TV Recap – American Horror Story: Hotel ‘Battle Royale’
Last week’s episode ended with one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen: Liz and Iris bursting into the Countess’ apartment, guns blazing with Hotline Bling playing nonchanantly in the background. Battle Royale picks up exactly where we left off and moves through the plot at a fast pace, which is good considering this is the second last episode.
So Iris and Liz are shooting away, but they didn’t count on Donovan being there with the Countess. They both take multiple bullets and go down; Iris stops straight away when she realises Donovan is there and getting hurt. Whilst Iris and Liz are preoccupied with Donovan, the Countess manages to slip away, but in bad shape. Donovan is lucid enough to ask his mother and Liz to take him outside of the Hotel, as he doesn’t want to die and spend eternity with the Countess’ other lovers. They have enough time to get him outside and for him to call Iris ‘Mum’ once more before he dies. And with that, pretty boy Donovan is dead.
But where did the Countess get to? It turns out Sally has her down with all the dead bodies from the Hotel, but she’s actually trying to save the Countess by digging the bullets out of her wounds. She begins to stitch the Countess up, explaining that she has an excellent knowledge of vein and arteries in the human body due to her drug addiction; she’s not called ‘Hypodermic Sally’ for nothing. But why would Sally save the Countess in the first place? She’s been abandoned by so many people in her life, and Sally can’t bear the thought of losing anybody else, even if it is the Countess.
We then see a flashback of Sally from 1993, before her fateful run-in with Iris, Donovan and her ultimate death. Sally is such a complex and interesting character, thanks to Paulson, and this flashback has come a little too late in the season. Back in the day when Sally was a top drug dealer, two of her clients were musicians Nick Harley and Tina Black. She wrote songs for them and they had drug and sex parties every night, so it was a nice cosy threesome. But being the abandoned psycho she is, Sally wanted to make sure that they would never leave her. So they all take some drugs and she decides to stitch the three of them together. Like, their skin. After dialling down the crazy for so long, AHS is trying to bring shock value back for the last few episodes. Anyway of course Nick and Tina overdose and die, whilst Sally is attached to them. She lay there for 5 days before the addiction demon finds her for the first time, and tortures her for 3 days before she rips herself apart from the two dead musicians. This flashback finally makes us undersrand Sally a bit more, and why she’s so crazy about John leaving her.
Anyway she manages to stitch the Countess up, but she’s not healing herself like she should be. The Countess needs vampire blood, and pleads with Sally to bring her Donovan, until she’s told that her (Second/third/fourth) love is dead. But things get worse for her when it becomes apparent that she’ll have to feed on two of her creepy white-haired children. The blood transfusion will kill them, and the Countess would rather die than do that, but the children offer themselves to her as some sort of vamp to vamp sacrifice. Sally tells the Countess that in exchange for saving her life, she wants the Countess to find John and bring him back to the Hotel, so that she can kill him and be with him forever.After the transfusion is complete the Countess stronger than ever, but also left more vulnerable than she could have imagined. For anyone who doubted Golden Globe winner Gaga’s acting skills, this scene truly let her shine and people can no longer question that she doesn’t belong in Hollywood.
Liz cremates Donovan, and Iris decides to spread his ashes all over her bed in the Hotel, just to have Miss Evers vaccum him up. This way Donovan will always be at the Hotel in some form, despite his last wish being that he wanted nothing to do with the place. Liz and Iris realise that they have to strike the Countess now whilst she’s vulnerable and finish what they started; but they’re going to need a bit more power. They head to see Ramona in the bricked up hallway, not imagining that she’d be quite as crazy as she is. After convincing her that not to kill them, they ask her to kill the Countess. She’s been wanting to kill that bitch for a long time, but will need a new victim first.
Thankfully, they have a new guest check into the Hotel: it’s Queenie (Gabourey Sidney) of the witch coven from Season 3 of AHS’s Coven. She’s in town to win some money on the Price is Right, but gets some bad joojoo from the room she’s placed in. Iris and Liz promise to get her a new room, but in the meantime she might like to freshen up in her current, weird-feeling room. Queenie agrees, but only because she doesn’t know that crazy vampire Ramona is hiding in her bathroom. But Ramona doesn’t know that Queenie is a human voodoo doll either. The pair tousle and it looks as though there’ll be no clear winner until March shows up and stabs Queenie himself. Because he is a ghost, her magic cannot bounce back onto him, and with that poor sassy witch Queenie is dead. The only reason March helped to murder Queenie was because of his own not-so-secret agenda, that he wants the Countess to be by his side forever. Ramona ravenously drinks her blood, and as a result becomes more powerful than ever.
Revenge plans aside, hows our wholesome family of four going? John, Alex, Scarlett and Holden make their way home, a place where no one’s been for quite some time. John explains to Scarlett that things are going to go back to normal, as long as Alex and Holden ‘take their medicine.’ But the kid isn’t stupid, and she knows that they need to drink blood. John just says that it’ll be his job to collect the blood – he is pretty qualified for the job after all. He goes out and does the usual errands; some groceries for himself and Scarlett, and someone for Holden and Alex. But when he gets inside there is no one home, just a lone key for Room 64 at the Hotel Cortez. He rushes to the Cortez to find Sally waiting for him. She assures him that it was March who kidnapped his family, not her, I mean she is a ghost after all. March wants his final commandment: ‘Thou shalt not commit murder.’ With a variety of killers to choose from in the Hotel alone, who will earn that final spot in the trophy room?
Ramona heads to see the Countess, ready for the big moment she’s been dreaming about. The Countess knows why she’s there, but first wants to apologise. They’re not words that come easily to the Countess, but she does also offer Ramona as the Hotel, to show how truly sorry she is. This stumps Ramona; now that she’s here, she’s not sure if she can do it. She used to love the woman remember. The Countess offers her a deal: Ramona can kill her, but she has to screw her first. Seems legit. But whether Ramona ended up under the Countess’ spell or being killed by her is unsure yet, as in the next frame we see Gaga with her bags ready to leave the Hotel. The elevator comes up, doors open, and before the Countess can speak any words of surprise, John shoots the Countess and kills her instantly. John found his murderer.
Her head is mounted in his trophy room, and March is delighted with the gift John has given him: he gets to be with his love forever. Now that the Ten Commandments killing is over, Sally is ready to kill John. But March stops her once again, as he has more plans for John, who has proved his usefulness on the outside. John is bewildered; more plans?? He’s had enough of this shit. But March has more pressing matters at the moment, a dinner with his newly dead beloved. She comes to his room for their usual dinner, where March reminds her that it won’t be a monthly dinner anymore, but an everyday occurance. He mentions something about the Countess turning him into the police all those years ago, only to discover that it wasn’t her; it was Miss Evers. Miss Evers knew they would be trapped together when they died, and she just wanted March to be able to see her devotation to him. After pouring her heart out and an awkward silence, March banishes Miss Evers from his sight forever. What will she ever do now?
This episode has been one of the better ones of the season (although that’s not saying much). The storylines actually intertwined, leading towards what will hopefully be a solid finale. There are still many questions to be answered though: Where is Will Drake’s son, and what happens to him now that his legal guardian, the Countess, is dead? Same goes for hideous demon-child Bartholomew – can we please just kill him now? What’s John deal, is a pyschopathic serial killer or a guy who wants a normal family (the word normal is debatable)?
Hopefully these ideas and more will be answered in the finale this week. What have you thought of the season overall? How did you feel about the Coven connection? Let me know in the comments.