In many ways, last week’s “Red Dawn” episode felt like it could have been the ending to this short miniseries. It brought about the end of a 5 episode sequence almost told in real time as we saw our cast of counselors fighting off two serial killers, along with a few betraying psychopaths in their own midst.
Not only does this episode mark AHS’s 100th, but it also marks the beginning of the unofficial second half of this season. Will it be as tense or compelling as what we’ve seen thus far? Let’s take a closer look at “Episode 100” and find out!
Sequel to the First Half
Skipping over the immediate aftermath of the (second) Camp Redwood Massacre we pick up with our pair of serial killer travelers a year later in 1985. Ramirez takes joy in killing as many people as possible, while Jingles seems to be having second thoughts about the whole thing. We get another jump in time to 1989.
Picking up with our characters, we find the ghosts of Montana and Xavier settling into their roles as homicidal spirits killing anyone who dares enter Camp Redwood (much to the chagrin of fellow ghosts Chet and Ray). Margaret and Trevor have gained wealth and fame, all while living a sham marriage to their mutual benefit.
New People, New Lives
Even Jingles is now living a content existence with a wife and baby, and a job at a video store. The only character to whom the years haven’t been kind is poor Brooke, sitting on death row after taking the blame for all the murders. One of her neighbors in another cell is none other than Richard Ramirez, who’s merely biding his time.
As a major publicity stunt, Margaret decides to throw a major concern at Camp Redwood, which will most likely serve as the climax of the whole season. This prompts Ramirez to unleash the power of Satan to escape, killing Jingles’ wife on the way. He spares the baby but leaves a bloody message.
In a feat of legitimately sad desperation, Jingles gives his infant son to a neighbor and realizes that he can’t escape what he is and proceeds to go after Ramirez. This all coincides with Brooke being executed, just for her to revived by (fake) Rita, who claims that there is work to be done.
Setting the Stage
As previously mentioned, “Episode 100” feels a lot more like a season premiere than a midway point for the season. It seems that 1984 is going the same way as Roanoke, in that the season is split into two distinct halves with their own beginning, middle, and end. In some ways it’s more effective, because we the audience experienced that night with these characters.
It hits harder than if we had only heard about this massacre years earlier. We saw them go through so much, so it’s refreshing to see Jingles with a family and tragic to see Brooke being executed. But the episode also does a great job of shaking all that up before it’s over.
Despite everyone “moving on” the series does a great job of showing us how the trauma of that night still effects of them. There’s a humorous scene where Jingles won’t rent out violent slashers films to a customer, which is mostly played for laughs, but if you really think about it, this reveals just how disturbed he is with not only the deception Margaret manipulated him with, but the overwhelming guilt of the few people he did kill.
His story is sad not because he never wanted to be a killer, but because he believed he never had a choice. The only character who doesn’t quite feel like herself is Margaret, who made a transformation from holier than thou condescending to simply greedy and selfish condescending.
These may not seem very different, but there’s an important distinction, and we’re honestly undecided if this is to the benefit or detriment to her character. Perhaps only time will tell over the next few episodes.
It will definitely be difficult to match the intense momentum that the first five episodes had, but the next four may make up for this in epic scale. By the time “Episode 100” is over, we have several opposing forces all converging onto Camp Redwood, and when they meet and clash, it will hopefully make for one hell of an ending!