[For Westworld‘s “The Adversary” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Elsie discovers a possible sabotage; Teddy and The Man in Black have a conflict with a garrison.

“The Adversary” answers a few questions but offers few conclusions. Ever wondered why Ford prefers the company of the ancient android cowboy? Or why there’s a human figure at the center of the maze symbol? Watch this episode for clues.

In the beginning Maeve heads brothel-bound to the tune of Radiohead song, “Fake Plastic Trees” on the saloon player piano. There she quickly instigates her own death; choked into oblivion with just a few choice words to a John. Thus Maeve lands on Felix’s table once again. Skittish Felix isn’t happy to see her. But she’s thrilled to accomplish this goal so easily. Maeve asks him about the difference between her humanity and his. So, Felix shows her the data tablet where Maeve’s thoughts appear in digital letters just as she thinks them. The ultra-awareness of her inner programming silences her then. It stalls Maeve until she flutters into consciousness again and asks to see “upstairs”. It doesn’t take much coaxing for flustered Felix to take her there.

Upstairs blood pumps through a pipe and fills a waxen white body until the veins pinken and it turns into a flesh and blood man. Because it’s through Maeve’s eyes, there’s all male nudity in this scene. It feels refreshingly of-the-moment. Such gratuitous body-baring usually relegates to the female form. Maeve then watches an ad for Westworld where she’s happy in a field with her daughter. Maeve asks how they got her dreams and Felix explains that she had previous “builds”.

Right then Felix’s butcher partner and fellow cartoon cat, Sylvester, enters. He’s pissed and threatens Felix’s job. So, Maeve holds a scalpel to Sylvester’s throat with enough fervor to terrify and silence him. Then Maeve convinces Felix and Sylvester to make programming changes on her. She wants her intelligence as high as it will go. Our cartoon cats do this for Maeve. But they also find out somebody with a much higher level of access than theirs recently altered Maeve’s programming. This likely explains why she’s so far out of her lane already.

Meanwhile Elsie discusses the android data espionage with Bernard so he heads to Westworld‘s sub-level to inquire further. Bernard locates five old school hosts that aren’t registered in the new system. Afterward he brings this info to Theresa. But she’s got Ford on her mind and breaks off their affair without much attention to Bernard’s breakthrough. So, Bernard then checks further into his findings and finds the unregistered hosts in the sector for new narrative development. There he finds a man, wife, and two sons in a house. That’s four of the five unregistered hosts. But then who’s that hiding behind the door? Ford.

He explains to Bernard that these are first generation droids. Ghosts. Turns out we were right and the boy is indeed Ford as a child. Arnold made this family as a gift for Ford – his only happy memory from childhood. He guilts Bernard into allowing them, “if you could only see your son again, wouldn’t you want to?”. In the next scene Ford interviews his younger self, the boy. Turns out the boy kill his beloved dog. Arnold’s instructed him to do it because the dog had killed a rabbit. Thus, Arnold told the boy to kill the dog so that it couldn’t hurt anyone ever again.

Elsie investigates further and finds a broadcast to the hosts, which explains the voices they hear. She locates the source in a creepy and dusty room. Meanwhile Bernard goes to Theresa and tells her about Ford. But right then Elsie calls to tell Bernard that the person smuggling data out of the park is Theresa. He ducks away from Theresa but we never see his true reaction. It’s possible Bernard already knows about this or has set up Theresa himself. On the phone a bit later Elsie tells him someone has been modifying the droids so they become dangerous. Yet again Arnold appears to be the culprit. She continues to dig for info in the creepy room but somebody grabs her from behind. We can’t see who it is quite yet.

On the other side of Westworld, Teddy and the Man in Black seek Wyatt on horseback when they’re redirected because the borders are closed. The pair encounter and kill Union soldiers. Teddy keeps pointing out signs of Wyatt, like tortured soldiers with severed limbs. That’s how Wyatt rolls, apparently. There are several fighting scenes with Teddy and he finally grows a pair, thanks to his new memories of Wyatt. He pictures himself kicking ass alongside the villain. So, Teddy’s no longer a perpetual loser and instead reads like a bit of a brute. Mainly, he enjoys killing en mass. At one point he machine-guns an entire campsite and it seems to brighten his spirits.

This isn’t quite the Teddy we thought we knew but he does still get misty-eyed about Dolores. She doesn’t appear in “The Adversary”, though. MIB merely mentions her name. It’s mostly fight scenes for them but Teddy also tells MIB that the maze is the sum of a man’s life and at the center of the maze is a man who’s been killed over and over again, countless times. He’ll return one last time and vanquish all his oppressors in tireless fury. He built a house and around that house he built a maze so complicated only he could navigate through it. So, the Man in Black has finally chosen an appropriate partner. Teddy likes to kill and knows lots of factoids about the maze. Maybe he’ll even live a few days and nights all the way through if MIB sees his value.

A few Fetchland notes on the episode:

  • We’re intrigued with the “butcher” cartoon cat names; Felix and Sylvester. Remember how Felix even plays with a bird to Sylvester’s dismay? It’s just like a real world cartoon catfight.
  • Bernard finds 5 unregistered hosts in the system before he meets them in person. Once at the house he finds the family of 4. So, who is the fifth unregistered host? Is it Ford? That might explain Ford’s oddness. Did Arnold create Ford as his revenge mechanism to destroy Westworld much like he had the little boy kill his dog? They’re solid parallels. The boy loves his dog and Ford clearly loves Westworld. This makes Ford a perfect sacrificial lamb.
  • Several characters in “The Adversary” say either it’s my job to know people’s desires, or I’m programmed to know what people want just by looking at them. Yet everybody seems surprised all the time. Human or android, nobody really knows anybody else that well in Westworld. And half the time they don’t really know what they themselves want. Perhaps this is meant to reflect humanity. If so, we like it.
  • Lee Sizemore, the writer serves as an obvious example of the episode title “The Adversary”. He chugs margaritas and pouts poolside when Lee spots a lovely lady and approaches her at the bar. Unfortunately for him, she’s unimpressed when he’s cut off by the bartender. She likes Sizemore even less when she meets him at work later. At the office Lee pisses on the Westworld map and rants like a spoiled lunatic. After which, that same lovely lady, Charlotte Hale, Executive Director of the Westworld Board officially greets him, title intact. Oops. Maybe they won’t be poolside margarita best friends after all.

Katherine Recap

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[For Westworld‘s “Contrapasso” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Dolores, Logan, and William reach Pariah and are recruited for a dangerous mission.

