Welcome back to the AHS: 1984 recap zone! We’ve got one more episode left, thank you so much for following along with me. We kick off episode 8 “Rest in Pieces” one day before Halloween, 1989. Donna and Brooke sit at a cafe discussing Brooke’s plans for revenge and Donna ends up expressly referencing the 80s horror genre trope of the “final girl,” who she suggests may be Brooke… or Margaret in this scenario (after cracking a funny joke about how a black final girl could never exist because they kill them first, a nice nod to how far we’ve come in 2019). A stranger approaches the table and quickly makes herself at home – she introduces herself as presswoman Stacey Phillips.
Stacey is obsessed with serial killers, noting the strong “resemblance” of Brooke to the infamous Brooke Thompson. She’s currently writing a book about Brooke, Jingles, and the massacres hence why she’s made the trip to Camp Redwood for the music festival. She insists that “morbid sells”, before spouting off a series of self-aware comments about how the eighties will be remembered. Brooke and Donna head out quickly, worried that Brooke’s been recognized as not just a cosplayer but the real deal… despite the “real” Brooke Thompson having been killed by lethal injection.
“Picking up directly after last week’s episode, Margaret and Courtney observe the grisly scene in the tour bus where band Kajagoogoo has been slaughtered.”
We get some majestic shots of Camp Redwood as an idyllic getaway before Bruce from last week’s episode stops his car to pick up Jonas, the hitchhiker. Jonas starts hearing noises coming from the trunk when a quick cut reveals Bruce has stolen the car and has the owner tied up in the trunk (revealed to be *the* Mary Kay, of cosmetics fame). Bruce taunts her before finishing her off quickly with a stab.
Picking up directly after last week’s episode, Margaret and Courtney observe the grisly scene in the tour bus where band Kajagoogoo has been slaughtered. She assigns Courtney to clean up, despite his pleas for empathy and request to call the cops. He does as instructed, removing the bodies and cleaning the blood but after dumping the bodies he discovers something odd… He hears music and stumbles upon the band, alive and well, playing some tunes. The Camp Redwood curse continues.
Meanwhile, Richard Ramirez lurks near the stage set up, telling everyone he’s with “Satan” – probably a pretty average thing to hear at a rock festival. Soon after, Ramirez finds himself reunited with Mr. Jingles in the woods, where the two get into a serious fight that’s only interrupted by Bruce hitting Mr. Jingles with his car, allowing him time to get away and thus incurring the wrath of Ramirez. Bruce recognizes him as THE Richard Ramirez of Night Stalker infamy and, as an aspiring serial killer, starts to express his fandom to his idol. The two seem to bond, with Ramirez taking Bruce under his wing to do some big game hunting with Mr. Jingles as their primary target. Of course, this is all with the caveat of Ramirez’s Satanism.
Back at Brooke and Donna’s motel, Stacey comes knocking and immediately addresses Donna by name, proving she knows who they really are. They head to her room, where she has an entire library of research and explains how she’s pieced all the information together. She even has a clip from jail showing that Donna was the reason Brooke survived the injection. Brooke smartly thinks they need to negotiate with Stacey, otherwise she’ll reveal everything. She says they will tell Stacey everything, even taking her back to the Camp with them, in exchange for Stacey never revealing Donna’s identity and Brooke’s status as living. Brooke tells Stacey that Margaret is the real killer, to which Stacey seems skeptical but interested enough to completely agree if they can prove the Margaret story.
“Meanwhile, Richard Ramirez lurks near the stage set up, telling everyone he’s with “Satan” – probably a pretty average thing to hear at a rock festival.”
At Camp Redwood, we abruptly cut to a heated conversation between an emotional Mr. Jingles and the aforementioned hitchhiker, which culminates in Jingles storming off. In a cabin, Montana and Trevor post-coitus have some casual pillow talk about death and the afterlife, especially the lonely purgatory that Montana and the others are stuck in. Trevor expresses his love for Montana just before they’re caught kissing by Margaret who is lurking in the distance. The look on her face tells everything – Trevor is not going to survive much longer. Or does she have something more vicious than death planned for him?
