American Horror Story: Hotel – Be Our Guest

I’m only a tiny, little bit disappointed at the season finale of American Horror Story: Hotel, for going out with a whimper instead of a bang. It’s like the writers chickened out and decided that everybody deserved happy endings, even though a lot of them had been acting like total shits all season.

Don’t get me wrong. I had feels, everybody’s stories got wrapped up nice and neat and Denis O’Hare gets to steal the show as always, but I really did want the hotel to be burned down so all the ghosts could be free. The writers decided that’s not a good idea, though.

So, the Queen is dead! Long live The Countess! In the aftermath of The Countess death, she’s a ghost who can no longer leave the hotel and a more fitting end, I wouldn’t have written myself. The hotel has now been taken over by Iris and Liz, who sell off the Countess’ art, to fund their redecorations and grand reopening.

The reopening attracts travel critics, who quickly get offed by the hotel’s ghosts. Namely Sally, who is  bitter and unhappy and Will Drake, who is bored because he’s dead and trapped in the hotel.

This is too much for Liz and Iris, who decide to hold an intervention to beseech the ghosts to stop killing the guests. If they keep killing the guests, the hotel will go out of business and the building could be destroyed. James March comes down on Liz and Iris’ side in the debate because if the building isn’t condemned by 2026, then it will be declared an historical landmark, which can’t. After which the ghosts can kill all they want, I guess. This meeting is also notable because you get  to see that they have become a kind of community, who care about each other.

Drake and Sally refuse to cooperate and Iris and Liz decide they need some one on one attention to get them on their side. Iris introduces Sally to Twitter and Snapchat, after which she blossoms, realizing she need never be alone again because of social media. Perfect! That is not a solution I foresaw, but it makes perfect sense. After all, Iris found a new life that way, too. It’s hilarious as Sally really gets into it. She takes pictures of everything but herself, she writes a blog, she cries with happiness, rather than pain now, and even throws away her junk.

Good job, Iris!

Liz makes the point that the ghosts need the living because the living are their bridge to the outside world and relevance. So maybe let them live, and stop killing them for shits and giggles.

Liz agrees to help Will Drake rebuild his fashion empire, which has been languishing since his disappearance, by becoming it’s figurehead. This is a success and Liz makes arrangements for Will’s son to be housed at the Thatcher Boarding school, although Drake doesn’t believe he should ever see him again.

But Liz isn’t quite as happy as you’d think. She still misses Tristan, and Iris, concerned for her happiness, hires a psychic (Sarah Paulson in a dual role) to talk to him in the afterlife, but Tristan refuses and won’t say why. On the other hand, Donovan, who managed to escape being trapped in the hotel, is in a happy place and wants Iris to know he loves her.

Liz, disappointed with Tristan’s cold shoulder, gets on with her life, witnessing the birth of her grandadaughter and being a part of her daughter-in-law’s life, until she discovers she is the only woman in LA who is in the late stages of prostate cancer. She tries to make the best of things, by asking the community of hotel ghosts to kill her, so she can spend eternity with them because they’re her friends, and Denis O’Hare is so good at this, that I almost teared  up.

Almost.

His friends are about to get started brutally killing him but the Countess shows up to deliver the coup de grace. She and Liz reconcile  before the deed, as they damn well better, because they’ve got to spend all of eternity together now. Staring down at her dead body, Liz is surprised by the appearance of Tristan, who says he didn’t want to contact her because he wanted her to have a full life and not live in the past with his memory.

Hold on! I’m a little verklempt! Talk amongst yourselves! Query: Where the Hell is the Countess’ mutant baby? And who is taking care of it? Discuss!

Many years pass. The psychic comes to the hotel again. This  time she wants to contact John Lowe, The Ten Commandments Killer. John shows up and we learn that he is dead, but can only come to the hotel once a year along with all the other killers, Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez, Gacy and Dahmer. It’s also the only time he can see his vampire family, except for Scarlett, who has grown into a remarkably well adjusted young lady, after being shipped off to the Thatcher School, too. Scarlett can visit her little brother and never aging Mom anytime, but Dad can only be seen on Halloween night. It’s a bittersweet reunion.

Having gotten her wish and interviewed the TCK, the psychic gets drugged and accosted by the other serial killers. They agree to let her live if she never tells anyone about them, and Ramona, who can leave the hotel and terrorize her anytime she wants, is there to let her know she’ll be watching her. She runs out of the hotel and doesn’t darken its doors again.

Overall, I liked this season. It was uneven, and more concerned with spectacle than plot, but then AHS is always like that. I really wish there had been more depth and more artistry. The show really needs to play up the unreality and dreamlike state, the way it did in the first season. I enjoyed this season more than the last one, which was kind of depressing. This was a  more joyful season, even if  was full of pretty people being stupid and doing awful things, and I was kind of disappointed that many of them did not get their comeuppance, but I can live with happy endings, too.

