TV

AHS 1984 Episode 4: “Are you sure it’s gonna work?”

Epic amounts of plot are burned through this week, though no wild plot twists.

True Killers

Starring Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Cody Fern, Matthew Morrison, Gus Kenworthy, John Carroll Lynch, Angelica Ross and Zach Villa

This season of American Horror Story is turning out to be quite ruthless when it comes to its core cast, slashing them left right and centre as they fight to stay alive in Camp Redwood with not one, but two, serial killers and many people with less than noble aims.

The episode commences with a flashback that explains the dramatic revelation that left us on a cliffhanger last week. Turns out that Montana (Billie Lourd) first met the Night Stalker (Zach Villa) at one of her aerobics classes, where he romantically strung up an attendee for speaking to her rudely. Turns out that damaged Montana is incredibly turned on by this, and they have sex in front of his dripping corpse, covered in his blood. In the afterglow, Montana asks whether the Night Stalker would kill for her, explaining that Brooke (Emma Roberts) was responsible for ruining her life. Almost as predicted, Montana was the sister of Brooke’s best friend, who was shot dead by her husband-to-be. Montana believes that Brooke did sleep with her brother, and then lied about it and is therefore directly responsible for his death.

In the normal time period, Montana tries to help the Night Stalker murder Brooke. However, Brooke has a host of her own problems, as she wakes up in a shack that Donna (Angelica Ross) has dragged her to. Brooke escapes with ease, though then happens upon a vaguely ludicrous and murderous obstacle course that results in her being trapped in a net. Donna wonders whether Mr. Jingles (John Caroll Lynch) will pass up a victim who is so easily presented.

Unfortunately, Montana also spots Brooke hanging in the net, and retrieves the Night Stalker to off Brooke once and for all. As the Night Stalker and Mr. Jingles cross paths, they commence a serial killer battle to the death, while Brooke hangs in a net above their heads, desperately attempting to escape. Meanwhile, Montana and Donna fight, leading to Montana running away just in time to see her boyfriend impaled through the mouth by a protruding tree branch. In the distraction, Brooke has managed to escape.

Elsewhere this week, Xavier (Cody Fern) and Trevor (Matthew Morrison) manage to save Chet (Gus Kenworthy) from his deadly wound through an injection of adrenaline. Xavier suddenly realises that Blake, his pimp for lack of a better term, came to Camp Redwood in a car and they can use it to escape. Trevor is adamant that they need to save Margaret (Leslie Grossman) and Bertie (Tara Karsian) if they have the chance, so they both head out to save them.

Trevor’s attempt to rescue Margaret is unsuccessful, as she is confident that her own gun shall protect her from Mr. Jingles, regardless of how obsessed with her he is. Xavier also attempts to get Bertie out of camp, but she appears more concerned with making a sandwich. When Mr. Jingles appears, Bertie fixes him a sandwich and speaks to her old friend. Everything changes when Xavier accidentally drops his flashlight, revealing his hiding spot under a table. Mr. Jingles stabs Bertie and traps Xavier in an oven. Fortunately, Bertie possesses enough strength to free Xavier from the oven before begging him to kill her. Xavier does so, and then gazes in horror upon his burnt features.

Fresh from proving that he is the superior serial killer, Mr. Jingles appears at Margaret’s house, keen to “finish what [he] started”. Margaret, however, reveals what we have long suspected since episode 1. Mr. Jingles wasn’t, in fact, responsible for the massacre at Camp Redwood all those years ago, but rather Margaret, who was a camp counsellor. She was angry that the other counsellors thought that she was boring, so she snapped and killed them all. Mr. Jingles had promised to look after her, so she planted the severed ears from all of the counsellors (including her own) in a box underneath his bed, so that he could fulfil that promise. Due to his treatment of electroshock therapy, Mr. Jingles himself has come to believe that he was responsible for the killings, despite being firm on his own innocence when first arrested. He is, understandably, less than thrilled at this revelation and attacks Margaret with a knife, but she defends herself by shooting him in the chest. Trevor arrives and is relieved that Margaret defended herself, only to be promptly stabbed through the chest and have his ear cut off by Margaret, who expresses pleasure at getting to murder again. In the confusion, however, Mr. Jingles has disappeared.

In the forest, Xavier happens upon Mr. Jingles and cowers in fear, but Mr. Jingles — now with the knowledge that he is not a killer — lets Xavier go. The surviving group of Margaret, Montana, Brooke, Xavier and Chet gather around Blake’s burning car, once again without a means of escape.

Coming to, Donna discovers the Night Stalker levitating off the ground and coming back to life. Just what is going on with the dead in Camp Redwood?


Questions

Why/How did the Night Stalker come back to life? Is it linked to his Satanic beliefs? Or is it the area of Camp Redwood? Is the method of death? If it’s something general about Camp Redwood, then are all the victims so far going to come back to life in some way before long? I suppose the wandering hitchhiker who has now died multiple times will hold the answer when we eventually find out how he died initially.

How is Chet not dead yet? I mean, I like Chet, but how is he not dead? He was impaled through the shoulder. Adrenaline doesn’t cure everything, you know.


Mark’s Maundering Musings

Can we just point out that I correctly predicted all of the answers to last week’s questions? It’s incredibly surprising that we received so many answers so soon, but a slasher would be boring without any proper pacing.

This episode didn’t offer much in the way of surprising twists, as the resolution to all of the jaw dropping moments last week were solved in a fairly ordinary fashion. Montana being related to Brooke’s best friend was fairly obvious, and everybody and their mother predicted Margaret being the actual serial killer in Camp Redwood. However, we did see multiple deaths in the core cast, though the Night Stalker looks like he has been revived. Unfortunately, Trevor’s death looks a bit more permanent, which is a shame for series newbie Matthew Morrison, whose Trevor was delightfully innocent and pure of heart.

I wonder where the series can go from here. There are still six episodes left, so I wonder how we will break the mould from here to keep it fresh and interesting right until the end. Perhaps we’ll be set to have a half-season revelation like in Roanoke with the whole Reality TV show angle. Lots of online suggestions have revolved around the idea that what we’re watching is in fact just a movie or a TV show that is being filmed, and the further horror will follow the actors of the characters we have so far seen. It would be interesting, for sure, but I am anxious to see how that horror will play out, as it’s been fairly good this season so far.


Next episode

Montana attacks Brooke, Xavier attacks Donna, Mr. Jingles attacks Margaret…When will the madness end???

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