American Horror Stories Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, ‘American Horror Stories’ is a spin-off of one of the most prominent works of their career, ‘American Horror Story.’ It is an anthology series that tells a new story in each episode. If the first two episodes take the audience back to the Murder House and introduce Rubber Woman, and the third episode depicts ordinary people turning into rampaging murderers after watching a film, episode 4 is a Christmas horror in which a group of social media influencers is terrorized by an evil Santa Clause. Here is everything you need to know about its ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.

American Horror Stories Episode 4 Recap

Episode 4, titled ‘The Naughty List,’ revolves around a group of 4 influencers: Zinn (Nico Greetham), Wyatt (Charles Melton), James (Dyllon Burnside), and Barry (Kevin McHale). They live in a mansion called the “Bro House” and are everything you expect them to be. Their channel is quite popular, but they need to reinvent themselves constantly because of how social media is.

With Christmas approaching, they decide to post some risqué content. Around this time of the year, the suicide rate tends to be quite high. Zinn comes up with the idea of going to a bridge that has garnered infamy because of the number of suicides there and trying to film someone jumping to their death. After waiting for several hours, they get the footage they want.

Barry warns his friends that there is a legitimate chance that they might face backlash because of this, but his three friends dismiss his concerns. As Barry predicted, the reaction is brutal, and they start rapidly losing subscribers. They come up with another “brilliant” idea and begin to bait their audience by acting like how they think gay people act around each other before claiming that they are not gay. Shockingly, this doesn’t work either.

Because of the dwindling number of subscribers, they lose sponsors and the gifts they have received from them. Barry suggests that they should go back to their roots and make videos the way they used to make them, which were fun for everybody and didn’t offend anyone. They visit the nearest mall, where Santa is meeting with the children. Zinn, Wyatt, and James sexually harass a girl in an elf costume and mock a little person. Zinn even declares in front of all the children there that Santa isn’t real and proceeds to twerk in front of the man in question.

Santa (Danny Trejo) pushes Zinn down and ominously threatens them by saying that Zinn and his friends will get what they deserve. Zinn, Wyatt, and James are so oblivious about the world beyond social media — and instant gratification — that they don’t realize how abhorrent their behavior was until they watch the video after uploading it on their channel. Soon, angry comments begin to pop up, and they again lose thousands of subscribers.

Suddenly, the phone rings, and Zinn picks it up. A detective on the other end of the line informs him that the Santa they met at the mall wasn’t the one that was hired. The Evil Santa killed the other person and dismembered him. The police have apparently assumed that this is the killer’s modus operandi. She tells Zinn to come to the station the following morning with his friends and bring the video that they recorded.

The police hope that they can use the video to identify and capture the killer. Zinn and his friends briefly consider the possibility that this can be part of an elaborate prank. But then a video is uploaded on their channel showing Wyatt’s murder. The remaining three still think that it’s part of a prank, but then Zinn is killed, and Barry and James realize that Santa has come to punish them.

American Horror Stories Episode 4 Ending: Why Is the Evil Santa Waiting in the Parking Lot?

After decorating a Christmas tree with the body parts of his victims, the Evil Santa disappears. When the police arrive, they only find his handiwork. The episode ends as the Evil Santa watches another person in a Santa costume get into their car. The police were evidently right about the modus operandi. The killer goes from town to town, killing shopping mall Santas, taking their places, and even sometimes killing people like Barry and his friends who he thinks have been naughty.

Who Is the Evil Santa? Who Uploads the Killing Videos on the Bro House Channel?

The audience is initially led to believe that he is a psychopath who travels from town to town, killing Santas and other people. However, the show injects supernatural elements into the plot by introducing what is supposed to be the lore behind the real Santa Clause. He was apparently not a Saint, but a Pagan nature god called Wild Man. He was associated with storm, fury, and destruction and had a hideously painted face. He always appeared wearing animal skins. This Wild Man was also a fearsome hunter who liked to punish bad people. In the ensuing centuries, the lore underwent complete revisions and became what it is today.

The Evil Santa uploads the videos on the channel and shows Barry and his friends the true horror of fame in their final moments. Believing that the videos are fake, the audience starts to react to them positively. Even Barry, the most grounded among the four friends, can’t look away from the screen as their channel crosses the 5-million-subscribers mark, despite knowing that he has been doused in gasoline. The pursuit of social media fame has become so addictive that people are ready to go to any extent to achieve that. The Evil Santa gives the four friends exactly what they wanted. What they never realized was that they had to pay too steep a price for it.

Read More: Where Is American Horror Stories Filmed?