“What the hell kind of camp is this?” is right, Chet (Gus Kenworthy). We already had an inkling that nothing at Camp Redwood is as it seems (thank you, ghost counselor), but Wednesday’s American Horror Story, titled “Slashdance,” really drives home the point. Sort of like a giant pit full of stakes just waiting to tear into disgraced almost-Olympians and sad pranksters pretending to be Mr. Jingles. Sorry, too soon? Well, Chet and the Jingles-wannabe getting stuck in that pit is the least of our problems in the third installment of AHS: 1984. We have some major character reveals, very important flashbacks, and a legit decapitation. It is very gross! Before I get, ahem, ahead of myself (come on, if I already attempted a pointy stake pun, you knew I’d be going for at least one decapitation pun — I am but only human), let’s talk about Nurse Rita (Angelica Ross).
Oh, Real Nurse Rita, we hardly knew ye. That’s right kids, I said ‘Real Nurse Rita’. The Nurse Rita we sort of know and were starting to love as much as we could after just two episodes of television with a large ensemble cast, turns out to be a big ol’ fake. The first clue that something might be up with Rita is her injecting Brooke (Emma Roberts) with a paralytic so she can’t take a car and call the police. I didn’t say it was a subtle clue. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait much longer to get the scoop on this woman who is definitely not a nurse.
Nurse Rita’s actual name is Donna Chambers and she’s studying serial killers while in pursuit of her doctorate. In a flashback to one week before this night from hell began, we watch Donna meet with Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) at the insane asylum and explain that she doesn’t think people are born evil, she believes he, like so many other serial killers, was triggered by access to porn and the war. Because, of course. I feel like Rita/Donna and Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman) would have a lot to talk about! To prove her theory that someone like Mr. Jingles was triggered to kill, she needs to study him in his natural habitat. And so, she tells him how to escape and get to Camp Redwood to find Margaret. All he really needs to do is just be himself, she says. It would be very heartwarming if we weren’t talking about setting a psycho-killer who enjoys keeping people’s ears as trophies on the loose.
She also tells Mr. Jingles that once he arrives at the camp, he’ll see her in a new job: camp nurse. Donna will do anything in the name of science (hm, like Margaret will do anything in the name of religion?), and so she follows Real Nurse Rita (Dreama Walker) on her way to a summer at Camp Redwood, hides in the back of her car, and then attacks the kind, dumb nurse. She ties her up and tosses her in a cabin by the lake. We have yet to see where Rita/Donna has taken Brooke, but we definitely know the fate of Real Nurse Rita: While hiding from Mr. Jingles, Xavier (Cody Fern), Trevor (Matthew Morrison), and Montana (Billie Lourd) come across her tied up in the cabin and are surely going to rescue her as long as she keeps quiet until Mr. Jingles passes. But the sweet dummy cannot do that, and she quickly crawls out into the open, where Mr. Jingles promptly stuffs an oar in her face. That woman has the worst luck, huh?
Nurse Rita/Donna Chambers isn’t the only character who gets a backstory filled in this week. After several instances in which Ray (DeRon Horton) shows us that he’s only out to save himself, he gets trapped in that aforementioned pit of stakes with Chet. While Chet is in and out of consciousness from, well, the giant stake sticking out of his body, Ray decides to confess why he really needed to get out Los Angeles for the summer. Last year, during his frat’s hazing hell night, he tried to bestow some kindness on one of the kids rushing by taking him out into an empty hall for a breather, but the drunk kid tumbled down the stairs to what looked like his death. Ray didn’t want to be on the hook for that kid’s death, which is like, so typical Ray, so he takes the body to a secluded area and attempts to make it look like the kid drove his car off a cliff. Only, when Ray starts to send the car with the body over the cliff, the kid comes to — he isn’t dead! Alas, Ray can’t stop the car and kid dies anyway. Ah, just another super cheerful flashback on AHS.
Not one to wait around to die, Ray leaves poor, skewered Chet down in that pit and makes a run for it on his own. Eventually, he runs into Xavier, Trevor, and Montana. Trevor gives him the keys to his motorcycle and instructs him and Montana to go call the cops, while Trevor and Xavier try to locate Margaret and Chef Bertie (Tara Karsian) because they just have to be heroes, don’t they? (Trevor and Xavier do end up saving Chet… but they also end up accidentally killing a townie prankster dressed like Mr. Jingles. You win some, you lose some, I guess.)
Ray most definitely does not feel the need to be a hero, and once he and Montana make it to the parking lot, he proves that once again. The Night Stalker (Zach Villa) arrives to stalk in the night once more! Ray immediately hops on Trevor’s bike and speeds out of there, leaving Montana alone with the serial killer. Just like, real cool stuff all around. Ray thinks he’s finally free of Camp Redwood, totally fine leaving everyone else to fend for themselves… and then Mr. Jingles appears on the road and cuts Ray’s head off. HIS HEAD, YOU GUYS. I guess the moral of Ray’s story is, don’t be a dick.
Just as you’re processing Ray’s decapitation, there is One! More! Reveal! Back in the parking lot, it seems like Montana is doomed. The Night Stalker comes closer to her with his knife… and then they start making out! And then she calmly, albeit a bit frustrated, asks of the Night Stalker, “Why the hell haven’t you killed her yet?”
No seriously, you guys: What the hell kind of camp is this?
American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.