American Horror Story “Chapter 8” Review (Season 6 Episode 8)

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On the latest episode of “American Horror Story,” the body count continued, as our group whittled down to even fewer- and a surprise new face joined their ranks, in “Chapter 8.” This time around, my secondary prediction- that Lee would be the last person standing- held up, as she was still with us at the end of the show, if having a little trouble standing, per se, what with the Polks having trimmed off a little lunch off her thigh area.

We basically picked up where we left off, with Dominic realizing finally that what they were dealing with was all-too-real and understandably freaking out a bit about their seeming impending doom waiting for them outside, courtesy of “The Butcher” and her followers. Realizing the tunnel was still an option, they headed downstairs, only to run afoul of the Chens, in a creepy sequence, as they climbed the walls and ceilings in pursuit of the two.

Back at the Polks, Mama taught her youngest son the tricks of the trade, justifying their cannibalism to Lee as the following: “If you ain’t Polk, you ain’t people.” We learned that the Polks’ cannibalism dated back to 1929- complete with Mama’s best Hannibal Lecter impersonation- and that the local police had been in their pockets for many years now, which explains that part from the first half of the series.

After cauterizing Lee’s wound so she wouldn’t bleed out- “dead meat” has a tendency to spoil faster, apparently- the Polks carved them a little early Christmas present in the form of one of Lee’s ears. Then Mama leaves to check on the others, during which time Lee gets crafty, first asking to see a photo she has of Flora from her pocket, then attempting to bribe the boy with promises of being on TV, when she discovered he resented being left out of the TV adaptation.

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Indeed, that’s part of the reason the Polks are filming the proceedings- seems they have some delusions of grandeur their own selves, and want to keep a document of their doings as well. Needless to say, this is also convenient, as it allows the show to keep filming the proceedings, but it also amusingly shows how outsiders have a tendency to exaggerate that which they don’t understand, as the “real” Polks aren’t nearly as animalistic and drooling as the “fake” ones- though still a bit on the uncivilized side, obviously.

The son doesn’t go for Lee’s promises, but does keep filming as he fills her in on a little more Polk family history. We find out about Kinkade Polk, who was one of the only- if not THE only Polk- to venture out into the “real” world, having been to the Worlds’ Fair in the 1800’s, which, according to Wikipedia, was in Chicago in 1893. There, he learned about more modern pig slaughtering techniques, which the Polks adopted from there on out.

That was also the birthplace of the “Piggy Man,” which confirms the name many have been using for the pig-faced critter we’ve seen from time to time. I prefer “Pig Man,” as it sounds less silly on paper, but canon is canon, so “Piggy Man” it is. Kinkade got the idea from seeing the colonists burn that thief alive after putting a pig’s head on his own and spit roasting the poor guy. Moving forward after the Fair, Kinkade did the same, and the “Piggy Man” was born.

(Side note: This was also the Worlds’ Fair at which H.H. Holmes, the inspiration for William March (Evan Peters) in last season’s “Hotel,” was operating nearby in his “Murder Castle.” You can read more about it here, as well as in the excellent novel “The Devil in the White City,” soon to be adapted into a movie by Martin Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio as Holmes.)

While the son says he will never leave their land in his lifetime, he does offer Lee some Oxy to help ease her pain. She refuses at first, trying to stay sober, but after realizing she’s probably going to die anyway- and be eaten alive at that- she relents, understandably, knowing that it will help her get through what’s to come, at least.

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Back at the house, Dominic and Shelby retreat from the tunnels back to the main home, with the Chens in hot pursuit, and soon joined by the nurses and Piggy Man to boot. Shelby stabs the latter in the head, as the Chens drop the massive chandelier above the spiral staircase onto the two, with Shelby getting caught underneath the wreckage, injuring her ankle in the process.

The two nonetheless make it upstairs and lock themselves in the upstairs bathroom, as the colonists start to break down the front door. There, Shelby starts to despair, realizing that she’s killed the only man she ever loved and freaks out, eventually slitting her own throat with a knife, killing herself instantly, and leaving Dominic the only one standing in the house at the moment.

Back at the Polks, Lee convinces the youngest son to film her saying goodbye to her daughter Flora, in the hopes that one day maybe she’ll see it, and confesses to killing her husband Mason. I guess Sidney got his confession after all, though all too late for his devices. The question is: is she telling the truth, or simply telling Flora what she needs to hear to move on with her life? My guess would be the latter, as it seems unlikely that Lee could have done that alone, but you never know.

The son admits that Lee is supposed to be his first kill, and he’s nervous about it. She uses the opportunity to flirt with him, and suggests he let her hands go so she can touch him. He says only if he can film it, which she agrees to, then immediately jumps him and puts him in a choke hold until he passes out, then stabs him with a knife and takes off while she can.

