TV Review: American Horror Story: 1984: “Final Girl” (S9 E09)

Our campfire tale ends in 2019. Bobby Rictor (Finn Wittrock) has come to Camp Redwood looking for his father but finds Montana (Billie Lourd) instead. After a brief interaction, Montana figures it out: “You’re Mr. Jingles’s son!”

As cool as that was, she’s more interested in the doohickey he has (a cell phone), and what’s happening with the modern world—news doesn’t travel to Camp Redwood anymore, not since the festival. By the designs of the place, it looks like things got out of hand.

Montana (and Trevor, who just shows up) explain that Mr. Jingles hasn’t been seen since he was dragged into the lake by his lil’ bro. Bobby’s confused about the whole situation, especially why these people–who should be dead–are here in the flesh. This conversation turns into a “let’s kill ourselves to prove we’re dead,” and the lovebirds relish the opportunity to shoot and stab themselves before finally giving us details on what exactly happened way back when.

Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman) throws a tantrum at the news of talent canceling last minute. This fit ends in the death of her assistant (Leslie Jordan), while Trevor’s out redirecting traffic. He’s blocked off the main road, sending teenagers away from certain death (“No refunds!”). Booth arrives, and the husband and wife have it out. Booth shoots him outside the property line (in the leg, stomach, then crotch), and leaves him to die girlfriend-less.

But he’s in luck! Montana materializes to coach him towards the entrance, but it’s Brooke who arrives to help him over the line. “Why would you help me?” Montana asks. “Because I’m not like you,” Brooke sneers. Really? I thought we’d established that Brooke was game to kill whoever just to get hers? There must be a tidbit of the old Brooke inside there, after all.

With no festival to be had, loose ends meet their expected tie-up. Freshly-dead Trevor catches Bruce (Dylan McDermott) in the act (of murder), and puts a machete into his neck. No muss, no fuss, the protege goes out like a clown. Richard Ramirez himself gets duped by Montana, who says Billy Idol made it past the roadblock because he’s a “rebel.”

Of course, this isn’t true and Ramirez finds himself surrounded by his victims. “This is my redemption, dickwad!” Montana screams, before everyone hacks him to pieces. The counselors form a Death Watch to hack up the serial killer every time Satan resurrects him, an activity that continues to this day.

Problem is, twenty minutes before Bobby arrived, the Watch screwed up and let RR resurrect. He promptly attacks the trio in the cabin, and it becomes a scramble to disable the Night Stalker. After a skirmish, Bobby escapes the chaos.

He seeks out Donna Chambers (Angelica Ross), who’s working at a mental ward. She explains to Bobby what we already know, that Booth was the actual psychopath. What we don’t know, is that Donna and Brooke spearhead a gathering of the dead to avenge all the wrongs that Booth put on them. Unfortunately, Brooke dies in the struggle, so Donna becomes the “Final Girl.

Just kidding, Brooke survived. But first! Booth’s comeuppance is a wood chipper, with a few axes to help out. In a wonderfully gory scene, the gang hack off her limbs one by one, then finally her head. All is tossed into the chipper, with the intent to spray her chunks off-campgrounds.

TV Review: American Horror Story: 1984: “Final Girl” (Season 9 Finale)

But back to Brooke. She survived thanks to that cowardly Ray. He redeems himself by cauterizing her wound and carrying her off-grounds so that she can find help. She does and presently lives with a doctor husband, so she’s doing okay. Donna isn’t happy to discover this with Bobby, having carried survivor’s guilt for years. Really though, Donna’s past actions make it hard to feel any sympathy for her here, especially after all she’s put Brooke through.

Having caught up with the narrative, Bobby makes his way back to camp. He’s determined to find his father, which leads him to ghostly Margaret Booth. She promises to take Bobby to his daddy. Of course this is a ruse, and she tries to kill him. Then Jingles arrives and ends that attempt. After a tender moment, Booth rises once again, and “kills” the father, then tries for the son again. It’s the Lady in White’s turn, as Lily Rabe shows up to smile, then slit Booth’s throat. This time the rest of the dead campers show up and subdue her. Yeesh, that was a lot.

“Tell our ghost stories to your children,” Montana says. Yeah … maybe don’t do that, Bobby. These people aren’t exactly role models.

TV Review: American Horror Story: 1984: “Final Girl” (Season 9 Finale)

Mike + The Mechanics play us out with “The Living Years.” You’re so sappy, American Horror Story. This season proved to be more good than bad, and it’s a relief to see the show find its footing again. Yes, the last few episodes dragged, but the first half was fun to watch and didn’t feel like a chore (see: Roanoke). I think I enjoyed Apocalypse more. 1984 offered a familiar presentation of the decade, a portrait as shallow and excessive as the period itself, but with nice callbacks to the genre. And a couple of series-great deaths. So I suppose that’s progress?