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American Horror Story's biggest unanswered questions

American Horror Story was a game-changer when it hit television screens in 2011. While not the first anthology series, it intrigued audiences by focusing an entire season on a story rather than telling separate stories within each episode, like The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside. And though at first it seemed the seasons would not be connected, audiences eventually learned that creator Ryan Murphy had secretly spun an intricate web of overlapping stories

The problem with so many ongoing storylines is that it leaves a lot of room for established plots to possibly go nowhere — as well as quite a few pending questions. With AHS: Apocalypse we did get some long-awaited answers, like the identity of the Rubber Man from Murder House as well as the eventual fate of the demon baby Michael. But with eight narratively complex seasons under its belt, AHS has still left us with a number of doozies to puzzle over. With that in mind, here's a look at American Horror Story's biggest unanswered questions.

What caused the house to be so evil in Murder House?

American Horror Story's first season, Murder House, sets the foundation for the series by introducing the Montgomery House, an infamous mansion in Los Angeles with a disturbingly high death count and a history of violence that goes all the way back to its first owners, Dr. Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross) and his wife Nora (Lily Rabe). 

Dr. Montgomery, a surgeon to all of Hollywood's finest in the 1920s, built the Victorian home for his wife. At first, she loved it, but when they fell on hard times, Nora decided Charles should start offering abortions out of their basement. After an abortion gone wrong, Charles was exposed and the father of the baby dismembered the Montgomery's newborn in retaliation. Crazed with grief, Charles sewed the baby together and reanimated it. The Infantata was bloodthirsty, and Nora ended up killing all three of them. Their ghosts continued to haunt the house, along with anyone else who died there. 

Were these terrible events enough to shatter a psychic or energetic veil to create the house where the eventual Antichrist would be conceived and born? Or was there something more? This vital question to the entire AHS arc has never been answered, although the not knowing might be just as scary.      

Why were there aliens in AHS Asylum?

American Horror Story: Asylum is packed to the brim with bizarre occurrences — we see an Anne Frank who lived, Bloody Face the serial killer and his son, a Nazi doctor continuing his vile medical experiments on patients, and so much more. But one of the plot threads that continues to have AHS fans scratching their heads in confusion involves Kit Walker (Evan Peters) and his abduction by aliens. After his abduction and return, his wife also disappears. Authorities arrest Kit under suspicion of being serial rapist and murderer Bloody Face (Zachary Quinto) and lock him away in Briarcliff Asylum. Nobody believes his alien abduction story and he suffers terribly for crimes he didn't commit.

We never get a definitive answer about the aliens in American Horror Story, but Ryan Murphy and Tim Minear have spoken to this puzzling plotline, explaining that the Asylum season's story depicts a clash between faith and science. Murphy sees the aliens as a metaphor for God, and Minear sees them as angels

How does all the time travel from Apocalypse effect the other seasons?

Time travel narratives are always confusing. In Apocalypse, a time-turning spell allows the powerful witch Mallory (Billie Lourd) to return to a time when the Antichrist Michael Langdon (Cody Fern) was young and vulnerable in order to kill him and stop the end of the world — but several key plot points hinge on Michael living. 

For example, Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) tells Violet (Taissa Farmiga) that her problematic boyfriend Tate (Evan Peters) is no longer evil now that Michael is born, so she can forgive him. But the time-turner indicates Madison wouldn't return to Murder House, so does that mean Violet and Tate don't get back together?

Also, when Mallory goes back in time to Miss Robicheaux's, she warns Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) not to go to the Hotel Cortez. But if Queenie doesn't go to the Cortez, then Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett) doesn't get revived and the trapped folks in the hotel won't be able to stop the Countess (Lady Gaga).

Because the events of Mallory's reset happen before the Hotel, Cult, and Roanoke seasons of American Horror Story, did those three seasons even happen? Or did they happen in some other permutation? Ryan Murphy could write a whole new season's worth of stories just about this enormous unanswered question. 

Why was Mallory so powerful?

What was the witch Mallory's real identity — and why was she so powerful? Every other witch in Coven, Apocalypse, and beyond traces her lineage and ancestry deep into magical waters. Queenie's line goes all the way back to the Salem witch trials and the slave witch Hecuba. Misty Day (Lily Rabe) comes from a long line of swamp witches. Supreme Fiona (Jessica Lange) and her daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) are white witch royalty, as are Madison Montgomery and Zoe (Taissa Farmiga). 

But we know virtually nothing about Mallory or her past when we meet her as a personal assistant turned servant girl in American Horror Story: Apocalypse. She was functioning under an identity-cloaking spell, so it makes sense that she didn't know who or what she was, yet it seems nobody else knew either. Retrospective Coven scenes in Apocalypse don't address her identity or lineage at all, which is surprising since people with her level of immense power tend to rise from well-known bloodlines. This begs the question: Is Mallory even a witch at all? We need Ryan Murphy to circle back around to this one. 

