TV Review: ‘American Horror Story’ Season 11, Episode 3

by Frank Martin

The problem with American Horror Story is that it’s never been able to properly tow the line between quality storytelling and shock value just for the sake of shock value. Its first season was immensely successful on multiple fronts, but it had a lot of shocking moments. The show quickly became known for shock value. Because of this, the creators felt the need to up the ante in subsequent seasons, and the storytelling suffered at times because of it. The first two episodes didn’t seem to really be affected by this problem, but it’s starting to seep into the third.

A lot of the trajectory that was established in the first two episodes continues as Gino’s search for the killer who kidnapped him ramps up. Adam (Charlie Carver), who joined Gino’s (Joe Mantello) investigative attempts at the newspaper, got caught up in a fire at a gay bar. As it happens, the killer was there as well. This whole incident culminates in a suspenseful chase in a hospital filled with burn victims. Gino and his detective lover (Russell Tovey) try to catch the killer as he escapes. Unfortunately, the killer gets the drop on Gino and he is left to freeze to death in a morgue cabinet in the episode’s closing moments.

There’s undoubtedly a lot going on in this season. There are multiple characters who are on multiple different plot threads. There is obviously a main serial killer, but there are other actors who are also doing serial killer like things, which muddles the plot. This doesn’t even take into accounts the storyline about the strange diseases that are spreading throughout New York City. The show is doing a fairly decent job at keeping all of these threads operating simultaneously while sporadically touching upon each other. The goal, however, is to have the storytelling moving forward without getting distracted by the shining objects of shock value that American Horror Story is known for.

American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX.

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