AHS 1984: “Slashdance” Review (Spoilers)

Picking up right where last week’s episode left off, “Slashdance” continues the “real time” approach by all taking place on the same night.  But with a title like that, we can be forgiven if we expecting some sort of reference to Flashdance or even Dirty Dancing.  What we got instead was far more interesting, if not a tiny bit cheesy.

Spoilers Ahead, You’ve Been Warned!

Oh the Betrayals
We see our cast of counselors being besieged by the hooded killer, just to discover it’s nothing more than a college prankster.  This quickly diffuses the tension of the cliffhanger from last week.  However, we soon discover that the real Mr. Jingles is in fact there and kills this pretender, because as we learned from Bloody Face back in Asylum, killers on this show don’t like imposters.

It does feel a bit cheap that they were scared of some prankster. But given the fact that Mr. Jingles and Richard Ramirez were actually there, it does raise the stakes.

From there we follow our characters in several side plots as they separate.  Chet and Ray have an interesting exchange as Chet accidentally gets impaled by some spike trap set in the ground, and Ray takes it upon himself to reveal something truly disturbing about this past.  We find out that he “accidentally” killed someone from his fraternity and disposed of the body.

It sort of seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t really add the plot or his character.  It would be one thing if we got the vibe that Ray was disturbed before, but nothing he said or did really gave that off.  So unless it comes back as relevant later on, there really was no point to it.

Our biggest revelation came from Nurse Rita, whom we discovered is not actually a nurse at all.  Via flashback, we see that she helped Mr. Jingles escape in an attempt to study him in the wild.  It sounds a bit like Dr. Sartain in 2018’s Halloween.

Tribute or Plagiarism?
In fact, Rita’s entire conversation with Dr. Hopple sounds ripped right from the script of that slasher classic.  Hopple comments on his black eyes being like a shark, and him being pure evil.  So far, this season has done a great job of paying tribute to classic slashers, but this scene felt less like a tribute, and more like a blatant ripoff.

Hopple, you are no Loomis. But while we’re at it, let’s point out for both that a psychologist who chalks up their patient as just being pure evil is kind of a terrible doctor.

We then meet the real Nurse Rita, who had the fortune of being kept alive this whole time, only to have the misfortune of being killed by Mr. Jingles as soon as the counselors set her free.  Which is a shame, not just for her character, but also because Dreama Walker is a really good actress and she only got 5 minutes of screen time.

Speaking of limited screen time, Richard Ramirez is attacking Brooke at the beginning and disappears until the very last scene, only for Montana to ask him, “Why haven’t you killed her yet?!”  Thus it’s also revealed that apparently Montana is just as crazy as fake Rita and her killer of choice is the Night Stalker.

Once again on this series, we have two subplots that are meaty enough to take up the whole season, but are happening simultaneously without any real connection to each other, for now that is.  What most fans are probably hoping for is to see Ramirez and Mr. Jingles go head to head in a serial killer showdown, which would be awesome!

Who would win?!

It’s still unclear if the whole season will continue like this in real time, all taking place on the same day/night.  At this point, it sort of seems like they have to, or this momentum they’ve been building will die out.  It worked for shows like 24, but failed miserably for the final season of How I Met Your Mother.  Hopefully AHS 1984 takes more after the former.

The official IMDB synopsis of this episode states “Imitation is the best form of flattery”.  We can surmise this is a reference to the Mr. Jingles impostors.  But perhaps it’s also an attempt to justify how much they’re “borrowing” from Halloween.

There’s no problem with taking inspiration from horror classics, just as long as they do their own spin on it.  And to be fair, it’s still early enough in the season that anything could happen from here on out.  Let’s just hope that the next few episodes are worthy of the awesome films they’re clearly taking notes from!


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