American Horror Story: Hotel is back and more bloodier than ever. The second episode of FX’s anthology series further proves that the Hotel Cortez is no Holiday Inn.
Titled “Chutes and Ladders”, the second episode hurled a ton of information and new characters at us in its extra long hour-and-forty minute run.
Warning: Spoilers for 5×02 of Hotel if you haven’t seen it already!
Gaga’s character, The Countess, is confirmed to be a vampire. Well, sort of. The Countess dubs her penchant for drinking blood a ‘Virus’ and goes on to explain that while she wants to suck your blood, it’s minus the fangs and they go for the cutting approach rather than biting.
We saw earlier that she turned Donovan (Matt Bomer) to be her immortal companion, but it seems that she’s got herself a new boy-toy and it’s bye, bye Bomer.
The new owner of Hotel Cortez,Will Drake holds a big party and a fashion show in the hotel in which Naomi Campbell makes a cameo.
Finn Wittrock makes his Horror Story return (He played Dandy Mott last season) as Tristan, an out-of-control bad boy. After a drug-fueled meltdown mid cat-walk, Tristan deliberately cuts his own face as a sign that he’s done with modeling and storms out. But not before he catches The Countess’ eye.
Cue him scouring around her hotel room for drugs which eventually leads to her turning him into a vampire which Tristan is thrilled about. He’s excited about the prospect of going after Kendall Jenner with his new vamp status after bitch turned him down at Coachella. Now cue what seems like endless montages of The Countess doing the horizontal tango again. This time, with Tristan rather than supposed flame Donovan who catches them and is immediately cut loose by The Countess.
Later on in the episode, Tristan chooses his first victim. He lures a man he met on a hook-up app to the Countess’ room where she gets off on him claiming his first life and feeding on the fresh blood. You know, as one casually does in this show.
Wes Bentley’s character, Detective John Lowe, proves exactly why he won’t be getting Dad of The Year awards any time soon after his daughter Scarlett sneaks off and goes walk about around the hotel.
Finding the entrance to the kids’ secret playroom, Scarlett is greeted by her brother Holden who is sitting there playing a videogame. She questions why he hasn’t grown up like her and tries to take a photo with him, but Holden gets all ‘creepy vampire kid’ on her, forcing her to leave without getting good selfie or two for Instagram…or any proof for her parents to believe their missing son is alive and not-so-well in the Hotel Cortez.
On her way out of her brief reunion with Holden, Scarlett runs into Sally, who scares her by showing her a mouthful of disgusting broken teeth. Super gross!
Now for the return we’ve all really been waiting for! Yes, Evan Peters makes his stellar comeback as Mr. James Marsh. Iris (Kathy Bates) sits down to tell Detective Lowe all about the hotel’s history and the reason for its ghosts. The main one being Mr. March, a wealthy oil millionaire who constructed the hotel in the 1920s.
It turns out Mr. March was quite the serial killer and had designed the hotel to be his own personal torture chamber explaining Cortez’s maze-like hallways and convenient chutes used for disposing all the dead bodies.
Marsh tortured and murdered countless victims with the help of his doting maid Miss Evers (Mare Winningham) who was always on hand to clean the bloodstains and viscera out of the linen sheets. It’s clear she adores Mr. Marsh and once the police catch up to Marsh’s sloppy crimes, he and Evers off themselves in true style. Nothing says love like allowing your serial killer other half to do the honour of killing you himself.
We already know Marsh and Evers still reside in the hotel as ghosts as Tristan crossed their paths earlier on the episode when he did some exploring of the Cortez which included biting into a ham sandwich crawling with maggots. You just can’t get the staff, eh, Tristan?
I liked that there was a lot of ’80s style and atmosphere incorporated into the episode. Also, the fact that we cleared up a lot of burning questions about the hotel and it’s unique characters already whereas we’ve had to stay in the dark a lot longer with the past four seasons.
The absence of Jessica Lange is felt quite heavily though. Lady Gaga has proved she’s got acting chops, but she hasn’t managed to fill the void Jessica’s departure has left and other capable actresses like Sarah Paulson have been shoved to the back with little screen-time while Gaga takes center stage. Evan Peters is the shining light of this season already and he’s only featured in one episode. He really nailed the ’20s accent and has proven he’s a lot more entertaining as a crazed killer!
The creators do seemed a lot more focused on taking she show back to it’s roots of Murder House and Asylum that didn’t seem to be afraid to pack on the horror whereas Coven and Freak Show, as delightful and engrossing as they were in their own ways, were a lot more soap opera-esque drama.
It’s shaping up to be a creepy season as the first two episodes have already had us see some messed up stuff. However, I’m worried that there is little plot with Hotel and that it’ll end up turning into ‘The Gaga Show’ which as interesting as Gaga is to watch (when she’s not constantly making out with someone in the scenes she has) it would be a terrible road for the show to go down. All the bedroom scenes and gore seems to be driven by shock factor rather than to serve the plot in anyway which is disappointing. The rape scene in episode one was about as unnecessary as the last slice of bread! It does seem to be redeeming itself plot-wise slowly, but if it keeps giving away all it’s information this early on in the game it’s going to make for a very dull and very rushed ending.
Will Hotel be able to sustain my interest for a thirteen episode run? I don’t know, but I’m hoping that it’ll be able to.
New episodes of American Horror Story: Hotel air Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.