American Horror Story : Room Service

Okay, this is the point in  the season when things start to get worse and some direction begins to emerge. Up to this moment, we’ve had characters making one bad decision after another, but now all those decisions start to bear fruit. (Maybe. I stopped trying to predict what these writers would do a long time ago.)

I know John Lowe should never have chosen to stay at the Hotel Cortez, Donovan should never have chosen to turn his mother, Alex should never have been vamped, and I’m pretty sure there will be some repercussions for The Countess and her new boy toy. We’ve had enough of James March and Co. Let’s see what fresh Hell all these other characters are getting up to on Devil’s Night.

Alex starts a vampire plague at an elementary school. This is, I guess, how things start to go horribly wrong. While these other characters are all in the hotel, making their little personal life choices, some real shit is about to go down. Alex, having been  turned by The Countess, goes to her job as a pediatrician and turns a terminally ill boy. He goes on to kill his mother before heading off to school, where he turns one of his classmates, kills his teacher, turns the entire class, and urges them to eat the staff, but not before the staff can call the police for help.

The police arrive and usher all the infected children out of the building and  into the loving arms of the parents who will all be dead, by the next episode.

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See, this is what I mean by the Countess not being the brightest penny in the wrapper. She’s just turning people into vampires, willy-nilly, , essentially creating more competition, and not having any control over how her “Gets” are behaving themselves. Once her blood-children are out of her presence, she doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing or who they’re turning.She gave no thought to the idea that Alex has access to lots of sick children and when Alex made her choice, all she thought about was being with Holden. I’m holding both of these dill weeds responsible for the apocalypse that’s’ about to befall NY.

Oh, alright! In Alex’s defense she was out of her mind with hunger and not thinking straight, although that’s mitigated by the fact she wasn’t thinking straight when she wasn’t sick.

Donovan, the little schemer, takes his sick mother to see Ramona. The he and Ramona  hatch a plan  to use Iris to get close to the Countess .Iris, once again gets no say in this.(Gob forbid anyone ask her what she wants.) I’ve developed an actual liking for this character, now that I’ve been provided with some of her backstory. Yes, Donovan hated her, but Donovan has his own issues and is probably more than a little biased. We only ever got to see Iris through his eyes. Now that we can hear Iris’ assessment of herself, she turns out to be a lot more sympathetic as a character. Although. my sympathy for all these characters is mitigated by the thought that they are all murderers.

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Iris goes back to the hotel and tries to avoid being detected as a vampire by the Countess but Liz Taylor knows right away what’s happened to her. Now I know why I love this character so much, after Liz Taylor gives her  backstory. The Countess did two good things. She hired  Liz to help run the hotel, after encouraging her to embrace her true self as transgender. Its fun watching Liz and Iris  bonding. Liz tells Iris her story, only after Iris admits she was scared of broaching the subject, and insulting her. Liz tells her she can’t hurt her feelings, because she’s been insulted by people who made it their life’s work. It occurs to me that Liz is right. She would be well used to people trying to hurt her. Liz can handle herself just fine.

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John Lowe gets fired after his night out, after raving about people pretending to be famous killers, in his boss’s office. Later he wakes to find Sally in his bed. She plays the spurned lover, when he tells her to get out. her face is always dripping lots of tears. That’s just weird. You’d think her tear ducts would’ve locked up by now, and refused to produce anymore.

After two pretentious young guests keep giving Iris hell, Liz encourages Irisnot  to take any more of their shit, embrace her inner bitch and let loose. Liz does for Iris ,what the Countess once did for her. Iris, after realizing her unique position, takes Liz’ advice and kills them both. I was kind of rooting for her too.I don’t often cheer for the violent deaths of innocent people but I really, really hate the rude, and those two guests were written to be professional assholes.

Alex is reunited with Holden.The Countess hires her as the children’s nanny. Can I just roll my eyes harder and harder at Alex’s dumb ass. One of the least sympathetic characters in the show and that’s a remarkable feat when you consider how highly oblivious of everything John is.