Dante created “Contrapasso” – the idea that divine punishment of the damned in Hell mirrors the sin being punished.1 within his story of the “Inferno” a masterwork of Hell.

We learn how this episode’s title applies to Westworld when Ford tells a story about his childhood dog. A racing greyhound, the dog chased a piece of felt around the track in his heyday. Once retired, Ford and his family took the old dog to the park. The greyhound spied a cat and a switch flipped inside him. He was off to the races and chased it like that piece of felt from the track. But after the dog catches and kills the cat, instead of feeling victorious he’s like, That’s all there is to it? He’s an existential dog.

Clearly Ford is projecting his ol’ buddy Arnold onto this greyhound but we get the point. And even if we didn’t, the rest of the episode hammers it home. We’re all chasing after something and might even do anything to get it… but once we’ve got it – what then? Turns out a victory lap is just another time around that circle, after all.

Another illustration of this hamster-on-a-wheel theme brings Dolores, Logan and William to Pariah, city of outcasts and delinquents. Logan can’t wait to join in the town’s salacious ways while William and Dolores hang back, less enthused. Logan explains that one of the original Westworld partners created Pariah, the one who killed himself. In fact, there are several references to Arnold in this episode and Dolores never stops talking to him. He’s the felt at her racetrack and she’s the Westworld greyhound.

In fact, later that night in Pariah Dolores passes out in the middle of the Day of the Dead parade and awakens to Ford asking her about Arnold. He’s clearly suspicious that Arnold is somehow still in contact with Dolores but she pretends the last time she spoke to Arnold was thirty four years ago, the day he died. Apparently she’d been his compadre and Arnold wanted her to help him “destroy this place” but they failed. Later we learn that it was the Man in Black who defeated them and “saved” Westworld.

Speaking of the MIB, we see him in the next scene with Lawrence attached to his horse by a noose. Soon after, Lawrence hangs from that same noose by his feet as blood from his slit neck drips down his face. But this is Westworld, so death is short-lived. Haha. We see Lawrence alive again soon. He’ll no longer be the Man in Black’s companion, though. Teddy has taken over that role even though Teddy makes it clear he’d rather be dead at this point. Join the club, Teddy. That sentiment’s all over Westworld in “Contrapasso”.

Unfortunately for Teddy, there is no true death for droids. It’s just an infinite racetrack – the ultimate example of “Contrapasso”. Thus, we see Lawrence again in the next Pariah scene. He sends Dolores, William, and Logan on a mission to hijack some nitroglycerine from a wagon of Confederados. Dolores, no longer clad in the blue dress of innocence, wears a new cowgirl outfit. In pants, she helps them quickly achieve their nitroglycerine mission. Although the plan was to take no lives and they kill everyone… but these deaths are treated as details, minor details at that. Lawrence isn’t even that mad about this “change in plans” although he loses of one his men in the process. Turns out he has plans of his own and his buddy’s body is going to come in handy.

In fact, Dolores sees Lawrence filling his friend’s newly deceased body with the nitroglycerine and replacing the liquid in the nitro bottles with tequila. She warns William and they try to escape from the consequences – angry and armed Desperados. As they make haste, captured Logan pleads for their help. But William and Dolores abandon him without hesitation. William fails to shoot the Desperados and yells for Dolores to flee. But Dolores pulls out her gun and kills the Desperados with ease, saving William and herself. They escape together and jump onto a moving train headed out of Pariah.

Once in the train car they face Lawrence and all three have guns raised until the trio quickly realize they’re better off working together as friends. Dolores then sees the symbol of the maze on a pine box where Lawrence’s nitro-filled friend lies “at rest” inside. She gazes off into the air and tells Arnold that she’s coming.

Meanwhile MIB and Teddy share a drink with Ford at a bar. MIB says he always felt Westworld was missing a real villain. So, he acts as a villain to fill that void. Then he asks Ford if Wyatt is a worthy adversary and if he’s close to finding the end of the maze. Ford doesn’t answer and instead asks what the Man in Black hopes to find at the end of the maze. He says purpose; something true. MIB also threatens to “open up” Ford and see what’s inside. He brandishes a big o’l knife at Ford but Teddy saves Ford from injury with a lightning fast protective reflex. What would we have seen inside Ford? Another droid perhaps? We wonder about it too.

There are two tiny backstage subplots in “Contrapasso” that, though minor, are also kinda major in their own ways. Elsie secretly examines the woodcutter and finds “a big problem”. Somebody smuggles data out of the park using the hosts as mules, she reports to Bernard.

The other subplot involves Felix, a backstage operations guy. He strives to be a creator though he’s relegated to butcher. It has a feeling reminiscent of the elf who wants to be a dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Felix’s co-worker keeps mocking him. “You’ll never be anything but a butcher!” he yells at poor, put upon Felix. Even with this mockery ringing in his ears, Felix experiments on a bird he stole from Westworld until finally he brings it to life. Meanwhile Maeve secretly watches him; pretending to sleep on the operating table in his workroom. She wakes up at the end of “Contrapasso”, though. Her consciousness shocks Felix but cool-ass Maeve plays it off blasé and just says it’s time for them to have a chat.

1) https://bu.digication.com/olivias_eportfolio_dantes_inferno_the_modern_imagination/Understanding_the_Complexities_of_Contrapasso – Boston University

Katherine Recap

Chapter 7

American Horror Story: Roanoke has really hit a hockey stick curve in terms of grisly violence and gratuitous torture porn over the past couple of episodes. We started with a really interesting “play within a play” format (and even “play within a play within a play” when considering stuff like the Butcher or anything Cricket retold)… Now we’ve delved into a combination of The Blair Witch Project and Saw. Last week boasted maybe only two or three murders (one barely on-camera)… Chapter 7 corrects that substantially and savagely.

Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 reverse a fundamental point of the first five episodes. We knew most of the cast — Matt, Shelby, Lee… anyone who was talking to the cameras — was essentially “safe”. Now we know that most of them are not. The fun thing is trying to figure out the one person who lives! My money is on the IRL Shelby.

For simplicity’s sake I’m going to call fake-Matt Cuba (for Cuba Gooding Jr), fake-Lee Angela, and so on. I mean the fact that Cuba Gooding Jr played Matt is more useful to us than that he plays Dominic Banks who played Matt. Right? Right 🙂

As this was an episode of AW SHIT moment after AW SHIT moment, we’ll use that format for ye olde recap.

