FX’s American Horror Story
Season 9, Episode 8: “Rest in Pieces”
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by Adam Penn
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Lady in White” – click here
* For a recap & review of the 1984 finale, “Final Girl” – click here
It’s a day before Halloween, 1989. Brooke is talking about what she might like to do after she kills Margaret. Donna explains the”final girl” trope, suggesting it’s either Brooke or Margaret, who’s got “crazy person” strength behind her. They’re interrupted by Stacey Phillips. She’s a reporter for the National Enquirer. She thinks Brooke is actually a Brooke Thompson groupie, impersonating the accused killer. Stacey’s written books about “human monsters” like Bundy and Gein. Now she’s writing about Brooke and Mr. Jingles. Luckily, she can’t possibly believe that Brooke is actually herself, given that Ms. Thompson is officially dead. So off Brooke and Donna go, on the road to Camp Redwood.
Soundtrack note: “Fading Fast” by the Go Go’s plays here
Poor Jonas keeps on trotting through the woods near the camp. He comes across Bruce, who’s still alive, still free, albeit missing his thumbs. Bruce picks the ghostly counsellor up, talking about CCR, The Eagles, and Bob Seger, rambling about music of the day. “Fortunate Son” soon comes on the radio, not entirely blocking out the sounds coming from the trunk.
We see a glimpse of the night before, when Bruce was able to get that pink car for himself by strangling its owner and using the cigarette lighter to cauterise those gnarly nubs on his hands. In present, he screams at the lady in the trunk: “We‘re trying to listen to CREEDENCE!” He takes the time to stab her, and it gives Jonas his chance to escape back into the woods.
At Camp Redwood, Margaret’s having her partner Courtney clean up the gory mess left behind on the Kajagoogoo tour bus. The small man is on his own to chop bodies up and move them. Courtney is now introduced to the supernatural elements at work on the grounds, as the band is reincarnated. Nobody’s missing this performance. Meanwhile, Richard Ramirez is mingling with Billy Idol’s road crew, singing the artist’s songs. Out of nowhere he gets barrelled over by Richter. Thus begins a brutal fight, beginning with Jingles nearly having his eyes poked out. He gets hit by Bruce, and then disappears in the trees. Ramirez is confronted with “huge fan” Bruce, who’s taking inspiration from the Night Stalker. The serial killer’s impressed with this other murderer. He talks about hunting “big game” and tells Bruce that Jingles is the target. Plus, he has the power of Satan with him. This festival is about to be the ’80s boiled down to one sharp, terrifying point, as it gets infiltrated by a bunch of different serial killers.
Looks like Stacey the reporter’s not as foolish as she comes across. She knows exactly who Brooke is, and Donna, as well. She knows everything about them both, including the awful story of Donna’s father and his crimes. She got a tape from the warden from the execution which helped her piece things together. She wants to know why. And Brooke tells her, hoping to spin this into a story for Stacey, so long as the reporter helps them get into Camp Redwood unnoticed. All the truth will be revealed to Stacey, right back to the crimes in 1970.
In the woods, Jingles is alive again after a “sudden disconnection from everything.” It’s trippy coming back from the dead. He comes across Jonas. The former counsellor’s all but numb to it, walking around like a ghost in that place. Richter refuses to do that. He wants to protect his son and kill Ramirez. Elsewhere, Trevor’s in bed with Montana. She goes on to explain more about her purpose for killing everyone. Being dead-alive isn’t so fun. Trevor loves her and wants to stay there with her now that ’80s are ending: “You‘re ‘80s forever.” It won’t last, though.
“Writers make me sick”
Xavier runs into Ramirez and Bruce. He takes them to where Jingles is buried below the dirt. Then the dead-alive Jingles returns, killing X. This trips Bruce out, and it pits Richter against Richard. The Night Stalker talks a nasty game about killing the man’s son. Before Jingles can do anything he’s shot in the head by Margaret. She wants to use a couple killers to her purposes. And Jingles is only going to return soon anyway. In another spot among the woods, Stacey listens to the story Brooke tells while they walk not that far off. Donna’s worried the reporter will expose them. No matter, since Ms. Thompson plans to kill Stacey.
And, like always, Margaret’s watching— now with her serial killer pals.
When Jingles comes back he’s strung up by Xavier, Montana, and the rest. He’s facing retribution for what he did during the rampage Margaret effectively caused. They’re going to torture them and kill him. Nobody wants “Satan‘s ball washer” around for eternity, they don’t want Richter to kill Ramirez on the campgrounds. Benjamin begs them for some sort of mercy for his son. He also reveals what Montana did before she died, bringing the Night Stalker there to having Brooke killed. Montana never knew what horror she really unleashed. Will the camp’s dead allow Jingles his chance to kill?
Brooke is just about to kill Stacey when “Eye of the Tiger” kicks in and Donna won’t let her do it. The reporter runs off. Donna attempts to explain how “hate and anger” turns us into evil, if we allow it. She wants to instil purpose in her new friend, so they can bring righteous revenge to Margaret. Just being at Camp Redwood doesn’t bode well for Stacey. She literally runs right into the Night Stalker, along with Marg and Bruce. The master plan Margaret has is to turn this place into the Mecca of an ’80s monument by killing all the musicians coming to play there.
Jingles is stabbed and tied up, set off in a boat on the lake.
From across the water he sees Montana. That’s when a Friday the 13th homage happens, and Bobby, long dead, jumps out of the water to pull his brother down. Benjamin comes back to life, seeing his brother alive and his mother Lavinia sitting by the shore with a picnic prepared. He asks his mother how he’ll “ever rest” knowing his son is doomed. She says that here, together with his family, he can let go of the past.
Not sure about the end of the episode, though the Jason Voorhees-like scare was a lot of fun. We can’t count Jingles out yet, though. Only one more episode remains in this short, yet still exciting, weird, and wild season.
“Final Girl” is next time.