FX’s American Horror Story
11×08: “Fire Island”
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
Written by Charlie Carver, Our Lady J, & Ned Martel
* For a recap & review of 11×07, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×09, click here.
The boys are headed for Fire Island to get away from the city. Theo’s having trouble with sea sickness, or so it seems at first. He tells Adam he’s not been feeling well lately in general. Plus, Hannah isn’t well, either. Adam talks about the disease going around, then Theo shares his history of sexually transmitted infections. Neither of them quite grasp the magnitude of the virus or what may be coming. When everybody arrives at Fire Island, Sam’s there waiting, though he has plenty of hot boys to attend to without really worrying too much about what Theo’s doing. Quite an awkward not-quite-reunion with Sam and Patrick both being on the island together again. Surely NOTHING will go wrong this time! (Somewhere, Ryan Murphy chuckles sinisterly in the shadows…)
On the beach, Patrick and Gino have some Mai Tais; a dark but definitely very funny little joke. They enjoy time together and toast: “To every day always being like this.” It’s a place they’re able to be free without any concern about who’s watching, and now that Patrick’s out to the world anyway they’re living a new life together. Yet Gino recoils after he and Patrick get close. He’s been having problems after witnessing so much horror and gruesomeness up close. Then he shows off a new lesion that’s developed, far more than a little rash. Patrick also has them. “Why is this happening to us?” Gino asks. They can’t get any answers from medical professionals, either. It all devolves into an argument between Gino and Patrick. Gino simply insists he’s afraid “something awful is still out there.”
Back at the chalet, Patrick mopes around, asking Adam what Gino’s like at work. He’s not fun to be around right now, telling Theo and Adam to “fuck off” and have some Fire Island fun. The young couple head out while Patrick decides to take a shower. And while Patrick showers he hears something, so he gets out to check and finds another vision of Barbara out on the deck. He goes to his dead ex-wife and she appears behind him suddenly, her face looking hideous, trying to kiss him. A proper scare. Simultaneously, Gino’s off on the island in the trees, following a couple young guys into the woods probably looking to console himself with a bit of distraction sex but decides against it. Good thing, too. Because Big Daddy’s out there waiting.
Out of nowhere, Gino’s joined on the beach by the now one-handed Henry. He doesn’t want the company. Henry’s a big fan of Gino, though. He talks the journalist up, from Gino’s penchant for denim to the writing. But what’s he getting at here? Henry has a close eye watching Gino and Patrick. He knows everything about them. He also advises that the mobsters still want Gino dead for continuing to write articles. Henry says he’s fallen for Gino after everything, but he’s rejected.
Big Daddy keeps lurking in the shadows, and Theo keeps on getting sicker. At the bar, Henry and Sam catch up, as the former laments not nabbing the journalist and the latter suggests forgetting it while they’re in Shangri-La. A bit later, Sam and Theo make up with a shot together on the pier before they go their separate ways for the evening. And it’s all just so ominous! That’s one of the best parts of AHS: NYC, every episode has been so great at building dread rather than going too overboard with camp or gore constantly like some of the other seasons.
Fran and her friends notice Big Daddy outside their chalet. They think it’s a joke at first, then they start to get more serious as Big Daddy lurks more. Eventually KK threatens Big Daddy with a knife, and the leather man walks off. That night when Gino gets back to his place he throws on some music and pours himself a drink, only to be attacked suddenly by Big Daddy. Thankfully he still has a knife he was using on limes. Soon, Adam joins in the fight against the leather man, though Big Daddy is a tough bastard. Gino stabs the big guy in the leg, giving them a chance to run for cover. But even a door isn’t much of a match for Big Daddy, who bursts into the room. Then Patrick appears with his gun to put Big Daddy down.
In the aftermath, Patrick wants to call the sheriff, regardless of how the shooting happened. Adam wants to find out Big Daddy’s identity first. So they go back to the bedroom and there’s no body. Big Daddy is in the wind someplace. The rest of Fire Island is lit up, gay as hell, high on cocaine, and unaware of any masked psychopath stalking men. Sam’s place is party central with music, booze, and drugs. Fran shows up to do a bit of psychic reading with her tarot cards. She pulls yet another Death card for one man. Not entirely unexpected.
Out in the cruising woods, Henry and Sam meet up again. Sam wants to help Henry find some man to defile out in the dark. And there’s Theo, drugged from the shot earlier, tied up in a tree waiting for them. “You will always be mine,” Sam tells Theo. Then Sam claims to Henry it’s all a fantasy of Theo’s, leaving Henry to do anything at all to the young artist. So Henry decides to indulge himself. Before he can, he’s confronted with Big Daddy and runs off. After that it’s just Theo and Big Daddy. But Big Daddy disappears. Theo sees a bunch of young men he’s photographed before, all of them wearing antlers on their head. They untie Theo, letting him down from his bonds, and carry him away, as AIDS finally does him in.
What a surreal, cryptic end to this episode. Loved it. Heartbreaking.