Things are changing at the Hotel Cortez, and Will Drake is making sure this is happening at a rapid pace. Whole corridors – like where the ghosts of March and Miss Evers reside – are being taken out completely. They go to take out a wall, only to find an inch of steel running along the entire floor. Drake wants it knocked down at any costs, not realising it’ll cost the construction workers their lives. Inside were some extremely bloodthirsty vampires, who rippped the construction guys throats out. Well, who would’ve thought it. Iris later takes the Countess for a look at the crime scene; who could’ve done this? The Countess looks scared, which means everyone should be worried.
Meanwhile, John is getting a psych evaluation in a mental hospital. Considering we discussed last week how he’d gone full crazy, it’s great to see he’s getting the help he needs….. except that he’s not. He snuck into the police headquarters the week before to see what he could find out about their suspect for the Ten Commandments case. He ended up attacking the only friend he had left, but not before he saw a file that said the suspect is being held at a mental hospital. So guess where he’s ended up? Yeah, no rewards for getting it right.
We spend a lot of the episode in a flashback to the 20s, where we learn a lot about the mysterious Countess. She often talks about her one great love, and we learn that this wasn’t James Patrick March but ‘god’ of the silver screen Rudolph Valentino. Valentino is played by Finn Wittrock, aka Tristan who died last episode. I’m so glad they bought him back, and he’s almost unrecognisable in the role. We head to1925, where the Countess was just a lowly extra in movies, hoping to one day become a lead actress and be immortal forever (l o l at the irony). Valentino singles out Countess to be his ‘little mouse’, invites her over to his home for a threesome with his wife Natacha Rambova, and thus begins a love affair between the three of them (although mainly Valentino and Countess, obviously). I really enjoyed Gaga in her pre-vampire role, and I think it demonstrates how much her acting has developed since the season begun.
Countess is attending the grand opening of the Hotel Cortez, when she hears the news: Valentino is dead. Heartbroken, the Countess stumbles down a hallway and onto the ledge of a window. She’s about to jump when someone grabs her: it’s March. I loved the irony of this, considering March loves to kill everyone, and just happened to decide to save her. With March being the wealthy owner of a prosperous hotel, Countess agrees to marry him. If she can’t be with the love of her life, then she may as well live with her grief whilst being surrounded by nice things.
She heads to Valentino’s tomb every day and leaves a red rose, only to be surprised by Valentino himself and Natacha on one such visit. It turns out he faked his death after meeting with German director Murneau. Murneau directed Nosferatu, one of the most renowned horror classics. He researched for the film by going deep into the Carpathian Mountains, where he found a bunch of vampires who entertained themselves by having orgies all day. Murneau contracted the virus, who decided to ‘gift’ it to Valentino, who also gave it to Natacha. Then, in their meeting with Countess, they give the virus to her and ask her to run away with them. What none of them realise is that March is watching them. Not content with giving up his lady love, March hires goonies to abduct them (which you think they’d be strong enough to resist, but whatever) and locks them up inside the dead end hallway on the other side of that wall of steel.
Countess heads to have dinner with March. They do this every month; Countess is far too busy to do it with any more frequency. She lets him know that she’s intending to marry Will Drake, and March is not pleased. But Countess continues to rub it in; he knew that she never truly loved him, and that she tolerated his ways. March then drops the bomb: he is the reason that her god Valentino never showed up at the train that day. He locked them up, and guess what, they’re not locked up anymore! The Countess has a mixed reaction of shock and horror, as we see a fully restored and satisfied Natacha and Valentino strut out of the hotel. Whilst this flashback gave us some interesting information on the Countess, we now have yet another two characters to follow.
But now back to John. He puts a plan into action to find out who this suspect is, and this plan involves faking a stomach ache and knocking out the security guard. He finds out the room the suspect was in (slightly too easily if you ask me), and decides to enter. Inside we find Wren, one of the Countess’ vampire children, and it’s no wonder she’s locked up in a mental asylum. She’s sick of being a vampire; her dad threatened to make him her lover once she became of age. Locked in a car one day, Gaga rescues the neglected child and Wren then enters eternal servitude to the Countess. But we also find out that she was on the scene for all of the Ten Commandment murders and helped the murderer. Whaaaaat? I’m still sticking to the theory that John is the killer, and having him in the shadows for a lot of this scene is (what I hope) great foreshadowing.
Wren seems a little too comfortable with John and talking about the killer. She doesn’t tell John who the killer is, but says that if he helps her escape then they will go to the killer’s home, which of course is the Hotel Cortez. So John helps a vampire child escape a mental hospital – as one does – but it seems that she has other plans. “Are you going to kill him?” she asks John. “If I have to,” he replies. “I really like you, I hate to see it end” Wren says, before she runs and jumps in front of a bus. If that conversation doesn’t make you think John is the Ten Commandments killer, then I don’t know what will! But if you have any other theories, I would love to hear them.
We’re getting to the pointy end of the season now, and I think this is another example of too many actors and plot lines for one show. What about Ramona and Donovan? What about Sally? Only time will tell.