American Horror Story: 1984 introduced a number of characters with major secrets in the Season 9 premiere. But, there was something particularly shady about Margaret, Camp Redwood’s new owner. Not only did she survive the camp’s first round of murders at the hands of Mr. Jingles, she later reopened the very same camp that traumatized her. While she made it clear that she wouldn’t live in fear anymore, her behavior also seemed to be a huge red flag that she could be a potential killer. Was she behind the original Camp Redwood murders? Possibly. If you weren’t convinced before, Episode 2 — titled “Mr. Jingles” — posed a shocking new alliance between Margaret and the Night Stalker that completely obliterated any notion that she’s just an innocent bystander.
The Night Stalker, who followed Brooke to Camp Redwood hoping to finish what he started, seemed to fill the role of killer and nothing more. At first, anyway. Creepy stalker? Check. Raging murderer? Double check. He was scary, but it seemed he was there to throw people off the scent of the real killer (and the Night Stalker only seemed hyper-focused on Brooke). The only intriguing thing about the Night Stalker was that he was based on the real-life serial killer, Richard Ramirez.
However, Episode 2 overturned our impressions of the character after he stumbled upon Margaret in her cabin. Instead of killing her, the two had an absurd conversation that delved into Night Stalker’s backstory. It wasn’t long before they’d struck up a twisted partnership with the potential to turn things upside-down for the rest of Season 9.
Their scene was awkward to watch, but fell in line with typical American Horror Story storylines. Of course the camp counselor would try to align herself with a gruesome killer! Why wouldn’t an extremely religious woman, driven to inspire the youth through “fresh air and exercise,” see fit to work with (and maybe seduce) a Satan-worshipping serial killer? AHS has done stranger things in past seasons. Perhaps they’re meant to be two sides of the same coin, though it’s looking more likely that Margaret’s only using him to gain back control, what with the Night Stalker’s discovery that the hiker who died in Episode 1 was a ghost.
However, this twist throws a bit of a wrench in the season. After all, the Night Stalker only stumbled upon the dead hiker by accident. The episode also implied Margaret hadn’t known about him before. Yes, their new partnership certainly supports the possibility that Margaret might have a diabolical plan of her own— could she have led Mr. Jingles back to camp on purpose? — but the setup seems much more purposeful. Her being surprised about the hiker’s ghost suggests something else is going on. Perhaps someone else is watching? It might also prove that certain fan theories, which argue Camp Redwood is nothing more than a set a la The Truman Show, have some merit to them.
Whether or not someone else might be watching, Margaret and the Night Stalker’s alliance worked both as a major twist and affirmed our suspicions about Margaret’s possible involvement with the original Camp Redwood murders. And no matter what happens over the next few episodes, Season 9 promises that the fun is just getting started.
American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.