‘American Horror Story: NYC’ Ending Explained: Who Is Big Daddy?

Welcome to the Ending Explained for American Horror Story: NYC, the eleventh season of American Horror Story. The show has really gone far and wide since its inception in 2011. Since Ryan Murphy and many of the actors who work on his projects have become staples of the show. Murphy is quite inconsistent in terms of quality, but he always manages to do something interesting, and that is the same case with this latest season of American Horror Story. It might not be the best, but it is certainly fascinating.

The eleventh season of American Horror Story, subtitled, NYC, stars Russell Tovey, Joe Mantello, Billie Lourd, Denis O’hare, Charlie Carver, Leslie Grossman, Zachary Quinto, and Patti LuPone. The series, once again, follows the anthology format, and it has nothing to do with the previous seasons or characters other than being a themed horror story. However, this time the show goes really hard on political subjects, which is fine, but it isn’t precisely horrific for some people, and that might end up turning them away from the show. This season reported the worst ratings the show has ever had.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for American Horror Story: NYC. Read at your own risk.

Who Is The Mai Tai Killer?

American Horror Story has been a series that has been fascinated with serial killers for as long as the show has existed. It isn’t a surprise that Murphy would later develop a show like Dahmer. Serial killers are certainly fascinating to the general population because they work outside the norms of society. We are told since we were little that life should be respected, and you must not kill others, no matter what, and yet, serial killers don’t see the logic in it, and kill for their own reasons.

The first half of NYC sees the Mai Tai Killer as our main villain for the season. We get introduced to the character of Patrick Read, a New York Police Department detective who starts seeing a pattern in a number of cases that hit his desk. The pattern is very simple and obvious, but no one but him seems to be picking it up. All the dead men are reported to be gay. This reveals the theme of the season. The show is set in 1981, this was the year that the AIDS pandemic was revealed to the public, and it was specifically reported that it targeted gay people.

Now we know that is not the truth, the virus can attack and kill people no matter their sexual orientation, but in those early days, the gay community was transformed into a pariah. Patrick continues to investigate the cases, and this leads him into a collision path, with a man named Mr. Whitely. Whitely is also gay, but he sees that the gay community doesn’t really support each other. In some twisted logic, Whitely begins building a sort of Frankenstein monster with pieces from his victims.

Whitely objective is to reveal the monster on a parade and make people see what the gay community is suffering. He believes that because no one cares about them, this is the only real way to make people pay attention. Read, who is revealed to be gay as well, works alongside his partner Gino, and together they manage to come face to face with Whitely Read kills him, and the case is closed. Gino, who is a reporter, writes that the gay community must come together and treat each other with respect and be proud of who they are.

Who Is Big Daddy?

American Horror Story likes to deal with serial killers. That is not in doubt, but what is not in doubt either is that the show often goes into the supernatural route as well, and in this case, it is more of a real-world idea taking human form. Throughout the episodes, the characters are frequently seen to be stalked by a huge, muscled man dressed in sadomasochistic apparel. This man is known as Big Daddy. He begins his stalking from a distance, but as the season progresses, he comes closer and closer until he starts killing characters.

What motivates him? Who is he? Well, Big Daddy doesn’t really exist, he is not a real person. However, he is a manifestation of the real killer in the season, the one that cannot be stopped, the one whose victims number in the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions. Big Daddy is the AIDS pandemic, the silent killer who seems to be an impossible enemy to overcome. The series even implies at moments the theory that the AIDS virus was developed by scientists to kill gay people and African Americans, which is truly terrifying.

In the end, it is Big Daddy who becomes the real killer of the season. His rampage takes the lives of almost every single character that survived the events of the Mai Tai Killer. Patrick falls victim to the AIDS pandemic and dies in bed towards the end of the show, with only his partner Gino there for him in the end. The show makes sure to depict the death by AIDS during this time as something that we all should be ashamed of, as the patients were mistreated even until their last moments.

The season ends with Adam being one of the few survivors and Gino also falling to the disease as he sees Patrick coming for him in his last moments. Maybe they can be truly happy when they cross to the other side.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.