Angela Bassett was hilariously bad as Ramona. She was the worse actor and obviously having waaay too much fun with that character. The scenery is just totally shredded by the time she’s finished talking. I think she needs to stick with movies, if possible because television is just too small for her. Denis O’Hare was awesome as Liz. I didn’t even know who Denis was before this, having paid no attention to his career. As for Liz’ wardrobe! Dayyum! She was totally rockin’ those frocks, the bald head and the high heels! She was the epitome of style and grace, holding her own in every scene against Ramona  and Iris. I have to give a shoutout to Kathy Bates too. Every season she brings her A game, and so she did here. It was a quieter role than Liz and the Countess, much less glamorous, but that’s why her character arc was so lovely.

I’m given to understand that Lady Gaga won an award for this show. I don’t begrudge her that. I was very happy for her, as she did some great amateur work, and this is a good beginning and  good encouragement if she wants to keep acting. She shows some promise, but Denis deserved “all teh awards”. Denis O’Hare and Kathy Bates had the two most touching character arcs and the finest performances of the season.

And that was worth watching, if no other reason.

So long American Horror Story, until next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Horror Story : Battle Royale

Yes, this show has reached its peak opera moment. Now we’re just mopping up the details. Some of the things I wished for came to past because there could be no other outcome to the decisions some of the characters made. A lot of very unlikeable and obnoxious people died this season.

This episode still managed to have every bit of craziness I’ve come to expect from this show, so I was very satisfied by some of the denouements. It really is a Battle Royale, with people being taken down left and right, and the cast being  whittled down in a murderous free-for-all.

Remember, we left off the story with an image of Iris and Liz shooting it up OK Corral style, in an attempt to take out the Countess, so they could have control of the hotel. Well, they both succeed and fail at this task. They do succeed in injuring The Countess who crawls off to tend her wounds. One unintended side-effect is Iris killing  her son Donovan by mistake, as neither of them expected him to be present. At least he has the presence of mind to make Iris and Liz get him the hell out of the hotel as quickly as possible, otherwise he’ll be trapped in the hotel as one of its many ghosts, with all the Countess’ old lovers.

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The Countess gets picked up by Sally who nurses her back to health by picking out the bullets and feeding her children to her because she can only use vampire blood to heal. The Countess doesn’t like it but Sally tells her, if she dies Liz and Iris are going to kill them anyway, so eat up! In return for this favor, she wants the Countess to get John back to the hotel, so she can kill him and he’ll be trapped there with her forever.

Sally gets some more backstory which really slows down the narrative as she chronicles why she’s so obsessive about people leaving her at the hotel and how she came to be in cahoots with the addiction demon.

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Guess what? Drugs were definitely involved. This completely contradicts Sally’s earlier backstory about being pushed out the window by Iris, unless of course the pushing occurred after she was already dead. That makes better sense, especially if Iris knew she wouldn’t be killing Sally.

John has plans which do not include Sally. He and Alex have decided to be a couple again, living together with Scarlett, who is waaayy smarter than both of them and their son Holden.  Scarlett is the smartest person in the show because she at least is bright enough to ask all the correct questions like: how are they going to explain Holden’s not aging to Grandma, and how are the two of them going to get blood, and will it be hers. I say Scarlett needs her own children’s adventure show, where she can solve the mystery of how she ended up with such dumb parents, and discover if she can be declared legally independent becasue her parents are unfit. I’d watch the hell out of that.

The Countess manages to get John back to the hotel by kidnapping his family. March confronts John and tells him he needs to complete his obligations as the Ten Commandments Killer and he can only do that by killing a murderer. John chooses to kill the Countess.

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In the meantime, Iris and Liz, who dont know about John’s decsion, decide they need to finish off the Countess by  getting a bigger gun: Ramona. They free her but since Ramona ate all those sick vampire children, that John and Alex laughingly imprisoned with her, she’s not feeling too well, and needs fresh blood. She chews up more than people as the scenery gets a huge gnawing, thanks to Angela Bassett channeling every Blaxploitation character she can remember, from every  Tarantino movie ever made.

Conveniently, Queenie, from AHS: Coven, arrives at the hotel on vacation. Iris and Liz set her up to be eaten by Ramona, who has no idea what she’s dealing with. Its a huge knockdown fight, which Queenie is clearly  winning, until March interferes on Ramona’s behalf. Queenie’s voodoo-doll powers don’t work on him because he’s already dead. Its really sad to see Queenie go out like that. I really liked her and wish she’d won. She was only on the show for five minutes. I wonder if she’ll reappear as a ghost next week.

Ramona, feeling all jazzed up,  confronts the Countess and the two of them exchange villain-isms for a few minutes before John shows up and finally shoots the Countess dead. Later, we see the Countess’ face on display in his trophy room along with all the other trinkets the Ten Commandments Killer decided to keep. I don’t know what happens to Ramona.

The Countess’ ghost is taken in by March, who gloats that he gets to spend eternity with her, blaming her for calling the police which led to him committing suicide. It turns out that it wasn’t her, but Hazel, who confesses her undying love and devotion to him. Its the most heartbreaking declaration of love we’ve seen on the show, (along with Liz’s declaration of independence), and Mare Winningham knocks it out of the park.

