Hard to believe, but American Horror Story has hit its 100th episode in Season 9. It’s an impressive milestone and one that heightens expectations for AHS 1984’s sixth episode. Audiences likely expect some big surprises for Number 100. And with the wide-open ending from last week’s Red Dawn, AHS 1984 has the additional challenge of moving its story forward.
The Night Stalker and Mr Jingles Road Trip Show
Things pick up a year after the Camp Redwood Massacre. Ramirez and Richter are still travelling buddies, but the former ‘Mr Jingle’s has grown tired of the killing. In spite of the pact he made to The Night Stalker, Richter alerts locals to Ramirez’s presence, getting him arrested. Time skips ahead another four years where we find Richter now married and living under a new identity in Alaska. After years of torment, Richter has found peace and even has an infant son. But The Night Stalker escapes from prison, finds Richter, and murders his wife. With any hope for an idyllic family life shattered, Richter leaves his son on a family’s doorstep and heads back to Camp Redwood for revenge.
How Montana Got Her Groove Back
Four years after the massacre, Montana and Xavier have fully embraced purgatory at Camp Redwood. The former counselors pass the time by murdering anyone who happens to stumble on the closed campgrounds. In particular, Xavier seems thrilled with the simple pleasures of being ‘bad’. However, Ray and the original 1970’s counselors are mortified by the callousness of Montana and Xavier. But poor Ray still gets stuck with cleaning up their messes.
…Montana and Xavier have fully embraced purgatory at Camp Redwood.
But if anyone did well after the Camp Redwood massacre, it’s Margaret Booth. A two-time survivor, Margaret has leveraged her survival into a lucrative real estate business. She buys up old homes closed after brutal crimes and markets them as ‘true-crime attractions’. And Margaret’s married … to Trevor. Somehow Trevor survived being stabbed by Margaret. After waking from a coma to discover Margaret is now rich, Trevor blackmailed her into a marriage in return for his silence. As the backlash to exploiting tragedies increases, Margaret doubles-down. When she hears about a new series of murders at Camp Redwood, she decide to re-brand the site as another one of her crime attractions with a concert for the grand opening.
Brooke Can’t Catch a Break
The biggest loser of the Camp Redwood Massacre is poor Brooke. Arrested and convicted for all the murders, Brooke waits for her execution day on death row. Totally unable to catch a break, she suffers the additional misfortune of having The Night Stalker has her neighbour on death row. On the long walk to her execution, Ramirez offers her the same deal he gave Mr Jingles, which Brooke flatly refuses. Instead, it’s lethal injection for the presumed ‘Final Girl’. But there’s one last twist. It seems we forgot all about Donna Chambers. Apparently, she’s pretty adept at pretending to be someone else. Disguised as the executioner, Donna secretly saves Brooke, so maybe she is our ‘Final Girl’.
All Roads Lead Back to Camp Redwood
Given this is American Horror Story’s 100th episode, one can’t help but be a little underwhelmed. Aside from a few season-specific surprises, AHS 1984 didn’t do much to mark the occasion. And even those sparse surprises weren’t really that shocking. Though Season 9 is obviously intended to be somewhat satirical, there’s also some logical inconsistencies that are hard to ignore. In death, Ray has inexplicably gone from cowardly and selfish to moral and principled. Right-wing, religious zealot Margaret is now just a money-hungry, real estate mogul. It’s little things like this that contribute to the unevenness that often defines American Horror Story. Consider it a missed opportunity for Murphy to use the 80’s setting to explore the relationship between the decade’s conservatism and the sub-genre. Still, there’s no denying the season’s sharp humour and forward-looking momentum.