Elsewhere in the woods, Ramirez chats with Bruce about why he needs revenge on Jingles. Honestly, the revenge plot is getting a bit too obvious for my personal taste – I don’t feel that the dialogue needs to be constantly referencing it. I think the series could benefit from just a bit more subtlety in its themes which are strong enough as is, they don’t need to be hammered into the ground. Ramirez and Bruce are approached by Xavier, who tells them he knows where Jingles is and leads them, exclaiming his own reasons for hating Jingles… before Jingles comes from behind to kill Xavier (again). Now Bruce doesn’t know what to think, as he’s looking at the dead body of Jingles and the very lifelike ghost talking to him. Ramirez threatens Jingles’ son, after admitting to brutally murdering Jingles’ wife. In the midst of their argument, Margaret shows up and shoots Jingles. Ramirez tells her Bruce is with them, and Margaret (after briefly alluding to a sexual relationship with Ramirez) enlists their help in her master plan for the festival of death.
Now at the camp as well, Brooke and Donna show Stacey around the crime scenes…until Brooke tells Donna that she’s going to kill Stacey. Flashing forward a few moments (or perhaps simultaneously elsewhere in the camp), Jingles is tied to a tree with several of his victims including Montana, Xavier, Ray, Chet, and others waiting to torture and kill him over and over again. Jingles pleads with them to release him so he can try to save his infant son from Ramirez. Jingles reveals to the group that Montana was the start of Ramirez’s killing spree because she enlisted him to kill on her behalf, thus creating the Night Stalker.
Brooke, plotting her kill, gets Stacey alone in a cabin. She gives Stacey lots of quotes on the record, including saying that Donna was the real killer in cahoots with Mr. Jingles while Donna takes a smoke break outside. As Brooke is about to seize the opportunity to kill Stacey, Donna comes from behind and gives Stacey a chance to make a run for it. Donna lectures Brooke about the hate, anger, and evil inside her. Despite Brooke feeling like all she has is anger, Donna reminds her of their revenge plan that will free them from the rage and how they can both be final girls without killing anyone who doesn’t deserve it. “Eye of the Tiger” plays as Stacey sprints away… straight into Ramirez… and Margaret! She realizes that Brooke was telling the truth about Margaret and Ramirez working together just before Bruce grabs her from behind. Bruce and Ramirez both kill her almost instantly. Margaret takes this moment to clue Ramirez and Bruce in on her plan – to make Camp Redwood the mecca for eighties music Memoriam by killing every single artist that’s coming to perform.
“[…] the series could benefit from just a bit more subtlety in its themes which are strong enough as is.”
Trevor offers to kill himself for Montana so they can be together forever in this weird purgatory until Montana reveals that her ex-boyfriend is Richard Ramirez. She launches into an emotional monologue about how women are always the ones blamed when men do terrible things and insists she didn’t make Ramirez evil. However, she continues that she’s now killed just as many people as he has since she’s been dead and she is enjoying it, it’s the only thing that makes her feel alive. She doesn’t think she deserves to be happy, and while he tries to comfort her, she screams at him that she needs someone as f***ed up as she is and she never wants to talk to him again.
Xavier and some of Jingles’ other victims get Jingles tied up on the dock where he originally killed himself, slitting his throat and throwing him into a small boat for him to bleed out and suffer on the lake. Barely clinging to life, he sees Montana on the lake… when a scene directly out of the Friday the 13th (1980) franchise plays out as a creature, almost definitely the ghost of his younger brother Bobby, jumps out of the water behind Jingles and pulls him in. Jingles re-awakens in a weird fantasy with his mother and younger brother, who haven’t aged a bit from the flashbacks despite him being the age he was at death. It’s a perfect ending for Jingles, as his mother doesn’t seem to harbor the rage towards him that she showed in the previous episode.
Personally, I think this episode was a little heavy on monologues that lacked subtlety. In all honesty, the writers were probably just trying to make sure all of the viewers understood what was going on heading into the final episode of the season, but it comes off as over-explanative and just over the top. I can’t wait to see how next week’s finale ties everything together with the culmination of the music festival. Will Margaret’s scheme pan out? Will Brooke have her revenge? Will Ramirez get to meet Billy Idol? Tune in next week with me to American Horror Story: 1984 to find out.
Have you been eagerly awaiting each new episode? How does 1984 compare to your favorite seasons of American Horror Story? Let us know on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!