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March rejects Hazel   and banishes her from his presence. She is doomed to wander the hotel forever, never seeing him again. Or until someone decides to burn down the hotel, which isn’t such a bad idea, as the body count for this hotel must be astronomical.

We close on the Countess’ tears as she begins to  realize the enormity of what’s just happened to her. I can’t help gloating about this as every decsion she has ever made led to this moment. She can blame no one but herself. At any point along the continuum of her life she could have made decisions to be be a better person rather than giving in to every petty, trifling emotion and impulse that swam across her brain. So now she’s dead, and trapped in the hotel for eternity. I know I’m supposed to sympathize but I can’t.

Liz incinerates Donovan in the hotel basement and gives the ashes to Iris. Iris says her goodbyes to him after which she coldly asks Hazel to vacuum up the remains because she’s through with maternal.

This episode is full of such touching moments which are often overshadowed by the hammy acting and all the violent spectacle. I’d almost wish for quieter moments if that would produce more depth, but it probably wouldn’t. The show is all surface glamour. The characters state their emotions and that’s the end of it, never to be explored further. The show seems to think its enough to simply present an idea without examining it in detail or taking things to their ultimate conclusions.

Next week is the season finale of American Horror Story: Hotel, titled Be Our Guest, and yeah, I can’t help thinking about that song from Beauty and the Beast. Its probably going to be in my head the entire time I’m watching the episode.

 

 

American Horror Story : She Gets Revenge

Or should the show be titled, “She Almost Got Revenge But She Messed Up”? There were a lot of confrontations and revelations in this last episode before the hiatus. Are people behaving any better than last week? Nope! In fact, they’re behaving worse, and I didn’t think that was possible.

If  I didn’t think I could like Alex any less than I already did, I was made wrong this episode. She drafts John into helping her roundup the vampire kids she made. I thought she was supposed  to help them or cure them or something. That’s what she told John and, fool that I am, I believed her. She and John go  to the children’s lair and manage to convince them to come to the hotel with them, only instead of curing the little snots, Alex locks them in the armored hallway with Ramona, who is very happy to see all of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy the kids are locked up because I hate them almost as much as I hate Alex. Almost. In the children’s defense, they didn’t choose to be what they are.

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Alex and John laugh like a couple of high school bullies giving someone a toilet shampoo, and I can’t help but think they better watch it. If they’re not careful, Ramona will have adopted all the little scamps and  taught them all how to be better killers. After which, she and the remaining two will break free and try to take over the world, or maybe Ramona can eventually eat both Alex and John, since they deserve to be eaten by the best.

(I can dream!)

It turns out that Will Drake is trapped in the hotel as a ghost. Its only now that he’s smart enough to figure out that the Countess had planned to kill him all along. If only he had awakened sooner. He walks in on her while she is tearfully reporting his disappearance to the local police. Although she isn’t in his will and can’t inherit anything, she warns him that she is the legal guardian of his son and she can fix it so that he never grows up. (Here lies Will Drake. So pretty and so dumb” is going to be the epitaph on his tombstone.)

Alex and John  have some unsexy sex and laugh about how they’ve abandoned their daughter Scarlett, and are the worse parents ever. Yeah, that’s right. At any moment you expect them to just start high-fiving each other in celebration. The two of them make plans to become a family again, if they can remember where they stashed Scarlett. Later, she takes John to meet Holden. These characters are so unlikable that the reunion is the least touching in the history of TV.

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Sally, John’s side piece, doesn’t like all this family talk and ambushes John in the bedroom after the unsexy wife sex. Either Sarah Paulson is just a hotter actress than Chloe, or Chloe’s just not doing it right, because this is how you show two people who can barley keep their hands off each other. Alex and John, on the other hand, have all the passion of a couple of titmice.

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In worse news, Iris and Liz decide to commit suicide, with Iris collecting a ton of novel ways to do this, as she’s an exceptionally organized woman. She has even managed to compile a last video for her three followers on Instagram, to the song, “I Hope You Dance”, which is  perfectly fitting. Liz changes her mind when she realizes that A.) they’ll be trapped in the hotel, and B.) she has unfinished business involving the son she abandoned, when she started her new life.

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Liz makes arrangements to meet with her son and its a touching and beautiful thing. At first he doesn’t let on that he knows who she is but eventually he tells her that he accepts Liz for who she is and wants her in his life. After that, Liz and Iris change their minds about their suicide pact and decide to kill the Countess, instead. Using some of the weapons Iris amassed for their suicide they burst in on Donovan and the Countess, guns a-blazing.

(If Dennis O’ hare doesn’t receive some kind of award for this character, I think Liz’s fans are going to burn down Hollywood. This the best character on the show.)

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Donovan has been playing his own games. He kills Valentino, while we get a simultaneous shot of the Countess killing Natasha. I don’t even pretend to care about their deaths.  Donovan goes back to the Countess and informs her that Val is dead. Only then do we see her show any real emotions about something, instead of the pretty mask she usually wears. She goes to see Val’s body.

Donovan decides to celebrate by dancing badly to some Drake and getting drunk, when the Countess walks in on him and threatens to kill him. The two of them exchange some torrid love angst, before Iris and Liz burst in on them.

