The familiar faces keep on coming.

American Horror Story’s most defining factor is its anthology structure, which sees the same actors return each season to play different characters – and, in recent seasons, sometimes playing multiple characters in a single season.

While fan favourites Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters bowed out of the show this year for the first time in eight years (with rumours of even a small cameo dashed), another beloved star made an unexpected appearance in this week’s 100th episode.

We’ll attempt to keep this as spoiler-free as possible…

After a time jump to 1989, viewers saw Margaret (Leslie Grossman) living a new life turning horror sites into lucrative tourist attractions – including Briarcliff Manor from Asylum – while also now married to Trevor (Matthew Morrison) who apparently isn’t dead.

That’s when actor Leslie Jordan made a surprise appearance as Margaret’s assistant Courtney to inform her that Brooke – who Margaret framed for the Camp Redwood murders back in 1984 – was to be executed after losing her last appeal.

“This kind of news cannot wait,” he says. “What kind of assistant would I be if I didn’t zip over the minute I heard? Brooke Thompson has lost her last appeal. She’s gonna be executed.”

Longtime fans will remember that Leslie previously appeared as flamboyant Witches’ Council member Quentin Fleming in Coven, and both medium Cricket Marlowe and actor Ashley Gilbert in Roanoke.

Fortunately, that’s not the only scene Leslie’s new character appears in, as he later helps Margaret deal with her finances and discuss her earnings from the Lizzie Borden house.

We’re hoping this isn’t the last we see of Leslie this season.

Related: The 13 greatest American Horror Story characters of all time, ranked

Elsewhere, it’s been confirmed that 1984 will be the shortest season of American Horror Story yet. The finale episode is scheduled to air on Thursday 14 November, meaning this season will consist of only nine episodes.

For reference, Murder House had 12 episodes, Asylum had 13 episodes, Coven had 13 episodes, Freakshow had 13 episodes, Hotel had 12 episodes, Roanoke had 10 episodes, Cult had 11 episodes, and last year’s Apocalypse had 10 episodes.

This means there’s only four remaining episodes for Ryan Murphy and team to wrap up the stories of Mr Jingles and The Night Stalker – who have both just been revived by The Devil – as well as Brooke and her fellow camp counsellors.

American Horror Story airs Thursdays at 10pm on FOX in the UK. You can also catch up on NOW TV.