3 reasons Margaret is the real killer in 'American Horror Story: 1984'

Forget Mr. Jingles, Margaret's backstory stinks of inconsistency.

Camp Redwood is open for the summer and the screams have already started. Season 9 of American Horror Story, titled “1984,” kicked things off with a brutal murder scene before introducing a host of new characters. It wasn’t long before AHS: 1984 started lining up several potential killers: Mr. Jingles, the Vietnam War veteran who enjoyed killing and was dishonorably discharged, the Night Stalker, a serial killer who’d previously appeared as a ghost in AHS: Hotel, and an unknown caller who threatened to come after Xavier. However, there are several reasons to believe that Margaret Booth, Camp Redwood’s new owner, is the real antagonist in Season 9’s slasher story.

Sure, Margaret seems like she wouldn’t hurt a fly and only wants the happiness of the camp kids. But, the more Episode 1 revealed, the more her backstory began sounding suspicious. Here are three reasons why Margaret could be the mastermind behind Camp Redwood’s killings.

Speculative spoilers for American Horror Story: 1984 below.

Also read 👉 Inverse’s fall TV guide to all the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy coming to Netflix, HBO, Disney+ and more.

American Horror Story 1984
Margaret Booth is not messing around when it comes to sin.

3. Margaret doesn’t like decadent behavior

This one seems like the most obvious reason. When Margaret first introduced herself to the camp counselors, she made it a point to mention how well aware she is of the “decadence of our era” and then rambled on about being good friends with Charles Keating, who’s famous for being an anti-porn activist. Clearly, Margaret isn’t shy about announcing how much she hates teenagers who drink, smoke, do drugs, and anything else she considers sinful.

Now, consider the fact that the opening scene of AHS Season 9 showed three teens attempting to engage in a threesome. Adult Margaret was already shown being strict about the fraternization of men and women, or, as she called it, “making purple” (because the girls and boys bunks were separately labeled red and blue). So it’s safe to say that young Margaret definitely would not have approved of this behavior either. She seems obsessed with purity and in engaging in wholesome activities. The counselors she hired? Not so much. Margaret could’ve easily lured them there to have them killed. Or she might just snap when they start to misbehave.

AHS 1984
Is this the face of a killer? Maybe.

2. She was the only one to survive the original Camp Redwood killings

You’re probably wondering why being the sole survivor of the original Camp Redwood murders makes her a suspect. Well, she’s quick to share her story with the other camp counselors, probably in hopes that her transparency will keep them around and seemingly lets her off the hook at the same time. Only Rita, the camp’s nurse, knew the story from 1970. Even then, Margaret is quick to correct her about the details and since no one else was there, she could twist the story to make her look like the innocent bystander.

After all, Margaret’s free to omit any of the story details and no one would be the wiser. How is it that she was the only one to survive? How did she not scream when her ear was cut off by Mr. Jingles? Why did Mr. Jingles only murder the campers in one of the cabins and not any of the others? Her story has plenty of holes. No matter the angle, though, Margaret has primary control over that narrative and no one has enough information yet to challenge her version of the story, so what she says goes … for now.

AHS 1984 Camp Redwood
Perhaps Margaret should've hired more "wholesome" counselors.

1. Margaret reopened the camp on purpose

Think about it. Why would Margaret spend all this time trying to reopen a camp that shut down after several horrific murders? She mentioned that she wanted a place where kids felt safe, away from the atrocities of the city, but she could’ve just as easily used the money left to her by her dead husband to open up a whole new location for campers. Why go back to a place that caused her trauma?

The only reason I can think of is that she was behind the original murders. Or, at the very least, wants them to happen again. After all, the only other person at the camp (the hiker the teens ran over) had been trying to flee. And it was later revealed that his ear had been cut off. Yikes.

However, it’s important to note that this happened to him prior to Mr. Jingles’ return to Camp Redwood (and also before he was hit by a car). Could Margaret have cut off his ear? Did she reopen the camp for revenge? Did she orchestrate Mr. Jingles’ escape from the mental facility? It’s certainly possible.

Oh, and remember the flashing car lights that freaked Montana out? Yeah, that happened before Mr. Jingles’ arrival. There’s also the fact that Margaret was nowhere in sight when he presumably killed the unknown hiker and chased down Brooke. She arrived later, supposedly unaware of what happened. Suspicious, right?

Whether or not Margaret is ultimately behind the horror of AHS Season 9 remains to be seen, but she’s definitely one of the primary suspects.


American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.*