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American Horror Story: NYC Episodes 3-4: The Coming Darkness

Some seasons of "American Horror Story" advance at a breakneck speed, although "American Horror Story: NYC" is certainly taking its time to let the stakes, tension, lies, and darkness come to a full simmer. The first two episodes established some of the story beats that fans can expect to course through this latest season of "AHS," which are a mysterious and highly communicable virus, silent leather-clad figures, a series of murders that target gay men, a soft-spoken serial killer and sadist, and the issues of trust between people. In other words, "AHS: NYC" is definitely tonally different than previous seasons, and this has not been lost on fans.

Episode 2 of "AHS: NYC" culminated with a Parisian-style party set inside of a dilapidated structure, a kidnapping and confinement of somebody who just happened to pick up the phone, and a shocking statement that said the United States government is targeting people that they do not care for with an engineered virus. Not typical "AHS" fare, but the show certainly has grabbed fans' attention with the release of the next two episodes, and they certainly have hit the ground running.

Fran explains to Hannah that the government has engineered the Fire Island virus

Episode 2 of "AHS: NYC" ends with Fran (Sandra Bernhard) meeting Dr. Hannah Wells (Billie Lourd) in Central Park. Hannah is the first to arrive, and she is afraid of a leather-clad person wielding a chain, but as she turns to flee in terror, she bumps into Fran. As previously mentioned, Fran drops the bombshell on Hannah that the government is responsible for the bizarre illness sweeping Fire Island, and Episode 3 picks up with the two discussing conspiracy theories at a diner. Fran references a real-life historical event called Operation Paperclip, which is when the United States government scooped up Nazi scientists for their assistance in the Cold War.

Fran explains that the Cold War is heating up and that the government is testing out old forms of biological warfare, noting that they get volunteers from addicts and homeless people with the allure of money. Hannah quickly admonishes Fran for dealing with conspiracy theories, but there is a hint in her voice that she realizes there may be some truth to what Fran is saying. In the previous episodes, Hannah has treated several patients with very rare ailments and infections, which she has struggled to understand. This could be setting up the eventual convergence of plots, and the uncovering of a vast and systematic targeting of New York City's gay community with an incredibly potent virulent agent.

Sam tells Patrick that he knows a thing or two about reputations

Meanwhile, Sam's (Zachary Quinto) prisoner awakens in his dungeon, and he notices that his cage has been left open. Quickly taking his chance to escape, the nearly-naked prisoner flees into the street after passing a silent Big Daddy (Matthew William Bishop), who stands sentinel at the entrance to Sam's apartment. The next scene sees Patrick (Russell Tovey) taking the victim's statement. This later causes Patrick and one of his fellow law enforcement agents to visit Sam's apartment, which is currently the scene of a typical 1980s party.

The police officers demand that Sam tell his guests to go home, and the investigation takes them to Sam's basement, where he explains that nothing sinister has happened. Calling the police officers' bluff by saying that he hasn't been charged, nor will he since his victim won't press charges, Sam makes a statement directed towards Patrick, which hints or eludes that the two may have interacted before, or at least have visited the same places or traveled in the same social circles. This definitely tracks with the growing suspicion surrounding Patrick, who has been accused as a liar and manipulator by both his current boyfriend Gino (Joe Mantello) and ex-wife Barbara (Leslie Grossman). Chances are, Patrick knows way more than what he is letting on, and each scene involving him seems to confirm this more and more.

People have started to recognize the foretold coming darkness

Deciding that they need to take a more active role in hunting down the killer (or killers), both Gino and Patrick decide to stake out the payphone outside of the gay bar where Sam found his most recent victim. With Patrick as bait, he hangs out around the payphone for several hours, answering quickly whenever the phone might ring. After some time, Mr. Whitely (Jeff Hiller) calls, and he taunts Patrick for standing there for several hours. This means that Whitely lives in this area, or at least has an observation post close by. Whitely then tells Patrick to meet him at the Parisian basement party, but Patrick says he doesn't know what Whitely looks like.

Arriving at the party, Patrick spots who he thinks is Whitely, and he engages in a game of cat-and-mouse that results in some rather aggressive sexual acts. Again, this proves that Patrick knows a lot about the leather subculture, which he has kept hidden even from his loved ones. It is immediately apparent that this isn't his first time engaging in such behavior, which continues to cast even more doubt on the character.

