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American Horror Story: 1984 9.8 Review – ‘Rest in Pieces’

November 7, 2019 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday
American Horror Story: 1984 - Rest in Pieces
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American Horror Story: 1984 9.8 Review – ‘Rest in Pieces’  

As we get into this spoilery review for the penultimate episode of the season, I have a question. Who is this season for? We all know the standard demo of American Horror Story is roughly teenagers and up. But this season in particular feels like it wasn’t written for grown-ups despite the setting. All season long, this has felt much more like what a teenager thinks the 80s was like, rather than what it actually was like. Is that the point? That the 80s were not really what people thought they were? That we didn’t all dress like Flashdance while drinking Jolt cola and scoring cocaine?

Case in point, we begin tonight’s episode on Devil’s Night 1989. Donna has to explain the concept of the Final Girl (a term which wasn’t actually coined until 1992) because Brooke “missed the 80s.” Except she didn’t. And if we agree that the concept of the Final Girl is evident in franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, those films had already happened before Brooke arrived at Camp Redwood. So, none of that worked for me. One thing Donna is right about is the early deaths of minority characters in horror films. As LL Cool Jay can tell you, horror (but not so much The Walking Dead is slowly getting better about that.

Enter Stacey Phillips, who is the spitting image of true-crime writer Patricia Cornwell. She’s made a career out of exploitive coverage of murderers. We know from the outset that she’s doomed to die. The only question is when, and by whose hand? But she makes some good points. The 80s were full of bullshit. And I’m still not sure how I didn’t notice Howard Jones was gay until I saw him in 1999. Heck, even Boy George wasn’t all the way out back then. Stacey agrees not to out Donna and Brooke if they give her the real story on Camp Redwood. Why anyone would trust these two women, believing them both to be killers and liars, is beyond me.

On the road, Jonas is picked up by Dylan McDermott. I’d have definitely hitchhiked more if I’d realized that was possible. LOL We learn that Bruce escaped when a woman rescued him. That poor Mary Kay saleslady is soon stabbed to death in the trunk of his car. Note that Bruce wasn’t interested in the “you can change” speech, even though his idol, Ramirez, was when Margaret laid it on him. Anyway, Jonas wanted to part of that nonsense. He’s still a wild card, as Jonas never seemed to join up with any of his fellow campers. Margaret’s new plan to kill all the musicians and make Camp Redwood the holy grail of murder tourist traps? It’s dumb. But like most dumb things, she’ll probably make a ton of money at it—unlike Mary Kay.

Anyone who’s anyone is on the way to Camp Redwood for the festival. Margaret wants all the musicians murdered and enlists killers Ramirez and Bruce to help out. Except that Jingles is on the scene and desperate to kill the Night Stalker before he can murder Bobby, Jingles’ son named after his brother. We learn from Jonas and confirmed by Montana that ghosts have a hard time remembering things. Have we seen examples of this before? Maybe. Tate Langdon seemed sure that Michael Langdon was not his son even though we all know he was. Did he forget?

The funniest lines of the week both came from Dylan McDermott. First, when he screams “We’re trying to listen to Creedence!” This might be funnier if you know any rabid CCR fans. That’s a popular mindset. Later, Jingles brandishes a knife at Bruce saying, “You stay, you die.” Without missing a beat, Bruce says “Aight” and exists with haste. Hilarious! But let’s be clear, Benjamin’s beef with Ramirez is the most honorable fight of the season. Jingles is fighting for his son, and the devil is not on his side.

Not much else happened of note this week. It was really all about putting people in their positions for the finale. Heck, the content warning didn’t even include the S, because no sexual situations happened this week—despite Trevor offering to kill himself to live with Montana in the 80s forever. Awww. I’m not sure exactly why all the campers still think they were murdered by Jingles. Xavier wasn’t, nor Chet, nor Montana, nor either of the fake Jingles’s. So why are they all so pissed at him? I gotta think that’ll work itself out next week.

When we see poor Jingles in that boat, we know what’s coming. We know somebody is about to jump out of the water and do the Ari Lehman thing. But who? Well, it’s Bobby, the brother who died in the lake. When Benjamin apologized to Bobby, I assumed he meant his son. In fact, it may have been this apology that allowed the ghost of brother-Bobby to leave the water and join Lavinia. Either way, Lavinia is delighted to have both of her sons with her. She might have actually learned something in her confrontation with Benjamin last week. I love that. Stacey winds up dead, which may or may not preclude her from writing what she knows.

Where’s everyone else? Well, Montana finally realizes she’s not been the best person when Benjamin outs her as the Night Stalker’s inspirational girlfriend. She doesn’t believe she deserves love or happiness, and is bummed that ghosts can’t get high. She still wants to kill enough people to rope in some paranormal investigators—which means we still could see Billie Dean Howard before all is said and done here. Trevor is, as of this writing, still alive, but miserable as any ghost. Xavier and Chet are bitter and boring.

There are older counselors who don’t say much, and don’t seem to have an interest in killing. The two fake Jingles’s seem super angry and kill-happy. Bertie is nowhere to be found, which is lame AF. I def need her to show up in the finale. There’s Margaret and Courtney engaged in their own plans to make her more money on the backs of more deaths. I have a hard time coming up with an ending for Margaret that’s sufficient for everything she’s done. Even being trapped at the camp with ghosts who despise her doesn’t seem like enough.

We’ve got Brooke and Donna, who are going straight for Margaret. But will Montana ever find out Brooke was telling the truth about her brother? On Marge’s side are Bruce and Ramirez, and Courtney until he is murdered like so much Kajagoogoo. Being trapped with them playing “Too Shy” over and over is a certain type of hell. Lavinia is probably right when she says, “The past will haunt you forever if you let it.”

The respect being shown to Billy Idol strongly suggests that we’ll see him next week—if only for a song. He’s the only person I can say definitely deserves to live out the season. But sure, Brooke is the Final Girl. I’d love to hear your predictions and wishes for the big finale next week!

See you’s then.

The final score: review Good
The 411
We all wondered at the beginning of the season how they'd take a 90-minute movie premise (or say, a dozen of them) and stretch them out for a whole season. As we near toward a very early finale, we're still wondering. After tonight's ep, we're basically left with a hodgepodge of disparate characters all ready to kill or die next week.