Someone has a deadly secret in their past, somebody's lying about who they are and someone else is lying about who they know and why they've come to Camp Redwood.
It's just about time that "American Horror Story: 1984" start pulling some rugs out from under us, if it wants to follow the trends of its predecessor seasons, and the creators did not disappoint.
The character we thought was the absolute worst is turning out to be one of the most courageous and decent, while several others exposed jaw-dropping secrets and lies and betrayals that change everything about what is quickly turning into the longest night in "American Horror Story" history. Plus, while it took them 25 graphic murders to get there, we finally had our first major casualty of the season.
And we thought things were bad when there were two serial killers stalking the would-be freshman counselor class. It turns out things are a lot more complicated than that, and it feels like we're just scratching the surface of all the lies and betrayals to come. Does everyone have a dark secret in Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's twisted "AHS" world?
At this point, we're inclined to assume everyone is awful and just prepare for the worst. We certainly didn't expect the "let's meet at the parking lot" plan to off without a hitch, but we didn't expect it to come with three major jaw-dropping revelations which inexorably alter the relationships of virtually everyone in the cast.
Not to mention all the killings. Did we mention we hit 25 of them, and we're only on episode three! Will anyone survive this season? And how many WTF moments can our poor hearts take. These are the ones that left us stunned this week:
Nurse Rita was giving off all kinds of sketch vibes throughout the season, but we were still a little surprised when she popped up behind Brooke and injected her with horse tranquilizer, or something similar. In a season of serial killers and mass murderers, this seemed an unusual mood and it's got us scratching our heads.
Clearly Rita isn't who she said she was -- more on that in a second -- but what is she really up to? What is her motivation for coming to Camp Redwood really? And why keep Brooke alive? Is it as simple as Rita not being a killer?
Or is there something more she has in mind for the innocent brunette. Whatever the case may be, we know one killer who's not going to be happy to see Brooke gone, considering the Night Stalker came her specifically to finish her off -- more on him later (this episode had a lot of shocking moments).
Thankfully, we weren't forced to wait too long to start getting some answers about Rita, and the first answer we got was that she's not Rita at all. Her name is Donna Chambers, and she's a psychologist studying serial killers for her doctorate. Those studies took her to the facility where Mr. Jingles was being held, and it was there that she set this plan in motion.
Donna told Jingles she thought she might be able to cure whatever is causing the rise of serial killers, but in order to do so she needs to study him in his natural habitat. John Carroll Lynch was fantastic in this scene, showing genuine remorse and concern about his own desire to kill. He clearly is tormented and doesn't want to be this way, latching onto Donna for the hope that maybe he's not evil or irredeemable.
But it doesn't really seem like Donna cares much about that. She gave him the motivation to kill his guard, the tools to escape the institution and flat-out told him that sacrifices must be made in the name of science. But it doesn't appear that Donna is quite as ready to make those sacrifices as she is willing to let Jingles do it.
Before we could even wonder how much Margaret knew about this, because we have so many questions about her too, We learn that Donna came to Camp Redwood by following the real Nurse Rita. She then stole her way into the woman's backseat and at the time, we were just sure she had killed he and Donna was every bit the murderer Mr. Jingles was. But not so.
Instead, some of the counselors uncovered Rita at the camp, tied up and gagged ... which raises so many more questions. Why did Rita bring her all the way to the camp? Was it fear that she might get away if she couldn't keep an eye on her? How long had that poor girl been there? What was Rita's plan with her? Is it related to her plans with Brooke?
Also, if she finds out that the kids freed Rita only to have her become one of Mr. Jingles' victims, will Donna feel any remorse for her role in it? Or perhaps relief that he solved a problem for her. Also, as we met her in a lie, how do we know we can even trust what Donna told Mr. Jingles. She may have an entirely different reason she wanted to set him loose at Camp Redwood. Lies on top of lies, perhaps.
Just like Xavier's gay porn backstory came as a huge surprise, much like his legitimate hero turn this week alongside Trevor, we didn't see Ray's backstory coming. It turns out Ray was keen to go to Camp Redwood to hide from his own past, which involved accidental murder. Or at least maybe-murder. We don't really know that the poor fraternity pledge he sent careening down a cliff in his car died from the impact.
