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We're Still Scratching Our Heads Over A Confusing Lee Detail In American Horror Story

Let's face it: as frustrating as it is to see plotlines in the "American Horror Story" universe that don't make any sense, it can also be a lot of fun. It's an odd and contradictory perk of fandom, but a perk nonetheless. Even a brief glimpse at the r/AmericanHorrorStory subreddit will show just how much time fans of the show put into going back and forth on this or that detail, whether an inconsistency is truly an inconsistency or whether it's hinting at a spooky revelation to come.

True to character, Season 6 presents its fair share of contradiction. This season is "Roanoke," which channels all of the mythology about the missing historical Roanoke colony (via History Channel) and the anxieties of reality TV into a gruesome story about lies, betrayal, and loyalty. The season was a particular boon for Adina Porter; though she had appeared briefly in the first season of "American Horror Story," this was her first time joining the main cast. Porter played Lee Harris, sister to Matt Miller (André Holland), and is portrayed by Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) in the show-within-a-show "My Roanoke Nightmare." She is a former police officer who struggles to stay sober and visit her daughter Flora (Simone Baker) more often.

That last problem is somewhat simplified when Lee's ex-husband Mason (Joe Alvarez, also Charles Malik Whitfield in the "My Roanoke Nightmare" segments), who had previously had sole custody over Flora, turns up crucified and burned in the North Carolina woods. This, in turn, sets up one of the significant reversals in "Roanoke."

Lee is cleared of, then admits to, Mason's murder

Local police interrogate Lee about her whereabouts, but with no hard evidence, they let her go. For most of "Roanoke," we assume, understandably, that Mason was killed by the vengeful ghosts that haunt the woods around the home of Matt and Shelby (Lily Rabe). Given the grisly condition of his body and the ritualistic condition it was found in, this seems a safe assumption, even as accusations continue to swirl around Lee.

But when she returns to the house for the sequel series "Return to Roanoke" and is captured by the cannibalistic Polk family, she confesses via video camera to Flora that she did kill Mason. Only through a technicality, a defense that she was exposed to the Polks' hallucinogenic marijuana, is Lee acquitted of the murders during the blood moon and, a second time, for Mason's murder.

True, she is given a chance to atone by sacrificing herself to take care of the spirit of Priscilla (Savannah Liles), thus saving Flora. Everyone loves a good redemption. Still, the revelation that Lee killed her daughter's father is shocking, and it also apparently leaves a significant plothole.  

How does Lee manage to move Mason's body?

Being a former police officer, Lee no doubt understands how to take her husband's life. But Mason is still much larger than her, which poses the question of how Lee, presumably all by herself, manages to get Mason's dead body up into the trees and mounted on a gigantic wheel.

It has led many fans, well after the season finale of "Roanoke," to ask whether Lee's confession was somehow false. A thread at r/AmericanHorrorStory started by u/strangehobbies asks, "Did Lee really kill Mason?" Responses are both for and against, with some skeptical and others finding plausible ways for Mason's body to have gotten where it was when it was discovered. Some insist that Mason was only close to death, during which the colonists' spirits found him, burned him, and positioned him in the tree. Others say that Lee, being as physically strong as she is, could have gotten him up there with some ropes and heavy logs.

Like many other inconsistencies in "American Horror Story," we'll likely never have an entirely satisfactory answer. Whether this matters, however, is a different story. Albeit flawed, Lee has been dubbed the unsung hero of "American Horror Story: Roanoke," according to fans. Adina Porter has also become a staple in "AHS" since her portrayal of Lee. The AV Club praised her performance as a bright spot in an otherwise by-the-numbers "Roanoke" finale. Not only has she returned for subsequent seasons, but her portrayal of cold-blooded news reporter Beverly Hope earned her an Emmy nomination (via IMDb).