American Horror Story Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: Blood Moon Rising

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Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of American Horror Story: Roanoke.

This week in haunted North Carolina backcountry: Shelby is very upset after catching her husband having sex with a woodland witch. Matt, on the other hand, is very confused. He doesn't remember any of it — or so he says. Eventually, he breaks down sobbing, prompting Shelby to instantly forgive him. (Cheating husbands, take note.) “I know what I saw," real-life Shelby tells the camera. "It was real. But I could see in his eyes, he wasn’t culpable.” Must be nice.
Following this short, but tearful encounter, Shelby goes upstairs to shower, only to have the Pig Man jump out at her. Matt tackles him, but it's no good. The creature chases them through the house, until it suddenly falls down — hit over the head by Professor Elias Cunningham, looking far less hirsute that in his homemade videos. The Pig Man rears its head once more, but Cunningham knows what to do. He yells "Croatoan!" and the house goes quiet. Smiling, Cunningham turns to the Millers. “He’ll be back." Great.

As Shelby and Matt try to process what has just occurred, Cunningham explains the meaning behind the magic word that makes the spirits go away. "Croatoan," it seems, was a message left at Roanoke so that others would know where to find the Lost Colony. It's a word that contains "power and blood magic." (This all becomes far more clear as the episode progresses.) Cunningham also takes the time to clue in Matt and Shelby on why this house is so dangerous: Pretty much anyone who has lived in it has died. That includes The Chens, a Taiwanese family who bought the house in 1973, only to be viciously killed by The Butcher's mob; a group of hunters from the '50s who turned their rifles on each other and blew their heads off; and yes, even the murderous nurses from Episode 2. Cunningham was visited by their ghosts while he was in the forest, and they told him how they died. One was literally pulled apart. The other, beheaded. What makes all those deaths significant, though, is that they all occured during the same lunar cycle in October. During a six-day period, the spirits can kill. And SURPRISE, it's that time of the year. The first quarter moon rises that same night, so better high-tail it out of here. At first, Shelby thinks this is a ploy to get the house back — until Matt mentions Priscilla. Cunningham says he knows where to find her, and by the same token, Flora. The three set off into the woods (they never learn), where they run into Lady Gaga. Shelby, who unlike Matt, still has the gift of her memory, runs after her. Obviously, she doesn't reach the woodland witch. She does however, come face to face with three semi-headless hunters. The blood moon cycle has begun. Matt and Cunningham catch up to her, and glimpse Flora frolicking around with the other spirits. Cunningham tries to convince Priscilla to let Flora go, but he's shot and killed by multiple arrows (their provenance is unclear) and Flora is spirited away. (Pardon the pun.) Matt and Shelby make a run for the house, where Cricket is waiting for them. “You two look a fright," he deadpans. "You ready to do things my way now?" Convinced Flora isn't dead, Cricket decides to go looking for answers. When he gets back, he has some: "I met the bitch with the real power." That lovely lady, it turns out, is Lady Gaga, the forest witch. After blinding Cricket and pinning him to the ground, she agrees to show him what Roanoke is all about — in exchange for Matt.
The witch pulls Cricket into the past, where he observes what really happened to the Lost Colony. Apparently, it wasn't lost at all. In fact, it thrived. Unfortunately, the price to pay for all this bliss was human sacrifice. And not everyone was on board — especially after The Butcher violently executed little Priscilla with a very large rock. The Butcher's son, who, if you recall, had led a rebellion against her once before, proposes another one. (Also, can we talk about how bad Wes Bentley's accent is? I mean, really.) Obviously, The Butcher cannot let that stand. Fueled by Lady Gaga whispering words of revenge, she tricks the colonists with a fake peace offering: a "special fruit." You would think that these people might think twice before accepting strange food from this clearly suspicious woman, but nope, they eat it, and yes, they all die. As she finishes the townspeople off, The Butcher curses them, binding them to this place forever. Then, she offers herself to the witch, who slits her throat. "It was a blood sacrifice to the ancient gods," Cricket explains. "An offering so great it consecrated this ground." That's why these spirits go from being "loathsome to lethal" every year. But it's OKAY, guys. Because after this long-winded narrative, Cricket has a solution: A spell that can put The Butcher and her spirits down for good. Unfortunately, as Cricket is on his way to retrieve items for said spell, Flora jumps in front of his Uber. Meanwhile, Matt and Shelby are starting to worry. Cricket still hasn’t shown up. At this point, one wonders if there's something these people aren't telling us. Because really, nothing, not even your life savings wrapped up in a property, is worth this amount of stress. IS IT WORTH YOUR LIFE? Exhausted, Shelby goes to sleep. (Big mistake.) As happens every other night, Matt hears whispers and for some reason, decides to investigate. He makes it as far as the creepy root cellar when he hears someone call his name. "Someone was down there," real-life Matt narrates. For a moment I thought maybe it was Elias." Obviously it’s not him. It’s Lady Gaga, who is ready for the lovin' she was promised and has set the mood with candles. "I tried to resist, but it was impossible," Matt says. Seriously, this guy sounds like A Bro's Guide To Cheating 101. But this scene provides us with some backstory on the forest witch. She was born in England, centuries ago, and was descended from Druids. Afraid of persecution in her own country, she stowed away on a ship bound for the New World. Unfortunately for her, the soldiers who found her on the other side mistook her for a witch, and sentenced her to burn. But Gaga doesn't roll like that, so she seduced one of them and killed him, enabling her to escape into the wild.
There, Matt explains, "the old magic and new world created something new. Something original. "
When Shelby wakes up, she's alone. Rather than stay in the relative safety of the house, she goes looking for Matt. Lucky for him, The Butcher's mob arrives just in time to prevent Shelby from walking in on his sexy interlude. He literally throws Gaga away to help Shelby. The Butcher, who is holding Flora by the hand, is not here to negotiate, despite the Millers' pleas. It's time for a new human sacrifice. But tight when she's about to slit Flora's throat, Priscilla bashes her over the head with a rock (karma!) and Flora runs to her family. Cricket, however, does not fare so well. The Butcher stabs him with her cleaver. Then, while he still breathes, a meat hook is inserted into his abdomen, and he is disemboweled, as The Butcher smiles at Matt and Shelby. “Her message was clear: we were next."
Some Life Lessons: Life Lesson #1: Don't trust random people showing up at your haunted house.
Life Lesson #2: Amnesia is not an excuse for cheating on your wife.
Life Lesson #3: Stop going into the woods. Just stop.
Life Lesson #4: Nothing — especially not a rickety old house — is worth this.

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