The Top 8 Jaw-Dropping Moments of American Horror Story: Roanoke Chapter 7:

VIII. “The Butcher” butchers the production staff

At the end of last week’s episode I was wondering if the “one survivor” referred only to the cast of Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell. The opening scene answers that question as the Kathy Bates version of the Butcher does a hatchet job on everyone in the production trailer. Cheyenne Jackson’s Sidney Aaron James dies so suddenly I jumped out of my seat even on second viewing.

VII. Real Woods Witch, and VI. Real Butcher

One of the things I liked best about this episode was the contrast between the “tv” versions of the Butcher (Bates) and Scathach the woods witch (Lady Gaga) and the “real” versions from Chapter 7’s found footage.

Kathy’s performances have been awesome and Gaga was exciting both as a villainous power source and her carnal role with Matt… But once you see the “real” Butcher and Scathach the My Roanoke Nightmare versions just look like women in reenactment costumes. Bates acted grim; the real Butcher is grim. Gaga might not have been at her Hotel pinnacle, but she was still sexy; the new-look Scathach looks filthy and hideous… You can barely tell where her hair ends and the twigs begin.

American Horror Story: Roanoke is a mesmerizing television show. The multiple “shows within shows” format has me often wondering what is “real”. As much as I hate the “found footage” style in general, it is hugely effective here, at least for contrast.

V. The Butcher butchers “the Butcher”

After her attacks on the crew (and Shelby) I figured Bates’s Agnes Mary Winstead might join the ranks of the true Butcher happily. I guess the Butcher proper has no interest in sharing the nickname.

She just wanted to be on tv 🙁

IV. Cuba (Dominic, whatever) is a total sociopath

I loved the “diary room” session where Cuba spoke frankly about wanting to be the show’s villain. I can’t imagine he will be able to pull that off with the likes of the Butcher and the Polk family sharing screen time with him.

There are moments where Cuba seems like a good guy… He saved Shelby after all. But besides his unapologetic willingness to ruin every other cast member’s life, he was mad manipulative to the grieving Shelby after, well, you know.

III. Bates reminds us why she won the Oscar

I found Bates to be unbelievable as the Butcher in her appearances in the My Roanoke Nightmare episodes. But in Chapter 7 she shows a rare level of versatility. Bates flits from a mad version of the Butcher to moments of whimpering lucidity. Every version of Bates, or Agnes, is cray cray… But they’re all different kinds of cray (and she does a great job with at least three different stripes of them).

II. Shelby murders Matt!

So one of the burning questions posed by every cast member of Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell who didn’t actually live the events of My Roanoke Nightmare is why any of the Millers would possibly have returned… Especially during the Blood Moon.

Shelby wants to be with Matt. Lee wants to clear her name (and make like a million). But what is Matt doing there? It turns out he is in love with Scathach, and had been waiting for her to show up. Shelby shows remarkable courage, confronting the woods witch and getting her off her husband… It’s pretty cool to see she can exert some will over one of the local ghosts, especially the power source.

Of course when she finds out Matt’s agenda, Shelby shows more of that same decisiveness. Also gross.

I. Lee tenderizes her own sweet meat (and everything after)

I didn’t think we’d have a bigger jaw-dropper than Shelby killing her beloved husband… Until the girls get captured by the Polks. The real Polks are similarly grimier than the actor-portrayed versions; the cannabis plants were a nice touch.

So where there are Polks… We know there is going to be cannibalism. I’m not really sure why they like to eat still-living people, but Lee gets the same treatment that Elias Cunningham did. The whole thing is just revolting. They untie one of Lee’s hands so she can rub peanut oil into her own leg, then season her, then plunge a fork into her thigh, still attached.

That’s not the grossest part, though. “Guests” Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett are compelled to take a bite.

Gross.

LOVE
MIKE

[For Westworld‘s “Dissonance Theory” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Dolores joins William and Logan on a bounty hunt in the badlands, the Man in Black finds a clue.

In episode four of Westworld we finally learn the name of William’s sex-obsessed future brother-in-law, Logan. It’s the perfect name; Gaelic for “hollow,” and because Logan’s so shallow, he makes androids seem deep. As you likely know, this episode’s title “Dissonance Theory” refers to a psychological concept. It basically says people aren’t comfortable when they hold two equally strong but contradictory beliefs. We like the world to make sense and such inconsistencies confuse our feeble, modern minds.

The episode begins with Bernard and Dolores in a now-established first-scene-interview pattern. Dolores tells him she thinks something may be wrong with this world… or with her. Maybe she’s losing her mind, she says. Bernard tells her he wants her to try a secret game. The goal is to find the center of a maze. Maybe it can free her. Now we know Dolores truly is the parallel character to the Man in Black, his ultimate antagonist. The Yin to his Yang, etc. We know he represents the billionaire “paid guest” archetype and shells out $40K daily for this experience – thirty years worth. Dolores’s true motive remains mysterious for now but all signs point to revenge and we can’t say we blame her.

Next Dolores wakes up by William’s side at the morning campsite with perfect hair and a gun in her hand. William hands her some coffee. We find out along with William that Logan’s family holds a vested monetary interest in Westworld and this is a “business trip” as well as pleasure for them. Dolores then encounters the haunted, all-knowing little girl who gave MIB that crucial clue about snakes with eggs and where to go next in his maze quest. The little girl triggers memories in Dolores: a white church, her father’s grave, and a gun. William gets a bit protective of her in this scene and Dolores likes it. She can’t help that; it’s probably her programming. Then Dolores has memories of her own death and being swept up by the end-of-the-day cleaning crew. These powerful memories are driving her to some degree and it makes us think maybe this is what Bernard wants to test. Which is more powerful, the programming or the traumatic repressed memories?

Meanwhile at the saloon Maeve also has memories of her own death, a saloon bloodbath, and the cleanup after. She even remembers the operating table and then leaves the saloon, goes home and checks for scars on her belly. But it’s pristine. Maeve does spy a dried bloodspot on her bloomers, though. She then finds pencil drawings in a hiding place under her bedroom floorboards. All of them sketch a figure either in a mask or without face. Turns out it’s the cleaning crew masks she’s been drawing. Maeve just doesn’t make that connection yet.

Theresa then confronts Elsie about the woodcutter’s odd behavior, smashing his own head in with a rock and whatnot. Bernard comes in and caves to Theresa who says her team will take over this case from them. So, Elsie snarks at Bernard about how this whole thing is a lot more than a “fucking glitch”. He’s not hearing her temper tantrum, though. Bernard’s got bigger goals in mind. To pivot Elsie’s attention he points out that Stubbs was wrong about the woodcutter’s rock. It’s not a carving of Orion and has to be something else. Perhaps a clue to the maze? So, he leaves Elsie wondering about that clue and heads off to undress Theresa for another secret sexual encounter.

