Did religious conservative Camp Redwood owner Margaret Booth frame Mr Jingles? Is Camp Redwood cursed or haunted? Is Brooke a victim or a suspect? Our last episode, Mr Jingles, raised a lot of interesting questions and left us on a cliffhanger. Now the wonderfully 80’s-titled Episode 3, Slashdance, has our counselors split up and trapped. Who lives and who dies? And would the real killer please stand up.
More Twists, Turns, and Bloody Deaths
Slashdance picks up where Episode 2 left off. Our counselors are separated into two groups, with two different killers pounding at the doors. Despite their best efforts, The Night Stalker break into the cabin sending the counselors running in two different directions. Chet saves the cowardly Ray from Ramirez, while Brooke and Nurse Rita escape. But poor Chet and Ray don’t get far. The two counselors fall into a ‘Punji Pit’ trap, and Chet is impaled through the shoulder. Trapped together, Ray confesses that he accidentally killed one of his fraternity pledges a year ago before abandoning Chet. Meanwhile, our second group of counselors – Montana, Xavier, and Trevor – discover that locals dressed as Mr Jingles have pranked them as part of a town tradition. So it’s all fun and games until the real Mr Jingles shows up, killing the the pranksters and scattering the counselors.
Trapped together, Ray confesses that he accidentally killed one of his fraternity pledges a year ago before abandoning Chet.
Poor Brooke can’t catch a break. Despite escaping The Night Stalker and Mr Jingles, Nurse Rita drugs her before she can escape in a car. As it turns out, Nurse Rita is an impostor -a serial-killer obsessed psychologist named Donna Chambers. After orchestrating Mr Jingles’ escape, Chambers drugged and bound the real Nurse Rita. And speaking of Nurse Rita, Montana and company find her tied up in the camp boathouse. Unfortunately, Mr Jingles finds her, too, and rams a broken oar down her throat. At the episode’s end, Ray takes off on a motorcycle, but he doesn’t get very far. A lurking Mr Jingles pops out of the woods and decapitates Ray. Oh, and Montana plants a big kiss on Ramirez before asking why he hasn’t killed her yet.
Everyone Has a Secret In Slashdance
At this point, it’s unclear as to whether AHS 1984 is going to set its action over one night. There’s still plenty of time – and ways – to introduce curveball later in the season. In the meantime, Slashdance shows how this season can certainly make its confined setting and timeline work. After raising doubts about Mr Jingles’ guilt and casting suspicion on Margaret, Episode 3 sets these plot threads to the side. Leslie Grossman’s Margaret Booth doesn’t even show up in Slashdance. Instead, AHS 1984 throws us a red herring and a legitimate twist. With this kind of storytelling and the use of flashbacks, Season 9 has the potential to avoid feeling dragged out or propped up with filler episodes.
Sorry, honors in Slashdance go to the real Nurse Rita’s death. It’s the perfect homage to the sub-genre and, arguably, the best death of the season to date.
Prior to Slashdance, Ray has primarily hovered on the periphery of characters. Through flashbacks, AHS 1984 fleshes out the character a little and briefly teases another possible killer. But like the slashers of old, it’s just a red herring. By the episode’s end, Ray abruptly exists the show with the episode’s second most spectacular death. Sorry, honors in Slashdance go to the real Nurse Rita’s death. It’s the perfect homage to the sub-genre and, arguably, the best death of the season to date. However, Slashdance’s big twists with Donna Chambers and Montana add further intrigue. Once again AHS 1984 has left us with more questions than answers. As the field of victims is culled and list of potential suspects grows, the season gets more interesting.
Slashdance Keeps AHS 1984 Fun and Fresh
In my review of AHS 1984’s first episode, I proposed that the slasher sub-genre and Ryan Murphy’s ‘kitchen-sink’ approach to the series might be the perfect marriage. Once again, Episode 3, Slashdance, offered a perfect balance of jumps, brutal deaths, a few laughs, and more narrative twists. Most importantly, Murphy and company are accomplishing these things without the season feeling overstuffed. With so many potential killers on the chessboard and a handful of characters still lacking a backstory, AHS 1984 is building momentum.