Well, I’m pretty sure that the Countess lives through this ordeal because I saw her in the previews. Hopefully, it was a flashback, or something, and she is trapped in the hotel with March. Not that it would make much difference because all of them were stagnating in that place.

However, the synopsis for the final episode has just been released and its very cryptic. I won’t put it here but it is very spoilery, so read it at your own risk.

Well, that’s it. The show will return on January, 6th and is titled Battle Royale. Can we assume that this will be a Ramona intensive episode? I hope so. I love the character and Angela is totally cheesing it up, as she does every season.

As Hannibal the Cannibal once said,

Ta Ta For now!

American Horror Story : She Wants Revenge

 

 

This was an incredibly frustrating episode to watch, mostly because I kept yelling at the TV. These are some of the dumbest, most venal characters on TV right now. Not one of these people attempts to make any effort at trying to be better whatever-they-ares. They’re  not dumb in the sense of, “nonsensical motives, nobody knows what the hell they’re doing and neither do we” sort of way, like in The Strain. No this is the, ” they’re motivations are completely understandable, but you really wish they’d make another, better choice”, type of way.

Or in other words, why don’t any of these people walk the hell out of these situations instead of making it worse? Yeah, the reason why is because these characters are stupid and petty. They’re the better dressed versions of  the worst kind of  “trailer park people”. Given a choice between acting on their better natures and achieving some sort of peace, and acting according to their basest and most petty instincts, they always choose their basest instincts, which only worsens the situation:

Lets take inventory, shall we.

 

Donovan:

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Instead of moving on with his life after the Countess kicked him out of the hotel, he has decided to seek revenge. He could move on and forge a life of his own, instead of leeching off the Countess largess, but he decides to team up with Ramona to kill the Countess. After he has a one-night with the Countess, he changes his mind and betrays Ramona, because he is so desperate for the Countess love. When he finds that the Countess is playing him with her maker, Valentino, he kills Valentino to eliminate his rival.

Side note: Matt Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson need to team up for Magic Mike XXX. Seriously!

 

Ramona:

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She had the opportunity to move on and forge a life for herself, too. After the Countess killed her lover we find, in a beautiful and touching flashback, that she retired to her family home to care for her aging parents. She makes the mistake of trying to save her father from senile dementia by making him a vampire but it does not go well because dementia cannot be cured by vampirism. Eventually she has to kill him. Afterwards, she has the choice of whether or not, after twenty years, to move forward and make a new life for herself. She doesn’t do that. Instead, she decides she needs to get revenge on the Countess. She teams up with Donovan, who betrays her at the last second. She gets locked in the armored hall that was used to imprison Valentino and Natasha and tortured with UV lights, in an Iron Maiden.

Side note: This week’s episode has done so much to deepen this character and I really like her, but I still don’t understand why she has decided to come after the Countess, after waiting twenty years.

Will Drake:

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The oblivious Will Drake and new owner of the Hotel Cruz. He’s almost as dumb as Tristan because he’s so enamored of the Countess’ charms that he can’t see anything but her. He hasn’t noticed any of the weird goings on at the hotel  and knows nothing about the Countess other than what she has told him, which is of course,  nothing. They get married in the lobby of the hotel. When the Countess goes to check on the status of her monster baby, he interrupts and reacting with repugnance, says some nasty things, which pisses her off.  She imprisons him in the armored hallway, which she has had  equipped with cameras, so she can watch whatever happens. Drake, thinking Ramona to be  an ally, and not knowing that she  is a vampire, frees Ramona from her restraints. She promptly eats him.

Side note: It don’t make no sense for a man to be that damn pretty!

Liz:

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Liz has an opportunity to leave the hotel and make a new life for herself but chooses instead to sit around the hotel, sniping at the Countess, whenever she wanders into orbit and is resigned to waiting for the Countess to eventually get tired of all that and snap her neck. Nevertheless, despite her fatalism and depression, which is understandable, she still manages to look magnificent. Seriously, she is one of the best dressed characters on the show, rivaling even the Countess. I wonder where she’s getting her frocks because her taste is impeccable.

Side note: Dennis O’Hare is tearing it up in this role and I love this character.  He never resorts to making her comic relief and Liz is always elegant, just like her namesake. Dennis knows exactly when to make her warm, bitchy, or funny. In fact, some of the most touching and beautiful moments in the show are supplied by Liz.

Iris:

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She mopes around the hotel, pining after her son, Donovan, occasionally killing any of the guests her get on her nerves. Donovan discovers her in the aftermath of one of her killings and is surprised and delighted at his mother’s new attitude. But when  he tells her he has changed his mind about the revenge, and is back with the Countess, she becomes depressed because she still believed she could have a life with him, outside the hotel. She still loves her son but he long ago chose the Countess over her and she’s never come to terms with that until now.

Side note: Iris is my second favorite character. Her story closely parallels Liz’. She has come into her own, as a woman, far too late in life for her to truly enjoy it. It makes sense that it is the two of them who would  become the closest friends, but not until after Iris’ death. Of all the relationships on the show, theirs is the most genuine. The two of them are real  with each other in a way none of the other characters try to be.

