TV Review: ‘American Horror Story’ Season 11, Episode 10

by Frank Martin

Because it aired two episodes a week, it feels as if this season of American Horror Story is over just as soon as it started. It’s also been quite a ride; a bizarre serial killer storyline played out over the backdrop of some real historical horror. The characters have been interesting and engaging — and there’s been plenty of the shock value, both in terms of sex and horror, that American Horror Story has been known for. Nevertheless, this two-part finale couldn’t quite find its footing. It was both somber and profound thematically, but from a storytelling standpoint, it didn’t wrap the plot up in a neatly tied bow.

While the first part of the finale focused on Sam (Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Russell Tovey), the second half focused on Adam (Charlie Carver) and Gino (Joe Mantello). First, Adam was shocked to discover that Hannah (Billie Lourd) had died of supposedly natural causes. From there, Adam began an investigation to figure out just what killed his friend and to try and sound the alarm about the coming disease crisis. The second half saw Gino dealing with the ramifications of Patrick’s death. He then lumbered through life as the AIDS crisis ripped through New York City’s gay community. And the episode ultimately ended with a very melancholy musical montage that closed out this season on a tragic note.

Over the course of the season, HIV loomed over many of the characters, but it was hinted that this disease wasn’t AIDS but something far more supernatural and sinister. That concept fell flat as it turned out to be AIDS after all. This was amplified by the fact that the Big Daddy mystery was never solved. Big Daddy played a big part in the finale. He appeared constantly and was representative of HIV and the angel of death. But he wasn’t that way throughout the season. On many occasions, he was a tangible foe that could be touched and fought. He even killed Barbara (Leslie Grossman), who didn’t have HIV at all. In fact, she was quite clearly murdered, which all the characters understood. So while this season had a lot of ups and was fascinating to watch, the story couldn’t quite end on the right note, even if the final moment was very well done.

American Horror Story is now streaming on Hulu.

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