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If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see the vampire apocalypse The Strain should have been.

Okay I was half right. Things have started to get worse but I have no idea where the writers will take this. For all we know they might just as soon forget all about the vampire plague that happened at the school, in favor of making us watch the Countess have have sex with Ramona.

Who knows?

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.

AHS : Hotel – Mommy

Last night’s episode focused a little less on spectacle and a little more on story, which included backstories on the new players at the hotel, how the Countess lost her money and some interesting developments between Iris and her son Donovan, with the theme being Motherhood.

But we start off with Tristan’s dumb-butt cozening up to the ghost?, revenant?, shade? well, whatever James March is, and agreeing to kill Will Drake, the new owner of the Hotel Cortez. March wants him dead because Will wants to rearrange the design of his “Murder House”, and he can’t have that. As in The Nancy Collins, Sonja Blue books, the hotel is designed, I think, to be a kind of ghost trap. It’s the reason Hypodermic Sally can’t leave. I find that all hotels have this maze like quality to them, since all the hallways and doors look alike, and it’s very easy to believe that you might be trapped into wandering the halls forever, unable to find your room, or the exit. Ghosts, not being the brightest of creatures, would definitely have trouble with a hotel that’s actually meant to be confusing.

Tristan, who as I said last week, is not very careful, is a fan of murder (and this is why), agrees to kill Drake and almost succeeds after we  get the pleasure of witnessing some hot, male on male action,(Will is a stunningly lovely man), which is a lot less hot when one of the men is a complete moron, (I think we know who I’m talking about), but The Countess puts a stop to that. She has plans for Drake that do not include murdering him, just yet.

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Next we’re on to Alex, John Lowe’s wife, and her long suffering over the death of her baby/soulmate, Holden. There’s a long backstory on this. It’s mostly annoying because she goes on and on about how she didn’t even want kids and then she got pregnant and Holden became the end all, and be all, of her entire human existence, blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to seem heartless, but she is quite possibly the most boring, trite character in the show. There’s nothing wrong with the motherly bond with her child but this could have been better written. It feels like the person, who wrote it,  heard of the “Motherly Bond” mostly through  hearsay. I didn’t give one flying frack about her woes and tribulations, regarding the loss of her son, but feel I should have, so now I  feel guilty because I didn’t. I listened to her backstory because its something that is important later in the episode..

John Lowe is still investigating the Ten Commandments Killer case. This time the killer has murdered two people at a gossip rag and nailed their tongues to their desks to illustrate the theme, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. In other words, they were liars. Like the killer from the movie Seven, he’s not just punishing, he’s preaching. Although, I mostly think he’s preaching to John.

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Sally’s last victim, who is alive or dead or something,(I’m still not sure what the Hell is going on in this hotel), wakes up in the mattress, in the room of Naomi Campbell’s character and, in a panic, cuts her throat. So now she’s a ghost and imprisoned in the hotel with all the other ghosts who can’t leave. I know she’s a ghost and that March is a ghost because we definitely watched these people die. The junkie is rushed to the hospital where John is called in. John tries to talk to him but all he can get out of the man before he dies, for real this time, I guess, is Sally’s name. I don’t think anyone knows Campbell’s character is dead, as she hasn’t been discovered and the junkie never said.

In a huff, John encounters Sally in the elevator of the hotel and threatens to arrest her too, but stops  when she starts feeling him up and then she vanishes, like a …well, like a ghost. He is so shaken by this that he spends the he rest of the episode looking shells-shocked,(or confused as he’s not the best actor, I can’t tell). When Alex comes to see him and serve him  the divorce papers, (she just decided this on a whim), he has some kind of panic attack. That’s understandable because this is the second person he’s tried to arrest at the hotel and both times his perps distracted him with stories about the hotel.

