AHS: NYC: Smoke Signals Recap

AHS: NYC: Smoke Signals Recap
American Horror Story: NYC S11E3 10/26/22 "Smoke Signals" on FX - TV Regular

Credit: AHS: NYC

It’s a wonder how anyone is following this current season of AHS since it’s playing out more like a crime story than a true horror story, as the decision to focus on a point in history that was exceedingly difficult for a group of individuals is kind of a strange one when it comes to laying out a horror story that’s easy to follow. The thought is pretty strong that if anyone were to denounce this season openly, as some are already doing, it could be surmised that they might be accused of being homophobic or simply ignorant of the main theme. But the truth is that this story isn’t really that compelling in terms of being a horror story. Most of the characters feel one-dimensional at best, and those who have more to them still feel as though they’re not quite as solid as they should be. To be fair, the seasons that have come before this one were a lot better because the characters, cisgender or otherwise, were folks that people could believe in and empathize with. The amount of shame and self-loathing that’s being used in this season kind of makes it tough to feel anything for the characters at all. 

American Horror Story NYC release schedule: When does season 11 start? |  Radio Times

Credit: AHS: NYC

The pacing of this season feels way too awkward. 

Things speed up, then slow down, then they speed up again, kind of, and then they slow down once more. One could state that it’s moving at the same pace that life appears to emulate now and again, but the truth is that the storytelling in this season doesn’t appear to follow any set pattern or even adhere to what real life might have been like back in the eighties. It’s frantic, doesn’t appear to carry a set pace, and leaves people wanting more or wanting people to slow down in order to accommodate their need to figure out what’s going on. The heavy use of shadow might seek to tell the story and carry a strong point of how dire the situation is, but to be honest, all it really does is make this story insanely depressing. 

The characters tend to lack a lot of development. 

There appear to be two very big default settings that every homosexual in this series fits between that of an individual who is ashamed and hides the reality of who they are, and those who are decadent and not afraid to flaunt who and what they are. The two main ideas feel as though they’re the default settings for the gay men in this series, and there isn’t a whole lot of deviation between the two, or moderation for that matter. While some might see this as fitting, it’s actually kind of irritating since it suggests that gay men back in this era had very few options when it came to showing the world the face they chose. There’s no doubt that such a time was difficult for those who had yet to come out, as history is quite adamant on this point, but the fact remains that not every gay man, not even in New York, was bound and determined to live the lifestyle of someone who would be seen as abnormal to just about anyone, even other homosexuals. 

AHS: NYC” Review - “Smoke Signals” and “Black Out” Contaminate the Body and  Mind - Bloody Disgusting

Credit: AHS: NYC

Between the shame and persecution felt in this season it’s hard to get into the storyline. 

This goes toward the development, or lack thereof, in the story that results in a plot that’s hard to get into since the general idea is that someone is out in the city killing gay men, and there’s also a deadly virus that’s becoming a hazard as the season moves along. These two problems begin to collide in this and the next episode, but there’s no clear and easy resolution to either of them as the targeting of gay men continues and the disease continues to evolve and become a real issue. Between the police and the scientist attempting to discover what the disease is all about, it’s tough to say what will happen as the story unfolds, but it’s even harder to care thanks to the lack of style in the storytelling. 

While the history behind this season is sound enough, the main idea still feels like a giant pity party. 

People might actually get upset at this, but the fact is that the manner in which this story is being told feels as though it’s one giant ‘woe is me’ season thus far. Even Apocalypse and Coven felt like they had more of a point to them since it was a worldwide epidemic that had gripped everyone. Focusing on the gay community isn’t what makes this story less than likable at this time, but the idea of persecution that gay men are facing in this season does make one wish that the creator had selected another idea to bring forward. When even Roanoke starts to look good, it’s easy to say that a story has gone off the rails, and quickly. 

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