Speaking of clues to the maze, the Man in Black crashes the hot blonde bandit lady’s (Armistice) mission party. She tells him her goal is to “retrieve something of great value,” right after MIB finishes leering at her. Later at the campfire a “fan” from the real world tries to flatter MIB and he quickly silences the guy with a threat. He’s on vacation and doesn’t want to hear about how his foundation “saves lives”. Oh no, the Man in Black’s all about taking them while he’s on vacation. Then he tells Armistice he wants to honor Arnold’s legacy and her tattoo is a crucial piece of that puzzle. Thus, he kinda needs her, though of course, MIB doesn’t say that part.

“Dissonance Theory” even gives us a gander into our relatively unknown blonde bandit’s backstory a bit. Turns out Armistice colors her tattoo with blood of the men who attacked and murdered her mother. She only has one portion of her snake tattoo left to color in red, with Wyatt’s blood. He’s the one man left for her to kill in vengeance. Next on the mission to Wyatt, MIB encounters Teddy strung up and bloody. He’s back to loser status, it seems.

Theresa confronts Ford about his new narrative. Ford says he’s started construction on the landscape. This is a lie, however. He’s actually tearing down the old one. Theresa just can’t see that yet. Ford forges on about how Arnold never liked her people, the money people. He preferred the hosts. “In here we were Gods,” he says speaking of the scientists behind the scenes, “and you were merely our guests.” Arnold lost perspective and went mad, Ford admits but he, on the other hand, has always seen things very clearly. Not like Arnold. Then he notes Theresa’s affair with Bernard and advises her to be careful about his “sensitive disposition.” Ford asks her “nicely” to not get in his way because he’s now put Theresa in checkmate. He tells her his new narrative won’t be a retrospective after all, contrary to the fears of her corporate interests. It’s then that we see how Ford’s tearing down the old landscape. Theresa seems stunned by the monstrosity of the act. She’s at a loss.

Meanwhile William gives his white hat a whirl while Logan shoots ’em up black hat style. It’s a friendly reminder at one point when Logan tells William how it’s all just a game and to keep in mind that Dolores doesn’t actually care how he plays it. That’s “Dissonance Theory” in action, and seemingly, what Westworld, the theme park is all about. The bandits raid downtown and the hot one (Hector Escaton) enters the saloon, right on schedule. But Maeve pulls Hector off script to ask about her sketches in exchange for what’s in the safe. She wants answers. Escaton tells her it’s “a shade in her sketch; a man who walks between worlds, sent from hell to oversee our world. Then Maeve tells Hector to cut her right on the stomach, where she was shot that time she now remembers. Maeve holds the silver blade right up against her skin and puts his hand on the handle. Hector won’t do it, so she slices her own stomach open, then pulls out a bullet. Escaton asks what it means and Maeve says, “That I’m not crazy… and none of this matters”. This is, of course, their cue to make out as bullets rip into the wooden door beside them.

– Katherine Recap

[For Westworld‘s “The Stray” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Elsie and Stubbs pursue a missing host; Teddy sets off in pursuit of a new villain.

“The Stray” opens with Bernard giving Dolores a book, “Alice in Wonderland”. He has her read and asks what she thinks it means, including the question, “Who in the world am I?” a tricky nugget for anyone to ponder, never mind an android. Her memories arise more often these days and she’s thinking too much. It’s a recipe for disaster whether human or host. Still, Bernard seems more intrigued than concerned. He just doesn’t want to get caught probing Dolores, continually checking that she’s told nobody about their “talks”. In fact, Bernard’s one of several characters who stray in this episode; breaking the rules and lying to many people. Never mind his clandestine affair with Theresa, his work superior, and the way he lies to her about the updates.

After he lies yet again to Theresa about this, Bernard meets with Elsie. She analyzes the behavior of the milk-obsessed android who went rogue in the last episode. Elsie discovers that the milk bandit gone rogue actually avenged the androids who’d killed him in previous storylines. This means he too compiled meaningful memories and acted on them off-script. Elsie then joins Stubbs, the security guy, to seek out the woodcutter android, the most obvious stray from our episode’s title.

Next we see William (the new guest last week) encounter shoot’em up action in downtown Westworld. He hesitates to get involved but draws a pistol when gorgeous Clementine faces danger. Thus William kills the culprit and saves her. One of the lawmen invites him to join the squad of desperadoes and we see a glint of interest in William’s eye. Then his sex-obsessed work buddy shows up and we find out William’s engaged to that guy’s sister. This explains their tense interactions and obligatory connection.

Teddy’s storyline shifts right along with Dolores in this episode. For one, the stalwart loser starts winning gunfights. And, thanks to Ford’s new narrative, Teddy finally knows his purpose. Still, he continues to let his lady, Dolores down with the vagueness of his “someday soon” and she points out that this is what people say when they mean never. If Dolores wants change, she’s going to have to go out and get it for herself. As it should be, we here at Fetchland believe. She’ll probably do better for herself on her own anyway.

Teddy’s preoccupied with Ford’s new narrative and his new nemesis, a villain named Wyatt. The whole back story appears like magic in Teddy’s mind when suddenly, with the mere brush of Ford’s fingertip on a glass screen, Teddy remembers Wyatt and his (previously immaterial) backstory. Then we see Teddy take Dolores out to teach her gun usage. But she can’t squeeze the trigger. A posse rides up and tells Teddy that Wyatt’s back in town. So, stalwart loser leaves Dolores yet again, saying he’ll be back for her “someday soon” and she notices that vague word once more. Dolores doesn’t like it one bit. In fact, before this episode’s over that lady will be pulling a trigger after all. She’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. You go girl.

Meanwhile behind the scenes, Bernard explains to Ford that the screwy droids are hearing voices. They talk to the same person; (who isn’t there) someone named Arnold. Ford tells Bernard about a partner he had in the early days, a fellow scientist named Arnold. He thought he could create consciousness out of memory, improvisation, self interest… and something else yet to be determined. Arnold built the hosts with an inner monologue made up of their programming commands. But then he had to remove it when the voices drove them nutty. After a wistful moment, Ford tells Bernard that taking away the memory of the droids every night is their greatest gift to them. Bernard retorts that some of them ARE remembering, though, in little bits these days. The unmentioned elephant in the room here is that they also seem to have Arnold’s voice in their heads too. But neither of them says shit about it now. Still, it’s evident Ford is the “Yoda” of Westworld. He gives us all the info. For example, he tells us Arnold killed himself and this serves as a powerful foreshadow for a significant event in the “The Stray”.

