Review - American Horror Story 1984: Episode 3
When we left our happy little campers last week, they were split into two groups. One being held up in the infirmary and the others locking themselves in one of the camp's cabins. This week, the episode starts exactly where we left off. 'Slashdance' is the third episode of American Horror Story 1984 and things are really heating up. As the weeks roll on we are learning that everybody has a secret and hidden motives aren't in short supply at camp redwood.
'Slashdance' is a buffet of twists and turns. One of the revealed twists revolves around Ray and in this episode, he gets some serious character development. With Ray locked up in the infirmary with Brooke, Chet and Rita, he feels this is time to show the full power of his cowardice. We've seen showings of it in the previous weeks but he really ramps it up to max during this episode. After we learn that the nightstalker is the one terrorising the infirmary, he decides everybody should go their separate ways as the killer can only follow one of them and he hopes it won't be him. Ray also finds it necessary to point out he'd be faster than at least two of them but to me, this translates to Ray using Brooke as a sacrifice to save himself as it is known fact at this point that she's the one he's there for. Ray bolts for a back exit on his own but is greeted by the nightstalker. Ray is sliced up but before the nightstalker can kill Ray, Chet comes to the rescue and the group descend into the woods. With Chet and Ray lagging behind, they sprout out in separate directions and manage to fall into a spike pit with Chet being impaled through his shoulder and seemingly passes out due to the pain.
Ray then starts spilling some secrets and we're taught in a flashback that saving yourself always trumps making the right decision in Rays world. The flashback shows us how Ray accidentally murdered a pledge brother in his ex fray days. After watching the pledge brother plunge down a flight of stairs, Ray assumed he was dead and declared he would take care of it. A good rule of thumb here is to check the person is actually dead before you put them in a car and push them off a cliff. Moments before barreling off the cliff edge, the pledge brother woke up but it was too late. Rays watch got ripped off as the car disappeared over the edge and this explains the eagerness to get out town that Ray displayed in episode one. Ray admits it himself in this episode that it's only a matter of time before he is caught. After reciting the tale, Ray panics when he realises Chet has been awake this whole time and good old Ray decides to leave Chet for dead in the stick pit. I bet Chet regrets saving him now.
On the other side of camp redwood, team cabin crew consisting of Trevor, Montana and Xavier weren't being terrorised by Mr Jingles but rather Mr Jingles impersonators. In a very Scream esque scene, a bunch of kids dressed up as Mr Jingles to celebrate the anniversary of the massacre and in true 80s horror style, it's all fun and games until the real Jingles shows up and brutalizes the impersonators. The group leave Mr Jingles to do his killing whilst they run to the exit to make their escape. It was a good move to see Mr Jingles do some meaningless killing to further enhance the vicious aura surrounding him and I haven't tired yet of watching him collect ear souvenirs.
Another major twist came at the form of Rita who isn't actually Rita at all. After sticking a needle into Brookes neck, we see a flashback on how Rita ended up in camp redwood. It turns out her real name is Dr Donna Chambers and she is actually studying serial killers and wants to know what makes Benjamin Ritcher (Mr Jingles) tick. It was revealed how she was the one who encouraged Benjamin Richter to put on the hood and become Mr Jingles again. She even laid out the plan for him to return to the camp so she could see him in his natural environment. The flashback showed us the creepy and true side of Donna. This adds another villain to the show and adds even more layers to the slasher format. 'Slashdance' left the lingering question of what has happened to Brooke as she was last seen being dragged away by Donna. Even though Rita seemed suspicious from the start, I never expected her to be linked with Mr Jingles. It's twists like this that keep American Horror Story intriguing as there is always a belief that anything can happen.
The real Rita was being kept tied and gagged in a boathouse and after Trevor and Xavier watch Mr Jingles murder her in gruesome fashion, they run back to the car park to reunite with Montana and Ray. Drag marks can clearly be seen and Trevor puts two and two together and they believe Donna has taken Brooke. Trevor goes into no man left behind mode and demands the group go and find Chet, Bertie and Margaret. Ray obviously says he isn't going back and says he suggests they go to the road to get help instead. Trevor then gives Ray the keys to his ninja and tells him to take Montana with him to get help before him and Xavier head out to find the missing people. Montana and Ray then come face to face with the nightstalker and again, Ray goes into coward mode and gets on the bike and rides away leaving Montana to face the serial killing nightstalker all by herself. As Ray zooms away, believing he is out of the woods, Mr Jingles appears from out of nowhere and takes his head off with one almighty axe swing. Rays final line has him saying goodbye to camp redwood and how he'll see it in another life. This was interesting to me as it left me wondering whether we will see Ray again, much like we have seen Jonas after his death.
With Montana left alone, this is where one of the biggest twists of the episode came unraveled. As the night stalker approaches Montana with a knife, things strangely get steamy. At first I thought it was a survival technique and was expecting Ramiz to off Montana mid-kiss, however, we were greeted with the line 'why the hell haven't you killed her yet? With Montana seemingly talking about Brooke, it leaves us pondering the motive and again, American Horror Story succeeds in keeping its audience engaged and enthralled for what comes next. I wouldn't be surprised if this twist took on a twist of its own with Montana talking about somebody completely left field.
With a continuous fast pace and plenty of bloodshed, episode three is a fantastic offering. It was the strongest episode so far and it's refreshing to feel so excited about American Horror Story once again. I imagine going forward, American Horror Story is only going to get bloodier and weirder and personally, I cannot wait.