“Final Girl” brings closure to Camp Redwood as we learn who made it, who didn’t, and who’s going back.
This recap of American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 9, “Final Girl”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The end of the eighties begins in 2019, which I suppose is fitting for a season of American Horror Story that has been as inexplicably twisty as this one. Even thirty years after the third massacre at Camp Redwood, we’re still none the wiser as to why its victims are held there in purgatorial perpetuity, or how Satan manages to puppet Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa), or why people just keep going back. But I don’t suppose the details really matter. And at least the latest visitant has a decent excuse: He’s Bobby Richter (Finn Wittrock), Son of Jingles, and after all these years he wants to find out what happened to his father.
The problem he encounters is that nobody seems to know. Luckily the first specter Bobby encounters is that of Montana (Billie Lourd), whom he recognizes from his extensive research into the camp and its attendant tragedies. He can’t quite fathom how she looks so good in her fifties, though, so a brief primer is in order, which he’s surprisingly understanding of. The latest detail is the addition of Trevor (Matthew Morrison), who tried to thwart Margaret’s (Leslie Grossman) plan in ’89 by diverting all the festival attendees away, which led his dear wife to shoot him — once in his famous junk — and leave him to die on the camp’s boundaries. Despite some loving coaxing from Montana, he wasn’t able to drag himself across the border. Luckily Brooke (Emma Roberts) turned up in the nick of time to carry him back into Montana’s arms, where he could die and respawn as her immortal lover.
It’s there we learn who the titular final girl of Camp Redwood was: Donna (Angelica Ross), now the asylum’s Medical Director and Chief Exposition Dispenser. More backstory ensues, this time about what happened to Brooke — she was shot and killed in a scuffle — and Margaret — she was dismembered and fed into a woodchipper — all those years ago. But she isn’t Bobby’s mysterious benefactor. She hasn’t been sending him money all this time. And that means that somebody else survived; there’s another final girl.
Bobby and Donna follow the money in American Horror Story: 1984 Episode 9, right back to an idyllic nowhere town in Oregon where Brooke, not only alive but seemingly no older, lives a life of quiet domesticity with a husband and two kids. She’s the one who has been sending Bobby cash in the hope of giving him a life that didn’t draw him back to Camp Redwood, but no such luck there, it seems.
Not one final girl, but two, and it still isn’t enough. Bobby goes back to Camp Redwood again.
It’s kind of dumb how insistent Bobby is on repeatedly risking his life to be reunited with a father he never knew in the first place, but I’ll allow it since it leads to a great moment of catharsis and closure for this season. Upon his return, Bobby is confronted by Margaret, who was killed by the woodchipper a second before it spat her out — which should have been obvious, really. If the brain survives for thirty seconds after dismemberment, as Montana claimed, they could have just chucked it over the boundary line rather than chipping it, but details. Nevertheless, Margaret has been waiting and scheming all this time to kill Bobby, since she’s the original final girl, even though killing him wouldn’t actually make her the final girl in this instance because she’s already dead, so whatever. It doesn’t matter anyway, since Jingles Snr. (John Carroll Lynch) and his family-first mother (Lily Rabe) arrive to save him.
For the second and hopefully final time, Bobby escapes Camp Redwood. He turns around for a final shot of his family standing at the perimeter, happily watching him go. A rare American Horror Story happy ending caps off a fun season. I’ll see you for the next one.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.