by Steven Wandling
American Horror Story: 1984 is proving to be one of the season’s best in its first trio of episodes. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s horror anthology juggernaut has hit the ground running with a throwback style 1980s slasher mixed with all the juicy, soapy trash we’ve all come to know and love with the series. 1984‘s third episode, the hilariously titled “Slashdance,” is the absolute best of yet. That’s saying something because that’s a three for three so far in terms of quality episodes. They don’t always come close to hitting that mark, so it’s a fact that should be applauded. The ensemble cast really continues to shine and even savvy viewers should have been surprised by at least one twist in the latest episode of American Horror Story: 1984.
It would be a regret to inform that there was no isolated cold open kill this time around, at least not in the style of the first two episodes, but “Slashdance” picks up right where “Mr. Jingles” left off with such gusto that it isn’t even missed. Now that all the players are on the board and the game has started, dropping right in on the action was the absolute best move they could have made. Right off the bat, Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa) is still trying to kill Brooke Thompson (Emma Roberts), who narrowly escaped the Night Stalker in Los Angeles before coming to Camp Redwood. I guess Ramirez immediately forgot about the promise he made to Mr. Jingles’ (John Carroll Lynch) only surviving victim, Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman), about not killing any of her counselors while ridding Camp Redwood of Mr. Jingles once and for all at her behest. With two serial killers now running around the camp (at least), it’s a little suspicious Grossman is nowhere to be found this week. After “Slashdance,” I’m updating my Margaret Booth theory: she killed all the other kids specifically for being sexual 14 years ago, and blamed Richter for it, who in turn transformed into Mr. Jingles, living up to the monster the public made him out to be.
1984 has rarely had a misstep yet, and one isn’t found in this episode. This week’s “Slashdance” and last week’s “Mr. Jingles” are both two of the best episodes in American Horror Story history. The episode is all action set at the camp with some important flashbacks thrown in to further explore the characters. It’s something that most slasher films don’t have the time or admitted luxury to be able to do, but 1984 does; they’re using it well. We’ve already learned that all of the counselors have secrets and/or are running from something: Xavier (Cody Fern) from a pimp who wants to force him to make gay porn or he’ll out him as a gay for pay heroin junkie, Brooke is just a magnet for fucked up things and people that usually ends in bloodbaths, and Margaret is a religious zealot massacre survivor.
What keeps the tension rising throughout “Slashdance” specifically is what’s learned about “Rita” (Angelica Ross). Apparently, she isn’t really the nurse there and isn’t even really named Rita. She’s a psychologist (or is she just posing as one?) in an extended flashback sequence that lets the audience in on the fact that she herself orchestrated Mr. Jingles escape from the mental asylum and sent him to Camp Redwood to “observe him in his open environment.” She has a theory, and like any mad scientist, she’s more than willing to do anything to prove it. The real Rita already learns that the hard way, and so does poor Brooke, getting the shit end of the stick of life yet again in “Slashville.” Is “Rita” a serial killer? Hard to say, but she’s totally comfortable helping one kill people and she’s blatantly psychotic.
There’s also a lot revealed about Ray (Deron Horton) and a nice First Blood (1984) reference tossed in for good measure from the character. While he and Chet (Gus Kentworty) are trapped in a pit with a stake sticking clear through Chet’s shoulder, Ray tells an extended flashback story of a hazing story gone wrong, killing a fraternity pledge during “hell week” in the process. Ray proves over and over again to be the coward, so it’s no surprise that by the end of the episode the universe seems to provide a little karmic justice when that machete sends his head flying just feet before he speeds off out of the camp after just leaving (Montana Duke) to face Ramirez on her own. Remember though, that supposedly campers who die within the camp grounds souls are trapped there, so I doubt this is the last seen of Ray the coward. Donna ends up being taken hostage by “Rita” as one last reveal shows Montana is more than safe with Ramirez. She’s his lover in a juicy, last-minute cliffhanger that should surely keep fans hanging on until next week for what is hopefully another excellent episode of American Horror Story: 1984.
American Horror Story: 1984 is currently airing every Wednesday night at 10PM on FX. Thanks for reading! If you like what you’ve seen, please share to your horror loving friends and follow creepylovely on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! If you would like to write for or contact us, just shoot us a private message on social media or DM! Stay creepy!