FX’s American Horror Story
Season 9, Episode 4: “True Killers”
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Written by Jay Beattie
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Slashdance” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Red Dawn” – click here
Skip back a while.
At Men’s Only aerobics class— with a fragile name, Midnight Manerobics— Montana sniffs coke before getting the tunes going, as she leads men in a routine. Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” plays. Outside, Ramirez lurks. He heads inside, feeling the lure of Satan and the music at once. Montana disparagingly calls him “Rambo” because he looks like he’s in the militia with a bunch of gear on, including a big blade. A guy gives her a bit of trouble. The look this draws from Ramirez is NOT GOOD.
Later, Montana finds the gutted dude above her locker. She smacks Richard across his face when he reveals himself. She thinks what he did is insane. She also finds it incredibly sexy. This is where their eerie, sick relationship began. Montana wonders if Ramirez would kill for her. Her brother’s the best man who got shot at Brooke’s wedding. She thinks Brooke had sex with him then lied. She wants revenge.
AHS 1984‘s like any great 1980s slasher: as many twists and turns as there are kills.
“That’s the most fucked up thing anyone’s ever done for me.”
Back to Camp Redwood, when Richard and Montana meet back up in the parking lot. She tells him about Mr. Jingles, which excites the Night Stalker professionally. His lady’s not happy until Brooke is dead. Meanwhile, Xavier and Trevor have carried Chet back to safety, though the guy’s near dead. They do a Pulp Fiction on the would-be Olympian and the adrenaline helps bring him back. Chet tells them about what Ray did in college. This prompts X to let slip his porn past, even if it’s not fully registered by his buddies. Then he thinks about Blake’s car. Trevor heads off to look for Margaret while X looks for the car. Chet has to lay there with a pair of scissors “for protection” against either Ramirez or Richter’s knife.
Trevor finds Margaret and tells her about Jingles. She has a gun and believes it’s all she needs, along with God. Trevor says fuck all that and heads back, letting Marg stay in the woods and be all creepy by herself. Xavier comes across Chef Bertie making sandwiches. She’s got no clue people are being murdered. Moments later she’s face-to-face with Benjamin. She offers a PB&J and X hides away. The two old camp pals chat about the past and closure. Jingles hears X accidentally make noise, resulting in the young man being stuffed in a preheating oven. Thankfully the chef’s got enough life left, after getting stabbed mercilessly, to help X out before he’s burnt to a crisp.
After that, she asks him to put her out of misery.
When Brooke comes to she’s in a shack in the woods. She gets out, nearly murdered by a brutal trap. Only steps further and she’s caught in a net. She hears Donna taunting about the various traps she’s set, giving the typical villainous monologue we’ve seen in slashers before, full of exposition. She’s curious if Jingles needs “the thrill of the hunt,” considering herself “a scientist.” From Brooke’s position, she sees Donna as a psychopath. Eventually Montana comes along but can’t get her friend down, playing the bestie so Brooke doesn’t suspect anything.
Flashback to younger Margaret in 1970.
She saw Richter carving a bear out of wood— she’s kept it to this day. People made fun of them. Margaret and Benjamin had a sweet relationship. Perhaps slightly weird, judging by her sucking the blood off his finger after he nicked it. “Are you my bear, Benji?” she asked. He swore he’d always keep her safe.
Montana goes back to tell Richard where Brooke’s been left. This serves Ms. Thompson up on a silver platter. The Night Stalker meets up with the other serial killer when Jingles emerges. An even more interesting social experiment for Donna, watching from the shadows. Ramirez is thrilled about taking on a killer with a reputation “set in stone.” The two men fight it out while Donna and Montana go at it, too. All over once Benjamin impales Ramirez on a tree.
Jingles and Margaret meet again after so long. We see the past, when he was hauled away for crimes he said he never committed. They blamed it on what he saw during Nam “in the jungle” and took him to the psychiatric institution, giving him electric shock therapy. Everyone convinced him he only forgot his crimes. Margaret thinks so, too.
She talks about being bullied horribly at camp. She killed them all, just as Father Gore suspected. She used Benjamin’s past to make him look guilty— a perfect crime. This revelation sends poor Richter into a mental tailspin, realising the ultimate horrible betrayal. When he heads towards her, he’s shot a couple times.
“I am the monster that you made me”
Trevor shows up looking for Margaret, who acts like she stopped the terrifying Mr. Jingles. He’s stabbed in the gut as the beginning of yet another bloody murder spree Marg’s about to embark on to give herself over to her “true self.” She takes an ear trophy.
But she forgot to make sure Richter’s dead— typical slasher mistake!
Brooke stumbles onto Xavier in the woods, half burned, right after Richter spared his life and disappeared. Nearby there’s a loud bang and a flash. Blake’s car is on fire. Marg meets up with the remaining counsellors, playing her twisted game, claiming Trevor was killed by Jingles.
Also, you knew Satan wasn’t going to leave Ramirez out there dead in the trees, right?
Another fun episode. The supernatural element should be an even better thrill now too, with the Night Stalker coming back to life. Plus, with big revelations so early in the season, it’ll be interesting to watch how the rest of the episodes play out.
“Red Dawn” is next time.