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  • Writer's pictureAsh Raymond James

American Horror Story 1984: The Finale review

The final note of American Horror Story 1984 is on the horizon and another time jump has occurred. This time a new character is seen trying to find Camp Redwood in 2019 in the most 2019 fashion possible, by uber. It appears Camp Redwood has been forgotten as the road giving access to the front gates is overgrown. It turns out this character is Bobby, the son of the infamous Benjamin Ritcher aka Mr Jingles. Bobby first interactions are with Montana as she is fascinated by Bobby's smartphone before assisting him. It all feels like a ploy based on what we know about Montana but once they are in one of the cabins, Trevor shows up and things get a little weird.

Bobby has researched the camp as he has photos of Montana and knows who Trevor is immediately. He even name drops Margaret and knows all about Trevors enormous... Personality. Once it has been established that they are ghosts, Montana finds Bobbys gun and practically begs him to shoot her. Confused and worried, Bobby looks on before Montana shoots herself in the head whilst Trevor screams excitedly about wanting a turn at being killed next like some kid playing with the latest toy. Bobby doesn't want to kill Trevor so following a disappointing eye roll, Trevor decides to slit his own throat. Horrified, he goes running away only to open the door and have Trevor and Montana waiting on the other side.

We're then flipped back to where episode 8 left us, with Trevor telling the story of being back in 1989 with an angry Margaret yelling over the phone about bands not showing up for her festival. Margarets true colours are vivid in the finale, first shooting her assistant for her simply doing her job before heading outside the front gates where Trevor is turning people away in a rebel against Margaret and for the safety of the festival-goers. Obviously, Margaret takes this poorly and puts shoots, Trevor, a few times for good measure. The sadistic part of this scene was Margaret pointing out how Trevor was outside Camp Redwood and if he died he would simply be dead forever. After Margaret leaves Montana stands at the front gate crying for Trevor to get inside the camp so they can live happily together as ghosts. Watching Trevor crawl his way towards Montana was a genuinely intense scene and strangely emotional. Brooke ends up helping Trevor over the threshold and this is the turning point for the whole series.

Montana tells Bobby how Brookes simple act of kindness made her see the hatred was pointless. Trevor then tells Bobby about the plan of stopping Margeret which includes killing the nightstalker. This is when we see some of the most brutal scenes of the whole series. We are treated to a montage of Richard Ramirez being murdered. The first time was a trick by Montana saying that Billy Ocean was waiting to see him when in fact it was a few dozen dead camp mates waiting to ambush him. They all quite literally take a stab at him and then Montana tells the story of how they keep Ramirez on-premise to stop him from being resurrected by the devil. The 40 or so campmates take shifts in killing him the moment he wakes up stopping him from being free. This allows us to see some truly horrific scenes including a gruesome screwdriver through the head and Xavier manning a chainsaw.

It must be mere coincidence that twenty minutes before Bobby and Montana are having a chat in the cabin, the people on Rameriz watch mess up and accidentally let him free. Bertie and Chet are having a make-out session which is something I never saw coming and was an odd yet amusing scene to add. With them focused on each other, this allows Rameriz to rise again and wreak havoc on the camp. He heads straight for the cabin and overhears Bobby mention being Jingles son and immediately goes to kill him. It was fun to watch all the ghosts stand in the way and protect Bobby and the scenes aided Montanas earlier speech about how the hatred must stop. Considering he is the son of a murderer who caused lots of them great pain, the characters have truly evolved into something different in this episode. Ramirez manages to get a knife into the back of Bobby but he escapes alive with Montana telling him to head to the asylum to speak with the medical director who turns out to be fake Rita/Donna.

Donna then takes Bobby down memory lane explaining the rest of the story from where Trevor left off. We get to see the fate of Margeret which was somehow even more gruesome than the Ramirez deaths scenes. The ghosts of camp redwood surrounded her cabin which seemed to take Brooke as a casualty before they killed her in bloody fashion. They first cut off her arms and put them through a woodcutter so her remains would be on the outside of the camp and deny her resurrection. They then did the same with her legs and whilst Margeret bled out on the ground with no limbs left, she still managed to point out that it was too late and she was going to die in Camp Redwood. Montana snapped back telling Margeret that it takes thirty seconds after decapitation for the brain to completely shut off. Following this fact, Montana beheads Margaret and the rest of her is put through the wood chipper. The finale at this point was proving to be a balls to the wall effort. The creators were throwing everything into it and providing truly shocking scenes and managing to keep up all entertained.

Following this telling, we learn that Brooke is alive and weirdly looking just as young as ever. I imagine that has something to do with the devil resurrection but she insists having a husband who's a dermatologist has helped. This was a good scene and the theme of final girl plays out nicely. Seeing Ray save Brooke in a flashback was a nice touch and the interaction allowed closure from Brooke and Donna. It felt like the characters had learnt lessons and separated themselves from the horrible traits they'd displayed from the rest of the season.

Bobby then heads back to camp because obviously this was a good choice and he comes face to face with Margaret. The brutal death wasn't enough and maybe Montana was wrong about her decapitation theory. Margeret attempts to kill Bobby but he is saved by Jingles and the father and son reunion finally happens. Unfortunately, it is short-lived as Margeret returns to put a knife in the back of Jingles. Bobby yet again has a lucky save however, as grandma jingles show up and tell her to stop. Lily Rabe playing this character is fantastic and the only bad point is how short-lived it was. We are then treated with a strange happy ending. Montana telling Bobby to keep the ghost stories alive before he runs for the exit whilst 'The Living Years' by Mike and the mechanics' blasts over the scene. Surprisingly Bobby makes it and as he looks back he sees the whole Ritcher family. Benjamin shedding a tear was touching and that marks the end of 1984, a happy end in American Horror Story yet it feels right.

The finale seemed to focus on redemption. Ray saving Brooke and Montana saving the world from Rameriz for example. The season felt tied up and although there are lingering questions I'm not sure it matters. American Horror Story over thought certain aspects of the series and at times tried too hard to pull off jaw-dropping twists yet the series as a whole really came together thanks to the finale. It would have been interesting had it followed closer to strict slasher rules but the direction they took was original and executed excellently. I wonder if Camp Redwood remains haunted by the past or whether the ghostly campmates have now earnt the right to move on.

Regardless of its flaws, American Horror Story 1984 deserves a standing ovation. It was a joy to be taken back to the 80s for a short and now thanks to Ryan Murphy and the creators of this series, the 80s gets to live on a little longer.

It has been a joy reviewing this series and I hope to be back soon.

Until then,

Ash Raymond James

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