The Biggest 'AHS: Roanoke' Twist Could Be That There Is No Twist
American Horror Story can sometimes come off as a prank show — except the prank is on the audience. AHS presents wild circumstances, then instantly pulls the rug out from under the audience as if to say, "Can you believe you thought that was real?" It's a playful series that has managed to find joy in toying with not only its characters, but its audience as well. The promotional cycle leading up to American Horror Story: Roanoke has been its greatest trick yet — refusing to reveal the theme of the season right up until its premiere. Showrunner Ryan Murphy promised to have another trick up his sleeve — but what if the trick is that there is no trick? Could AHS: Roanoke 's big Episode 6 twist be that there is no big twist?
Murphy has proven himself to be one of televisions greatest pranksters — subverting expectations and challenging audiences every chance he gets. AHS: Roanoke throws yet another twist at viewers, replacing the tried-and-true AHS formula with a fake docuseries format and introducing a show-within-a-show called My Roanoke Nightmare. Ryan Murphy himself has said that another twist is coming, telling Entertainment Weekly that "You’ll see starting in Episode 6, the show has a huge turn and the thing that you think you’re watching is not what you’re watching," but is there really a twist coming or is this another one of Ryan Murphy's narrative tricks?
While many fans are theorizing that Episode 6 will begin the "real" season of American Horror Story: Roanoke , and the fiction of the dramatic recreations and the reality of what happened will begin to fold into each other. This would certainly be an interesting idea, but co-creator Brad Falchuk claimed to Entertainment Weekly that "no matter what you think it is, it’s not that." If Falchuk was right and this twist is so unguessable that fans would never see it coming, what could it possibly be?
It's not hard to imagine that Murphy and Falchuk may just be toying with audiences. For starters, why be incredibly secretive about the making of AHS: Roanoke for a full year and then do an interview revealing exactly when the big twist of the season is going to occur? That's like building a labyrinth and then telling people exactly where to go to escape. That's like if the showrunners of Game of Thrones did interviews saying, "We've got a huge twist coming up called the 'Red Wedding.' You'll never see it coming in Season 3, Episode 9. A lot of people are going to die and here are their names..."
Beyond the weirdness of publicly revealing your show's major twist, AHS: Roanoke has already been breaking AHS tradition as it is. Most American Horror Story seasons are massive, sprawling affairs covering dozens of characters and hopping between plotlines. AHS: Roanoke is already unique for taking a focused approach and following one main plotline and exploring the narratives that branch out from there. It'd almost be a shame to see that patience and attention to character get left behind in the name of a twist. After all, Murphy and Falchuk are fresh off the heels of the critical success that was American Crime Story, and perhaps all those Emmy wins have taught them a thing or two about pacing and constructing a season of television that doesn't rely on huge narrative twists.
While fans may be headed for a huge fake-out, it's such a Ryan Murphy move that I can't imagine people being that mad about it. People watch American Horror Story to be shocked, and Murphy is simply looking for ways to do that across mediums and using the press to the show's advantage. While his vision of Season 6 won't be clear until the finale hits, there's no way that fans are getting off Mr. Murphy's Wild Ride anytime soon.
Images: Screenshot/FX, Giphy