American Horror Story: Hotel Recap: ’Til Death Do Us Party

Evan Peters as Mr. March, Wes Bentley as John Lowe. Photo: Prashant Gupta/FX
American Horror Story
Episode Title
She Wants Revenge
Editor’s Rating

Well, this episode certainly took a hard left turn, didn't it? After last week's optical Ambien recap of how John Lowe is the Ten Commandments Killer, we don't see Wes Bentley or his beautiful ass once this episode. Sure, there's plenty of killing and bloodletting, but not even a single measly Seven rip-offs. For all of you skeptics out there, the crazy measles vampire children are back too.

Could this be the season where all of the plot threads come together without any being dropped or forgotten? It could be!

"She Wants Revenge" starts off with the Countess delivering a very interesting voiceover. She says things like, "The last 100 years of my immortal life have been a lie. The illusion of control. In fact, I have controlled nothing." Wow, that is deep. "It is time to construct something new, something durable. I will not be managed." Alright! I'm ready to see that, but the episode doesn't really deliver. Maybe we just need to be patient. From where I sit, though, the Countess certainly seems to be the one in control.

Her voiceover contrasts with where she ends up by the end of the episode: sitting in bed, drinking blood, and watching Ramona Royale kill the Countess's new husband. Just as the deliciously unhinged Miss Evers predicted, the Countess planned on killing him all along — but after Will insults the Countess's tiny little alien baby, she couldn't wait any longer. She has everyone under her thrall. Donovan is back with her, so intoxicated by her black sparkly pasties that he betrays both his mother and Ramona Royale. She even orchestrates Will's death so she doesn't have to lift a finger. She just puts him in the vault with Ramona, and lets her do the deed.

We don't really see the Countess get her hands dirty all that often. She's always manipulating other people into doing the deed for her, whether it's Donovan luring in their prey, Miss Evers cleaning up the mess, or her little coterie of toe-headed children who provide her with blood. Why does the Countess think she isn't in control? She's the one holding all the power.

Her end game seems to be securing her future with Valentino, who is living in a crappy motel somewhere in the valley, waiting for the coast to clear at the Cortez. She wants to hole up with him and avoid modern life, which makes sense for her totally-over-it character, but it certainly doesn't mesh with her wardrobe choices. If that were true, wouldn't she be more interested in vintage than in avant-garde couture?

There are a lot of stories in this episode that seem like dead ends. Ramona Royale's interlude with her sick mother and father is essentially a distraction from everything else, an attempt to make us feel sorry for her because she had to drown her father, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. (Are we supposed to noticed that he died the same way Whitney Houston did, in a bathtub on too much Xanax?) Then, Ramona wakes from her stupor thanks to Hulu and people watching her movies for free. It all seems a little thin, but who cares? I enjoy her so much. (Also, her reading of "for free" competes for best line of the episode with Liz Taylor's "Buy your own damn flowerzzzzzzz.")

The porn shoot at the Cortez seems less about a story and more about making some weird, prudish statement about porn being awful and hurting people. I hate to draw lines in the sand, but with all the gratuitous sex and violence on American Horror Story, why does Brad Falchuk think he can get on his high horse and claim this show is better than porn? Very often, it's not. It's lit and shot better than porn, so it does have that going for it, but otherwise, it's still an elaborate fantasy that invites the less fortunate to feel better about themselves for a short period of time. And, of course, it's supposed stroke the brain rather than parts a bit further down south.

I completely forgive the entire stupid porn story line, though, because it also gives us a shirtless male porn star who appears throughout the episode. Who is that fine man? I'd watch him in straight porn and I haven't seen a vagina in a porn movie since female-to-male trans actor Buck Angel co-starred in a flick about randy gay carny folk. (No, it was not American Horror Story: Freak Show.) While we're on the subject, what is up with this show's obsession for turning gay guys straight? Will Drake marries Gaga, Matt Bomer plays a straight dude, and now I'm thinking about spending some gentleman's time with a porn movie starring the hottest man I've ever seen and a real, actual, biological woman. This is really pushing it.

Aside from my close encounter with the labia majora, the most disturbing thing in this whole episode is Lachlan's haircut. Seriously, FX should rename this show American Horror Story: Young Boys With Bad Hair. It's a travesty what they're doing to the young men of this country. First they eat too many soy products with phytoestrogens, and now they're demeaned with awful Bieber-lost-in-the-woods-for-months haircuts.

None of the vampire-measles kids have those terrible haircuts, thank God. Was it insane for Chloë Sevigny to invite them back to the Cortez? What does she think is going to happen? They'll just live in the basement pool or the Tetris room and not say anything? And what exactly is happening with their illness and its apparent cure? It seems like there's some sort of mutated version of the measles, combined with the vampire virus, that's extremely virulent and will infect anyone nearby. The only cure is to become a vampire and then keep drinking blood. Does it only affect children? Does it not affect those inoculated against measles or those who are already vampires? Is that why Chloë doesn't get it? Since this is a Ryan Murphy joint, I want some definite rules established around this so it doesn't go horribly awry. I love that everything is coming full circle, but after Freak Show, both Mr. Murphy and AHS are still on probation.