by seducing Jether who releases her restraints as Lee incapitates and kills him by stabbing him in the neck with a knife.
Meanwhile, Audrey and Monet tried to explain the truth behind the loss of the feral children to the Polks but they deny their allegations and began pulling out each of the actresses' teeth to craft necklaces as family sacramentals. As they are intending to take Monet's teeth first, her chair breaks and fights back before she manage to escape out of the compound as Ishmael (Frank Collison) and Lot (Frederick Koehler) chases after her into the woods while Mama continued to rip out Audrey's teeth but Lee arrives and knocks the Polk matriarch out from behind with a hammer. As Mama Polk regains consciousness, Audrey grabs the hammer from Lee and repeatedly bludgeons Mama's head, killing her. By the time Lee and Audrey returned to the farmhouse through its secret passageway to the basement, the former broke down in tears at the sight of her brother's mutilated corpse while Audrey tried to regain her composure before heading to the bedroom upstairs. Audrey tried to comfort Lee while nursing back her health but as the former enters the bathroom to fetch some water, she was horrified when she saw Shelby's dead body. When Dominic tried to explain his story, a fierce argument erupts between the three during which a grief-stricken Lee locks Dominic out of the hallway where he is murdered by the Piggy Man, objecting him responsible behind the deaths of her brother and sister-in-law.
The next morning, Lee convinces Audrey that they have to go back to Polk family compound to retrieve the video evidence of their torture by the Polks as proof of their story. Despite Audrey's protests, they agree to do so but just as they take the front door to leave, they are confronted by a person dressed in a Piggy Man costume who turns out to be Dylan (Wes Bentley), the reenactor who portrayed Ambrose White, much to the women's surprise.
"Chapter 8" was watched by 2.20 million people during its original broadcast, and gained a 1.2 ratings share among adults aged 18–49.
The episode received mixed reviews from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the episode holds a 60% approval rating, with an average score of 6.3/10. Tom Philips of the New York Observer wrote that the episode's "reliance on heavy gross-outs and strong character beats lead to what has to kindly be called a mixed bag". In contrast, Emily L. Stephens of The A.V. Club was more positive, writing, "The grimness of "Chapter 8" is leavened by flickers of tenderness, some of it from unexpected quarters."
- Welch, Alex (November 3, 2016). "Wednesday cable ratings: 'American Horror Story' falls, 'Queen Sugar' holds steady". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- "Chapter 8 Reviews". Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Philips, Tom. "'American Horror Story: Roanoke' Recap 6×08: If You Ain't Polk, You Ain't People". Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Stephens, Emily L. (November 3, 2016). "Flickers of tenderness lift up AHS: Roanoke's torture". Retrieved November 4, 2016.