Well before Wednesday night's finale of American Horror Story: 1984, fans of the FX horror anthology series knew that Leslie Grossman's Margaret Booth was the real Big Bad of the season. While Benjamin "Mr. Jingles" Richter (John Carroll Lynch) and the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez (Zach Villa) were both presented early on as killers, fans quickly pegged Grossman's hyper-Christian Margaret as a suspicious character -- something that quickly proved to be correct. Now, with the season over and Margaret's final fate revealed, Grossman says that while she didn't know how it would all end, she was aware from the start that the goody-two-shoes Margaret was really evil itself.
In American Horror Story: 1984, Grossman's Margaret was initially presented as the sole survivor of the horrific 1970 Camp Redwood Massacre. Having turned to Christianity after the tragedy, she went on to purchase Camp Redwood with her late husband's fortune and reopen it, claiming she wanted to redeem the place and create a camp where kids could be safe from the sinful influences of popular culture. While some element of her plans for the camp appeared to be true -- a bus load of children do show up for camp eventually -- it's revealed that Margaret was the person who actually carried out the 1970s killings and pinned it on Mr. Jingles for having failed to "protect" her from bullying. That's just the start of Margaret's evil, however, and Grossman told Entertainment Weekly she knew Margaret was the killer from the jump.
"Ryan [Murphy] and I went to dinner, and here's what always makes me laugh: Ryan's like, 'I want to pitch your character to you.' It's like, 'Pitch my character to me? What is this? You're going to tell me what I'm doing and I'm going to say yes to whatever it is that you say,'" Grossman said. "Can you imagine if I was like, 'You know, Ryan, I don't like that idea'? No. Whatever Ryan says, I'm like 'You 100 percent know what you're doing, and I trust you implicitly.' We went to dinner and he said, 'I really want you to be the villain, and I want you to be the killer for next season.' So I knew that Margaret was the killer from the beginning."
Grossman went on to explain that while she was excited to play the villain, she didn't know exactly where Margaret would end up, especially once the series left 1984 for its time jump forward.
"I was thrilled when I heard that, and scared and nervous and hoping that I could give him what he wanted, but I didn't know, obviously, what her trajectory was going to be," Grossman said. "I really didn't know what was going to happen once we left 1984 and we flash forward. I had no idea what Margaret five years later was going to be like, so that was all a mystery to me."
As it would turn out, that five years later version of Margaret was even more sinister than the ones fans first met. Not only did she pin the entire 1984 massacre on the innocent Brooke Thompson (Emma Thompson), but she found a way to profit from murder and death with her real estate business and even ultimately plotted to take it bigger with a music festival-slash-bloodbath. Fortunately, she was stopped by her victims and ultimately met her end in a woodchipper. For Grossman, that was the perfect ending for the evil Margaret.
"So, you know, Margaret’s death was something that we discussed a lot. Ryan and I were like, 'Well, how is this going to go?' He was like, 'Well, I think this should happen,' and then it was like, 'Well, I think this should happen.' There were scenarios where Margaret was going to live, and then it was like, 'No, she’s got to go, and she’s got to go horrifically because she’s awful and everybody, the audience, really needs to see her brutally killed.' So he then called me one day and he was like, 'Well, you’re getting put in a woodchipper,'" Grossman said. "Of course I just died and laughed hysterically and said, 'That’s the single most perfect ending for that character.'"
What did you think about Margaret's ultimate fate in American Horror Story: 1984? Let us know in the comments below.
American Horror Story is set to return for Season 10, presumably sometime in 2020.