It’s the finale! We made it through ten weeks of surprisingly good, coherent story-telling. Did we make it to the home stretch without jumping the shark?? Um, not really.
Last week, the found footage reality show version of Roanoke came to an end. Everyone was dead except Lee, who had briefly been part of the Butcher’s crew but seemingly shook that off. She murdered multiple people, the ghosts torched some kids alive and Audrey got death by cop. Where do we go from here?
Reality TV, yet again. Lee is now on trial for multiple murders and it’s being covered by TV news shows, true crime specials and more. We flip through the footage to see she’s brought to trial for the murders of Monet, that Polk she killed and that live stream kid — but who’s being charged with the dozens of other murders? Is it like “oh those kids that got burnt at the stake were totally killed by ghosts so that’s fine, we can’t arrest ghosts.” Or like “beloved actor Rory was murdered by ghost nurses? That’s fine, I’m sure his family and fans don’t need answers.”
Speaking of fans – the episode actually starts with flashback footage of the entire cast of My Roanoke Nightmare (and the real life counterparts) on stage at Paley Fest. This is one of the most hilarious, on the nose bits I’ve ever seen on the show. The cast is constantly trying to one-up each other and get the crowd screaming, the fans are overly excited and a little cringe-worthy. Anyone who’s ever been to a panel at a Paley Fest or Comic Con type event will find this hitting a little too close to home, but it’s one of the most genuinely funny bits of the whole show.
Back to Lee! Her lawyer manages to get her off on all charges by showing the unedited footage of the Polks torturing her. The jurors explain, to an A&E style crime show, that after everything she went through it was no surprise she was paranoid and thought everyone was attacking her. Lee is found not guilty, but the prosecutor has another trick up his sleeve. He charges Lee again in the murder of Mason, with new evidence of Lee’s on tape confession and Flora’s testimony. Apparently, Flora was in the forest during the murder and saw the whole thing. Why was she hiding in the forest two steps away from her family the whole time she was missing? Who knows. Regardless, Lee’s (totally amazing) lawyer dismisses the confession as her trying to appease the Polks and dismisses Flora by pointing out the kid was hiding in the forest with her colonial ghost friend Priscilla. Clearly, she’s a troubled girl with an overactive imagination. Lee walks again.
Now we’re changing the channel over to Barbara Walters – err, Lana Winters, season two’s final girl and the third character Sarah Paulson gets to play this season. Lee agreed to sit down with Lana because she knows she’s seen and done some crazy things too. They don’t get far into the interview before Lana starts pressing Lee on Flora’s whereabouts: the kid is missing again. Before Lee can fully panic, the lone Polk busts in with his rifle and starts shooting up the production. Yes, really. One pro cameraman (like, such a pro) stays behind the couch and films the whole thing as Lana trying to talk the guy down before he hits her and knocks her out. The police arrive, and it’s all over!
Onto the next show: SPIRIT CHASERS! Now we’re talking. Some ghost trackers are breaking into the Roanoke house on the night of the blood moon with help from Ashley, the actor who played Cricket. Ashley is not really a psychic, he played one on a TV special, but no one tell him that. They are moving through the house, feeling energies and recording EVPs when Lee shows up. She’s looking for Flora and her gut tells her she came to find Priscilla. She warns the crew that they’re in trouble and should leave but this is TV gold, so they follow Lee. Things go about as well as you’d expect: Pig Man arrives and kills one of them, they all run and get separated, poor Cricket/Ashley dies, the survivors run outside where the police have just arrived and are taken down by arrows being shot seemingly from nowhere.
Lee has found Flora in the attic, and this is the first time we’re seeing them and not footage. Lee begs Flora to leave but Flora wants to die and stay with Priscilla forever to protect her from the Butcher. Lee offers to stay behind instead: she’ll die and become Priscilla’s mom if Flora promises to leave and live a nice, full and happy life with her grandparents. Flora agrees and Lee and Priscilla walk hand in hand before the house burns to the ground. Police have the scene surrounded and it’s all over — minus the part where it’s still the blood moon, and the Butcher and her crew are waiting.
Okay, so what? That’s… what? I mean there’s a lot in this finale that I like: the Paley Fest footage, the ghost show, the idea of the reality TV follow-up. It’s just a lot going on in one hour, and Lee dying to be with Priscilla feels… unearned. That doesn’t resolve anything! I care more about how all the actor friends died but none of their ghosts showed up (surely ghost Shelby could take care of Priscilla?), or how the tree witch gave Lee powers that seemingly wore off in a few hours? Also, where is the tree witch at now? Does the world at large just believe in ghosts now? If not, who’s on the hook for all the murders? How aren’t more people making pilgrimages to the house, trying to meet the Butcher? Why do they think I care at all about Flora?
Anyway, that’s it. It was a good and interesting season with a few missteps and a lacklustre finale. Still miles better than whatever Hotel was, though, so I’ll take it.