It's 1989. Margaret runs a business empire. One serial killer is in jail, the other in hiding. Brooke faces a death sentence and the killing never stopped at Camp Redwood. Where is this all going?
Dead doesn't mean anything this season on "American Horror Story: 1984." Not since the first season has it seemed like the characters are every bit as vibrant and "alive" both before and after their gruesome deaths.
After the end of the longest night in the history of slasher stories, we don't just pick up the action the next morning, but rather start skipping ahead in time. First a year, and then four more years until the '80s are almost ready to give way to the '90s.
And all the while, Montana and Xavier and Ray are running around Camp Redwood as if no time had passed. Perhaps for them it really hasn't.
But while nothing changes in five years for them, everything is different for those who didn't die during that huge night. We saw Brooke go down for all the murders, and by 1989 she is sitting on death row with her appeals all run out. Broken and dejected, she just sits and waits for the inevitable.
The murderous duo of Mr. Jingles and the Night Stalker only last about a year until the death and mayhem proved too much for Benjamin, who orchestrated Richard's capture. And you'll never guess where he ended up ... oh wait, this is "AHS." Of course we all know where he ended up.
Benjamin, on the other hand, finds his way to Alaska where he gets a new life, a new wife, a new baby and apparently creates the "Be Kind, Rewind" catch-phrase during his time at a proto-Blockbuster in the nascent days of VHS.
But the most startling discovery of them all comes from Margaret, who hasn't softened in the slightest. She is ruthless and cunning and awful, but also quickly became incredibly wealthy (after probably offing some rich husband) by buying up dark and sinister properties and turning them into horror-themed attractions.
Apparently, buying Camp Redwood inspired her to continue that trend and maybe we're finally seeing what that vision was before it all went wrong. Maybe she'd always intended to embrace the camp's dark past and use that to lure in more guests and make money. Well, from 1984-1989 she did that on an epic scale, picking up a surprise husband along the way.
As always by this point in the season, we are scratching our heads and wondering how all of this will play out. That said, though, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have telegraphed pretty plainly where this season's action is headed. There's a reunion looming for the living and the dead at Camp Redwood and it promises to be a scream!
As we make our way toward the horrors to come, these are the questions that are keeping us up at night, or at least trying to sleep with one eye open.
Why Do the Dead Linger at Camp Redwood?
We're still awaiting an answer to this question, and now that we've seen that more of the 1972 murder victims -- if not all of them -- are also lingering around, dubbed "old-timers" by the murderous Montana and Xavier, we really want to know why Camp Redwood is holding onto their ghosts, but also allowing them to exist in such a literal way.
It appears to be tied to the borders of the camp, as we saw when the ambulance tried to take Ray out, and we've seen no victims prior to 1972. Was it something specific that happened during Margaret's first massacre, or is it just the result of so much murder and the fact that Margaret got away with it, perhaps? Either way, while the newcomers are problematic at best, the "old-timers" probably just deserve a chance at a final rest. It's like the properties of "Murder House," only in a camp.
That brings to mind a different question, though. Are all the new victims of Montana and Xavier also coming back to life? If not, why not? The only difference between them and all the other ghost victims is that they were killed by ghosts (which might be enough).
Why Did Trevor and Xavier Break So Bad?
This is mostly about Trevor, but we're going to throw Xavier in as well because that dude straight up became a murderer. Was it just the trauma of having his face burned and nearly getting killed by Mr. Jingles that snapped his mind? Suddenly, he's all in bed with Montana and every bit as deranged as she is. And we thought he was one of the good ones.
And then there's Trevor, another stand-up guy we believed in. But then, when he woke up from his coma and knew exactly what and what Margaret was, he didn't expose her. Instead, he decided to blackmail her. Oh Trevor, what happened to you? Did all the blood rush from your brain and make you stupid? We don't even feel bad that you regret your awfulness now.
How did Ray become the good one? Okay, the jury's still out on Chet (who does want to murder Margaret). But Ray is suddenly the voice of reason in all of this. Craziness.
Is Briarcliff Just an Easter Egg?
While learning about all of the haunted and sinister places Margaret has scooped up in her murderous empire, Briarcliff Manor was mentioned. "AHS" fans know that as the site of the "Asylum" season, with the events of that bonkers season happening in the 1960s. Was this just a meaningless Easter egg for fans, or do Murphy and Falchuk have a deeper plan up their sleeves?
There have been cross-season teases before, and even full-blown crossover sequences and characters, so if nothing else, this firmly establishes "1984" as part of the larger "AHS" universe. Thus, the "Murder House" ghost rules may apply, as could the presence of an Antichrist (Benjamin's baby?) and any number of other supernatural nasties. Oh, and weren't there aliens randomly once (yeah, we try not to remember, either).
What Is Benjamin's Baby?
Bear with us here, but didn't Mr. Jingles die? He was then resurrected by Satan, apparently, and yet he was allowed to reject Satan's plan, get married and have a child? That doesn't seem altogether likely. Somehow we think little Bobby is something more or less than human and that there is more to his story than we've seen so far.
First of all, he is the child of a serial killer. Second, he is technically the child of a dead serial killer who is indebted to Satan. This could spell bad news for his aunt, who apparently takes him in at the end of the episode when Benjamin gives in to his darker impulses and decides to face off against Richard one last time at Margaret's ridiculous Camp Redwood music festival.
Who Is Richard Really Working For?
Is it really Satan who has revived Richard and has him doing his bidding? If so, why did he allow Benjamin to simply abandon the mission and even get Richard thrown in prison for all these years? Why didn't he fight harder to get Brooke? And why did this entity wait until the moment of Brooke's execution to finally do something and free Richard from his incarceration?
Obviously, Richard had no problem finding Benjamin's new identity, and killing his wife, so that sounds like Satan (or whoever) gave him a helping hand there -- not to mention a quick trip to Alaska!? Clearly Benjamin still has a role to play in whatever's about to happen at Margaret's Camp Redwood music festival. So why does everyone have to be there?
Not only do we wonder who Richard is really in bed with, we also are wondering what that entity's goals are? Why does it want a Camp Redwood reunion so badly, it would send Richard to Alaska to "recruit" Jingles? Does it have something to do with Donna reviving Brooke, or is that just an amazing coincidence of timing?
What Has Donna Been Doing?
Out of nowhere, Brooke was revived after her very public execution for all those murders she didn't commit (and the one she did), which should make her legally dead in the eyes of the law, right? The woman who brought her back was none other than Donna, who has been missing since she vanished from Camp Redwood back in 1984.
So, what has Donna been up to? Did she really infiltrate the prison system in an official capacity, or did she replace the actual executioner? And what is her motive for saving Brooke, other than know she is innocent of the crimes she's been condemned for. Even the murder of Montana was in self-defense.
Obviously, we all know where this is heading and where these characters are heading, but what is Donna's motive? The last time she went there, she wanted to study serial killers in their natural habitat. She'd since had a bit of a change of heart on that front, but that was five years ago now in show time.
Got a story or a tip for us? Email TooFab editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.