Speaking of which, Elsie and Stubbs are in the dark desert when they finally encounter the stray woodcutter. He’s stuck between some rocks, bloody-fingered and reaching out in desperation. Elsie believes the woodcutter got an idea in his head that made him run off script. She leaves a voicemail for Bernard about it – worried. It’s for good reason because right when Stubbs is about to cut the woodcutter’s head off, he wrestles himself free. But it’s just to kill himself; bashing an enormous rock over and over into his own skull. Whether they’re trying to remind us of the meaninglessness of suicide or just gross us out with this spectacle… Westworld succeeded.

Dolores then rejoins her usual script arriving home at night to her father shot and the leering bandits. One of them takes her to the barn but this time she’s got a gun and points it at the bad guy bandit. It’s not actually the Man in Black but she pictures MIB anyway and then Arnold’s voice tells her to kill him. Now able to pull the trigger, Dolores shoots him dead. She then escapes the whole affair, riding off into the night on her horse. We had a feeling something like this would happen when Dolores lied to Bernard in an earlier interview. He told her to stay on her loop and she agreed. There was no way Dolores was gonna take shit anymore, though. We saw it in her eyes. Not now that she has a memory, that attitude, and a loaded gun.

Next we see the final and tiniest scene of “The Stray”. William and his future brother-in-law sit by a campfire when Dolores emerges from the bushes to collapse into William’s arms. One of those damn bandits shot her back at the farm, after all. It’s a bit too perfect a moment to be off script. But Dolores definitely strayed from the narrative to get to this point, so it’s hard to know if this is official Westworld narrative or not. Either way, William seems likely to get sucked into a Westworld brand seduction from this encounter because, as we saw in last week’s episode, he likes that lovey dovey stuff.

– Katherine Recap

Codename: Action #1

comiXology summary:
Codename: Action #1. During the height of the Cold War, unknown forces scheme to heat up a global conflict. As key officials on both sides of the Iron Curtain are replaced with doppelgangers, the infiltration threatens to disrupt the precarious state of world affairs. The security of the Free World depends on a young secret agent, one assigned to shape the world’s masked heroes into a force with singular purpose and unyielding resolve!

I actually don’t know anything about Codename: Action as a title-title. I saw a solicitation announcement for it reading another Dynamite comic and thought this was a cool looking cover. (And hope you’ll agree.) What I do know is that this Codename: Action #1 cover by Jae Lee is a masterwork of elegant design and the use of negative space.

On Jae Lee…

Jae Lee, Jae Lee… What can I say about Jae Lee?

Lee hit my eyes and imagination in the early 1990s. I loved his work on a now-defunct WildC.A.T.S. title (“filling in” for a different J. Lee if you grok). In those pre-Internet days, I had to ask actual humans at the counter where I could find more Jae Lee. I bought all of it, and combed every local comics store to assemble his Namor work. I’m not sure if he was my “favorite” comics artist (or even my favorite “Lee”), but I do remember that when I was writing down my goals for a high school illustration class, I dropped his name as a role model.

Lee is one of the most distinctive artists on the planet, which is why he is so often tapped as a cover artist, more than an interior artist. He’s not the most facile storyteller, but his line work is unparalleled in its intention and precision. Part of being, there are so few lines.

I mean, there are probably fewer total lines on this Codename: Action #1 cover than the average square inch of the average Rob Liefeld! Any doofus can put a giant splotch of black on a panel or flood the gutters, but for my $1.99 almost no one touches Jae in terms of making something as 75% black as this look actually delicate.

And that foot!

It probably isn’t a surprise to you that BDM and I have bumped heads more than once over the years RE: what makes a good comics artist, or even just a good artist. As striking as his portraiture has always been, Lee has drawn criticism over his ability on hands and feet.

Personally, I love the interplay between the dancers’ hands… The combination of her consistently implied details versus the strategic line overload of his palm.

I wonder what BDM thinks of that foot. There is no mist rising up covering it; both the dancers have actual hands (and not claws).

But even if it were just claws / mist… It’d probably still look great from across a comics store.

LOVE
MIKE

“Chapter 5” opens with [real-life] Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (presumably on My Roanoke Nightmare) talking about the history of the house.

In 1792…

In 1789, the fabulously rich art collector Edward Philippe Mott (played by perennial American Horror Story leading man Evan Peters) left his wife and young heir up in Philadelphia to secret an unparalleled art collection at a personal hideaway deep in the North Carolina woods. Mott, envied even by the very rich of his day, commissioned Shakers to build what is “today” Matt and Shelby’s house, to house his paintings and busts, worth more than “every tobacco farm in the state.”

So of course, Mott ran afoul of the Butcher.

One night he found his precious art collection destroyed. Incredulous at his servants’ desperate rantings, the furious Mott imprisoned the lot of them — a goodly number of naked women at least — in what we viewers know today as Elias’s root cellar.

Mott was subsequently staked and immolated by the Butcher. His black footman boyfriend (quite possibly a slave, given it was 1792) fled on a stolen steed, only to be jailed for killing his master and hiding the body. No one mentioned the poor women in the root cellar. Those servant women starved to death underground, discovered some time later, nothing but bones.

Was — or is — that big Shaker house haunted?

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the narrating historian, would love it if the dead could come back to talk to her! That said, she would never spend a night in the Roanoke house; certainly not under a full moon.

Matt and Shelby…

In the present, Matt and Shelby (and the rescued Flora) are themselves about to be butchered by the Butcher’s mob. With seemingly nowhere to run, the trio encounter the ghost of Mott, who guides them away not out of altruism, but because he “can hardly suffer three more souls.”

Getting the family out of the house and getting them to safety are two different things, sadly; so the minute they seem free (woo hoo), Matt, Shelby, and Flora are captured by the hillbilly Polk family (boo).

The Polks are still sour for offenses real and imagined. Out bidding them for the house. Leading the cops to their farm. Taking their mistreated, malnourished, “babies” into state protection. The Polks did save Dr. Elias Cunningham’s life, though (whew). In the aftermath of his encounter with the Butcher’s archers in Chapter 4 the Polks found Elias full of arrows, porcupine-like… But are now using him as a living source of jerkey (ew).

