If two serial killers meet in the forest and nobody's around, does the stabbing make a sound?

By Kat Rosenfield
October 10, 2019 at 12:07 AM EDT
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Last week on American Horror Story, we got a last-minute reveal just before the end credits rolled: Montana (Billie Lourd) and the Night Stalker (Zach Villa) were in bloody cahoots at Camp Redwood! And this week, first thing, we find out why. 

Like so many creepy criminal romances, it all goes back to aerobics. Once upon a time, Montana was teaching a group of spandex-clad bros to step, thrust, and booty roll to a kickin’ soundtrack of Billy Idol… who also happens to be the Night Stalker’s favorite punk rocker. (What can we say? Guy’s got taste!) He stumbles into her class just in time to see a very whiny student complaining about her music selection, and to show his appreciation (for Montana, or Billy Idol, or maybe both at once), he disembowels the whiny guy and strings him up in the ladies’ locker room. 

Naturally, Montana is very impressed. And later, post-coital and covered in blood, she asks the Night Stalker if he’d kill someone else for her. Did you guess that Montana had a connection to Brooke’s wedding-gone-wrong? Ding! The guy Brooke (Emma Roberts) allegedly slept with, shot to death by her jealous fiancé, was Montana’s brother— and Montana wants revenge.

NO REUSE EXCEPT WHAT TO WATCH 10/01/19American Horror Story: 1984 | Season 9 Ep. 3: Slashdance Preview | FX (screen grab)Cody Fern as Xavier Plympton and Billie Lourd as Montana Dukehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvcXAiidMiwCR: FX
FX

“Promise me she’ll suffer,” she says.

Meanwhile, the surviving guys — Xavier (Cody Fern), Chet (Gus Kenworthy), and Trevor (Matthew Morrison) — are still hoping to escape from Redwood in the deceased Blake’s Cadillac. Xavier goes to collect Chef Bertie (Tara Karsian), then hides under a table as Mister Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) arrives. Bertie, God bless her, doesn’t scream or run away or even say anything judgmental about the whole “mass murder” thing; she just serves her old camp co-worker a PB&J along with a little bit of wisdom about making good choices.

Unfortunately, Xavier chooses this moment to knock over a cup, ruining both the moment and Bertie’s hopes of survival. Jingles attacks, and shortly thereafter, Xavier wakes up trapped inside one of the camp’s industrial ovens. He’s pretty well crisped up by the time a dying Bertie lets him out, and in return, he puts her out of her misery with a knife to the heart. They both scream as the blade goes in, and that’s it for both good ol’ Bertie and Xavier’s beautiful face. (Side note: This is not American Horror Story’s best oven-related incident, an honor which goes to Asylum and Doctor Thredson’s self-immolation — but it’s a close runner-up.)

Brooke has been unconscious since the end of episode 3, when, remember, Nurse Rita (who isn’t really a nurse or a Rita) stuck her with a horse tranquilizer. Now awake, she runs out into the forest and is promptly trapped in a swinging net snare. 

“I’m doing this for science,” says Rita, emerging from the nearby darkness; she wants to see if Jingles will kill Brooke when she’s such easy bait, or if he prefers to hunt his own prey. But while Jingles approaches from one direction, Montana discovers the trapped Brooke and sends the Night Stalker her way, leading to a killer faceoff. It’s not quite Freddy vs. Jason (okay, honestly, it’s so much lamer), but the Night Stalker is stoked to fight a more established murderer, which apparently earns you a vaunted status in the serial-killer community, sort of like championship boxing. Unfortunately for the Night Stalker, it’s just not his day. After landing a few hits on Jingles, he ends up dangling from the nearest tree like a marionette, if marionettes had giant pointy branches going through the back of their heads and out their mouths. Brooke escapes amid the chaos, and Montana, who had her own GLOWesque bout with Rita in the woods, arrives just in time to see her boyfriend get impaled.

And then there’s Margaret (Leslie Grossman), who’s been remarkably relaxed about having her camp invaded by multiple murderers — and now we know why! Flashback to Camp Redwood 1970, when Margaret was a pigtailed counselor and Jingles was still just “Benji,” the maintenance man with a heart of gold and a little crush on the Jesus-loving blonde. He promised to protect her from her fellow counselors, who were bullying her, but in the end, he ended up being the patsy who took the fall for her crimes. Shoutout again to anyone who called it: Margaret Booth is the real Camp Redwood killer! She wielded the knife, she did the crimes, and she took the ears… including her own, which, honestly, is a level of commitment I can’t help but respect.

When Jingles finds Margaret praying in her cabin, he doesn’t remember any of this; the knowledge of his innocence has long since been electroshocked out of him, and the killer is all that’s left.

“I am the monster you made me,” he growls and moves in for the kill. But before he can stab Margaret, she shoots him — and then stabs Trevor, who shows up just in time to become “Mister Jingles’ last victim.” RIP, Trevor. Such a nice guy. Such a huge wiener. 

Of course, this is American Horror Story; even when the bodies hit the floor, they rarely stay there! So when Margaret turns around, Jingles is gone. And it gets weirder: out in the woods, the body of the Night Stalker suddenly levitates, spontaneously heals itself, and… yep, he’s resurrected. Maybe the camp is hallowed ground where evil and/or smoldering bad boys never truly die, or maybe those Satanic arts-and-crafts he was doing a few scenes ago actually worked! Either way, both killers are still on the loose, if a little worse for wear, as we head into the latter half of the season. Lights out, campers!

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An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.
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  • 10/17/12
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