But my favorite part of the entire evening is the entrance of Ramona Royale, a former lover of The Countess. But first some backstory on Donovan, who is in an interesting dilemma. Having come to the hotel as a penniless junkie, being taken care of and housed at the hotel as the Countess boy-toy, he has now found himself in a bad way. After The Countess dumped him he has come to the sad revelation that he owns nothing, has nothing and is nothing. Without even the ability to drive, he goes trawling the dark corners of NY, to procure a meal from among the junkies and homeless, which is where he encounters Ramona, who is lying in wait for him when he attempts to prey on her.

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She kidnaps him, puts him in restraints, cleans his blood of impurities and questions him about The Countess. Her backstory is awesome! She used to be a Blaxploitation actress, from the 70s, like Pam Grier, but when luck, and the good roles, passed her up, The Countess came to her rescue and made her a vampire because she loved her movies. They spent nearly 20 years together. Now, I was expecting the same sort of story that happened to Donovan, but no, this one is slightly different. Ramona never claims to have loved Elizabeth, but she does claim to have loved one man, a rapper she met in the early 90s. This whole sequence from the 70s to the 90s is shot in the film and musical styles of those periods, which I greatly enjoyed. When Ramona decided to turn this “fine Black brotha” to the dark-side, Elizabeth objected to this betrayal, killed him and his entourage and then dumped her. People fall in and out of love so fast on this show, that you really have to pay attention.

This goes some way towards explaining Elizabeth’s shabby behavior to Donovan, though. He was the toy she picked up in her immediate grief over Ramona betraying her. So the situation isn’t as black and white as it would seem.Ramona explains that she wants revenge for Elizabeth killing her lover, by killing all those little children she turned into baby-vamps. As far as I’m concerned though, everybody’s wrong.

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Which complicates things some more because one of those baby-vamps is Holden, who Alex meets in one of the maze-like hallways of the hotel, after she puts John to bed, after his strange panic attack in the hotel lobby. I did  get concerned at this point because Holden  does recognize her as his Momma and it made me wonder if she was going to get turned into a vampire. He did try to feed off his sister, so Mommy is fair game, too.

Later, The Countess comes to Will Drake and tries to strike him up, too. Apparently, this is the episode in which an extremely pretty man gets sexually assaulted by various people, so there’s your spectacle. He keeps reminding her he’s gay but she doesn’t seem deterred by that and is insistent that they would be wonderful together. She later tells Tristan that this is all part of her plan to marry Drake and then kill him, so she can inherit his money. It turns out, she’s as broke as Donovan, after Bernie Madoff made off with her fortune, in the 90s. Yeah, she’s not the brightest bulb in the cupboard either. As I said last week, she’s a person who has too many stupid weaknesses to be giving in to them, and its a wonder she’s managed to live as long as she has.

Donovan, confesses to Ramona that he was dumped by The Countess and Ramona releases him back into the wilds of NYC, where having no place to go, he goes back to the hotel, where he has a long argument with Iris about her about how she emotionally abused him as a child,she’s a selfish person, and how much he hates her. This conversation is enlightening because up til now, we’ve had no clue why he was shunning her. He was trying to commit suicide to get away from her. Fed up with his mother’s demands, tonight though,he tells her she should kill herself.

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Hurt by this statement, this is exactly what she proceeds to do, enlisting Sally (the woman she blames for killing her son) to help her off this mortal coil. Sally’s conversation with her is interesting because it gives us some backstory on their relationship. Apparently, Sally blames Iris for killing her and trapping her at the hotel and she admonishes Iris not to get trapped too, because she does not want to spend the next hundred years looking at her. Sally succeeds in killing Iris only to be interrupted by Donovan.

Donovan was in the lobby, boo-hooing over his lot in unlife to Liz Taylor, (who is not having that shit in her bar and gives him a stern what-for), realizes that he probably needs Iris and should make amends to her. He gets to the room just in time to resurrect Iris with his blood.

Yeah, that’s not good.

ETA:  Take note, during Sally’s seduction scene with John in the elevator, that her eyes are always wet. Every time I’ve seen her, in every scene, she appears to be crying, about to cry or has just cried. In the elevator scene, she is actually crying but it seems as if she doesn’t notice it. Creepy, no?