American Horror Story‘s sixth season, subtitled My Roanoake Nightmare, premiered Wednesday night on FX.

American Horror Story Premiere

This season, the story follows yoga teacher Shelby (Sarah Paulson) and her pharmaceutical sales rep husband Matt (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who move to Roanoke, North Carolina after an incident in Los Angeles that led to a miscarriage for Shelby and almost left Matt dead. Incidentally, while Paulson and Gooding play Shelby and Matt in the “inspired by true events” story, Lily Rabe and André Holland play them in real time, recounting the events of the past.

In any case, after the harrowing ordeal, Matt and Shelby decide to head East, where Matt’s family lives. While out for a picnic one day, they stumble upon an old farmhouse in Roanoke that steals their hearts. At an auction for the property, Matt puts up nearly all of their savings to beat out a rough bunch of menacing locals. The two think they’ve found their dream house – until their first night there shows the first signs of trouble.

Both Matt and Shelby believe that the commotion outside of their home on their first night was caused by the hillbillies that lost the auction to them, who might not agree with their interracial relationship. But the next day, things get stranger. While Matt is out running errands in the town center a few miles away, it starts raining human teeth. When Matt returns to the house, Shelby brings him outside to the back porch to show him the teeth, which are no longer there. Matt insists that it was just a hail storm, frustrating Shelby.

The next day, Matt has to head to Raleigh for work, leaving Shelby all alone in the old home. Shelby is unbothered, content to have the alone time. She practices her yoga, cooks dinner, enjoys some rosé and even heads out to the hot tub. Before she can fully relax, Shelby is attacked. People she can’t make out try to hold her down in the water as she flails for her life. By the time she breaks the surface of the water, she can’t find her attackers. She calls the police and Matt. Neither seem to fully believe her story.

Matt is eventually forced to consider that Shelby may have been telling the full truth, as he finds a rotting pig on their doorstep the next morning that he buries without informing Shelby. Before he goes away the next time, he installs security cameras around the home, and has his sister Lee (Angela Bassett/Adina Porter), a former cop with addiction issues, come to stay with her. One of the problems with this arrangement is that Shelby and Lee don’t get along. Lee thinks Shelby is a bit of a flake, and Shelby thinks Lee is a selfish sister.

At night, Lee, who doesn’t believe Shelby’s fears about the house, is woken up by a loud noise in the house, and finds an empty wine bottle rolling into her room. She’s convinced that it’s Shelby tormenting her – until she goes and finds Shelby and they realize that someone else is in the house with them. In the basement, they discover a TV playing a home movie that features someone walking around the woods and a person wearing a pig’s head. The basement door slams shut, there are more loud sounds. By the time the women get back upstairs, dozens of straw dolls are hanging from the ceiling.

When Matt gets to the house – having been alerted to the commotion by the feed from the security cameras – he’s amazed at how quickly the hillbillies set up the dolls. Shelby’s not so sure it’s just the hillbillies and isn’t keen to stick around to find out. Instead of trying to reason with Matt, who isn’t listening to her concerns, Shelby hops into the car and takes off into the night. Before Shelby gets too far, Matt calls her and she runs into an old woman standing in the middle of the road. Shelby gets out of the car and tries to track down the woman, who has slipped into the nearby woods.

Once in the woods herself, Shelby loses all sense of direction and can’t find the woman – or the road. Eventually, she stumbles into a clearing, where she finds more of the straw dolls that are hanging in her new home. Running away from the sight, she trips and falls, finding the land beneath her seemingly alive, pulsing beneath her. Back on her feet and on the move again, Shelby ends up in another clearing filled with torch-bearing figures, one of whom is played by Wes Bentley. The other is missing half of his scalp.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX at 10/9c.

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