American Horror Story: 1984 Recap: Nobody Is Who They Say They Are

October 3, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
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“Slashdance” continued to up the body count and reveal juicy secrets about its characters, virtually none of whom are entirely who they say they are.

This recap of American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 3, “Slashdance”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

The big, duplicitous cast of American Horror Story: 1984 is effectively split up in “Slashdance”, as the two serial killers we already had to deal with show that they’re not the only menace at the ill-fated Camp Redwood. There are gangs of idiot imitators to contend with, and virtually nobody is who they say they are — including the would-be victims of Mister Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) and The Night Stalker (Zach Villa).

The big revelation is that Rita (Angelica Ross) isn’t actually Rita at all, nor is she a nurse. She’s actually a serial-killer-obsessed psychologist who masterfully engineered Jingles’ breakout so that she could study him in his natural habitat — she’s convinced that porn, the objectification of women and the Vietnam War are all to blame and that he’d probably be quite a nice guy if American society hadn’t warped him into a slash-happy ear connoisseur, though his behavior thus far seems to disprove her theory. We also meet the real Rita, who gets bound up in the boathouse and then made to forcefully ingest an oar.

Rita isn’t the only camper with a checkered past, as we also learn in American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 3. Namely: Ray (Deron Horton). Trapped in a staked pit with an injured Chet (Gus Kenworthy), he unveils a backstory full of ridiculous frat boy hazing that led to the unfortunate death of a young pledge who toppled down the stairs. In an attempt to cover the crime up, Ray sticks him in a car and dumps the thing over a cliff, but just before it takes the plunge the kid wakes up. It’s a bad night when you’re killed twice, let me tell you. As if to prove his unsavory character, after unburdening himself Ray scrambles out of the pit, leaving Chet to fend for himself, to be rescued later by Xavier (Cody Fern) and Trevor (Matthew Morrison).

Since Ray’s cowardice obviously knows no limits, later in “Slashdance” he abandons Montana (Billie Lourd) to face down the Night Stalker alone, although he immediately gets his comeuppance when Mr. Jingles wallops his head off with an ax. Left alone with Richard Ramirez, Montana looks like she’s going to be next to get her ticket punched. But what’s that? They’re smooching? Blimey, it turns out absolutely everyone has a secret. “Why haven’t you killed her yet?” she asks of her serial killer suitor. Who’s “she”? We must know!

American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 3 successfully upped the body count once again by introducing expendable extras — the real Rita, the Mr. Jingles cosplayers — and messily offing them while furthering its core cast’s implausibly demented backstories. But it did commit to killing off a regular with Ray, which means I can no longer give it subversive points for keeping all its black characters alive. Still, “Rita” persists, in a wildly different context now, and with Montana’s motivations unclear and everyone’s real relationships yet to be determined, this remains a really fun and constantly surprising midweek diversion.

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