American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, episode 4 review: Evan Peters, is that you?

Even though we're largely dealing with backstory here - there's still a whole lot of questions that need answering

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The Independent Culture

American Horror Story is never short on story - stories on top of stories, on top of flashbacks, on top of flash forwards, on top of stories.

Yet, with this rabidly-anticipated episode 6 twist on the horizon, Roanoke Nightmare doesn't have the boon of luxurious storytelling in its pocket; relegating episode 4 to a kind crash course in everything that's happened so far. Essentially, break down the episode's narrative and you get this - character one enters - explains some backstory - is brutally murdered. Character two comes in - explains some backstory - is brutally murdered.

This is Roanoke Nightmare doing some admin before it really kicks off (hopefully - I know I keep saying this, but six episodes is a long wait), tidying up its narrative threads before this presumptive left turn. With Angela Bassett's Lee safely locked up in jail, the show's frees itself up to bring in Denis O'Hare's Elias Cunningham, the academic we know to have been a previous owner of the property.  

Elias then unloads a whole bunch of explanatory background information; on the fate of the nurses, the tragedy of previous tenants the Chen family, and the crucial factor that these ghosts can only kill during a lunar cycle in October known as, "The Dying Grass Moon".

He's then conveniently murdered by the Lost Colony in their attempt to recover Flora, with Matt and Shelby then running into a returning Cricket; who himself unloads some more information, including the origins of Lady Gaga's mysterious sorceress, revealed herself to be a pilgrim witch who turned to dark magic to avoid being burnt at the stake. 

That said, the episode isn't entirely a slog, thanks to its offing of its information providers in a particularly brutal fashion; the climactic emboweling of poor Cricket marking the first real big death of a fan favourite. Thankfully, considering the property's rules meaning souls perished on its grounds must remain their for eternity, this hopefully won't be the last we see of Cricket or Elias (if the latter isn't already a ghost). 

Down now to episode 4, the show's absences are really starting to be felt; any quick social media search, and you'll find people are genuinely starting to lose their minds over the fact Evan Peters hasn't shown his face yet. Or has he? Episode 4 brought us a better look at the mysterious "Pig Man", who fans are potentially pinning down as linked to Murder House's "Piggy Man" - an urban legend which terrorised one of Ben's patients.

And the more we see of "Pig Man" - specfically the more prominent his character becomes - the more I'm slowly becoming convinced Peters has been hiding in plain sight this entire time, which would explain away how his name appears so far up in the show's credits. That pig mask is going to have to come off sometime... 

For my own part, I was hoping we'd get an appearance from a personal favourite of mine: Freakshow's gleefully psychotic mamma's boy Dandy Mott (played to perfection by Finn Wittrock), whose been rumoured to return ever since Ryan Murphy dropped a hint the Mott family boast a connection to the season 6 house. 

Alas, that didn't happen, though Elias did briefly mention the house was actually built by an Edward Phillippe Mott in 1792; the very first inhabitant of the land to mysteriously disappear. What's interesting, however, is that we've seen the ghosts of every previous inhabitant so far, particularly in the scene where they all circle Flora for one of Priscilla's games.

Though there's no Mott present during the scene, there is a Pig Man, which potentially begs the question - is Edward Phillippe Mott the one behind the mask?

Murphy specifically stated that, "we explain how the Motts began which is funny", which will presumably involve an explanation as to how the family acquired all that vast wealth to spoil Dandy with. There's yet to really be a firm connection between the constant sightings of pigs within the house and the Lost Colony itself, which perhaps indicate the pigs are therefore connected to the Mott's family history and even their potential source of wealth.

This is all wild speculation, really, but at this point down the line and with so many secrets yet to be unveiled, it seems like wild speculation is exactly what Murphy's hoping we'll indulge in when it comes Roanoke Nightmare. Let's just hope the answers are as satisfying as the theories. 

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10PM in the US on FX, and airs on FOX UK the following Friday at 10PM.