Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched the penultimate episode of AHS: 1984.
To say that American Horror Story's latest (and maybe greatest) season has a few loose threads is to say that Camp Redwood is kinda cursed. It's almost impossible to conceive how Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's creative team will properly close out AHS: 1984 in a way that concludes each and every storyline. To that end, Episode 8 took a strange left turn with Mr. Jingles' story that incited by this season's most direct Friday the 13th easter egg yet.
The Big Friday The 13th Reference
John Carroll Lynch's Benjamin "Mr. Jingles" Richter started off the season as the presumed major threat, but is now perhaps the most sympathetic character in the ensemble. For much of his life, he was blamed for deaths that he wasn't directly responsible for – by his mother and by the American justice system – and was also properly blamed for the deaths that he did cause upon returning to Camp Redwood in 1984.
The ghosts of all those victims – which includes characters such as Xavier, Montana and Chet – got some temporary revenge on Mr. Jingles (who is also a ghostly figure in this world) by stabbing him a bunch of times, tying him up, putting him in a boat, and leaving him to die slowly in the middle of the lake. Only that plan got interrupted by a gobsmacker of a Friday the 13th callback.
As Mr. Jingles was bleeding out while worrying about the fate of his son, he suddenly noticed a fairly emotionless Montana approaching the distant shore. But before he could make any attempt at proper communication, a mysterious being came out of the water and dragged Mr. Jingles down, which was extremely reminiscent of the last-minute "dream sequence" at the end of the first Friday the 13th film. Check out a slice of the AHS: 1984 moment below.
Sure, there are some differences between that moment and the Friday the 13th shocker. For one, the AHS beast pulls Mr. Jingles down with both arms, instead of just wrapping the right arm around his neck. As well, the Friday the 13th moment happens all in one shot, while American Horror Story's sequence has more edits.
Otherwise, though, the moment was similarly eerie, and its presence has us asking all kinds of questions about what it means, and what will happen next.
What's Happening With Mr. Jingles Now?
Mr. Jingles getting dragged down to a water-logged temporary death would have been understandable enough as a clever horror reference, but American Horror Story: 1984 took things a step deeper into the weirdness.
John Carroll Lynch's character woke up to a simplistically idyllic scene with the ghosts of his mother, played by the great Lily Rabe, and his younger brother Bobby. Even though Mr. Jingles mainly just wants to wake up in order to continue trying to save his son from being murdered by the Satan-fueled Richard Ramirez, Rabe's Lavinia convinces him to accept his current situation to be with the only family that he needs. (I dare say a man in his fifties probably needs a more stable family life than a mass-murdering mother and a permanently prepubescent brother, but what do I know?)
So what's going on here? Who was that creature that came up and grabbed Mr. Jingles? It looked too adult to be a rotted version of young Bobby, who got mutilated by a boat motor. But it's safe to say that viewers haven't witnessed every single death that went down on these campgrounds, so that creepy beast might have been the remains of another victim that we hadn't met before.
My real hope is that the American Horror Story: 1984 finale reveals that Camp Redwood is actually Camp Crystal Lake, and that this has all been a canonical stealth sequel within the Friday the 13th franchise. I want to learn that Jason Voorhees was one of Lavinia Richter's first victims. Rights issues be damned!
But seriously, how does that final sequence factor into the rest of the AHS: 1984 conclusion? Has Mr. Jingles managed to find a semblance of peace in his life, or is the return of his mother and brother just meant to be a distraction keeping him away from whatever else is happening at the camp?
Leslie Grossman's Margaret Booth made it pretty clear what she wants to happen at the camp in the near future. Once things are underway for the giant music festival that she set up, the goal is to kill all the musicians (and the festival-goers) in order to create the biggest pop culture memoriam ever. A truly disturbing plot, even though it does mean the bands could possibly be able to play on for eternity in ghost form.
Will Mr. Jingles future be affected by Brooke and Donna's confessions to that National Enquirer reporter? Or has that woman's death totally rendered her storyline moot? Does the "Final Girl" distinction referred to in the episode title mean that Mr. Jingles and all the other characters – male and female – will be freed by whatever happens with Brooke and Donna?
Other Nagging Questions
Obviously there are lots of other questions that we could be asking about American Horror Story: 1984's finale, but there's only so much time in a day. And that time is meant for theorizing!
Will anything else come of Xavier's porno past, or was that just a weirdo early-season plot point that doesn't need to be returned to? Will Trevor figure out a way to convince Montana that she's not only attracted to monsters like her? Will Lou Taylor Pucci's ghost Jonas have a bigger role to play within the history of Camp Redwood? Will Margaret's plan be successful? Will any other seasonal connections come into play?
And while we're at it, why hasn't Chef Bertie's ghost come back at all? And what does Satan really have to do with all of this? Will Richard Ramirez actually leave the camp and go to Alaska to kill Mr. Jingles' son, or will something come up that interrupts that process?
Perhaps the biggest question of all, though, is "When will Dylan McDermott's sleazeball Bruce get his own spinoff?" Hopefully that one gets answered before everything else, right?