OK, but seriously: How many mass murderers are we going to meet on American Horror Story? Actually, maybe don't answer that. In “The Lady in White,” as Margaret Booth's (Leslie Grossman) Camp Redwood Music and Food Festival draws near, we meet two more psycho killers (played by very familiar faces!) to add to the list and honestly, that's more than enough.
Let's talk about the less consequential (for now, anyway!) one first. Yes, my friends, let's meet Bruce (Dylan McDermott)!
Last we saw Brooke (Emma Roberts) and Donna (Angelica Ross), Donna had faked Brooke's execution and sprung her out of the morgue, as one does. We find them in a hotel as Donna tries to help atone for, you know, setting up a serial killer experiment at Camp Redwood in which Brooke was the live bait. I don't think a fake passport is really going to be a big enough apology, but what is, really? Anyway, Donna nurses Brooke back to health and then takes her to the local roller rink because the thing Brooke is most upset about after being in prison for five years is that she missed the last half of the '80s. I don't know, Brooke really loved the 1980s and also this show is bonkers.
The ladies are having a super-fun time skating in a circle indoors, but it doesn't last long. Brooke, who has learned about the music festival and has vowed to go back there and make sure Margaret dies, wants to get on the road. Before they go, they meet the mustachioed Bruce, who asks to hitch a ride to his girlfriend's house, which is on the way to Camp Redwood. After he helps them with some car trouble that he definitely set up, Donna and Brooke agree to take him because they are so, so dumb.
Almost immediately he starts doing coke in the backseat and talking about murder. He's a serial killer. A fact he verifies when he refuses to get out of Donna's car and then murders a cop who comes to help. The women get away, but he eventually slams into them with that cop's car, and when Brooke comes to, she's sitting in the driver's seat of Bruce's pickup truck, while Donna is hog tied to the back. Bruce gives Brooke options: She can either step on the gas and drive to Camp Redwood, thus killing Donna, or he'll shoot her in the face. The thing is, Bruce doesn't know that Brooke and Donna are like expert serial killer killers and Brooke quickly throws the truck in reverse, shoots Bruce, and then she and Donna tie him to a telephone pole before Brooke cuts his thumbs off. It would be badass if it wasn't so terrifying.
Brooke and Donna are mere minutes out from their return to Camp Redwood, but that will have to wait for next week because, hello, there's another killer to meet: You guys, Lily Rabe has made her triumphant return to American Horror Story as the Lady in White, or, you know, Mr. Jingles' mom.
Children, gather 'round, because I have a twist for you: Margaret Booth's 1970 camp massacre was not the first at those campgrounds — there was a massacre before that, in 1948, at the hands of Jingles' mother.
Once Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) returns to Camp Redwood, he's almost immediately confronted by all of our ghost counselors, many of whom he murdered. As they wonder about what kind of curse is keeping them here and who that freaky ghost in the white nightgown haunting them is, it all becomes clear to Jingles, and he tells them a nice little story about his mother.
In 1948, the place was called Camp Golden Star, and she was the cook. She hated it, but did it so that her sons — Benjamin (the future Mr. Jingles) and Bobby — could attend camp. It's very clear that she despised Benji and adored little Bobby. Like, could not be clearer. And then one day, when Benji is supposed to be watching Bobby by the lake, he runs off to sneak a peek at two counselors getting it on and Bobby ends up getting his head sliced by a motorboat. Mama Jingles goes full-on Pamela Voorhees, blaming all the counselors for what happened to Bobby and later stabbing them all to death in their sleep. She goes to kill young Benji, too, but he stabs his mother first. And her blood seeps into the ground, along with her rage, and yadda, yadda, yadda, you've got a blood curse.
Mr. Jingles decides it's time he face this Lady in White and see what Mommy Dearest wants. You might think that his mother, who's been haunting the campgrounds since 1948, would be even the tiniest bit happy to see her son, but you would be wrong. The Lady in White goes on and on about Jingles being a parasite and how he should've died instead of Bobby and that his son would be better off dead than having a father like him. You know, real Mother of the Year-type stuff. Lily Rabe is chilling in this scene. She will haunt my dreams, so that's cool.
One of the biggest revelations during her rant is, of course, that she saw Jingles, back in 1970, falling for Margaret, and since all she ever wanted for her eldest son was for him to suffer the pain of 1,000 deaths, she decided to ruin Margaret. Yes, it was the Lady in White who came to Margaret in her sleep and pushed her to become the psychopathic killer we all know and love. The Lady in White is responsible for Margaret's 1970 massacre. OK, I guess Margaret is a little responsible, since she was kind of freaky even before Jingles' mom came along and also she is the one who did the physical stabbing. Personal responsibility is a real thing, people.
It's weird to feel bad for Mr. Jingles, who has murdered several people, but you know what? His mother is a crazy bitch and he deserves some sympathy. But things get crazier still: Mr. Jingles is sitting on the dock, mourning the death of his brother once more, when his mother appears. She knows he's here to kill Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa) and thus protect his son, and she also knows that Ramirez is an agent of Satan who has come to collect on the deal Jingles made. Jingles is no match for the power Ramirez has — at least, not while he's alive. She suggests that if he were to die at the camp, he'd be a ghost trapped here, and therefore a much more formidable opponent for Ramirez. And so Jingles kills himself on the dock in order to become a ghost. Mom's give the best advice, don't they?
American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.