What was the deal with Emily and Timothy in Apocalypse?

American Horror Story: Apocalypse spends a great deal of time and attention on Emily (Ashley Santos) and Timothy (Kyle Allen), the star-crossed lovers in the end times living in Outpost 3. When they're captured and taken underground, they're both told that they were selected for their excellent genes. Their forbidden love only draws their hearts closer, possibly psychically bonding them. By the end of Apocalypse and after the time reset, we see them meet and sire the next child Antichrist. 

Were they included in the apocalypse bunker because someone knew that if a time spell were cast to destroy young Michael Langdon, Emily and Timothy were destined to also sire an Antichrist? Can there be more than one? Was Outpost 3 hoping for another devil child to rule the end of the world? Or does this mean that the powers trying to foster the Antichrist are aware of multiple timelines? 

Also, Emily and Timothy are both human and Satan must be conceived with human and spirit, like Michael was. Is one of them not who they say they are? Might one of them have been under an identity spell all along?

Who was the Rubber Man in Apocalypse?

In a horrifying reveal during American Horror Story: Murder House, we discover that the latex-clad Rubber Man is in fact the ghost of Tate Langdon, and he's the one who raped Vivien (Connie Britton) while impregnating her with Satan. But who is the second Rubber Man in Apocalypse? We know it isn't Michael, because he was walking the halls and interviewing people in Outpost 3 during Rubber Man 2's appearance. After Gallant (Evan Peters) and the second Rubber Man have sex, with Gallant thinking he is angel-faced Satan, and he goes into shock when he finds out his tryst was not in fact with Michael Langdon. When Gallant sees the Rubber Man again, he stabs him in a fit of rage. But it's not a man at all when the fog clears — it's Gallant's grandmother Bubbles (Joan Collins). Was the second Rubber Man even real, or was he a hallucination from radiation, claustrophobia, or any number of other factors? It's ironic that Evan Peters played the original Rubber Man in Murder House, only to be on the receiving end of his assault in Apocalypse. Time is a flat circle, eh?

Where did Kyle from Coven go?

Kyle Spencer (Evan Peters) is the president of a college fraternity where Madison and Zoe go to a raging party in American Horror Story: Coven. Madison's marginal Hollywood fame precedes her, and a group of frat guys roofie and sexually assault her until Kyle intervenes. But Madison is so furious at what they did that she uses her powers to flip over their bus, killing a number of them, including sweet Kyle. Feeling guilty about Kyle's death, Madison and Zoe decide to resurrect him at the morgue — the only problem is that all the boys were left in pieces. Madison finds Kyle's head and then chooses choice body parts from his deceased frat brothers to create Franken-Kyle. The spell doesn't seem to work at first, but when it does, Kyle isn't the same kindhearted guy he was before. With Misty Day and Supreme Fiona's help, he regains speech and strength, becoming the Robichaux Acadamy's butler and protector as Spalding (Denis O'Hare) had been before his death. 

We return to Robichaux in American Horror Story: Apocalypse, but there's no sign of Kyle at all. Since Evan Peters starred in Apocalypse, it's odd Franken-Kyle didn't make even a small appearance. What happened to him? Did he die again? Or might Ryan Murphy be saving him for a future season? 

Why does nobody ever come looking for missing people at Hotel Cortez?

You'd think that if people continue to go missing after they book a stay in one particular hotel, the place would constantly be crawling with private investigators and/or law enforcement following up leads. But not at the Hotel Cortez in American Horror Story: Hotel. Like Murder House, the hotel has an enormous body count due to the evil energy of the place, yet people keep booking stays at the Cortez, and when they die terribly and violently within its walls, nobody seems to come looking for them there. Does it have something to do with an enchantment on the site laid by the vampire Countess (Lady Gaga)? She's been in the fashion industry for decades, yet nobody seems bothered that she doesn't age. Did she cast a glamour over herself as well as the hotel? Is this related to Gaga's role as the original Supreme Scathach in Roanoke? The Robichaux witches even know Queenie is there and nobody goes looking for her. That sounds like dark magic indeed. 

When Lachlan's (Lyric Angel) father, fashion designer and friend-of-the-Countess Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson), dies in the hotel, Lachlan was visiting him — but we never see Lachlan again. Did the Countess turn him into one of the murder vampire children? Did his mom pick him up and that was that? Is he still there alive somehow? We still don't know.

How can Scathach still be a Supreme if there's only one at a time?

We learn in American Horror Story: Coven that there can be only one Supreme at a time, and when her powers and health begin to weaken it means another Supreme is on the rise. Fiona (Jessica Lange) had to die in order for her daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) to ascend, just as Cordelia has to die for Mallory (Billie Lourd) to take her powers. But in Roanoke, many of the terrible events are set in motion by the wood witch Scathach (Lady Gaga), who they say is the original Supreme. How can that be, though, if there's only one at a time? Is she a ghost Supreme? Does being the first give her exceptional powers?

