Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of American Horror Story: 1984.
American Horror Story: 1984 returned with its seventh episode titled “The Lady in White,” where we saw some familiar faces from seasons past. This week showed Donna and Brooke continue their journey to Camp Redwood while Mr. Jingles aka Richter is haunted by the ghosts of his past. And in the grisly fashion of AHS, a big revelation was unveiled as well as the introduction of some pivotal new characters. Before I say anymore, let’s get right to dissecting this episode and seeing what its innards are all about.
Twenty-two years before the Camp Redwood massacre of 1970 occurred, a tragic incident resulting in a child’s death took place. It’s 1948 and Camp Golden Star is open for business. Lavinia Richter, a single mother played the wonderful Lily Rabe, is working at the concession stand as her two boys, Benjamin and Bobby, play at camp. The young Benjamin gets distracted when he witnesses two counselors doing what typical teenagers in the 80s do in the woods. Unfortunately, his curiosity is cut short when his brother is run over by a motorboat and dies. Upset and devastated, Lavinia lashes out at the camp’s staff and blames her other son, Benjamin, for his death.
Unlike previous seasons, AHS:1984 has not featured many cameos either, so it was nice to see Lily Rabe in the opener. Her presence dominated the opening scene and brought forth a disturbing element of terror as she shrieked at the sight of her son’s dead body. In an otherwise campy season, the more serious element of horror she added was a nice touch. This episode mainly featured two storylines: Donna and Brooke’s venture back to camp and Mr. Jingles return to Redwood. The former was entertaining but felt pointless at times while the latter was heavy in character development and developed the show’s plot.
In the Donna and Brooke plotline, they decided to go back to Camp Redwood after seeing an ad for an upcoming festival. While at a skating rink, a sketchy man dressed in a black leather jacket and a pair of aviator sunglasses approaches the two. Played by season one veteran Dylan McDermott, Bruce asks if they can take him back to his girlfriend’s place. Donna declines his request until he fixes her broken-down car. As the drive progresses, Donna and Brooke become weary of Bruce. He becomes very aggressive and shoots a cop that approaches the car. The pair immediately drive away, but he catches up to them and hits the back of their vehicle with a police car. Brooke wakes up after being knocked out, and after a brief scuffle with Bruce, she and Donna continue their journey to Redwood, leaving Bruce tied to sign with his thumbs cut off. As with Rabe earlier, it was nice to see an AHS veteran in the mix after having few cameos this season. But unlike Rabe’s character, Bruce was just filler to give something for Brooke and Donna to do. Their story may have been entertaining; however, it also didn’t add much to the storyline in this episode.
Finally, the storyline that was the most imperative to this episode was Mr. Jingles’ return to Redwood. After vowing to murder Richard Ramirez for the death of his wife, Mr. Jingles is given an unpleasant welcome by the ghosts of the men he killed a couple of episodes ago. Jingles confesses his motivation for returning to the ghosts, and they mention that a lady in white, who ends up being Jingle’s mother Lavinia, attacks them at night. A flashback depicts a young Jingles (Benjamin) stabbing his mother to death after she tries to kill him following the death of his brother.
To sum up the rest of the episode, Lavinia reveals to Benjamin that she has been watching him the whole time he’s been at Redwood and admits to manipulating Margaret into killing the campers in the Redwood Massacre of 1970. Meanwhile, Ramirez slaughters members of a band that was set to play at the festival and leaves satanic symbols on the tour bus. Back to Jingles crying on a dock, his mother comes to tell him to stop grieving for his brother and leave. He ponders her direction for a moment and then kills himself so he can come back as a ghost to relieve the ghosts of Redwood from purgatory.
As I stated earlier, Mr. Jingles’ storyline revealed why the people who died at Redwood came back as ghosts as well as explaining his unwanted attachment to the camp itself. It made the episode interesting and provided some answers that were much needed. Furthermore, having his mother be the main cause of the deaths in Redwood harkens back to the “mommy issues” trope in 80s slashers films such as Jason’s Vorhees’ mother in Friday the 13th. In a way, it almost seems that Mr. Jingles has become the main character instead of Brooke. His storyline has been much more intriguing and better developed.
Featured Image: IMDb
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