The much-hyped twist is set to come next week and, well, it needs to. This episode ends in a head scratcher, and we know something else must be coming.
For once, we don’t start where we last left off. This week takes us way back to the start – the farmhouse’s original owner, Edward Phillipe Mott (Evan Peters). Mott is building a house in the middle of the forest to get away from everyone except his large art collection and his lover/servant. There is tragedy throughout the building of the house, according to the historian in the talking head interview, with several people dying during construction.
Things get even worse once Mott moves in: someone trashes his precious artwork and he swings into a rage, locking all his servants in the bunker until someone confesses, save his lover. The Butcher and her crew show up that night and murder Mott, impaling him and then roasting him alive. His lover escaped and was arrested for the murder since no one really believed “an army of angry Colonial ghosts did it.” In all the chaos, everyone kind of forgot about the imprisoned servants, and their bodies were discovered much later.
Back in the present day, Matt and Shelby are trapped in the house with Flora, and the Butcher’s angry mob is outside. Their big escape plan is Matt going out to distract everyone while Shelby and Flora run to the car. Don’t they have a back door they can escape out of? Before their plan can go into action, a Grudge-like ghost snatches Flora and runs. The ghosts of the Butcher’s previous victims are in the house and working for her, so Matt and Shelby grab Flora back and run to the basement to hide. Mott’s ghost is down there and is somehow the only one not working for the Butcher, so he lets the family escape in his secret tunnels. He takes them out into the forest and leaves them on their own. His face turns from normal to ghostly as the light from his torch passes across his face, in one of the show’s finer SFX moments.
Now they’re on their own, back in the forest. This obviously isn’t going to end well. The hillbillies are back and capture the family quite easily and take them back to their farm. Elias is alive there, but barely. The hillbillies said Mama did her magic to keep him alive, apparently so they can eat his flesh. Of course they’re cannibals. The Texas Chainsaw family have a deal with the Butcher: they can live on the land and be left alone as long as they provide a blood sacrifice for the Roanoke people every once in a while. Sorry Shelby, Matt and Flora: you’re going back. Elias gets his head gruesomely bashed in by one of the hillbillies, so at least he gets to skip whatever the Butcher has in store.
They load up the truck and one of the hillbillies sits in the back with his shotgun trained on them. Matt is obviously waiting for a chance to attack, and takes it, wrestling for control of the shotgun. Shelby gets a decent kick in and the gun goes off, blowing off the head of the hillbilly driving the truck. The car goes off the road and Matt decides they should take their chances in the woods, instead of taking the shotgun and stealing the car, for whatever reason. They are caught again in like 0.05 seconds, obviously. Mama is pissed that they killed her son, on top of having her feral kids taken away a few weeks ago, and grabs a shovel. Matt prepares himself for whatever torture is coming his way, but Mama attacks Shelby instead, breaking her ankle. No more running away. They’re thrown back into the truck and driven to the Butcher.
Meanwhile, Lee is finally getting released from prison. She’s been interrogated for 48 straight hours about Mason’s death and everyone seems really uninterested in finding Flora. She checks her phone upon release and sees Matt’s text that they have Flora (did the police even follow up on this missing person’s case?) and asks a cop to drive her back to the farmhouse. She gets there just in time to see the mob, the flames and the Butcher ready to sacrifice Flora first. She runs out of the car and the cop just puts it in reverse and takes off. Clearly stellar police force in this part of the woods!
The Butcher is in the middle of her “this is our land and I will protect it” speech, but her son has had enough. He stops her and says no more innocent blood will be spilt, and takes the Butcher into the fire with him. Mott appears to free Matt and Shelby, and Lee runs the Pig Man over with her burnt car before he grabs Flora again. They all pile into the car and take off to a motel, where things are seemingly… over? Shelby even says she’s glad she’ll “never have to see that horrible place again.” She still has nightmares, but that’s it.
But that’s clearly not it. We’re barely halfway through the season, and next week is supposed to be a big twist. The story isn’t over, but it’s certainly changing. So what’s going to happen? Do the actors filming the re-enactments start to get haunted? Does the documentary producer bring the “real life” actors back to the house? Is the Butcher really dead? What about Lady Gaga’s tree witch? Did the police ever arrest anyone for all those dead bodies? What does the rest of this season really have in store?