The next scene shows off Hans Henke (Casey Thomas Brown) returning from his performance, and as he waits in the subway, the prophetic and rambling woman from the first two episodes appears, and she warns him of the growing darkness that is coming for them all. Hans then follows her, which certainly begs the question — who is this woman, and what does she know? She tends to be the herald of bad news, so she could be a victim of the government's tests. Or perhaps, there is something more supernatural about her presence.

Big Daddy starts a fire, but why and for whom?

The next significant occurrence involves Adam (Charlie Carver), Theo Graves (Isaac Powell), and the Ascension Club. The Ascension Club is a ritzy gay-only hang-out spot, and Adam goes there at the behest of Theo. As the two converse about relationships and what they want out of life, the two receive a Mai Tai drink, which immediately alerts Adam to the presence of Mr. Whitely, and the two share a quick glance. In a state of panic, Adam attempts to follow Mr. Whitely, but both he and his fellow patrons find the doors of the Ascension chained. Busting down the door in a frenzy, Adam notices Big Daddy at the entrance, who tosses a Molotov cocktail and ignites the club.

Big Daddy is still somewhat of an enigma at this point, and some believe that he himself may even be an apparition. The real question is who Big Daddy serves, and what is the character's motivation. At first, it seemed as if Big Daddy is at the beck and call of Sam, considering that the imposing figure often acts as a guard. However, in this scenario, it seems as if he may be acting on orders of Mr. Whitely, or perhaps Big Daddy is still under the spell of Sam, who, with his jealous heart, decides to lash out at Theo and Adam with the deadly blaze. Or perhaps Big Daddy is even an agent of the government, and he is an instrument of their will and their weapon against the gay community.

Patrick makes a mysterious phone call

The transition between the 3rd and 4th episodes involves the pursuit of Mr. Whitely by Patrick and Gino in the hospital in the aftermath of the Ascension's burning. Chasing him into the hospital's morgue, Gino is overtaken once again by Whitely, who still refuses to spill the blood of a fellow veteran, and instead opts to bind Gino and place him in one of the morgue's vaults to freeze to death slowly. Luckily for Gino, Patrick is able to locate and free him. This shows that Whitely has particular criteria for his victims, which at this point is still somewhat obfuscated. We do know that he is a gay man, a veteran, and very precise, and it seems like he ultimately wants to bring a spotlight to the gay community through his murders.

The next scene shows Gino going to the Turkish Baths to plead for help from the establishment's owner, Kathy Pizazz (Patti LuPone). At first, Gino attempts to threaten Kathy before showing off his true feelings — that he is desperate and afraid. Sensing that Gino is being honest, Kathy allows him to take a statement from her for his newspaper. On the flip side, Patrick is called to a mysterious death, which is revealed to be Hans. His body is riddled with sores, lesions, and blood, and Patrick's fellow cops believe it to be yet another murder, but Patrick doubts it. As the police leave the crime scene, Patrick stays behind, and calls somebody, though it isn't revealed who. Again, more suspicion is cast upon Patrick — is he working for some mysterious force or individual? Patrick is definitely much more of a wildcard than he appears to be.

Relationships are tested in Episode 4

At this point, "AHS: NYC" kicks back over to Theo, who decides that he loves Adam and breaks up with Sam, who doesn't take it well. Considering what we have seen of Sam thus far, fans can expect some kind of reprisal at some point, but the scene shifts to Adam and Theo hooking up. After Theo leaves Adam's apartment, Adam notices that he has a message on his answering machine, but it isn't somebody calling. Instead, it is a strange and harrowing noise, which makes it seem as if perhaps there is some kind of dark force that is either following Adam, Theo, or both of them. "AHS: NYC" is definitely fairly sparse on the supernatural aspects of the show, and this could be building toward something far more sinister. It was mentioned in a previous episode that Theo has inherited magic powers from his grandmother, and this could be yet another direct confirmation of this statement.

The next major component of the 4th episode of "AHS: NYC" involves a heat wave that causes the city to suffer rolling blackouts, which almost tends to happen right in the middle of something important. At one point, Patrick decides to finally come out as gay to his boss Mac Marzara (Kal Penn), and in his moment of triumph, the power cuts out, and Patrick is told to get ready for the oncoming chaos. Again, the blackouts that are affecting New York City could be a direct allegory to the growing darkness that has been warned of time and time again, but this time it is far more literal.