Alex:

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Has decided to abandon her daughter and become a vampire, working for the Countess, so she can be with her first great love, her lost son, Holden. To that end she gas-lit her husband to make him flee the hotel, so he wouldn’t discover what she’d been doing or what she was. On her first night back to work, she turns a young boy into a vampire. He goes out into the world and transforms his classmates at school. They go on a killing spree, which the Countess hears about  and holds Alex responsible for stopping.

Side note: Alex is one of the least understandable and less sympathetic characters on the show. She’s supposed to be a doctor but she makes dumb decisions, that I don’t understand. Its almost like she’s starring in a different show than the other characters..

The Countess:

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Wow! I don’t even know where to begin with her. Its true that she has known a significant amount of pain in her hundred years but her way of handling it was to make one bad decision after another, living according to whatever whims took her fancy, thereby causing herself more pain. She is largely the architect of most of her own problems, a beautiful woman who won’t get out of the way of her own happiness. From marrying a serial killer to turning Ramona and killing Ramona’s lover, to turning Tristan and discarding Donovan, after she gets him to fall in love with her, and  killing Tristan after he’s fallen in love with someone else, this is a woman who doesn’t seem to know how to make any other kind of decisions except bad ones, for herself and anyone who wanders into her orbit. Sooner of later its all going to come down on her, as she does not seem capable of making and keeping friends.

Side note: I know this is hard to believe, considering how much shade I’ve thrown her way,  but I actually like the Countess. True, she’s not very bright and hasn’t matured one damn bit since she was turned, except to become more cynical, but now that the show has progressed in its characterizations, her motivations are entirely understandable and I’m actually beginning to feel for her.

March:

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The serial killer who lives in the attic . One can make the argument that March is the person who set all this shit in motion by being an asshole, building a hotel that traps ghosts, and  imprisoning his wife’s lovers in the  walls of the hotel. It was their disappearance that sparked the Countess fatalistic attitude, believing that Natasha and her maker,  Valentino, had abandoned her.

Side note: March is definitely the villain of the show. In fact ,the show wouldn’t be the show, or as weird as it is, if he wasn’t the mastermind behind most of the tragic consequences in the hotel. On the other hand, he’s a one note character, without much depth. He’s diabolical because he enjoys it.

Hazel Evers:

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Her mistake was falling in love with March, who dumped her for the Countess. She remains eternally loyal to him and the hotel. Of course it helps that she can’t leave because she’s a ghost.

Side note: Hazel is obviously the shows comic relief. She gets the funniest lines and  is always, always cheerful. She’s the world’s happiest specter. Make no mistake, she is a villain, though. She happily participated in March’s killing spree when he was alive and makes no effort, whatsoever, to warn or protect the guests in the hotel. She’s  too obsessed with cleanliness, it seems, to have room for much else in her personality.

Sally:

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Her biggest mistake is falling in love with John Lowe, though he’s married and doesn’t actually love her at all. Of course,  becoming a drug addict and ODing in March’s hotel, was probably not the best use of her decision making skills.

 

John Lowe:

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John is too messed up to analyze wit any kind of accuracy. He’s a serial killer who doesn’t remember being a serial killer. He’s a cop who was assigned to solve his own serial killer case. The  best you can say about John is that he’s largely a victim, as he’s  always being manipulated by someone. He was manipulated by March into being his successor as the Ten Commandments Killer, his  wife, Alex, tried to drive him insane, (I think she succeeded), and Sally and the other hotel employees  were in on the secret of who and what he is and never said anything.

Side note: John is still one of the dullest serial killers ever seen on TV, except for his hair, which is much more dynamic than he deserves. There’s just no there there.

That sums up,the characters for this season, which wasn’t as crazy as some of the past seasons. Its calmed down a bit since episode one and become more cohesive. I really did think it would lose it’s way and wander off for a bit, especially after the last two episodes.  I just couldn’t see the direction the writer was heading. New threads kept being introduced without any tie-up, but the writer has managed to rein it in very nicely, since then.

I can much more clearly see some of the plot threads joining together, although I still feel the writer has a tendency to just whip some new plot point out of his ass. None of those new things have impacted badly on what we’ve seen so far, though.

The show will return for its final two episodes in January.

American Horror Story :The Ten Commandments Killer

Yeah, I was going to talk about what this episode could probably be about but who am I kidding? This episode could be about anything. I got no clue what’s going to happen from episode to episode. I think it’s going to be about the Ten Commandments Killer because that’s what’s in the title but that would make sense and this show ain’t about making sense.

The writers for this show do this every season. They start off on point, but as the season progresses, they keep introducing more and more plot threads, and the show gets crazier than True Blood. I’m in it to see if there will at least be another musical number, like in Asylum. They’d better do it because…GAGA!

 

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Okay, everyone! the writers remembered that there are  plots to be advanced. Yippee! They also remembered some of the previous plot threads from past episodes (although I still miss Donovan. What’s he doing?), which has resulted in revelations, revelations and more…revelations!