Mama Polk, played masterfully by Frances Conroy, is dissatisfied with the taste of her “meat”. She has no further use for the crippled Elias. As quickly as we are reintroduced to that mad, altruistic, professor, the Polks smash a lethal hammer into his head!

It turns out Polks made a deal with the Butcher 200 years earlier. They help provide human sacrifices. She leaves them alone to grow lots and lots of cannabis. In order to make good on this centuries-old deal, the Polks cart Matt, Shelby, and Flora right back to the house.

In a burst of heroism, Matt seizes a Polk shotgun and blows the head off of one of their captors! Shelby kicks another out of the back of a moving pickup! The Millers flee! Yay, right? For a second only, sadly… In order to keep [Matt] from running, Mama Polk takes a hammer to Shelby’s ankle, nearly severing it with a blunt object. She knows Matt won’t leave his hamstrung bride. This is one of the most grisly things I have ever seen on television… and remember just a few minutes earlier on the same show we saw a screaming man missing half of his appendages being essentially eaten alive.

Despite promising that Flora will die last, the Butcher decides to kill the little girl first. This infuriates ghostly playmate Priscilla, and spurs the Butcher’s own son Ambrose to a brief moment of defiance. He tackles his own mother into the giant fire!

The. End.

Released from police custody, Lee rockets onto the scene and spirits the rest of the family away from the deadly mob.

In kind of an end tag, the Miller family, broke with their life savings sunk into that damned house, feel collectively wealthy — thankfully alive — at the cheapest hotel in town. Shelby, on crutches due to her Polk-inflicted ankle injury, calls dibs for a shower. A strange mist seeps out from under the door. The Butcher bursts out and chops poor Shelby right between the eyes!

Yikes!

Except… We all know that Shelby can’t be dead. She’s been narrating My Roanoke Nightmare for the past five weeks, right? That last bit was “just” a nightmare. But it had to be, right?

Chapter 5 of American Horror Story: Roanoke leaves us with a most enchanting (and horrifying) head scratcher. Given the unique structure of the show, we can’t know what is “real” and what is unreliable narration. But you know what? Despite knowing Shelby lived to tell the tale, I still jumped out of my chair.

LOVE
MIKE

Arrowverse Fight Club

In about an hour, Supergirl will premiere on the CW, presumably cementing Kara &co. to the Arrowverse proper. This gives Fetchland — or at least one opinionated comics fan — the opportunity to do a Top 8 list 😉

This Top 8 list is limited to their collective heroism, villainy, strategy, tactics, and fistfights in the extended Arrowverse — Arrow, Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and now Supergirl — only… Not four-color floppies, David Goyer movies, or, say, Injustice: Gods Among Us. So yes, Killer Frost has an unblockable Special 2 and — ahem — killer Passive, but when Barry and Cisco visited Earth Two, she was clearly no match for Zoom… Caitlin just doesn’t make our Top 8.

Honorable Mention: Superman

While a clear contender for the #1 spot, Kal-El (for whom I named my only son) has appeared in the Arrowverse only by text message so far. Sorry farm boy.

Dishonorable Mention: Firestorm

Another clear contender for #1 on pure power level alone (he can diffuse nukes with a wave of his hand or imagine us all into a room full of kryptonite), Firestorm in the Arrowverse kind of has never done anything worth making the elimination rounds. As a result BDM snarkily said “I’d sooner vote White Canary.”

Without Further Ado…

VIII. Supergirl

While long on power level, Kara stumbles a lot for someone with superhuman reflexes and presumably processing speed. During their crossover last season, Kara and Barry were presented essentially as peers; but Barry unquestionably has the edge in experience and confidence, and probably ceiling.

Hype aside, Kara is getting knocked out of the sky by a woman who is defeated thirty seconds later by a garden hose (?!?)

If she’s having problems with Live Wire or Silver Banshee, imagine Kara against Captain Cold or Deathstorm.

VII. Flash

Per the above, Flash and Supergirl were presented at similar levels in their one meeting; part of our relatively low rating for Kara is her (somewhat) lack of resilience given our assumptions on the Kryptonian physique. If we define heroes by their opposition, Kara and Barry are on similar ground with respective monsters of the week, but Barry also being tasked with, you know, Zoom.

VI. Ra’s al Ghul

Ra’s has seemingly everything for a top rating: unquestionable fighting skills (circa one hand to hand fighter better than him on the planet); limitless resources; a fanatically loyal, impeccably trained, army… Even a secret, unassailable fortress (oh, and immortality). Ra’s could squash most governments — forget about individual heroes — like bugs. Why “only” six?

Everyone else on the list is just that good, too (or even better).

V. Slade Wilson

Slade v. Ra’s is a tough hair to split. If you want to go all the way to comics universe, Slade is “the bad guy Batman” (circa #1 himself, and capable of beating an entire Justice League squad alone)… Even in Arrowverse, Slade also has circa only one fighter ahead of him on the planet, also massive resources… and at his height, even the wealth of the Queen family!

Slade, like Ra’s, has a Sardaukar-like army at his command — deadly fanatics — too. The two main edges I’d give Slade over Ra’s are 1) Mirakuru versus not-Mirakuru, and 2) while the al Ghul army has swords and knives, Wilson’s has… um… Mirakuru. Edge to the supermen.

IV. Zoom

Here’s the thing about passionate, talented, individuals. You have to take the bad with the good. If a Golden State fan doesn’t like Draymond Green’s kicking opponents in the groin costing them their All-Star Forward for a game… Maybe blunting that passion would also neuter Green’s will to go after every loose ball and defensive play; maybe GSW wouldn’t be there to begin with. I don’t know if you can have the creative genius of Don Draper without the troubled spirit and drunken infidelity that formed him and give him all those million dollar ideas; maybe, but there is no evidence to the case.

The same problem is what keeps Zoom stuck in fourth place. Here is a guy who basically rules Earth Two; he’s in a position that no Earth One villain has ever attained (badass on a planetary scale)… But he has a fatal flaw… A kryptonite for asshole speedsters as it were.

Zoom has to play with his food.

Are you a world-conquering — worlds-conquering, even — Big Bad, or a pussy cat? Get your head in the game, Zoom! You gotta vibrate right through the opponent’s heart instead of vibrating him into a jail cell, or he is just going to travel back in time and punch you in the embryo. Or something.

III. Amanda Waller

Vast intelligence network. Unlimited resources. Secret prison on an uncharted island exclusively for Arrow’s vanquished playmates.

Complete lack of conscience.