AHS: NYC is building toward the reveal of something sinister

As darkness and chaos sweep through the city, Mr. Whitely calls and taunts Patrick that there is nothing that can stop him. Patrick then leaps into action and travels to Central Park to stop the lethal stalker. As Patrick locates the payphone that Whitely had used, Patrick comes face to face with a flail-wielding Big Daddy, who begins to attack Patrick. Attempting to subdue the giant leather-clad figure, Patrick fires off a blind shot, but Big Daddy is nowhere to be found. This could mean that Big Daddy is either a ghost or a highly-trained operative, but whatever the case may be, he is definitely not a normal human being in a conventional sense.

The scene then shifts to the Parisian-style basement party, which has devolved into a hedonistic affair. Hans' boyfriend Daniel (Hale Appleman) warns people about what is coming for them all, and what has happened to Hans, and this shocks the partygoers. This is definitely a reoccurring trend that has been mentioned many times, and it seems like more and more people are realizing that something or someone is attempting to destroy the gay community. Although some think that this is a performance piece, others begin to heed this warning. One thing is for certain, though, and that is "AHS: NYC" is building up to some grand reveal involving said darkness, though how it manifests is anybody's guess at this point.

There are several issues of trust in AHS: NYC

The final moments of Episode 4 see Patrick elated to have finally come out of the closet to his boss, but Gino isn't entirely convinced that Patrick is being 100% honest. Gino wishes to capitalize on his boyfriend's recent bout of honesty, and asks him to tell the entire truth. Patrick then relents and says that he has been into the leather subculture and has hooked up with lots of people, which Gino said would have been okay if he was honest about it, but feels betrayed because Patrick feels like he has to lie about his behaviors. Overwhelmed with emotions, Gino collapses and ends up once again in the hospital, making the episode come full circle. Whether this was a heart attack, or perhaps an early symptom of the Fire Island virus is unknown, but it is mentioned that Gino has ailments typical of cat scratch fever. This, though, could simply be a misdiagnosis.

The end scene involves Mr. Whitely being followed by the Parisian aficionado Cameron (Gideon Glick) and Hans' boyfriend Daniel, who have witnessed him cutting off somebody's head in Central Park. Thinking that they have the upper hand because there are two of them, they follow Whitely into an elevator, which stalls out because of the blackout. The stress of the two is palpable, and they notice the stench of death coming from Whitely's prize. Whitely lies to them at first, saying it is spoiled meat, but quickly corrects himself before brandishing a knife. The fate of Cameron and Daniel is left to be revealed in the next episode, but this shows that Whitely isn't afraid of operating with impunity, and is getting more comfortable in his deadly role.

The seemingly random plot elements of AHS: NYC are starting to come together

So between Episodes 3 and 4, "American Horror Story: NYC" has several different plots that seem to be slowly converging. Between the mysterious Big Daddy, the sadistic Sam, the uncaring New York City Police Department, Patrick's evasiveness and constant lies, and the deadly virus that is sweeping through the gay community, "AHS: NYC" is certainly crafting an engaging story. Although the puzzle is yet to be fully revealed, there is some overlap in the different stories, like who is Big Daddy, and what exactly is his function? Is he an enforcer, a ghost, a government operative, or something else? Perhaps Big Daddy is some kind of unseen servant that follows Theo, or he is the embodiment of the coming darkness that is being constantly referenced.

Another big aspect of these episodes of "AHS: NYC" is what exactly is Patrick up to. Is he a good or bad person? He certainly has lied to those who he claims to love, and he seems to be well-known in several circles, which is highlighted by his familiarity with leather, bondage, and Sam's words to him in Episode 3. This could mean that he is actually a villain, considering that viewers have seen him call somebody after the death of the infected Hans, though we still don't know who he was speaking to. Either way, there are many different moving pieces in this season of "American Horror Story," and it will be interesting to see how darkness, sickness, and attraction converge in the next few episodes.

When do American Horror Story Season 11, Episodes 5 and 6 air?

Luckily, the next two episodes of American Horror Story: NYC will premiere on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. This is in keeping with how episodes have been released thus far and will continue to do so for the rest of the season. That means that Episode 5 will start at 10 p.m. EST, while Episode 6 will start around 11 p.m. EST give or take, depending on how long Episode 5 runs. Like previous seasons of "American Horror Story," "AHS: NYC" is broadcast on the FX channel. For the cord-cutters out there, "American Horror Story: NYC" is available on Hulu the next day. The next two episodes are called "Bad Fortune" and "The Body," so that may give at least a slight hint of what is to come. 

As previously mentioned, there are several different plot elements that are coming together, so we can probably expect some of the mystery to start being resolved. That also means that as some of the secrets are laid bare, there will probably be a corresponding amount of horror to go with it. This is "American Horror Story" after all, and there are very few rosy endings.