TV Recap – American Horror Story: Hotel ‘Chutes and Ladders’
Last week showed us that American Horor Story was back and pulling all stops possible; they’re not shying away from the blood, sex and shock value. But how will this hold up as the season progresses? Let’s dive into episode two and find out.
We first find out the fate of two rather depressing characters from last episode. Both our surviving swedish tourist and Max Greenfield (who’s characters name I am still unsure of) are both dead. Well, Greenfield’s been sewn into that creepy mattress by Sally (Sarah Paulson), so I’m not feeling hopeful for him. The death of a swedish tourist showed us how they dispose of the (many) bodies: there’s a secret chute specifically for them.
Detective Lowe (Wes Bentley) is still foolishly staying at the hotel, and it’s no surprise he’s seeing strange things in the mysterious room 64. He sees Holden again and chases after him, only to end up at the bar with Sally for company. She tries to get Lowe to drink, to no avail – he used to be an alcoholic. Lowe tells Sally of the last time he had a drink: it was after a murder scene, where a man accidentally killed his entire family, so he then committed suicide. This flashback seemed a bit random and out of place; is it perhaps some foreboding of Lowe’s future?
Proving he still hasn’t learnt anything, Lowe brings his daughter to the Hotel Cortez to see him. She slips off with Will Drake’s son, who takes Scarlett to an abandoned swimming pool wherein lie the coffins of the vampire children. “Nothing wakes them up,” laughs the boy, just as Holden’s piercing blue eyes burst open. Recognising her brother, Scarlett heads back to the hotel later in the episode. She sneaks into the hidden game room, where she and Holden have an awkwardly honest conversation, the kind only children can have. The meeting isn’t going to badly, until Scarlett tries to take a photo and Holden goes to bite her. Oops, his bad.
Back in the foyer of the Hotel Cortez, owner Will Drake (Cheynne Jackson) is hosting a fashion show. We meet his dear friend from Vogue, who just so happens to be Naomi Campbell. Gaga and her boytoy Bomer sit front and center at the fashion show, and find the whole thing pretty boring until bad boy junkie Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock) appears. High as a kite, my favourite actor from Freakshow headed down the runway in an unorthodox manner, kissing girls, starting fights, and catching the eye of one centuries old vampire.
The Countess finds Tristan after the show, and she finds his rage delectable. So naturally she decides to turn him into a vampire. Describing the experience as “one of the most erotic moments in my entire life”, becoming a vampire involves drinking a vampires blood and then apparently having a lot of sex. But Tristan’s turning gave us an insight into what kind of vampires the show offers. It’s deemed a ‘virus’ and vampires can be taken out by all the usual methods – “you’re only immortal if you’re smart” purrs Gaga. They don’t have fangs, they just cut their victims, don’t drink from the dead or the diseased because it’ll taste gross and the sun won’t kill them, but should be avoided as it zaps their vitality.
But if Tristan’s in, then Bomer’s out. The lover who’s been at The Countess’ side for so many years is tossed in favour of a new model. “It’s the heartbreaks that make you” she says. Who broke her heart beforehand? Needless to say Bomer is pissed and I’m sure he’ll be back for revenge.
But the answer to my question may lie within Iris’ story. Lowe demands to know what’s going on with the Hotel; you know, what’s its deal? To know that you must know the story of the owner, Mr James Patrick March. Evan Peters has stated that March is his favourite AHS character he’s played to date, and I have to agree that it’s one of his best. Peters has been tragically underused in AHS for some time now, so it’s great to see him back in such a unique role. March built a hotel of excess and opulence, a place where he could satisfy his peculiar needs. Our mate Tristan meet March whilst high (but before becoming a vampire), and March said there was nothing else like the feeling of taking another’s life. The chutes in the hotel were built expressly for dumping bodies, and March’s faithful servant Miss Evers was always on hand to clean the bloody sheets (please tell me someone else finds this duo as hilarious as I do).
So he lived a life of murder, wealth and torture. Whilst we never see her face I expect we are to believe that The Countess was March’s wife. Was she a vampire then? If he’s trapped in the hotel, why doesn’t she just spend her time with him? Let’s be honest, these questions might never be answered. But March got lazy, and someone eventually ratted him out to the police for his hobby. He ‘kindly’ took Miss Evers life before taking his own, choosing to commit suicide than go to jail.
So that’s the story Mr March, and Lowe isn’t too impressed. But he thinks about it the next day and realises there was a pattern to some of March’s later murders: they were based on the Ten Commandments. However, he was tragically cut short from fulfilling all ten commandments due to his death. Lowe realises that the current serial killer in the present day is following through and finishing off the Commandments for March (yes I know, we all forgot there was a random serial killer on the loose). But who is sending him murder weapons from the Hotel Cortez?
I think that AHS:Hotel has a lot of potential and isn’t off to a bad start. However, we already have quite a few plot threads and characters, something which was the ultimate downfall of AHS: Freakshow. Can Hotel reign things in enough to tell a cohesive story? There’s 11 episodes left to find out.