– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via FX

Image via FX

Like any show, this season of American Horror Story had its ups and downs. For me, the downs came following the first couple episodes. With a relatively small cast, it was difficult to bring some genuine scares to the story. Considering the show usually has a high body count, the writers were forced have have our leads run around the forest for five episodes, leaving very little room for actual plot development. This was a frustrating experience, and the change in the format for Episode 6 was a welcome one.

The second half of the show brought us a revolving door of cast members to be prepped for the slaughter, and as a result, the pacing was frenetic. Barely did we stop in the four episode we spent back at the dangerous forest. Whenever something would get boring, the filmmakers would change things up on us almost immediately, keeping us viewers on their toes.

“Chapter 9” of this season brought us to a bloody conclusion, with Lee Harris being left as the sole survivor of this terrible ordeal. But what challenges would she face in the final episode? She did, after all, confess to the murder of her ex-husband, Mason, while on the Polk ranch, and she still had a significant amount of work to do in mending the relationship with her daughter.

The first part of this episode dealt with the court case surrounding the murder. We are re-fed all this information through TV specials and recorded drama in the courtroom. We are given the evidence for an against her, and when all said and done, the jury apparently felt there was too much left to question for her to be held accountable for her actions. Lee is set free, which takes us to the second phase of the episode: The Oprah special.

Or rather, the Lana Winters special. American Horror Story fans will recognize Lana Winters from the Asylum season, in perhaps the biggest indication thus far that all these seasons actually tie together in some way. Show creator Ryan Murphy has been teasing this increasing connection for almost a year now, and from what we can tell, the threads will slowly be weaved closer and closer together as we get into future seasons. Anyway, this special goes south really quick when Lana reveals that Lee’s daughter has gone missing, and demands to know what happened to her. Things are further interrupted by the last Polk family member coming in, guns blazing, seeking revenge for the death of his family. Luckily for us, the man is taken out by a cop before either Lee or Lana are killed. Lee runs off, in search of her missing daughter.

But this leads us into the final part of the episode, where we follow a new team of ghost hunters hoping to make it big at the Roanoke house. While a new batch of ghost hunters would have been fine and dandy a few episodes ago, at this point, it feels incredibly derivative. We know that, before long, these ghost hunter will realize these dangers are all too real, before suffering a bloody fate. And yes, as has happened thrice already, that’s exactly what happens here, but not before Lee ends up at the house, searching for her missing daughter. It’s at this point that I realized that this ghost hunter show was a way for them to justify setting up more cameras around the house so they could chronicle the final drama with Lee and her daughter Flora.

Of course, Flora isn’t too happy with Lee for killing her father, and Lee realizes that her chance to actually save her relationship with her daughter is virtually a lost cause. There is no way she can go on living with her as she wants to. Additionally, Flora is stuck on staying with her ghost friend Priscilla. In a last ditch effort to win her love, Lee agrees to look after Priscilla in Flora’s place. Lee and Priscilla burn the house to the ground, and becomes a part of the Roanoke land.

While I’d definitely call this a great season, I have to say, this episode was bit underwhelming. The constant change in format was exhausting, and by the end, returning for the 133rd time to the Roanoke house reeked of stupidity. In the show’s favor, this certainly helped to keep the pacing up, and it’s understandable that the real focus be on Lee’s redemption, but I couldn’t help but feel an air of predictability and redundancy in the conclusion.

It wasn’t bad, but given the high bar set by this latter half of a season, I’d say it slightly fell short for me.

Grade: B

What did you think of the conclusion to this season of American Horror Story? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.