On October 4, FX announced that its powerhouse horror anthology series, American Horror Story has been renewed for a seventh season. The news both excited and worried fans since no one is quite sure yet what is going in its sixth and current season, Roanoke only to have yet another top-secret season announced.
On the same day, Netflix also debuted the show’s fifth season, Hotel. The fashionable and ever-campy theme and setting is every bit as iconic as its first season, Murder House with a dash of the hauntingly dark, sultry and sexy aura of its second season, Asylum.
It wasn’t an easy task to wind down the list since there’s just so many memorable scenes in the fifth season alone and even though “Devil’s Night” 2015 and 2022 could have easily ended up here, those scenes are already famous memes floating on the interwebs. Here is just a tiny snippet of the scenes that were hilarious, haunting, inspiring, beautiful or all of the above:
10. I know when that hotline bling (5×10)
Matt Bomer’s Donovan dancing to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” is iconic in itself, but the real fun begins when his creator The Countess (Lady Gaga) barges in on him dancing to this song. The best part is the context: he stayed even after killing The Countess’ first lover, waited for her to find him and he’s caught dancing in her penthouse of all things, acting as if nothing happened. The song continues on and was even followed by flying bullets – which he easily took for his life-long lover forever.
9. They’ve got jawline for days (5×01)
All along, it seemed like your average, swinging couple pick-up stint at a local Los Angeles movies at the park, but surprise, it’s actually a feeding for some ravenous and horny
vampires – err, immortals. These two might as well have a caution label sign on their forehead for lots of blood, pasties and soft-core loving – then again, an A+ scene for every Gaga (and/or Bomer) aficionado.
8. Mercy Killing & Twisted Poetic Justice (5×03)
Iris (Kathy Bates) wants to die. Bye-bye, die for real this time. The last time she spoke to her estranged son Donovan (Bomer), he doesn’t care whether or not she dies and this wrecks Iris for good. She then asks Sally (played by Sarah Paulson, her son’s drug dealer in the 90s who killed herself) for a mercy killing. Need you know more? Plastic bags asphyxiation, lethal injection, and
resurrection – err resurgence? By blood abound…To which Sally is obviously not happy about.
￼7. Sally’s newfound eternal purpose (5×12)
According to Iris, Sally’s been living in the ’90s. Sally’s longing for validation, affirmation and acceptance were hidden in her bitter hate for the world. Fortunately, Iris’ present – a smartphone plugged into all the world’s social media – alleviates Sally’s eternal sadness. She finds her purpose, and for the first time in a really long time, she’s crying tears of joy. It’s a treat alone, if only to see Sally genuinely smile all because of the acceptance she receives from the community she finds in her posthumous social media accounts.
6. Bad Romance: Battle of the Exes (5×11)
Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned as they say, but how about two women scorned? And caused by each other? The scene opens with immortal blood sensing and smelling with Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett) finally confronting her former lover with a verbal jab, “I can have Yogi Bear running through my veins, and I could take you down.”
Even from the very beginning (the 1970s) when The Countess first approaches Ramona, their chemistry was not only fire, it was lit. Sadly, like all limited mini-series OTPs, this one had to collapse into ashes. The best lines between these two transpired in this scene alone with Ramona’s once rage simmering down upon seeing her former lover in person. When Ramona asks The Countess if she wants her to feel pity for her, the 111-year-old immortal replies with, “I’m trying to apologize. I’m not used to this. Cut me some slack, bitch;” which is every bit as perfect as the “Kill me, but screw me first” that followed.
5. Little Mouse (5×09)
Before losing both her lovers – the actor Rodolfo Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova – The Countess was just Elizabeth Johnson, a lost and confused, passionate young woman with a lot of love to give. Love which she not only found in one person, but two…only to lose them both in the end. It is every bit heartbreaking from start to finish especially with the discovery that her other former lovers (such as Evan Peters’ James Patrick March and Matt Bomer’s Donovan) held grudges for her first true love(s) which she held so high up the pedestal.
4. Serious abandonment issues (5×11)
When The Countess tells you, “You have serious abandonment issues,” maybe it’s funny, maybe it’s ironic, or maybe it’s time to contemplate real life choices… Sally retelling her story to The Countess holds quite a lot of emotions, and you wonder which one of them is more off-center than the other, and then you realize they’re almost the exact same person.
Sally’s wild past and very unconventional idea for “together forever” was gut-wrenching at best but also just very disturbing. Sally is someone you want to root for. After everything she’s been through – holding both her lovers as they died in her arms – she’s someone who deserves all the happiness and the love in the world with quite possibly someone who had the same experience and love history as her. Why not? Why would you tease this, Ryan Murphy? Just why?
￼3. It’s Iris, bitch (5×05)
For the longest time, Iris felt invisible and worthless – not only because of the guests/tenants of The Cortez but also because of her own son’s rejection. Thankfully for her, Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) saves the day and talks some sense into her by assuring her of her self-worth. Their friendship is not only inspiring but the things they accomplish conspiring together is legendary and more importantly, gave Iris her (after)life’s purpose.
2. “Hey, Dad” (5×10)
Cue the waterworks galore with this scene. Liz doesn’t have a lot of regrets in life. Living as her true at The Cortez and thanks to The Countess. Her biggest worry, however, is meeting her son after leaving his mother all these years. The reunion is as beautiful as it is unexpected and probably better than every father-son reunion to have ever existed on Lost and that’s saying something.
1. Rebirth (5×12)
Liz Taylor lived a full life. Now it’s time to die with the old and be reborn with the new. Her solution to death is dying by living, and for that, she is an icon. The build-up to this mercy killing is heavy with emotions from tears of sadness, admiration and happiness all at once. Just when you thought it couldn’t be any more iconic in itself, at the very last moment, her creator The Countess appears and tells her, “I wanted to be here to help you transition…one last time.” Cue the slash and the tears.
Which iconic scene listed was your favorite?