What's the Big American Horror Story: 1984 Twist? Let's Talk Theories

There has to be a big moment on the way for FX's scary hit, and we've got some ideas about what it could be.

By Lauren Piester Oct 02, 2019 7:00 PMTags
American Horror Story: 1984FX

American Horror Story: 1984 is officially in full swing, and so are the theories. 

Two episodes in, there's a lot to theorize about when it comes to Camp Redwood, especially since it feels fairly likely that somebody (or everybody) isn't telling the whole truth about their past. 

In the first episode, we met the new counselors at Camp Redwood, Brooke (Emma Roberts), Montana (Billie Lourd), Xavier (Cody Fern), Chet (Gus Kenworthy), and Ray (DeRon Horton), who join activities director Trevor (Matthew Morrison) and nurse Rita (Angelia Ross). 

The very religious Margaret Booth (Leslie Grossman) owns the camp and is reopening it, 14 years after she survived a massacre committed by groundskeeper Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch), who broke himself out of the mental hospital he's been imprisoned in as soon as he heard the camp was reopening.

American Horror Story: 1984 Characters Revealed

We also met a mysterious hitchhiker (Lou Taylor Pucci) who was then killed by Mr. Jingles, and a serial killer named the Night Stalker/Richard Ramirez, who tried to attack Brooke and then followed her to the camp. 

In episode two, we got some crucial new info about everyone we just met. Brooke had survived a different kind of massacre when her fiance went a little mad during their wedding when he thought she cheated on him, shooting his best man, her dad, and himself. Meanwhile, viewers learned Xavier did a gay porn movie, and was being blackmailed by a guy named Blake to do more porn. Blake then got murdered. It's unclear what this has to do with anything. It's also unclear what Brooke's wedding has to do with anything! Again, on episode two.

The key revelation: The hitchhiker, whose name is Jonas, was a counselor at the camp in 1970 and was killed in the massacre. But he doesn't seem to be staying dead. 

"You're not supposed to be here," he told the Night Stalker. "Wait, I don't die here!" 

Then he did, in fact, die here. He also died again later, which also didn't work. He also thinks it's still 1970.

Margaret made the strange decision to hire the Night Stalker to protect the camp, which makes us question a whole lot about Margaret. Did she really survive that 1970 camp massacre, or is the story a little bit different? Is the hitchhiker some sort of Murder House/Hotel-style ghost, doomed to die over and over again and never escape the camp, or is there something else going on? Is Brooke some sort of murderer magnet? 

We know this show loves a twist, and they range from "she's been dead the whole time" to "erased memories and time travel" to "this is all a TV show and these are all actors." 

We've got some theories—some more insane than others—and it's time to talk about them...before every single one of them is debunked with the next episode. 

Is American Horror Story: 1984 Already Connected to a Previous Season?

Margaret Did It 

Did Margaret survive the massacre in 1970, or did she commit it? It's possible she could have been so appalled by the orgy situation among the other counselors that she snapped and killed them all, blaming it on creepy groundskeeper Mr. Jingles. Now, he's just back for revenge over the crime he didn't commit, and she's hiring serial killers to keep her camp "safe." 

Something is definitely up with Margaret no matter what, with her somewhat backwards religious speak. 

It's Related to Murder House and Hotel

Both the Murder House and the Cortez trapped anyone who died there on the premises, and the hitchhiker is giving similar vibes. But we've also seen this so many times before that it feels sort of uninteresting. Is he just a ghost or is he something more? He was definitely feeling the guilt over not going back to help Margaret, who was the last person he saw before he tried to run away from the murders. 

He was then run over and killed by who he assumed was Mr. Jingles, because he heard the keys, and then it's as if he just reappeared in 1984. Was he coming back to life for all those years in between, or is he only back now because the camp is reopened? He also clearly knows something's up, as he told Richard: "You're not supposed to be here. Wait, I'm not supposed to die here!" 

Ramirez was also a character in Hotel, but if we're honest, we'd rather not connect anything to Hotel because Hotel was incredibly hard to watch!


Brooke Is a Final Girl Trope

Slasher movies love their tropes, and Brooke's proven herself to be strangely adept at fighting off the Night Stalker, perhaps because there are too many other people left alive for her to die. She also survived her fiance's double murder and suicide, giving her that tragic backstory and some likelihood of being a virgin. Horror movies traditionally love a virgin, and send ups of horror movies love a virgin trope, and it might be even more fun if she ends up not playing into the trope at all. Maybe she herself is a murderer of some kind?

It's Cabin In the Woods 

The 2012 movie Cabin in the Woods posited that groups of young people were brought to a creepy cabin in the woods and then murdered one by one as a way of appeasing gods who demanded to be fed the blood of slasher movie archetypes. We're not saying it's exactly that, but Cabin in the Woods did have a full control room of workers watching and managing the situation in the cabin, and we could see that happening, especially given that the season is called 1984. That is, of course, also the name of a book heavily featuring government surveillance and behavior monitoring, and it doesn't feel too crazy to imagine there could be some kind of experiment/controlled situation going on. 

It's a Role-Playing Game

Everybody's got some weirdly specific quirk or backstory that doesn't yet go with any other part of the story, like perhaps they've developed these characters to play in a slasher movie game. Margaret, the hitchhiker, and Mr. Jingles are all NPCs. Richard Ramirez is the actual Night Stalker who is accidentally also playing this game, hence the hitchhiker's confusion. 

It's Clones 

Instead of a supernatural explanation for the Hitchhiker, it's science! He's lots of clones! 

It's An Elaborate Exercise Class 

Running from murderers burns a LOT of calories. Even the biggest jazzercise diehards should be impressed. 

Vote for your favorite theory now!


American Horror Story: 1984 Twist

What do you think is the AHS: 1984 Twist?
Margaret did it
Murder House/Hotel connection
Brooke trope
Cabin in the Woods
Exercise class

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

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