I’m getting so badly behind on these, it’s really not funny.
I can’t even blame it on the fact that I’m not enjoying the series, because on balance I am. It had a shaky start, but is getting its act together bit by sorry bit.
Most of it comes down to knowing where it’s going. Once it’s got that down, characters have a defined area to run around in, and themes can begin to emerge. Without that, you’ve just got a collection of horror tropes in a grab bag.
John’s discovery of Alex in the Hotel Cortez leads him on a downward spiral into madness. Liz Taylor and Tristan try to hide their secret from the Countess. And we learn the Countess’ own secret, and the truth behind what lies in Room 33.
So as of the last episode, Alex Lowe is now living in the Hotel Cortez as the governess of the creepy vampire children, including her long-lost son Holden. The Countess was fairly ambivalent on the likelihood of her bumping into John, which is probably a good thing since it doesn’t tale long to happen.
John catches sight of his son and is lured down to that drained swimming pool, where he sees the coffins lined up and Alex and Holden snoozing in the big one. Amusingly he faints, and when he wakes up — in his own room — Alex tells him that his “vision” sounds exactly like Scarlett’s story.
It looks like we’re seeing the transformation of Alex into a bit of a sadist, and I’m not clear if that’s just her character or an effect of the vampirism. Anyway, in order to stop him from interfering with her arrangement to stay with Hodlen, she basically sets out to hound her poor husband to a mental breakdown (Though, to be fair, he’s halfway there already -Ed).
Remember the Swedish girls from the first episode, who got fed to the vampire children? Well they’re still wandering about, dead and hopeless. When they’re turned onto the idea of finding some sort of purpose, they have a go at killing a guest, but it doesn’t exactly fulfil them. So Alex suggests that they have some fun with John, which turns into a nightmare sequence when they have sex with him, only to cover him in blood mid-coitus. Angry and upset, he packs his bags and storms out of the hotel.
The Countess, meanwhile, leaves the hotel for a little bit, which is Donovan and Romona’s cue to launch their attack on her. They come to the hotel and whilst Donovan gets cold feet and heads up to the penthouse, Ramona heads to the basement to kill the children in their coffins. Except that after John discovered them, Liz and Alex cleared them away. Ramona is not impressed — though she’s impressed that Iris was willing to help her do the deed, out of kindness to the children.
So she heads up to Room 33 instead.
There have been a number of connections to Murder House in Hotel already, but here we have another big one. A flashback shows the Countess attending the house back when it was a backroom abortion clinic. Claiming to be three weeks pregnant, but with a very distended belly, she undergoes the process, and the baby they remove from her attacks the nurse. When she awakens, she is told she has a boy.
That — Bartholemew — is what is in Room 33. Ramona goes to kill him, whilst sending Iris to find the other children, but the little bugger, a perpetual child (Presumably, we never actually see him -Ed) is quick on his feet and escapes. Liz and Alex notice the open door, and Bartholemew’s escape, but he hides in the suitcase of the fleeing John and escapes the hotel entirely.
Back at the Lowe’s house, John moves back in with Scarlett, who is a bit irked at having not heard from her mother in some time. John’s a bit jumpy, given that he’s been fired and is cut out of the Ten Commandments Killer investigation, in which there’s been another kill and they’ve made an arrest. So a scuttling demon baby doing the rounds of his house is not ideal. John freaks out, and starts shooting, scaring Scarlett. John’s former police partner brings Alex over, concerned about his well-being, and he brushes them off, as Alex finds Bartholemew in the bushes and returns him to an extremely grateful countess.
The other main storyline, is the affair between Liz Taylor and Tristan. Apparently having fallen in love, they agonise over how the Countess will react, as she famously doesn’t share. Ramona warns Liz that they should run as far away as they can, but Liz doesn’t even entertain it.
When the Countess returns from her trip with Will Drake, Liz tells her, and explains it all. She’s not too thrilled, and feels betrayed. Both Liz and Tristan beg her to let them be together, and she appears to relent. Only to slice open Tristan’s throat so Liz can watch him die in front of her. Quoth the Countess, “He’s yours; bury him.“
That was a tumultuously moving episode, actually. The tragedy of Liz and Tristan’s parting was a palpable end to a particularly moving episode, which also centred on the vulnerable, emotional core of the Countess. She loves her son, and that maternal affection mirrors Alex’s own and does seem to be becoming a core element of this series.
We’re also getting a bit more of an expansion on how the hotel actually works. It seems to be very similar to the Murder House, where those who die inside stick around as ghost-type things for all eternity. Under the circumstances, I can understand why they turn to murder and mayhem, just to pass the time.
As for Hotel itself, it has that renewed sense of character-driven direction, and still bit by bit is gaining its direction. It’s a shame, yes, that it didn’t manage this from the start, but it is becoming the show that I want it to be.
- Does her appearance in a photograph in the flashback as Nora Montgomery, her Murder House character, mean that Lily Rabe is the first person to appear as two separate characters in the same AHS series?
- I’m just free-thinking here, but there does seem to be a certain similarity between Bartholomew and the Montgomery’s son Thaddeus. I wonder if there’s a link between Dr Montgomery’s experiments and the Countess’ vampirism?
- Can we work in a Constance Langdon cameo? Please?
- The Countess is working very hard to make a sizable number of enemies.
- Though, actually, if Ramona is anything to go by, those enemies are pretty useless.