American Horror Story: NYC (Season 11), Episodes 3 & 4 – Recap: Of steamy secrets and wild conspiracies – Smoke Signals and Black Out are here to have you choked up with the thrill of death. This isn’t Murphy’s first introduction of audacious conspiracy theories in American Horror Story. The last season itself was a fever dream haunting the famous Area 51, and they even went as far as to have the Eisenhower couple play catalytic roles in an alien invasion. Compared to that, NYC is far more grounded–although the pace at which new mysteries and hints towards something dark and shameful are introduced would make some people disagree.


Far bolder than the first two episodes, with a front-row view of cagey seduction and closer, more intimate touches of death, episodes 3 and 4 finally dive right into the familiar chaos that American Horror Story usually brings. Very little gets answered, however. Instead, we run up the countless stairs with Gino, but unlike him, we’re not trying to catch up to the Mai tai killer–we’re just looking for a slight clue–a puny piece of revelatory hint that we can form our next theories upon. There are a few random theories thrown around here and there to sensationalize the mystery even further, but you can’t get us like that, Murphy–not now that we know your teasing.


Both episodes don’t rest for a second and deliver blow after blow of creeping horror and tense interactions that can explode into something catastrophic at any moment. Black Out has some of the most stressful situations ever orchestrated in horror, even by Murphy-Falchuk standards. It is increasingly frustrating to see most of the characters not meeting the danger with enough caution or even the slightest bit of care. That is exactly the sadistic scheme that has been giving the show its signature arrogance that we love. Smoke Signal and Black Out are here to rock your world–maybe not in the way some of you would want–while some of us crave precisely this. 

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American Horror Story: NYC (Season 11), Episodes 3 & 4: Recap

American Horror Story AHS NYC (Season 11), Episodes 3 & 4

Wasting no time with slow-burn reveals, Smoke Signals dives headfirst with Fran elaborating her secret knowledge of the mysterious US Government project “Operation Paperclip”. Hannah is baffled to learn of the 1952 post-war program where the government took Nazi scientists’ help to create bugs that would spread horrific diseases amongst their enemies. According to Fran, the current mayhem of homosexual people getting riddled with rare diseases is rooted in the creation of the unnoticeable bio-weapons. She goes as far as to mention Karen Silkwood as a victim who faced the government’s wrath for trying to uncover the truth.

Stew finds his cage open and is met with the ominous Big Daddy standing right outside the door. When the cops interrupt Sam’s party to question him, he denies doing anything that Stew doesn’t want and even tells Patrick that Stew isn’t the first person that he has entertained in his erotic dungeon. Sam and Patrick’s sexual tension-filled interaction ends with Sam’s dark promise that Patrick won’t get away with messing with him.

Gino now has the perfect manipulative weapon to use against Patrick. The closeted detective admits to having a shame kink. Gino riles up Patrick with the seduction of a secret investigation and convinces him to stake out the payphone that Stew got his cursed call on. Spending the entire night standing beside the payphone and not getting the desired call exhausts Patrick until he is livened up by a call from Whitley that leads him to the menacing spot where two crimes had occurred before. Patrick’s covert investigation may not result in any clue about the murderer, but his night ends with him hooking up with a handsome stranger who sexualizes the aggression that was meant to be taken seriously.


Gino visits the murder bar to put up posters of the Mai tai killer’s sketch and then meets up with Henry Graham, who refuses to give up the Vietnam vet killer’s identity in fear for his own life. Meanwhile, Adam and Theo visit an exclusive gay club with Big Daddy’s threatening presence right outside. As soon as the two receive the deadly Mai tais sent by Whitley, Big Daddy sets the club on fire, killing seven and terribly injuring a huge chunk of the patrons.

At the hospital, Adam begs Theo to call Gino and tell him about Whitley’s whereabouts. Frantic Gino and Patrick visit the hospital and begin their search for the horrific killer. While drawing Adam’s blood for her own research about the homosexual epidemic, Hannah shares a moment of familiarity with him, hinting that this isn’t the first time that the two are meeting. His search for Whitley ends up having Gino tied up and left in a morgue drawer to freeze to death–as that is Whitley’s idea of a merciful end for a war vet.


