“Episode 100” pulls off a time jump and a pretty significant change in tone, getting the band back together — quite literally — for another showdown at Camp Redwood.
This recap of American Horror Story: 1984, “Episode 100”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As the 100th episode of the show, American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 6 should perhaps feel a bit more momentous than it does. But that isn’t to say it’s not a fine installment in its own right; as a setup episode for a violent collision coming on the back of a major midpoint shift in time and tone, it’s actually quite impressive how capably “Episode 100” reassembles its cast at the cursed Camp Redwood.
A lot has changed in the four or so years since the end of the previous episode. We open with the capture of Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa), strongly inspired by the real-life version, as he’s unceremoniously dobbed in by Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch), who has been serving him as a reluctant assistant since his Satanic revival. It’s a development that will later cause a lot of carnage, as Richard, unable to be contained by death and certainly not by prison bars, continues to meddle in the lives and deaths of those around him.
Case in point: Brooke (Emma Roberts). She’s been sentenced to capital punishment for carrying out the second of Camp Redwood’s massacres, but lethal injection isn’t enough to thwart her when the devil has plans and Dee Dee (Angelica Ross) isn’t quite as dead as anyone thought. The real perpetrator, Margaret (Leslie Grossman), has built an empire for herself on the back of the tragedy, turning murder into a tasteless real-estate business that looks to be bottoming out now that morality is catching up with the nation. But she, now trapped in a loveless, mutually beneficial marriage with Trevor (Matthew Morrison), isn’t willing to abandon the idea of atrocity as a revenue stream, so when Camp Redwood — which she still owns — is once again blighted by the killing of innocents, she sees an opportunity to redirect the publicity to stage a rock concert there, headlined not at all coincidentally by Billy Idol.
The murders that made the news in American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 6 were committed by Montana (Billie Lourd) and Xavier (Cody Fern), loving their new lives as free-living purgatorial ghouls, despite the reluctant presence of Ray (DeRon Horton) and Chet (Gus Kenworthy) putting a downer on things. The concert should offer them plenty of new blood, and some of the older variety, as virtually everyone — including Brook, Richard, and Mr. Jingles, having abandoned a new life and an infant son after the murder of his wife — is on their way back to Camp Redwood by Episode 100’s end.
This tricky balancing act of an episode is a minor miracle in tonal shifts and heavy-lifting in production — the costuming and backdrops do as much work as the writing in getting audiences reacquainted with these characters several years later, and there’s a healthy balance of fun nods — both to the show’s previous seasons and its obvious genre influences for this one — and important character work. There might be a bit less bloodletting than usual, but that seems likely to change very soon. Whatever American Horror Story: 1984 has planned for the reunion at Camp Redwood, I think we can be certain that it won’t be peaceful.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.