We do know that Ray apparently thought he was already dead, and so he concocted this ridiculous scheme to protect him and his fraternity brothers, which is a pretty sociopathic thought to just kind of come up with on the fly. We get the fear, because Ray is a coward in every way, but this was a pretty calculated and awful thing to do.
Kind of like abandoning Chet in a pit with a spike through his shoulder because it turns out his buddy wasn't unconscious when Ray spilled his guts. And so Ray continued his goal of self-preservation at all costs, which reached its ultimate climax when he finally did make it to the parking lot, with Montana in tow.
Xavier and Trevor quickly emerged as the heroes of this story throughout this hour. Rita was revealed to be Donna, who effectively brought Mr. Jingles to the camp. Ray was revealed to be an absolute jackass, concerned only with himself, and Montana proved she didn't much care for others as well, with her casual disregard of "Tammy Bakker and the lunch lady" -- but more on her yes, her too -- later.
While Ray abandoned Chet to die in that pit, Trevor and Xavier did not hesitate to do what they could to free him, and then even hide out when Mr. Jingles showed up to investigate. And this is when Trevor proved himself the alpha male of the whole crew, by rushing Mr. Jingles and pushing him into the spike-filled pit.
Alas, we're only three episodes in so it wasn't going to be that easy. And in fact, they'd set the stage for this earlier by revealing that the "townies" always spend the anniversary dressing up as Mr. Jingles and playing cruel pranks on people. Jingles had killed two of them earlier in the hour, but he left the third one alive, perhaps connecting to his status as a social outcast and misfit.
So while it isn't confirmed, we're pretty sure we know that it's this poor kid who's fallen into the pit, and almost certainly taken at least one spike through the body. Is Trevor an accidental killer? Can the kid be saved? Can he possibly survive his injuries even if they can get him out of the pit? Will they even try?
One person who isn't going to survive his injuries is Ray. After abandoning Montana facing the Night Stalker to once again save his own hide, Ray found Mr. Jingles waiting in wait. And with one fell swoop, he lopped Ray's head off, thus fulfilling the '80s slasher trope that the black guy is always the first of the so-called "goo guys" to die.
Does that mean the slutty girl was next? Ray did just leave her behind, facing the Night Stalker. And by the way, how much does the presence of Richard Ramirez upset Donna's plans of studying Jingles in his natural habitat, if that's what she's really about? Is she excited to get two for one, or will his presence mess up the whole experiment?
I Just Lied to Your Face All Night
It certainly looked like Montana was done for as the close of the hour loomed, but then she grabbed Richard and pulled him in for a passionate kiss. A desperate plea from a desperate woman? Perhaps she's genuinely turned on by violence and murder. She seems like someone with some pretty twisted kings.
Well, it turns out it's even worse than that. Pushing Richard back, Montana chastises, "Why haven't you killed her yet?"
And suddenly, we have so many more questions. Montana is working with the Night Stalker? Did she set him on Brooke? Has she been picking his victims the whole time? Working with him the whole time? What is her motivation for coming to Camp Redwood? Did she just want to be there when Brooke died? And if so, for any particular reason as the women don't seem to know one another.
And don't think we've forgotten about the weird counselor ghost an all our questions about Margaret and Chef Bertie. And we're still not completely sold that Mr. Jingles committed all those murders the first time around (we're looking at you, Margaret). After all, he doesn't even remember doing it. Are we to believe he is in a blackout state right now, too?
But if he didn't kill all those kids then, why does he have this driving desire to kill now? He seems to genuinely be relishing in it. His desire to kill Margaret could be because of unfinished business, or because he knows she did something to him. Some kind of post-hypnotic suggestion? Drugs?
This week proved that no one may be exactly as they appear and that everyone could well be lying about something. They've already got us questioning Richard Ramirez, who was a real serial killer, so now we're questioning absolutely everything. And we do mean everything, Trevor!
"American Horror Story: 1984" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.