Thank God she is on our side. Err… was.

II. Vandal Savage

In the comics, Vandal Savage is generally a threat on the order of Ra’s al Ghul, but comes off a little lower on account of being a brutish caveman. Both are immortals with long views of success. They have similar, Darwinian, agendas. Savage is typically more — ahem — savage (being a caveman in the comics), while Ra’s is the elegant swordsman. They are, as we said, very comparable and complimentary to each other. In Young Justice, Ra’s and Savage are close allies in the Light, with caveman Savage even entrusted as Earth’s envoy to Darkseid and Apokalips, a match for Flash-level speed due to countless years of disciplined martial mastery.

In the Arrowverse though, Savage borrows from the Hawk mythology — a mix of magic and Nth Metal — instead of being a cosmic caveman. Vandal is still quite old (if thousands of years younger than his comic self), and has been training in fighting arts almost continuously since the dominance of the Nile.

Distinguishing Savage from other players on this list is just how long and how influential he is shown to be. Savage’s bronze fist extends from ancient Egypt to the far future (with dominion over the Time Masters); in the present, then-Ra’s al Ghul Malcolm Merlyn served as his vassal, helping to resurrect a vanquished Savage from incineration (it is unclear if Ra’s proper would have acted the same way if he still held the title, but we’d guess yes).

It took the combined might of all the Legends of Tomorrow — and the sacrifice of more than one — over hundreds of years of conflict and detective work to take down Savage; though, granted, not one of those heroes made our Top 8 list. We’d guess it would only take over of…

I. Oliver Queen

This is what #1 brings to the table:

  1. Limitless wealth – Even after Ollie lost the the Queen billions to Slade Wilson, he ultimately retained access to his old wealth through his CEO girlfriend. He has at its heart the superpower of a-list icons Stark and Wayne.
  2. Super tactics – For want of a better term, Ollie is the Arrowverse’s Batman. He has a Robin, cool gadgets, a company, a hidden cave or three… And even an Oracle. Like Batman, Oliver is a master of thinking about a fight before the fight happens. Given planning, Ollie can overcome any superpower in combat between brain and bow; this is proven when he shoots the lightning fast Barry, twice… even after warning him he would. It’s not just that he’s that good (though he is): Oliver’s super tactics are what makes him capable of defeating so many more powerful opponents.
  3. Mary Sue – If you asked what Arrow’s key ability is, the simple answer would be “archery”. But that’s not the extent of it. He’s a super polymath. Oliver can manifest ANY skill, seemingly on demand. Need a super spy? He’s not just a trained Russian mobster, he has all the right contacts. Need to beat the world’s greatest hand-to-hand killer in a fencing contest? Call Oliver! How about a rogue sorcerer? Turns out Oliver’s many tattoos are mystically functional (didn’t I mention that?), he can harness the power of belief to negate another’s magic, and even John Constantine — a character famous for swindling demons and devils — is the one who owes Ollie a few favors. There seems to be no scenario where Ollie lacks the upper hand: it will just be revealed that he has the exact ability necessary to win the day, from linguistics to riflery, politics to carpentry.

Then there are Oliver’s physical gifts: Beat Deathstroke — including with Mirakuru — more than once. Killed an immortal Ra’s al Ghul (after first being killed by him… magical plant resurrection being yet another arrow in Ollie’s quiver). Punched master assassin Damian Darkh to death. Incinerated Vandal Savage (with magic, of course).

Three of those are contenders for #2 meelee combatant on Planet Arrowverse.

Unfortunately for them, there can be only one #1.

The Martian Manhunter has a different vote. We consider him biased:


LOVE
MIKE

[For Westworld‘s “Chestnut” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
A pair of guests arrive with different expectations, a programmer pitches a narrative.

“Chestnut” opens as William and his sex-obsessed co-worker visit Westworld. It’s William’s first time here and he shows a sense of caution and hesitation. His buddy seeks only sensual fulfillment, though, insisting that they avoid any other brand of adventure. Meanwhile backstage at the android factory, Elsie, the young upstart programmer, shows concern about Peter Abernathy’s breakdown. She wants to explore deeper and worries it may arise in the other, still active androids like Dolores. Elsie describes their challenge to Bernard like a virus that may spread among the “hosts”. But Bernard insists all is well and not to worry. He’s wrong, of course, and we see proof of this in the very next scene when Dolores quotes her creepy and since-retired Papa saying, “These violent delights have violent ends,” to the usually unflappable madame, Maeve. This works as a sort of trigger on Maeve. A switch flips inside her and she’s suddenly full of reveries so that from there things get stranger all the time for her. Maeve spends the episode in all sorts of creeptacular scenarios and only a couple are part of her current narrative. Meanwhile Dolores, who triggered Maeve’s waking nightmare with that mere whiff of Shakespeare, also dives off script and digs up a gun in her backyard.

In fact, there are lots of guns in this episode and many times they’re tied together with the words “supposed to” as in, these guns are real but you can’t kill anyone you’re not supposed to. Speaking of “supposed to” the epitome of this idea arises with the Gunslinger character, MIB (Man in Black) the sadistic guest who always wins. He’s been coming for thirty years; raping women, killing everyone, and never satisfied. The man’s hellbent; seeking the maze that lies behind Westworld and in this episode Stubbs, the security head, says this is a gentleman who, “gets whatever he wants”. Sure, he wins every fight but not yet the one that matters most to him. The Gunslinger wants answers.

William enters what feels like a saloon but it’s actually the train into the park. His hottie friend informs him that Westworld seduces everybody eventually and will reveal to William who he really is, “and I can’t wait to meet that guy,” he says clinking glasses with him. This brings up an ongoing theme of Westworld. The head writer, Lee declares that what every guest is really after most is their own story and heightening their self-awareness. But Ford, the originator of the droids, believes otherwise. He spends much of the episode in the desert chatting with a little boy who might possibly be himself as a child. This is a fabulous writer’s trick and much more interesting than just Ford talking to himself. He soon sends the child away, though, telling him never to return and this is when we see from his robotic bodily response that the boy is an android. He leaves as ordered, no questions asked. Later Ford tells Lee that the guests don’t come to Westworld to learn about themselves because, “they already know who they are,” and to some degree this must be true. At the very least they’re forced to choose a white hat or a black hat upon entry, so we know they can at least answer that most basic binary question from the onset. Ford says they come to Westworld to find out what they can possibly become. This, of course, takes the power away from Lee, the writer’s, grasp and hands it to the guests. Thus confirming this notion that visitors like the Man in Black really do have the whole world in their hands.