So, after watching the little vampire girl, Wren, run over in the street, John runs away to the hotel because that’s what you do when a tragedy occurs. Liz Taylor is maxing and relaxing behind the counter, once again, not  even slightly phased by John’s shenanigans, as he runs up to the counter and demands to know where in the hotel, the Ten Commandments Killer is staying. Liz (I love her) is so totally over John’s shit.

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Sally arrives and takes him to his old room, 64, where there is a display of various body parts, in jars. All of these are parts of the Ten Commandments Killer’s victims, begun by March, ninety years ago. Since March never got to finish this little project, he has chosen John as his successor, and there are three jars left, each corresponding to one of the ten commandments.

John goes to the morgue, where Wren’s body was taken, and tries to confess to his old partner, who just thinks John is having a mental breakdown. John tells him the story of how he met March.

Feeling disaffected over his job, he goes to the hotel bar where he first met Donovan, Sally and Liz, although he doesn’t remember meeting any of them. This would explain why Sally was so familiar with him when they met. It also partially explains why Sally cries all the time and why Liz is not even bothered by John’s craziness.

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Donovan introduces March and John. March takes a liking to John and decides that the way to get John to take up his mantle as the Ten Commandments Killer, is to cause a mental breakdown. He gets the Countess to kidnap Holden, which helps to fracture John’s  already shaky marriage to Alex. In grief over Holden’s loss, John begins frequenting the hotel to sleep with Sally and have absinthe with March.

John makes his first kill in a set up by March. Distraught,  he tries to commit suicide in the hotel but March interrupts that and gives Sally shit for letting him do it. He reminds her of her deal with him to allow her, and her addiction demon, to feed on the junkies who frequent the hotel. Sally, who has fallen in love with John, tasks Wren with watching over him while he’s out in the world. She worries about him.

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John having finished his story to his old partner, becomes convinced in his mind, that his partner and his wife are cheating on him and accuses him  of coveting his wife. He kills his partner and takes his body parts back to the hotel.

Now that he remembers who he is, Iris, relieved she can just let it all hang out now that he’s awake,  tells him he has a choice. He can quit and start a new life, but John refuses, choosing instead to finish his killing project.

Hmmm! It turns out that John’s not such a nice guy after all.

At last the writers have decided to clear up at least  a couple of loose ends. The Ten Commandments Killer was the least interesting portion of the show, but I am glad the writers tied it into  John’s presence at the hotel. For a while, I was wondering what his purpose was  and why he is  in the hotel.

Every episode, up til now, has only served up more and more questions and there’s still the matters they haven’t addressed, like:

The reappearance  of The Countess’ maker and his wife. and if there will be some reconciliation or showdown between those three.

What about Donovan’s  and Ramona’s revenge against The Countess and Will Drakes, marriage to her?  She does plan to kill him when  they’re married, and I like Will’s handsome,  oblivious ass, and don’t want him to die and be trapped in that damn hotel.

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What’s going to happen with all those vampire children running around the city? Will anyone find out about that and do something?

What’s going to happen to the children in the hotel? What about The Countess monster baby and Alex?

Ideally the hotel should probably be destroyed, just to free all the trapped souls. I wouldn’t exactly call these souls innocent but I think, at least some of them, deserve better than being trapped in the Hotel Cortez for  eternity.

So we are a couple of episodes away from the finale and things are intense. Next episode is : She Wants Revenge.

American Horror Story: Hotel : Flicker

Alright What plot points will remain from last week’s episode. Will the writers remember the The Countess has a baby? Will they remember that Sally is still on the show? Will they remember Tristan is dead?

Let’s find out.

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Will Drake (Dayyum, Cheyenne Jackson is foine!) and son are touring the hotel as deconstruction begins. He tells his son about marrying Countess. The construction workers have a problem, though. It turns out to be a secret corridor with monsters that eat the construction workers. Are they vampires? Cannibals? Just crazy gray haired senior citizens?

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John is undergoing psychiatric evaluation  at a hospital, after shooting up his kitchen last week. He confesses to feelings of entrapment, confusion and overwhelming events. He was nearly fired after he attacked his partner at work, a guy I recognize from Supernatural, once again,he’s  playing a cop.

Iris shows the bodies and hidden corridor to Countess and even she’s scared of what’s there. The hungry ghosts, or whatever they are, attack another guest.

Flashback to The Countess in 1925, on a film set with Valentino, who is the spitting image of Tristan, conveniently. I thought that was the last I’d seen of that actor, but hey!keep him on the show doing something.

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She’s enamored of the handsome actor. Shes so cute! And Gaga really pulls off the wide-eyed innocent waif act and even back then she was a snappy dresser. He seduces her in his home, until his wife, Natasha, shows up. They double team her, there’s the required sex scene and then cut to…three months later, when she’s been vamped.

James March opens hotel Cortez, when The Countess hears of Valentino’s death she is overcome with grief. I guess I’m supposed to believe by this reaction that she possessed some overwhelming love for him and his wife.

