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AHS: NYC Fans Are Already Confused By The Deer Storyline

Warning: Contains spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 of "American Horror Story: NYC."

The debut episode of "American Horror Story: NYC" is off to an interesting start. The majority of small screen time was dedicated to establishing the main storyline: a leather-clad serial killer nicknamed "Big Daddy" is hunting down gay men in 1980's New York City. The mystery that audiences are trying to solve is who the real killer is, as well as his motives. But the episode also spent a few minutes touching on a subplot about deer on Fire Island dealing with an insidious virus.

Medical doctor and researcher Hanna Wells (Billie Lourd) is first seen bending over a microscope, watching a dark, ominous virus multiply and overwhelm a sample of deer blood. At the very end of the episode, she appears once again on Fire Island with some law enforcement authorities who unceremoniously execute a herd of infected deer in order to keep the virus from spreading and potentially jumping to humans. Although it seems pretty straightforward, this subplot has fans on the internet scratching their heads and asking one very important question: why?

Is it foreshadowing? Is it an allegory? Or is something else going on?

On Twitter, users like @Nicokehead and @chancematoskah are struggling "to connect how Big Daddy and the Deer issue relate." Others, like @xavierplympton, think that the line about it jumping to humans is a less-than-subtle bit of foreshadowing that the human characters will catch it. Still, others like @She_BriRoyalty think the storyline is already forgettable and don't seem too interested. But one intrepid social media user has a much more complex and interesting theory.

In the very beginning of Episode 2, "Thank You For Your Service," We see Dr. Wells — whose practice seems to cater almost exclusively to the queer community in the city — diagnosing Sam (Zachary Quinto) with cryptosporidium, an amoeba that the immune system usually has no problem killing. She also warns him that similar infections are on the rise in the area. Her waiting room is full of other patients who are complaining of inexplicable rashes and chronic fatigue. @SolOrSombra points out that these are all symptoms of HIV, and the real-life HIV/AIDS epidemic hit New York City hard starting in the early 1980s (via the New York City AIDS Memorial). The deer story is likely allegorical and is either hinting at or will eventually be connected to the AIDS epidemic later in the season. But fans will have to keep tuning in to find out!