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"Bestie" is the first episode of the third installment of American Horror Stories. It premiered October 26, 2023 on Hulu.

After the loss of her mother, a young woman seeks connection in a mysterious online friend.— FX Networks, official synopsis[1]


Plot[]

After losing her mother to pancreatic cancer, shy teenager Shelby Brubaker and her father Guy move to a new town, and, ultimately, a new school, for a fresh start. During choir class on her first day, Shelby is viciously bullied for her glasses and hair color by Chazlyn and her friends, the popular theater students at Columbia High School. Failing to contain her internal struggles and embarrassment, Shelby hurls her songbook at Chazlyn's face, giving her a bloody nose. This prompts their choir teacher, Mr. Nevins, to pull Shelby into his office for a quick attempted pep talk. He tries to connect with her, sharing that he used to know her mother before she passed away, and Shelby is very brave for dealing with such a traumatic loss so wonderfully. Nevins notes that they're, in fact, both brave, for he lost his newborn daughter many years ago due to the umbilical cord strangling her during birth. As Shelby leaves Nevins' office, Chazlyn and her gang follow her down the hallway, continuing to poke fun at her appearance.

Back at home, Shelby has dinner with her father, who tries to cheer her up and lighten the mood with a picture of her dressed as a pirate from when she was younger. She gets embarrassed and angry, and reaches across the table, accidentally knocking over a candle in the process. Ashamed at her outburst, Shelby escapes into her room to watch a livestream from her favorite internet personality, Anna Rexhia, a drag queen with the morbid tagline "Life's a drag when you're a f*g, so instead... be DEAD!" The live soon ends, but Shelby stays on the stream until only her and another user named BFF4EVA remain active. BFF4EVA notices this, too, and persistently messages Shelby in the stream's chat until she responds. They briefly chat, bonding over their love for Anna Rexhia, before the mysterious user asks Shelby if she wants to video call. At first, Shelby is reluctant, stating that she's been crying so she may look strange, but the user brushes this off, saying there's no judgment since she looks weird, as well. Before Shelby can respond, her computer begins to ring with a video chat request from BFF4EVA. Hesitantly, Shelby answers.

The screen reveals a physically disabled girl sitting in a dimly-lit room wearing a blonde wig, which all throws Shelby off for a moment. However, as the two further connect over how annoying their dads are and their mutual love of Pippin the musical, Shelby begins to feel less lonely, and less like an outcast. She asks the girl what her name is, but the girl responds saying she doesn't like real names, and they should call each other by nicknames instead. Shelby would now be Shellybelly and she would now be Bestie.

After school the next day, Shelby rushes home to video chat Bestie again and practice doing Anna Rexhia inspired makeup. When Shelby reveals her attempt to Bestie, she gets insecure and says she looks like a freak, but Bestie tells her she looks amazing and she should wear it to school. Shelby immediately freaks out, saying everyone would make fun of her and she'd be way too scared to do anything like that. In turn, Bestie decides to push her and remind her what Anna Rexhia says: "When you feel scared of something, that's the thing you should do. If you face your fears, awesome things will happen." This advice alone ends up being both Shelby's motivation and downfall all in one.

The following day, Shelby decides to wear a hint of makeup to school, along with a new hairstyle. She struts through the halls, sings her heart out in choir, and even sticks up for herself when Chazlyn tries to get a rise out of her again after class. Once at home, she proudly dishes every detail to Bestie, who tells Shelby that now that she's done something she's afraid of, she's a full-on badass.

When she dresses up as her music professors' stillborn child for Halloween and gets punished by her father by being locked in the basement, she eventually goes too far. Her best friend encourages her to break her arm in order to escape over the old laptop. This is the tipping point for Shelby because it forces her to reevaluate her friendship with her best friend. She offers her apologies to her father and instructor, and she makes friends with a youngster named River who shares her link because he was bullied because of his disability. One day, Shelby recognizes the house from the surroundings and learns it's River's house, even though River thinks the house is haunted. Shelby tries to run away as Bestie shows up, but River stabs and murders her instead, exposing himself as one of Bestie's other "friends". They embrace as they stroll out into the ocean.

Featured Characters[]

Quotes[]

  • Bestie: "hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hellooooooo"
  • Shelby Brubaker: "Not the Grim Reaper, silly!"
  • Anna Rexhia: "Life's a drag when you're a f*g, so instead... be DEAD!"
  • Bestie: "What's our rule?"
  • Shelby Brubaker: "Are you, like, eating a fiber bar now because you're constipated, Shitbelly?"
  • Chazlyn: "It's kinda giving lesbian backpacker vibes."
  • Bestie: "When you feel scared of something, that's the thing you should do. If you face your fears, awesome things will happen."

Notes[]

  • This episode, along with Daphne, Tapeworm, and Organ, is the first to not use the signature AHS font in its opening titles since 1984.

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. FX Networks (2023, September 25). "Bestie". From Listings - AMERICAN HORROR STORIES on FX ON HULU. The Futon Critic. Archived from the original on 2024-07-10.
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