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Meanwhile, in another room, Monet and Audrey beg for their lives to the other two sons watching over them. They offer to take them to the “real” Millers, when it becomes obvious that they are somewhat confusing their fake versions with the real deal, but they say that “The Butcher” will take care of anyone in the house, so there’s no need.

We find out that they think the “rain” of teeth was a gift from the “others,” for all the sacrifices the Polks have made to them over the years. It seems that they want to add Monet and Shelby’s teeth to the collection, much to their horror. As one tries to do so to Monet, she rears back and her chair breaks, along with the pliers he was about to use on her, necessitating a break for him to go and fetch another chair and some bigger pliers from another room.

Seeing an opportunity of her own, Monet attacks the remaining Polk and escapes, leaving poor Audrey behind in the process, but promising to come back with help for her. An enraged Mama sends the two sons after her, with the boys filming all the while. That’s the last we see of those three for the remainder of the episode, so Monet’s fate remains in the balance.

Mama picks up where her sons left off, wrenching out one of Audrey’s teeth, much to her horror. (“But these are new teeth!”) As she goes in for another, Lee finally arrives and knocks Mama out, with a raving Audrey grabbing a hammer and caving in her head, in an interesting mirror image of her doppelganger from the last episode, when Shelby killed Matt. The two then make a beeline back to the tunnel and subsequently the house.

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Lee naturally freaks when she finds Matt dead, but Audrey reassures her to keep moving, as the killer or killers might still be in the house and they need to keep moving. However, no one seems to be around at all, and the two head upstairs without incident, for the time being. There, Audrey fetches Lee some pills she has for her pain, then goes to the bathroom to fetch her some water, where she finds a dead Shelby and screams.

“I feel like part of me is dying with her,” Audrey laments, making it all about her, in true egotistical actor fashion. Dominic pipes in shortly thereafter, telling Audrey and Lee what happened, but they don’t believe him. “She’s way too self-centered to commit suicide,” opines Audrey, hilariously. They run him off into the hallway and lock the door, where Dominic is promptly set upon by the Piggy Man, who hacks him up instantly.

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The next day, somewhat more clear-headed, Lee realizes they have to go back to the Polks- not to rescue Monet, but to retrieve the video she made confessing to Mason’s murder, which could incriminate her later on. Though Audrey balks at first, Lee points out that they also have her on video killing Mama, so there’s that as well to think about. Besides, the Polks have a truck and they are going to need a vehicle to escape anyway.

Shelby says goodbye to her fans via her camera: “If I die, I just want you all to know I had so many wonderful performances waiting for you.” Lol. Audrey remains a boon for hilarious work from Sarah Paulson, who is killing it in these final episodes. Her accent might waver here and there, but her comedic timing is always on point. Well played, Mrs. Paulson.

The two opt to simply go out the front door this time around, where they find themselves face-to-face with the Piggy Man again- or is it? After Audrey attacks him, he backs off immediately in confusion, taking off the pig head and begging her off of him. “Gillian?” Audrey asks, confused. Turns out it’s late arrival Wes Bentley, who one assumes Sidney had arrive late on purpose to mess with the denizens of the house. Hey, the show needed some new blood, anyway, so why not?

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That’s where we leave the episode, and from the looks of things in next week’s preview, Bentley won’t be the last to arrive, as we see two bikers/hikers/whatever on the premises as well, including what looks to be the returning Taissa Farmiga, as promised, as well as at least a couple of others, including a local cop, who we see one of the bikers yelling at, trying to convince there’s something going on in those creepy woods.

One assumes that, with yet another twist arriving in episode ten, that the whole Roanoke redux thing will be wrapped up next week, and we’ll find out who the last person standing will be. I’m sticking with Lee, but you never know- maybe it will be Audrey by default, as Murphy seems to leave her alive more often than not. It’s hard to imagine her evading some calamity, though, given how ludicrous her character is, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, this was a quick-moving episode, and if not quite as satisfying as the last one, at least it was never boring. I also like that they are still bringing in new people, as it provides more fodder for the ghosts and Polks and what have you. Might Gaga or Denis O’Hare also be returning before the show ends? We’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s hoping.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “American Horror Story”? Is the person you predicted would be the last person standing still in the fight? Did you see Bentley’s return coming? Do you think other actors from the re-enactments will follow? Whatever happened to the rest of the crew, like the F/X guy, for instance? Is Monet doomed? Will Audrey and Lee defeat the Polks, or die trying? Sound off with your predictions down below, and see you next week!