Review: American Horror Story: 1984 S09E05 — Red Dawn [2019]

Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ Iɴᴅᴇx —

a (short) review by the Crow.

Red Dawn

SPOILER LEVELS at CONSIDERABLE

This week, on American Horror Story: 1984, we encounter satan, god, and ghosts — holy or not — all at once, and is it ever silly. I’ve made it quite clear that this series is not one which has caught my fancy so far, and I’m quite taken aback how brazen the series has been when it comes to the decisions we see it take.

Of course, this is my first time watching a American Horror Story series, and maybe the show is loved because of its silliness, but I can’t take anything that happens in it seriously at all. To sum up everything that happens in the episode: the Donna backstory works, the Ramirez/satan angle continues to be strange, Montana finally breaks, Ray finds his own head in a fridge, Brooke loses her virginity, Chet has a rather severe encounter with Margaret, Xavier plays Robin Hood, and Richter continues to be the best character on the show despite the fact that he might now be fuelled by the supernatural. And to add to that: Brooke carries on the Camp Redwood legacy (at least for the moment) of blaming relatively innocent people of massacres carried out by others.

I didn’t like this episode at all. A good scene to focus on is the scene where Donna reveals the truth about herself to Xavier. It’s equal parts tacky, rudderless, and trying very hard to have its heart in the right place. The camp-factor of the show serves it well, but it’s barely held together because it doesn’t seem like the series has any real direction. I should point out that I continue to have a problem with the series’ glamourisation of Richard Ramirez, and I think it’s highly irresponsible to paint such a reprehensible (and try-hard) character in this way, perfect casting notwithstanding.

The way in which he simply ‘gives up’ his duties and abandons the camp is also a strange choice. Is this man’s memory made up of Swiss cheese?

The ending, we all saw coming, and while it’s a change of pace, it’s not very good. The resignation of the whole affair is something I find rather annoying. As a matter of fact, I had assumed that Donna and the Night Stalker coming ‘back to life’ in the final scenes of the previous episode was an indication that there was a time of night at which those who die at Camp Redwood would ‘reboot’, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, we’re left wondering how Jonas’ (and his new companions’) memories work, and where they go from here.

I don’t see American Horror Story: 1984 as saying anything. It’s telling us a story, of course, but that’s all. Things happen, but the series doesn’t point to any kind of story which has been well laid out and coded into the overarching narrative so far — unless there is some masterclass in foreshadowing and misdirection at play, here. I severely doubt the latter, and I’m left tired by how hard the series is trying to make me like it. It’s quirky, it’s fun at times, but it continues to be plagued by questionable choices, writing, and editing. Where the show goes from here, I do not know, and I could hardly care.

I apologise to the fans of the show (since I am aware there is a large following), but this series doesn’t do it for me. Everyone is free to enjoy whatever they wish, but I simply cannot give American Horror Story: 1984 my stamp of approval. And that is a sentiment echoed by both of us on The Corvid Review who watched this episode. As always, the final ratings for the episode follow.

— Crow out.


Final Ratings

THE CROW: 2/10
THE RAVEN: 4/10


Here’s the official poster:

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