Serial murderers squared off, more were exposed, and real motives and relationships were revealed in “True Killers”, the wonderfully demented fourth episode of American Horror Story: 1984.
This recap of American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 4, “True Killers”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The first order of business of “True Killers”, which can be described in many ways but is probably best being summarized as simply bonkers, was explaining the previous episode’s last-minute reveal that Montana (Billie Lourd) is in cahoots with Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa). Cue flashback. You know how these meet-cutes go; the coked-up aerobics instructor gets talked down to by a client, and the handsome serial murderer disembowels him and licks his entrails from his new love’s feet. The usual! But Montana obviously spots an opportunity — anyone deranged enough to be into feet will surely be the right choice to exact horrific revenge on Brooke (Emma Roberts) because Montana’s brother was the best man at her wedding to the paranoid psychopath who flipped out at the altar. It all makes a kind of deranged sense now, I guess.
In the present day, the Night Staker runs into Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch), and they get into a slash-happy tussle during which Ramirez is hoisted into the air and impaled on a tree branch. This is the kind of scene that could easily be a big moment in a finale, but American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 4 just has it play out midway through since it simply doesn’t have enough time for all the nutcase developments it needs to include. Richard isn’t seen for the rest of the episode until the very end when he’s raised into the air by some unseen force, healed of all his injuries, and returned to life good as new. Theories on that development are welcome in the comments, but if the theory isn’t that all these people are trapped in some kind of nostalgic VR slasher video game, you’re not being creative enough.
While you’re puzzling that reveal, also consider the other one that came to light in “True Killers”, which is that Margaret (Leslie Grossman), somewhat predictably, was the real perpetrator of the Camp Redwood massacre. In more flashbacks, we learn that she was a bit of an oddball and befriended the kindly Mr. Jingles, who promised to protect her from her awful fellow counselors. When he was unable to, she killed them all, sliced off their ears and one of her own, and pinned the crimes on her beloved gentle giant confidante, who was tortured so thoroughly while institutionalized that he eventually came to believe that he had in fact killed all those kids himself. Needless to say, Jingles in less than happy about this development and tries to kill Margaret, deciding that he might as well be what everyone else considers him to be anyway, but Margaret shoots him, then stabs Trevor (Matthew Morrison), who had arrived to rescue her.
There was one other death in American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 4 — poor Chef Bertie (Tara Karsian), who had to be mercy-killed by Xavier (Cody Fern) after Mr. Jingles locked him in an oven. RIP. I hope heaven has a catering department.
As for where things go from here, well… it’s probably not worth the effort guessing. The prevailing opinion is that whatever plot-upending twist the show has in store will probably be deployed next week, but ideas about what that might be are currently all over the place. We’ll have to wait and see. But while “True Killers” wasn’t shy about offing a couple of its regular cast members, at least it had the decency to bring one of them back. There are enough warm bodies left for plenty of carnage to follow.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.