To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to process what happened during this episode. So many things started tying together that it was hard to keep up. But here’s the gist…
Firstly, Flora is still missing. That much was clear. What was also clear was that there’s a bigger story at play than we initially thought.
When the police prove to be less than helpful in the search for Flora, Lee, Matt, and Shelby take matters into their own hands. As they scale the forest, they stumble upon a deserted community where they find rotting animal flesh—mostly that of pigs—scattered throughout.
Aside from rotting pigs, Matt, Shelby, and Lee also discover two neglected boys who can barely speak. While they’re not sure what the boys are doing there or if they have anything to do with Flora’s disappearance, they do the right thing and get the boys to the hospital. As the boys are being observed, they only say one thing: Croatoan.
Meanwhile, Mason makes a sudden appearance and loses control over the uncertainty surrounding Flora’s whereabouts. In a bout of anger and frustration, he lays all the blame on Lee’s shoulders. Soon after, Mason goes missing himself.
In the middle of the night, the police alert Shelby, Lee, and Matt that there’s a body in the woods. Afraid that it might be Flora’s, they rush to the scene only to find that Mason has been sacrificed and burned by what we all assume is the Forest Cult.
As Matt and Shelby discuss the possibility of Lee being Mason’s murderer, a psychic named Cricket shows up and claims he can find Flora. Lee and Matt are skeptical, but Shelby is an early believer.
Cricket takes them through the motions, investigating the home and explaining that Flora is with Priscilla—the creepy imaginary friend Flora was attached to when she first arrived.
To take the investigation even further, they all have a seance under Cricket’s guidance. Cricket summons Priscilla, but Thomasine White (Kathy Bates) shows herself instead.
“She’s called The Butcher,” Cricket says of the terrifying presence.
Thomasine insists that Matt and Shelby are trespassing on her property. When Cricket tells her that it is she who is the trespasser, she splits a candle in half with her butcher’s knife. In a moment of panic and rebuttal, Cricket calls out the word Croatoan—the same word used by the boys in the hospital.
When the seance goes awry, Cricket asks for twenty-five thousand dollars to help Lee find Flora. Lee’s not buying it…at least not until Cricket lets on that he knows about Lee’s first daughter Emily.
Lee coughs up the cash the very next day. And through her meeting with Cricket, we learn that Lee had another daughter who also went missing. For the first time here, we see behind the scenes footage of the real Lee—we hear the interviewer coaching her through the conversation and see Lee struggling to find the courage to speak about Emily. It’s an interesting element to see on the show and one that, I think, will add much more depth to the story.
Anyway, while Cricket can’t help find Flora, he does give Lee a bit of insight into who Thomasine White was. Once married to the Governor of Roanoke Colony, Thomasine was banished to the forest by other colonists for her poor leadership. Starving and near death, she comes face to face with the Lady Gaga character who gives her a bleeding heart to eat and frees her of her shackles. Thomasine promptly returns to the colony and slaughters everyone, save for her son Ambrose.
When we return to present day, we find that Cricket has led Shelby and Lee into the woods in search of Priscilla. They find Thomasine instead and he strikes a deal with her to burn down the house in return for Flora. When Shelby protests the arrangement, she looks to Matt who has mysteriously disappeared.
Shelby finds him in a compromising position with the Lady Gaga character and rushes back home. Moments later, Lee is taken in handcuffs by police.
My one question after this episode is: what’s with the pigs? What’s their significance? Why does the Forest Cult sacrifice them?
What’s going through your mind after this crazy episode?