The morning after being pulled from his unavoidable death, Gino finds sores on his body and blames Patrick for spreading the disgusting flea infection. Patrick’s day gets stunk up with the police discovering Hans’ decomposing body covered with infected lesions. Gino has had enough of Kathy’s silence as the bathhouse owner who does not seem to be bothered by her patrons’ disappearances. With a hopeful promise from Kathy reassuring him, Gino comes home feeling peaceful for once, until Barbara swoops in with her discovery of a leather mask amongst Patrick’s belongings.


Theo decides to confront mysterious Sam about what he may be doing in the darkness. In the manner of a stereotypical abusive partner, Sam reminds Theo that whatever he has now belongs to his sugar daddy. Ignoring Sam’s passive-aggressive threats, Theo leaves, for what seems to be not the first time, and goes to Adam’s place. The two spend a steamy afternoon on the hottest day the city is facing. On the night of the city-wide blackout, Sam decides to pull the oldest trick up his sleeve. Adam is stopped by a black car and gets in to find Sam, waiting to offer him anything he wants as long as he lets go of Theo. 

American Horror Story: NYC (Season 11), Episodes 3 & 4: Ending, Explained

American Horror Story NYC (Season 11), Episodes 3 & 4

With two killers on the loose and a blackout throughout the city, tension engulfs the concerned ones while the rest continue indulging in their undaunted pleasure fest. The season of masks falling off with a heated exchange leads Patrick to come out to his boss. Soon after, he receives a call from the Mai tai killer himself. Whitley convinces him to come out to Central Park and see him with the threat of the dark city in his completely murderous glory.


Naive with his hope that he may catch the killer this time, Patrick shows up in the woods, only to be met with Big Daddy throwing his spiked wrecking ball in the wind. Unable to stop him with a warning, Patrick shoots at him and is shocked to see that he has disappeared. He goes back home hoping for warmth and validation for coming out to his workplace. Little does he know that Gino is waiting with the leather mask, and he needs answers. 

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Patrick comes clean about having countless anonymous hookups and pleads for Gino’s understanding. Gino, however, is not having it anymore. He realizes that he’ll never get complete honesty from Patrick as the shameful lies and dark secrets turn him on. Their argument leads to what Gino thinks is a panic attack, but it’s not. Gino collapses on the floor and gets rushed to the hospital.


Morris’ invitation brings Adam to the blackout party of needles and sex. Frustrated with the indifference of the drugged-up men with no care about their own safety, let alone others, Adam vents his fear and urges the community to get along with a plan that may help them stay safe. 

On a stroll in the dark woods of Central Park, two men see Whitley butchering someone and stuffing his bag. Despite being scared out of their minds, they decide to follow the terrifying tall man. As Whitley enters his building, so do they, and they know they’re in grave trouble when Whitley opens up the door to the elevator and invites them in. The elevator stops midway with the scared boys trembling in the presence of the murderer. Whitley notices that they can smell the stench of his bag and tells them that it’s just expired meat. However, the lie is followed by Whitely acknowledging that the cat is out of the bag. He draws his knife, sending the well-meaning duo down the path of a gory death.

Despite Big Daddy setting the bar on fire, his identity remains a question. He’s always showing up in places of shame and darkness. Perhaps he is not evil. Perhaps his arson attempt was meant for Whitley. It may even be possible that he saved Patrick’s life by scaring him away from the park where Whitley is hunting for his next victim.


Adam and Hannah’s conversation at the hospital is an important trope that will most definitely be explored in the upcoming episodes. It seems as though Hannah is pregnant, and Adam knows. And not just that! He may even be the father of the child. With the city’s homosexuals dropping dead like flies–the troubling disease that is clearly indicative of the 80’s AIDS epidemic in New York wreaking havoc–there is much more horror to come and many answers we’re waiting for.

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