It turns out the he isn’t actually dead. He and Natacha are both alive. They ask her to travel to Europe with them.

She leaves them to marry March, and she later discovers, he is a serial killer. Well, this explains why she’s got commitment issues.

(Flashback once more, as  Valentino tells her how he came a vampire, shot in the style of the 1922  Nosferatu, by H W Murnau, who was himself a vampire. He decided to change Valentino as he has predicted the demise of silent films.)

John discovers the restricted ward at the hospital and decides to investigate Andrew Hahn in room 153. He finds a little girl named Wren instead. She’s a witness to one of the serial killers crimes. She also killed the security guard who interrupted the killer, which is why she’s locked up.

After which ensues the weirdest but most boringly important/unimportant conversation in television history, with the two of them whispering at each other. Well whattaya know? Wren is somehow acquainted with The Countess too. What. A. Surprise!

Nevertheless, Wren promises to help John catch his killer, if he gets her out of the hospital.

Ya know, at some point ,we are going to have to have the writer stop pulling plot points out of his ass, or maybe I’m just feeling grouchy because tonight’s episode was especially tiresome. It’s not a bad episode but none of my favorite characters have showed up, nobody did anything egregiously stupid, that i can yell at my TV about, and nothing astonishingly crazy happened, The writers remembered that John is looking for a serial killer, and that aspect is the least interesting plot of the show.

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At the end of the episode, its revealed that March bricked up Valentino and Natacha in the hotel, and those are the two people-eaters who were released at the top of the episode, and have since been chowing down on various guests.

The Countess goes to have dinner with James March, who confesses that he had  Valentino and his wife confined inside the walls of the hotel, because he was jealous. The Countess is appropriately horrified as she probably thought that Val and Natacha had left her. This explains her attitude towards the vampires she makes.

Natacha and Val leave the hotel, as Iris  watches and wonders who the Hell they are.

John and Wren escape the hospital. Wren, one of The Countess’ many vampire children, throws herself in front of a truck after telling John his killer is at the Hotel Cortez. So, I guess that conversation was important after all, as Wren confessed she was really tired of  “all of this”.

Tonight’s theme was very obviously “Love Hurts”!

American Horror Story : Devil’s Night

This episode revolves around the separate adventures of John Lowe and his estranged wife, Alex. There’s a dinner party, some dancing, child ‘napping, and a couple of other interesting developments. There’s  a Butchers Ball,  and Holden’s mother makes a firm decision about her future.

At the end of last weeks episode, Alex came face to face with the love of her life, Holden. Now I get why we were told that gob-awful backstory about her character.This week, Alex decides to take Holden home with her, find out exactly what is wrong with him, and why he hasn’t aged since she lost him. The Countess continues to assert that what she has is a blood disease,  so Alex, as a pediatrician, thinks she can cure him. She  tests Holden but can find nothing. Angry at what was done to her child, especially after he kills and drinks the family dog, she takes him back to the hotel, where he climbs into the glass coffin provided for him. She  confronts the Countess, who is all smiles and sympathy, offering to turn her, so she can be with her son, if Alex will work for her. Alex refuses her offer and barely makes it out of the room with her life, when she threatens to tell the police about the Countess.

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The next day ,Alex changes her mind, goes to the Countess, and takes her up on her offer. I’m not actually surprised by this. I kept expecting Alex to be bitten by somebody, from the moment she found Holden.

John, unaware that any of this is going on, wanders around the hotel, looking for the room that had blood seeping through his ceiling. He comes across The Laundress Hazel, played by Mare Winningham, who gives him some backstory about why she is working for James March. I had the impression that she was just another homicidal psycho like March, but her story is slightly more complicated. Her child was also stolen, over forty years ago, by the Countess. Like Alex, she came to the hotel to rescue her child. I’m going to make a wild guess that the Countess turned her too, and probably did the same to March, which is the reason neither of them have aged. I’m still not sure what the Hell Sally is, though. It is telling that Hazel gives no explanation for why the room is full of blood, nor does John ask her about it. But we know that earlier that evening, Richard Ramirez killed two hotel guests, in that room.

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John listens to Hazel’s story and because he was so sympathetic to her, out of gratitude, she offers him an invitation to a special dinner that her employer, James March has every Halloween. What she does not tell him is that all of the invited guests are serial killers  and that he may not make it out of the dinner alive. (I have noticed that all of the worst guests of the hotel, are just full of information you don’t actually need, or didn’t ask for.) The invitees include, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen, Wuornos. Later, John finds out, from a news article, that Hazel hasn’t aged since the abduction of her child.

John goes  to the hotel bar and meets a woman who claims to be Aileen Wuornos. Thinking its just a costume, he takes her back to his room, where she hits him over the head, and ties him up. He escapes by kicking her ass. He angrily confronts Liz Taylor, who dismisses his worries, but tells him he’s been invited to a very special dinner party. Sally lures him to the party and ties him up, again.

During the party, John begins to understand what’s happening.That these are the real killers, alive and dangerous.. He is forced to watch while the killers commiserate with March about how difficult their crimes were, how they could have done better, and to laud March for being such a wonderful influence on their lives. Sally  brings in a young male victim for Dahmer. I think some of this was supposed to be funny because the killers kept making jokes.