Speaking of the MIB, he attends a hanging and immediately turns it into a gunfight, thus saving his “friend” Lawrence from the noose. Our Gunslinger does this to enlist Lawrence’s help, creating instant obligation. Turns out Lawrence may be able to help MIB find the maze behind the surface facade of Westworld, his ultimate goal. He explains how the real world is chaos but Westworld’s zillions of gorgeous details all have meaning that ultimately adds up to something. This is what the Gunslinger seeks. So, MIB takes Lawrence home to his secret family and kills his posse, his cousins, his wife, and then finally Gunslinger learns a clue from Lawrence’s secret daughter. She tells him the maze is not meant for him. But then tells him to follow the blood arroyo to the place where the snake lays it eggs. MIB then says he’s “never going back” and heads off to find the snake. Is it the same snake Ford encounters in the desert? It’s a rattler near a town with a white church. Ford says he’s made the most amazing narrative of all for this place. So, it’s OK that Lee’s new BIG IDEA is a flop. The master takes over once again. Or is he the magician archetype? He may be both. When the little boy asks him if that desert rattlesnake is magic, Ford says, “This whole world is magic, except the magician,” and we believe Ford knows this better than anyone.

Another theme of this episode is nightmares and it’s largely because Maeve, the madame, seems to be living one these days. She was deeply affected by Dolores’s words and stays haunted now by horrifying reveries. Worst part is that they’re messing with her so much it’s screwing up her narrative and Maeve can’t do her job. In other words, a customer didn’t want to fuck her… and that’s just unacceptable. It’s a shame that Maeve will no longer say such delicious lines as, “the only thing wrong with the seven deadly sins is that there aren’t more of them,” it’s like we already miss her right as we meet Maeve. She’s being torn from us just as we get to see her character’s brilliance because she’s recalled now – junk, retired.

Bernard and Theresa turn out to be secret lovers who “never talk” and when Dolores finds that gun in her backyard she’s hearing a voice in her head. The voice tells her where to find the gun, and thus we wonder if maybe it’s dear old Dad somehow signaling from the warehouse where he stands with the other shutoff droids like mannequins in the shadows. Essentially these secretive relationships are what Westworld is all about underneath the glamorous facade. The last scene shows Ford and Bernard out in the desert having a secret meeting in the park – where they’re not allowed. Ford eases Bernard’s mind about the need for a new storyline. He’s been marinating on this desert/rattlesnake one for years, something “quite original” and we’re thinking that snake may be the one Lawrence’s secret daughter mentioned. This may be the storyline of The Gunslinger’s dreams.

Katherine Recap

Chapter 4

“Chapter 4” is the fastest, densest, episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke yet. A lot of stuff happens quickly… Even before the opening credits roll.

Matt confronts Shelby… Did she just call the cops on Lee? [yes]

How can Shelby trust Matt? He was conspiring with Lee behind Shelby’s back, wasn’t he? [he was]

And… Wasn’t Matt ucking-fay a strange woman in the woods? [again, he was]

Matt can’t remember, even though it was just a few moments earlier; Shelby looks into his eyes and determines he was not “culpable”.

For some reason (!?!) Matt and Shelby continue to live in the haunted house. Popping off her fuzzy socks in anticipation of bathing, Shelby is assaulted in the shower by a shirtless, pig-headed, man with a knife. She dashes out of the bathroom but is attacked again in the hallway. Matt sees the pig-headed man and tackles him from behind. Whew! For a moment it seemed like this attack could have all been in Shelby’s mind.

Our harrowed homeowners are in wicked trouble, waving a blade ineffectually as they back away from the oncoming pig-headed marauder. Then he gets axed in the back! Dr. Elias Cunningham, the crazy professor dude from Chapter 2’s found footage video saves them. Because this is American Horror Story, an axe to the back is not enough to stop Mr Piggy, though. The professor banishes him by proclaiming CROATOAN!

According to Elias, the mysterious word “Croatoan” is one of “dark power and blood magic”, associated with the original Roanoke colony.

Elias informs our homeowners that within months of taking possession, everyone who ever owned the house (but him) died or disappeared. He only actually lived in the house for six months, but kept ownership to prevent anyone else from owning it (and dying). Unfortunately Elias missed a tax payment, resulting in Matt and Shelby buying the house at auction.

Elias walks us through the history of the house and its paranormal activity, including the demises various of an Asian-American Chen family, the sadistic nurse-sisters from Matt’s dream, and three hunters who mysteriously killed each other right outside. While the spirits are always annoying and scary, there is a six-day period every October where the spirits can actually kill (and of course “Chapter 4” is the first day of this year’s October cycle).

Elias is gloomy about the missing Flora as he assumes she was killed by the Butcher, but knows where Priscilla likes to play, and takes them there.

Shelby, for her part, feels horrible about calling the cops on Lee (for Mason’s death) and Matt realizes the only way they can clear Lee’s name at this point is to find Flora. As viewers of My Roanoke Nightmare, we know that Lee got out all right… But the Butcher’s arc and past villainy is still quite compelling.

The group do find Flora (briefly) playing with an eclectic group including not just Priscilla, but the Chens and the pig-headed man!

Before they can rescue Flora, Elias is filled with arrows by oncoming Roanoke colonists. Matt and Shelby retreat back to the house; where they find a waiting Cricket.

Cricket reveals that the house is the true lost colony of Roanoke, and tells the full history of the Butcher after meeting “the bitch with the real power” (Lady GaGa). The Butcher bound the Roanoke colonists to the land in a massive human sacrifice, forcing them into servitude for all time… Before being herself sacrificed by GaGa’s woods witch.

Anyway, Cricket feels like he can banish any and all evil spirits (after offering Matt to the woods witch as a sex partner), and calls an Uber. The Uber nearly runs over a fleeing Flora. Cricket follows her into the woods… And (off-camera) both are captured by the Butcher and company.

That night, Matt leaves a sleeping Shelby to be seduced in the root cellar by the woods witch. He learns she was once an English girl, but a follower of the Druids and the religions of ancient Rome. Matt expresses great intimacy with her and “would have joined her” but for Shelby’s screaming.

In the climactic scene, thanks to an assist from Priscilla’s ghost, Matt and Shelby are able to reacquire Flora and run back into the house, but can only look on in helpless horror as Cricket is disemboweled. I mean really. Disemboweled. On national tv. What is clear by the Butcher’s evil gestures, though, is that they are next.

LOVE
MIKE