“American Horror Story,” the campy horror series that’s doubling as an instructional guide to disembowelment this season, revealed a lot about Lady Gaga’s Season 6 character in Wednesday’s episode.
Until now, Gaga’s Witch of the Woods has been a fleeting presence, appearing menacingly in the background as Kathy Bates’ band of stab-happy former colonists find new victims. Last week in Episode 3, we learned that The Witch saved Bates’ Tomasyn White after the Roanoke settlers rebelled and left her to die. We also learned, through a nighttime encounter with Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.), that The Witch is not against what probably amounts to sexual assault.
Episode 4, however, divulged her backstory by way of osmosis.
The Witch was born in England as a descendent of Druids and Romans, who worshipped “the old gods,” according to Documentary Matt’s telling.
One day, the girl stowed away on a ship bound for the Americas, but the journey overseas was no luxury cruise. Many men died, and the crew, upon finally discovering a girl (!) onboard after reaching their destination, blamed her for all of their misfortunes. She had annoyed the sea god, clearly, by being a woman on a ship full of men. And so they locked her up to burn at the stake for witchcraft.
Joke’s on them, though ― the girl became an actual witch when some other, “more ancient” gods got involved. After killing all of the settlers in an act that would later be unfairly blamed on Native people, Gaga’s character fused old-world magic with new-world geography, which is apparently a recipe for immortality.
The Witch shared, wordlessly, all of this information during her second not-totally-consensual sexual encounter with Matt. He later recalled, “She wanted me to understand her. She wanted me to join her.” Since we saw how The Witch previously enabled Tomasyn “The Butcher” White to kill the Roanoke colonists before she killed Tomasyn herself ― a sacrifice that allowed the group to haunt the land forever ― it’s obvious that joining The Witch is not a great plan.
Luckily for Matt, Shelby’s world-class shrieking broke the spell, allowing him to run away.
We’ll be waiting to see how Gaga retaliates next week. In the meantime, let’s try to forget what The Butcher is capable of.
”American Horror Story: Roanoke” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.