FX promised a “season like no other” with American Horror Story: NYC, and it certainly has been. But does that also mean it won’t be connected to any of the previous 10 AHS installments?
Longtime fans certainly hope that isn’t the case, so when the silhouette of a winged woman appeared in the preview for Week 3 (Episodes 5 and 6), they allowed themselves to get excited. After all, who else could it be if not Frances Conroy as Shachath (aka the Angel of Death), last seen way back in American Horror Story: Asylum?
Others weren’t ready to get their hopes up, assuming that the mysterious figure would probably turn out to be part of some Angels in America reference. From Al Pacino’s iconic 1980 thriller Cruising to actual real-life events in gay history, Ryan Murphy — as Lady Gaga would say — has been “unafraid to reference or not reference” more than ever this season.
So, did the fans’ optimism pay off? Yes and no.
An unnamed character, strongly implied to be the Angel of Death, did appear during a tarot card reading in Episode 5. Kathy, who performed the reading for Gino, even mentioned the woman giving him a kiss, which is how the Angel escorted the souls of the dying back in Season 2.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the Conroy cameo that many were hoping for. This time around, the character was played by Rebecca Dayan, who previously appeared this season as Alana.
Now for some important developments that did happen in Episodes 5 (“Bad Fortune”) and 6 (“The Body”)…
* Hannah and Adam get a double dose of troubling news, first from faux psychic Fran, who turns over an endless parade of Death cards during a particularly ominous reading. The next downer comes from Hannah’s OBGYN, who confirms that she has a low red blood cell count, not unlike the samples she took from the club fire victims. Including Adam. Theo then drags Adam back to Fran’s nonsense parlor for another reading, and this one’s even worse — a promise of Adam’s death, complete with a demonic voice and what feels like an earthquake. (The subway? Sure, Fran.)
* Barbara passes out after reluctantly finalizing her divorce from Patrick, but that’s nothing compared to what happens next. After Big Daddy attacks Patrick at his ex-wife’s apartment, the masked murderer returns while Barb is in the shower, and… well… R.I.P., Barb! (I almost said it was “shower curtains” for Barb, but that would have been in poor taste.)
* Still torturing the pair of victims he picked up last week, Whitely explains that he’s going to debut his Frankenstein creation during NYC Pride. “This year, I’ve decided that the parade will mean something,” he says. “For the first time, it will be honest.” All it’s missing is a heart and genitalia… and guess where Whitely plans on getting those.
* A dead body believed to be one of Big Daddy’s victims washes ashore on Fire Island atop Episode 6, and because Patrick is “the only cop gay enough to care,” he gets the call. Curiously, his next call is to Sam, who picks him up in his convertible for an island getaway. There, they reminisce about the body they apparently buried in a shallow sand dune, implying that they share more of a history than we know. We eventually learn that Patrick met Sam in 1979, during his first trip to Fire Island. He also met a man named Billy at one of Sam’s legendary “no fatties, no femmes” parties, where things got a little out of hand. As in, Billy died during a coke-fueled threesome gone wrong and Sam and Patrick buried him in the dunes. Henry, now confirmed to be a “fixer for the mob,” helped them out along with his associate (WHITELY!), whom he introduced as “a whiz at cutting up bodies.” (Ya don’t say!)
* Back in present day, Henry and Gino conspire to lure Whitely out and put an end to his killing spree. Henry meets his associate at their favorite spot, where Whitely offers him — what else — a Mai Tai. Henry wisely refuses the drink, then follows Whitely into the bathroom with a gun. But the bespectacled butcher is no fool; he gets the jump on Henry, knocks him out and carries him into the darkness, with Gino in hot pursuit.
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