Oh, American Horror Story. The only show where a guy almost gets cooked in an oven, there’s a midnight aerobics class that ends in a disembowelment, and a serial-killer-on-serial-killer fight and none of those things are the biggest developments to come out of the episode. We’ve long suspected overly-devoted camp owner Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman) was up to no good, but in “True Killers” we finally learn the truth: Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) didn’t kill all those campers in 1970, she did.
It’s true! Margaret is the culprit behind the Camp Redwood massacre! We flash back to 1970 and watch as a nerdy Margaret (the pigtails to make her look younger, truly hilarious) gets repeatedly bullied. Her only friend at camp is Benjamin Richter (the future Mr. Jingles), although I guess by the way she sucks the blood off his finger when he gets a splinter while whittling her a bear figurine, “friends” isn’t a strong enough word. Is it weird that Margaret doing that made me more nauseous than the aforementioned disembowelment? Ah, desensitization. Anyway, “Benji” promises to always protect her. To do whatever she needs.
But when Benji finally comes face to face with Margaret after all these years (this is after he meets his number one fan, Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa), out in the woods and puts the guy’s face through a tree branch, mind you) explains that he did protect her — by taking the fall for her blood lust. Margaret killed all of those people at Camp Redwood and framed Benjamin Richter. All those years in the insane asylum getting electro-shock therapy and being repeatedly told he was a monster ended up turning him into an actual monster. But he wasn’t supposed to be a killer. (It would actually be kind of sad, if we hadn’t spent the last few weeks watching him brutally murder so many people.) And then Margaret puts several bullets in him so that she can frame him once more for all the murdering she’s going to be doing. Her first victim, sadly, is big dong Trevor (Matthew Morrison). We did not have you long enough, Trevor and your button-fly jorts. You will be missed!
But don’t fret, dear readers: This is not the last time Margaret and Jingles will come face to face. When Margaret turns around after murdering Trevor, Jingles is gone. So that’s going to be a problem for her, now that he knows the truth.
Margaret ends the hour meeting up with the rest of the remaining crew: Brooke (Emma Roberts), Montana (Billie Lourd), Chet (Gus Kenworthy), and a badly burned Xavier (Cody Fern) — he was the guy in the oven! The only reason he didn’t cook up like a Thanksgiving turkey was thanks to an assist from Bertie (Tara Karsian)… who he then killed at her request as she bled out from being repeatedly stabbed by Jingles. What a time! Anyway, they are all standing in the parking lot watching the last car burn up before them. Not only has Margaret secretly destroyed their last chance at escape, she tells them all a sad story about Jingles killing Trevor. Boy, are they all in for a shock when she starts stabbing some of them.
Surprisingly (or maybe not, given the show we’re watching), Jingles isn’t the only serial killer who survives what should be a fatal wound. A tree branch to the face does not stop the Night Stalker!
Let’s talk about him for a minute, shall we? After last week’s big reveal that he and Montana are in cahoots, and she desperately wants him to kill Brooke, we get a flashback to how the two met. It was during a midnight aerobics class! Richard walks in while Montana’s teaching and watches one very enthusiastic aerobics student scream at Montana for her choice of music (he wants Cyndi Lauper, damnit!). When Montana heads to the empty locker room, she finds that mouthy student strung up on the ceiling, with his insides on the outside. Richard Ramirez did it for her. And she likes it. There’s a very disturbing hookup session that involves the licking of bloody feet, and it’s like, you’re already having sex in a gym locker room, must we get any grosser?
But of course we do! Afterward, Montana asks Richard if he’d kill for her again, because this woman’s out for revenge. Surprise! Montana is the sister of the best man at Brooke’s wedding who was murdered by Brooke’s would-be husband in a jealous rage! She blames Brooke for her brother’s death and she wants her dead.
All of this leads to Montana to finding Brooke tied up in a net — a booby trap set by “scientist” Donna (Angelica Ross) as part of her study on Mr. Jingles and serial killers — which honestly, is so like Brooke. Montana leads the Night Stalker to her, thinking this is finally it (she’s watching in the shadows), only to have the whole thing foiled by Mr. Jingles. The two serial killers fight (Donna might as well be popping popcorn as she watches from afar) and Mr. Jingles hangs the Night Stalker on that tree and goes on with his business.
It turns out, though, that the Night Stalker was really onto something with all of that praying to the devil stuff, because Donna watches as his lifeless body is raised from the ground, his wounds are healed, and he comes back to life. Cool, cool, cool, nothing to be concerned about here.
American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.