It wasn’t.

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It  was especially difficult for me to watch because, having studied True Crime, I know far too much about the crimes of these particular individuals, to find their presence in a television show, funny. It’s one thing to make up an unlikely serial killer like Hannibal, its another thing to use, as inspiration, real life serial killers in your show, just for the spectacle. The only kind of people who would find these scenes funny, are people who know nothing about the real life people, on which these characters were  based. Kind of the same problem I had with Sons of Anarchy, in that I know far too much about actual Bikers, to be able to enjoy that show.

But, because I do know so much about serial killers, I did find it pretty scary.

The killers decide they want to kill John too, but March stops them. John wakes up to see Sally, who tells him that it was all an hallucination because he drank absinthe with alcohol.

Its not that I disliked this episode. I thought it was scary, mostly because of the knowledge in my head about serial killers. I thought they might actually kill John, who  would then be trapped in the hotel, like all the other ghosts. I like john even though he’s a deeply oblivious detective, and I don’t want to see him killed.

This is only part one of a two episode arc, so things are going to reach a head this week, I hope. I’m also wondering when we’ll get to see Angela Bassett’s character again. She was all kinds of bad ass.

American Horror Story Hotel: Checking In

Last night was the season premiere of American Horror Story : Hotel. This time its based in, (where else), a hotel. The creators really pulled out all the stops in the freaky department and…

I LOVED IT!

This season has a great new/old cast with Kathy Bates,  Sarah Paulson, Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett and  Matt Bomer (WOO!), This episode introduces the characters, some basic plot points and ideas. Hopefully the show can keep this momentum for twelve more episodes. The show has a habit of losing my interest about halfway through the season, not that that keeps me from watching it.

And the music! Augh! Absolutely gorgeous music tonight, including my all time favorite, Hotel California by The Eagles, a little on the nose but very appropriate. There’s some Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus in there too, along with Petula Clark’s Downtown, but the capital song heard when Lady Gaga enters the scene is Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge.

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The director has definitely been watching lots of Kubrick’s The Shining, so if you’re not a fan of long dollying camera moves, centering and overhead shots, small children standing around in the hallway, and boldly patterned hotel rugs, then this is not your show.This is what The Shining would have been if Kubrick had been an acidhead.

The Hotel Cortez, itself, is absolutely gorgeous. I just loved looking at it, my eyes circling around the screen, finding all of its wonderful details, including an ancient cigarette machine in the corner, the Art Deco light fixtures, the furniture. Its a visually rich set. As for the denizens of the hotel, they’re just as compelling to watch.

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The first person we meet is Kathy Bates character, Iris, the hotel manager. She has a more prosaic reason for being there then just minding the store .My favorite character is the gender-bending bartender, Liz Taylor, played by Denis O’Hare. I loved every moment of that actor’s screen time.Matt Bomer plays Donovan, who spends his time having blood orgies with the owner of Hotel Cortez, The Countess, played by Lady Gaga. There’s Will Drake a a fashion designer who wants to buy the hotel, Sarah Paulson’s character is Hypodermic Sally, one of the hotel regulars. I think she may be dead. In fact, its probable that more than a few of the characters are dead or dead-ish. Sally owns a pet something, that’s more or less human, and wrapped in latex.

There are all kinds of graphic shenanigans going on at the hotel. It’s a fairly cheap hotel, ,depsite its beauty. Theres a lot of screams, gasps and moaning from behind closed doors, as you wander the dimly lit halls. From time to time, you see little blond children, who may or may not be ghosts. People get sewn into mattresses, alive, patrons get raped by latex covered monsters as they die from drug overdoses, and strangers unknowingly get seduced into orgies with vampires, who rip their throats out.

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This show is not for people with delicate sensibilities. if you are easily triggered or certain things offend you, you might want to avoid it, as its pretty graphic. There’s sex, nudity, violence, and lots and lots of blood.

The Countess and Donovan are something like vampires, although its probably more complicated. Iris is Donovan’s mother, who followed him to the hotel twenty years ago, when he got lured in by Sally. Sally is complicated. She is not a ghost but she is not alive, in the traditional sense of the term. We watch her fall from a hotel window that’s several stories and land on her face. She breaks but she survives, so what is she?

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There’s secret rooms where tiny blonde children play video games during the day and hunt down the hotel patrons at night. Iris forces people to take health drinks before sacrificing them to The Countess and there’s the detective, John Lowe, played by Wes Bentley, who lost his  very young son at an amusement park,  and whose family is still dealing with the loss. He comes to the hotel because a serial killer,styled somewhat like a cross between The Red Dragon and that guy from the movie Seven, has baited him into the hotel.

So we’ve got all the basic character and plot threads for what I hope is a good season. Later, Angela Basset portrays a music star, and  former lover to The Countess, who comes to the hotel to get revenge on her and I’m very looking forward to that. Hopefully the show can carry this momentum through to the end. I hope it keeps making standout musical choices, too.