This question arises again with Mallory and the time reset spell to kill Satan as a young boy. Mallory decides to return to the past where she is a member of Madame Robicheaux's Academy so she can be with her friends. All the while, she remembers the other timeline where she passed the Seven Wonders and became the new Supreme. How does that work? She still has the powers, so does that mean the time spell created the opportunity for multiple supremes at once? A battle between them would make for an excellent season on its own. 

So much unknown about the Polk family in Roanoke

In American Horror Story: Roanoke, the Polk family is quite an enigma. They were the original owners of the haunted house, losing it to Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr., André Holland) and Shelby (Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson) for the bargain price of $40,000. But we find out as the season goes on that the Polks are weed farmers and have extensive crops in the woods around the mansion. How could they not afford 40 grand? And why are they so filthy and gross, living like it's the 1800s when they have so much money? Why would they be in such a lucrative line of work if they aren't going to use at least some money for indoor plumbing? 

Worse still is the way the Polks keep their unused wealth in the family through incest, as if their cannibalism wasn't nasty enough. So how does the Polks' line continue at all when there are no women except for elderly Mama Polk (Frances Conroy), who is well beyond her reproductive years? Are they kidnapping children or did they lie about their "pure" Polk blood? And what was up with the two boys who were drinking milk from a pig? How all these disturbing pieces fit together remains a mystery.

What's up with the inconsistencies in ghosts in Roanoke?

American Horror Story: Roanoke is easily one of the most problematic seasons of the show. Confusion about the Polk family, the wood witch Scathach, and more made this a confusing series of episodes. Flipping back and forth between real life and a reenactment didn't really help things at all. But with so many ghosts in the season, their presence and treatment was seriously mishandled. For example, we spend a lot of time with the ghost Priscilla (Estelle Hermansan) as she befriends Flora (Simone Baker) in the first episodes. But then Priscilla disappears and we don't her again until the final episode of the season. Why was there such a focus on her only to largely discard her later? Also, Lee (Adina Porter) becomes a ghost, but none of the other characters killed in and around the house do. Why her? 

And where were the authorities after all the murders — as well as the family members of all the people who died in the "real life" portion of the narrative? Return to Roanoke is the TV show within the TV show, so why wasn't there more of an inquiry after all the people in it disappeared?

Was the Uber driver in Roanoke related to Myrtle Snow?

American Horror Story: Roanoke features Uber driver Rhett Snow (Billy Snow), who seems to be the only working driver in the area. He gives Cricket (Leslie Jordan) a ride, almost killing Flora by accident in the process. He also gives the Pig Man a ride back to Mott Manor with barely a second glance at how creepily the guy is dressed. Rhett shares the same last name as the fashionista witch Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy), and his first name is shared by one of Hollywood icon Clark Gable's most famous roles, Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. Is Rhett Snow a member of Myrtle's extended family? Giving him an old-fashioned name would be such a Myrtle thing to do. Are the members of her family similarly driven by glamour and glitz, and eager to name their son after a pop culture figure from their childhoods? If so, is Rhett possibly a warlock like his witch relative? Will he feature in a future season? We wouldn't have seen him so many times without a reason. But what was it? 

Where do the serial killers in Hotel go the other 364 days of the year?

Like American Horror Story: Roanoke, AHS: Hotel ended with a number of pressing questions that were never quite resolved. For example, what happened to the Countess' disfigured vampire baby Bartholemew after she was killed on the hotel property and became another of its ghosts? What was the significance of the recurring 2:25 hour? But one of the juicier questions that could open up AHS to future seasons is the gang of serial killers who visit the Hotel Cortez's original creator, James March (Evan Peters), every year on Halloween.

Richard Ramirez (Anthony Ruivivar), Aileen Wuornos (Lily Rabe), John Wayne Gacy (John Carroll Lynch), Jeffrey Dahmer (Seth Gabel), and a masked Zodiac killer all attend a dinner party in celebration of Devil's Night. Each year they drink absinthe and murder together with glee. But none of these people died in the Hotel Cortez. So how do they get there? And where are they the rest of the year? By the internal logic of other AHS seasons, ghosts remain where they were killed. Aileen Wuornos died in a Florida prison, Dahmer in Wisconsin, Ramirez in Kentwood CA, Gacy in Illinois, and nobody even knows who the Zodiac killer was, let alone where he died. What allows these serial killers to join James March at the Cortez? Does March have some witchy powers that are never discussed? Or is there something else behind their ability to roam about freely? Can other ghosts do this? Fingers crossed for a future season that will clear up these disturbing unanswered questions from AHS' fifth season.