For over a decade, FX’s American Horror Story (AHS), has taken viewers to a mysterious murder house, a twisted asylum, a powerful coven, an endearing freak show, a spooky hotel, eerie Roanoke, a devious cult, the end of the world, a camp in the 1980’s, an isolated beach town, and Area 51. Now, Ryan Murphy is taking the beloved anthology series to the Big Apple.

It was a mystery if fans of the show would be getting season 11 this year because the theme and release date took longer than usual to be announced, but towards the end of September it was revealed the new season would release the following month. The eleventh season of AHS, American Horror Story: NYC, premiered on Wednesday, October 19 on FX with two episodes: “Something’s Coming” and “Thank You for Your Service.” The rest of the season, running through the middle of November, will also have double episodes dropping each week.

Episode 1: “Something’s Coming”

AHS: NYC takes viewers into the underbelly of 1980’s New York City where a serial killer is targeting and killing gay men. “Something’s Coming” starts in 1981 where we meet a flight crew consisting of a pilot and three stewardesses as they are checking into a hotel in between flights. One of the stewardesses propositions the pilot in the hotel halls and he declines. Shortly after, he changes into a leather attire and heads to the docks to indulge in taboo at that time behavior with men in a shady building. This is AHS, so of course that rendezvous doesn’t end well for him.

His decapitated body is found the next day by police officer Patrick Read (Russell Tovey). Throughout the course of the episode, we find out Patrick is a down low gay man going through a divorce from his wife Barbara (Leslie Grossman). Patrick also resides with his lover Gino Barelli (Joe Mantello), an out gay man who runs The Native, a publication dedicated to the gay community, but omits any discussion on lesbians – something Fran (Sandra Bernhard) and her friends are not okay with. Gino and Patrick have strains in their relationship because they are essentially a secret, and Gino feels Patrick and the police force aren’t doing enough about the recent slew of attacks and murders of gay men in the city.

Elsewhere in the episode we meet Dr. Hannah (Billie Lourd) who discovers a mysterious virus from blood samples she received from men on Fire Island. The symptoms are also showing up on deer occupying the island. To contain what could possibly be a viral disease, the deer are ordered to be executed. Although it wasn’t explicitly stated, the AIDS crisis that swept the gay community in the 80’s is being hinted at in this plot line.

Billie Lourd as Dr. Hannah in American Horror Story: NYC. Photo by: FX Networks

Later, we meet Adam (Charlie Carver), a gay man who recently got his heart broken. His roommate Sully (Jared Reinfeldt) thinks the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, so he tricks him into going out cruising for men. When they split up, Adam encounters a leather shrouded figure we soon come to know is named Big Daddy (Matthew William Bishop). Adam calls out for his friend and after some running around in the park Sully is taken, by who is unclear, but it’s assumed by Big Daddy.

Adam then goes on a personal quest to find out the identity of Big Daddy after reporting his concerns to the police and getting no help. He visits a bath house where Kathy (Patti LuPone) performs showstopping numbers and he encounters two vital people: Gino, who is working his own investigation to figure out who is killing gay men, and Theo (Isaac Powell), a renowned photographer who shot Big Daddy. Adam goes to Theo’s studio attempting to get any answers that could lead him to finding his friend, but it goes nowhere. Enters the triumphant return of Zachary Quinto as Sam. He’s the domineering boyfriend of Theo who has a twisted sexual side we’ll find out more about later.

Matthew William Bishop as Big Daddy in American Horror Story: NYC. Photo by: FX Networks

The only other major incident that happened in episode one is while Gino does some digging on his case about the gay murders, he has a cocktail with Henry (Denis O’Hare). Gino stumbles out of that meeting unknowingly drugged and is placed in a car by a stranger.

I found the premiere episode extremely slow and introduced too many plot lines and characters to give the audience an opportunity to care for or focus on one because none of the characters stood out to me as a favorite. Having two episodes back-to-back I think will not only move this story along but is the only way to keep me interested

Episode 2: “Thank You for Your Service”

The episode opens with Gino in captivity and being tortured by a man later identified as Mr. Whitely (Jeff Hiller). Mr. Whitely has a devious plan to let the world know homosexuals are no different from anyone else and insists Gino must play an integral role in the war ahead, but releases him once he notices a tattoo on his body indicating he served his country already. Throughout this episode Gino works to catch this menace who could also be responsible for the murders around the city. Mr. Whitely also is a patient of Dr. Hannah and could have contracted the virus she discovered due to his symptoms.

Jeff Hiller as Mr. Whitely in American Horror Story: NYC. Photo by: FX Networks

We get to know a little bit more about Sam in this episode and his appetite for locking men in bondage in the basement of the loft he shares with Theo. It’s giving Bloodyface, the killer from AHS: Asylum, vibes. Ironically, Zachary Quinto played that character as well. Gino and Adam start a hotline where tips about the serial killer can be recorded, but the endeavor lands Adam in trouble with the police. Gino also finds out his lover Patrick maybe hiding a key part of his sexuality when his ex-wife Barbara presents him with a box she found filled with handkerchiefs and leather objects. When Gino attempts to question Patrick while out doing undercover work at a bar, another man is killed after being slipped a laced Mai Tai by the murderer.

Before wrapping the episode up, Hannah and Fran have a shady meeting in Central Park where Fran tells her she knows what’s happening to the deer and her patients on Fire Island and that the U.S. government has something to do with it. The episode ends with Patrick and his boss Mac Marzara (Kal Penn) finding a row of severed hands. The killer is indeed still at large.

Russell Tovey as Patrick Read and Kal Penn as Mac Marzara in American Horror Story: NYC. Photo by: FX Networks

Unfortunately, “Thank You for Your Service” is another lackluster episode that has me desperately waiting for the HORROR to be put back into American Horror Story. A killer going around killing gay men is not scary; it’s a reality. Many people in the LGBTQ+ community are still very much being targeted and killed because of who they are. That plot line isn’t appealing to me. It’s viewing as a cop drama and not holding true to the essence of what makes AHS fans love the show so much. I’m hoping the season picks up in the weeks to come and the storyline gets deeper than the plots introduced. If any previous season characters show up in AHS: NYC, then I’ll get on board with this season – but until then it’s on the bottom of my list of AHS predecessors.

New episodes of AHS: NYC air Wednesdays at 10pm on FX and streams the next day on Hulu.


Amber Dover is a multimedia journalist with over a decade writing about pop culture. Cat mom with a deep love of horror, you can follow Amber at @Glambergirlblog on Instagram and Twitter.

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