We’ve made it to the bloody end of another American Horror Story season. Although last night’s finale was a bit underwhelming, the nutty nightmare of Roanoke was good for something: It made big moves to tie together the collective AHS universe.
But even taking into account what we’ve learned, all of the seasons being connected across dozens of different characters and timelines raises significant questions about the show’s yet-to-be-revealed unifying theory. Will the demon babies bring about the end of the world? Why was the Original Supreme haunting the woods of Virginia? Is Massachusetts just some kind of terrible Hellmouth? To make sure everyone is up to speed, we’ve put together this breakdown of all the ways the show’s six seasons connect to each other. And we’re staying concrete here, meaning “that camera angle seems suspiciously familiar” won’t count as a connection. AHS is riddled with homage, so we’re sticking with specific characters and locations unless there’s a very compelling case to loop in abstract connections.
Lana Winters: The risk-it-all-for-the-story investigative journalist is the star of Asylum, and she returns in Roanoke’s season finale to interview the infamous acquitted murderer, Lee Harris.
Scáthach: Lady Gaga appears in the reenactment thread of Roanoke as the Witch of the Woods, who is worshipped by the evil Lost Colony matriarch, the Butcher (a.k.a. Thomasin White). In October, Ryan Murphy revealed that Scáthach is the Original Supreme from the Coven timeline and hinted that her reemergence will tie into a future season that connects to Coven.
Billie Dean Howard: All the way back in the first season, spirit medium Billie Dean Howard tells the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke to help Violet Harmon banish evil spirits from her home. She claims that a banishment spell was used in Roanoke to rid the land of evil spirits, but when Violet tries to use said spell on Zachary Quinto’s character by shouting “Croatoan!” at him, it doesn’t work. And he even mocks her for it, saying, “I mean, really? The Roanoke spell?” Similarly, the banishment attempts in the sixth season do not work at all.
And because AHS can never get enough Sarah Paulson, she pulls double time as both Hypodermic Sally and Billie Dean in Hotel. Back during Murder House, it was mentioned that the medium planned to develop a Lifetime show based on her gifts, and she appears in Hotel to interview the ghost of John for the program, which is now up and running. Billie Dean eventually gets run out of the place by ghost serial killers who live at the hotel, as one does in AHS.
Edward Phillipe Mott: In 1792, Mott built the Big Shaker Mansion, otherwise known as the gorgeous and terrifying haunted house that Shelby and Matt Miller move into at the start of Roanoke. Edward is the very same Mott of the Freak Show bloodline, making him an ancestor of serial killer Dandy and his creepy mother, Gloria. (And yes, they are both blood Motts because Gloria married her second cousin, who is Dandy’s father.)
The Pig Man: This is one of the looser connections we’ll let through, because the idea of a Pig Man villain in Roanoke being entirely unrelated to the Piggy Man that terrorized Eric Stonestreet’s character in Murder House would be either a weird and lazy reuse of a memorable character name, or an irrational ruse to make us think they are related when they really are not. So for now, our hunch says that they are connected, if not the same character all together.
Pepper: Briarcliff Manor’s favorite patient appears in both Asylum and Freak Show. When the circus is disbanding at the end of season four, Pepper is escorted from Jupiter, Florida, by Elsa Mars back to her original home with her sister in Massachusetts. Eventually, Sister Mary Eunice will admit her into Briarcliff after she is wrongfully charged with the murder of her niece.
Detective Jack Colquitt: Though their story lines are separated by six decades, a detective named Jack Colquitt works investigations in both Murder House and Freak Show. Is it the same character? Why is he played by different actors? And when will he reappear?
Dr. Arden, a.k.a. Hans Gruper: We learned that the presiding doctor at Briarcliff in Asylum is actually a Nazi doctor named Hans Gruper. We see him as a younger Gruper in Freak Show when he appears in a flashback sequence to amputate the legs of Elsa Mars while filming a terrifying snuff film in WWII-era Germany.
Dr. Charles Montgomery: Montgomery is the original builder and owner of the Murder House, and he delivered Vivien Harmon’s “stillborn” baby before she died. He reappears in Hotel to perform an abortion on the Countess in 1926, but the fetus turns out to be a living baby that attacks and kills the resident nurse. The disfigured creature-child, Bartholomew, would go on to live at the Hotel Cortez as a perpetual infant.
Marcy: The Los Angeles realtor who sold the Murder House to the Harmons and the Hotel Cortez to Will Drake.
Queenie: We meet Queenie as a central character in Coven, but she reappears in Hotel, where she is killed by James March. Queenie visits L.A. to win big at The Price Is Right after Supreme Cordelia enchanted her ticket to the show, and she’s staying at the Hotel Cortez. Given that she is killed on a trip sanctioned by the Supreme, and Murphy says that the Coven will reemerge in a future season, perhaps the women of New Orleans will show up in L.A. to rain witch hell down on the Cortez. Cross your fingers!
The Antichrist: In Roanoke, Scáthach has sex with Matt Miller. During Murder House, Billie Dean says, “A child born of human and spirit will usher in the end of times.” So if there was an actual conception, we could be looking at an “end of times” event. Viviene Harmon also gave birth to a baby of human and spirit at the end of Murder House, and the final scene of the season features a blonde little boy killing Constance’s housekeeper. Meanwhile, one of the main responsibilities of the Hotel Cortez’s front desk clerk, Iris (Kathy Bates), is to look after Bartholomew, the monstrous spawn of the Countess and hotel designer James March, a serial killer. At this point, there are at least three potential Antichrists floating around AHS.
Florida: In Murder House, Viviene Harmon mentions she has family in Florida. It’s a passing mention, but even a passing mention can have big ripples in the AHS universe. Freak Show was set in Florida, so the show might very well return to the Sunshine State.
Massachusetts: The Harmons move from Boston to Los Angeles at the start of Murder House. Asylum’s Briarcliff Manor is located in Massachusetts. Before Pepper ends up at Briarcliff, she is living with her sister in Massachusetts, which we see in Freak Show. The Salem witch trials come up in Coven, obviously, and Queenie says that she is a descendant of Tituba, a Massachusetts slave who was the first to be accused of witchcraft during the trials. Elsa Mars of Freak Show used to work in a Boston circus, around the time she found Pepper, and James March from Hotel is said to have a Boston Brahman accent.