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REVIEW: ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ Episode 5: “Red Dawn”

by Rex Meyer Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of American Horror Story: 1984. In an unexpected turn of events, American Horror Story: 1984 gave us an episode that could have very well been the finale of the season. This episode, titled “Red Dawn,” saw the campers learn more about the secrets lurking at Camp Redwood, while two characters faced off in a deadly battle. But with most of the cast murdered and many of the loose ends actually explained, it looks like AHS: 1984 will be taking the second half of the season in a different direction; unfortunately, we will have to wait till next week to see how these last five episodes unfold. So, without further ado, it's time to get into all the twisted, gory details of AHS: 1984’s “Red Dawn.”

Image from IMDb
The episode begins as a flashback to the year 1980, in which Donna spies on her father seemingly cheating on her mother with another woman. She gets out of the car to catch them in the act, but instead makes a horrific discovery of the woman’s corpse. Donna realizes her father is a serial killer, then witnesses his suicide when he figures out that she has learned of his crimes. This explanation for Donna’s obsession with Mr. Jingles was graphic but very effective because it exemplified the personal demons within her character. Angelica Ross wonderfully portrayed the devastation and frustration Donna felt when she learned about her father’s murders.  We flash forward to 1984, where the revived Richard Ramirez tells Donna that he was—unsurprisingly—brought back by Satan and knows all about her misdeeds. The scene conveys the guilt Donna carries because she couldn’t help her father before, and now she can’t help Mr. Jingles either. 
Image from IMDb
The rest of the episode mainly consisted of characters getting killed off one by one. Margaret takes Chet on a boat and confesses her role in the Camp Redwood massacre of 1970. Chet screams in agony as she slices his ear off and drowns him by chaining him to an anchor that falls to the bottom of the lake. While it was sad to see Chet go, his character didn’t really have much importance. He didn’t have a huge backstory, and the only notable things he did were admitting to obvious steroid usage and serving as a potential love interest for Brooke—which never went anywhere. His death wasn’t very impactful, but I don’t think it was intended to be. Since the deceased have been reappearing as ghosts, this probably won’t be the last time we see Chet. Afterwards, Donna flees from Xavier and Montana after she admits to both of them that she freed Mr. Jingles. During her escape, she begs Mr. Jingles to kill her so she can be free of her guilt. He denies her plea and leaves her to suffer. This looks like it will be the end of Donna, as her story has come full circle. The ambiguity of this fate seems fitting since Donna was a bit of an enigma herself; however, considering how this episode ends, she could reappear later in the season. 
Image from IMDb
Not knowing Margaret is the real killer, Xavier saves her from Mr. Jingles by killing him with a bow and arrow. She scores another ear for her collection—which is probably her 50th by now—when she stabs Xavier to death. Similar to Chet, his death was unfortunate but not too gut-wrenching to watch. His death is not necessarily a detriment to the episode itself, since he will probably return in some capacity. The writers have already reincarnated most of the deceased characters thus far, so I highly doubt Xavier will be an exception.  Mr. Jingles is subsequently revived by Ramirez while Brooke loses her virginity to the ghost form of Ray. Finally, Brooke learns that Sam, the best friend of her fiancé, was Montana’s brother, and Montana had planned to kill her as an act of revenge. As the sun rises, Montana and Brooke fight to the death while a bus full of young campers makes its way to Camp Redwood. The campers arrive just in time to see Montana being killed by Brooke, while an injured Margaret frames Brooke for the murders...and that’s how it ends. The night of terror is over and most of the cast is now deceased; however, Camp Redwood is known to have supernatural forces at work, so I’m sure the characters we saw die will be back soon. The real question is whether or not this is the last time we see Brooke. She’s in police custody now, so it is highly unlikely she’ll return to Redwood. It will also be interesting to see what Margaret does now that she has framed another person for murder. Based off of the preview of next week’s episode, some answers might be provided and some big revelations might be unearthed. After all, it is the series’ 100th episode.
Images: IMDb Featured Image: TV Movie Fix

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