American Horror Story: Hotel Recap ‘Chutes and Ladders’: New Age Vampires

In the latest American Horror Story: Hotel recap, we meet the man behind the hotel and the Countess finds a new love lust interest to cast her spell on….

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Los Angeles in the 1920’s wasn’t anything like the City of Angels that exists today, but that era certainly was the birthplace of the glamour and opulence that have come to define the California city ever since.

In 1925, a new money man named James Patrick March moved west to Los Angeles, where he would be welcomed as opposed to his roots out east where his riches were looked down upon by the upper crust of society that hobb-knobbed around New York.

He decided to build a hotel as his first order of business upon landing in L.A. — a monstrous structure with hallways that led to nowhere and doors that closed and never opened again. It was a building after March’s own black heart.

“He put every atom of evil in his being into building this hotel”

It was there where Mr. March began his silent reign of terror over L.A., butchering victims for years all while his wife watched in the background. He tortured those who resisted him and took pleasure in the pain of those who didn’t as well. He sealed women into walls and took great pleasure in slicing up those who dared to (willingly or not) have sex with him.

When someone prayed for an almighty savior to rescue them, Mr. March would taunt their deity by asking for judgment and then challenging the throne.

“I guess I’m just going to have to kill God. That is my message to the world.”
~ Mr. March

No matter who he killed, Mr. March could always depend on his maid Miss Evers to clean up the mess and get his sheets as clean and crisp as if they were brand new again. That was Miss Evers talent after all — she could get out any stain.

Of course over the years, like most serial killers, Mr. March got lazy and eventually got sloppy and it led the police directly to his front door. And when they came knocking one day looking to arrest the millionaire hotel owner, he decided to pull the trigger on Miss Evers and then slit his own throat rather than spend one day behind bars.

And that’s how the Hotel Cortez came to be — a structure built on bones, drenched in blood and cursed by the man who dared to put it together in the first place.

His name was James Patrick March.

CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX


With that, let’s recap the latest episode of American Horror Story: Hotel titled ‘Chutes and Ladders’:

Sleepless Nights

Remember the two Swedes who found some poor soul sewed up in a mattress from the debut episode? Well it appears our favorite chain-smoking ghost junkie Sally is the one responsible after she finishes lacing up the latest victim — the heroin shooting rock star wannabe who ended up as a victim to the condom wrapped monster with a drilldo from a week ago.

Sally can barely get her sewing done without hearing some incessant screaming from downstairs where the only remaining Swedish blonde is currently getting drained by the blonde headed kids from hell. Once she’s dead, the screaming stops and Iris taps each of the children from some of their blood, which she then delivers upstairs to the penthouse where The Countess and her son Donovan reside.

Meanwhile, Detective John Lowe is haunted by any number of creepy visions, but the worst one involves his dead son Holden appearing before him and then running away. The latest chase ends with John at the bar where he runs into Sally and Liz Taylor serving drinks.

John is a recovering alcoholic and Sally can’t help but explain her own addictions where getting high once felt like going to heaven but each time she tried to touch the clouds, they only got further away. So she’s curious because John quit drinking, what was his last day like when he got drunk?

John tells a story about a triple homicide and suicide where a father allegedly poisoned his three kids and then turned the gun on himself. In actuality once John investigated, it seems the father lost his job and he was using a gas-powered generator to provide heat and electricity for his children. He left one day but when he returned home, the generator had gone out and his children suffocated from the carbon monoxide that filled the room after the gas ran out in the engine. At that point there was nothing left to live for and the man took his own life.

John fell into a deep depression afterwards and disappeared for two days. When he returned home, as an apology to his wife, he took the whole family to the beach. The same beach where just a day later his son Holden was kidnapped and murdered. And John Lowe has never taken a drink since.

Despite her best temptations to bring the alcohol to his lips, Sally can’t convince John to take a drink and he retires to bed before things get any weirder.

“I can’t afford to get lost”
~ John Lowe

Back at work, John gets a package delivered to him addressed from the Hotel Cortez and he immediately freaks out and has the bomb squad check the contents of the box. What’s in the box?!?

Well it’s an Academy Award actually — and it’s covered in blood. The same blood belonging to Martin Gamboa — the awards blogger who died after the murderer rammed an object up his ass repeatedly and then bludgeoned him. Remember those gold chips found in the anus? Hello Oscar!

On the Catwalk

The new owner of the Hotel Cortez, Will Drake, is a man of excess (just like the person who built the hotel) and his first big event after buying the place is a fashion show complete with a full runway and more models than you could shake a stick at.

John returns home from work where he’s ready to spend some time with his daughter Scarlet, but Will invites them to stay and enjoy the show and his little girl can even hang out with his son Lachlan rather than spend all her time at an ‘adults only’ party.

It’s here that we meet fashion model extreme Tristan Duffy (played by American Horror Story: Freak Show’s Finn Wittrock) and he’s best known for his unorthodox performances on the runway. This time around (after snorting his weight in crushed pills), he makes out with one woman, tries to make out with a man and then nearly shanks him in the neck with a shard of broken glass if not for catching the eye of The Countess, who was sitting with Donovan right next to his intended victim.

As he walks away, The Countess can’t help but show interest in this dyed-hair model full of twisted steel and sex appeal.

“He’s full of rage. I can still smell it. Like Copper”
~ The Countess

When Will tries to call Tristan on his bizarre behavior, the drug soused model slashes his won face with a pair of scissors and says he’s officially retired from walking the runway. Tristan then starts looking around the hotel for something else to snort up his nose but when Donovan finds him rolling around the penthouse, he’s ready to choke him to death.

If not for The Countess showing up and saving his life, Tristan would be dead.

He scampers away but when his elevator gets stuck on the seventh floor, he has nowhere to go but out. So after taking a bite of a maggot-filled sandwich, Tristan wanders into another room where he runs into a man with a pencil-thin mustache, pomade slicked hair, and a devilish smile that belongs to none other than James Patrick March.

March toys with Tristan while he snorts some coke but when Miss Evers brings him a prostitute from downstairs, he offers his guest the chance to really live.

“Pull the trigger and take her last breath. It’s exhilarating. Well, you’ve got to go out and grab life.”
~ Mr. March

March shoots the woman in the head with her brains and blood exploding on the bed directly next to Tristan, who quickly runs out of the room and far away from his ghastly new ‘friend’.

A Picture Is Worth a 1000 Words


CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX


Scarlet dips out of the fashion show with her new friend Lachlan, who is going to show her a secret deep in the bowels of the Hotel Cortez. Buried deep within the hotel in a pool that no longer has water, Lachlan shows Scarlet the blonde children, who drink blood and then sleep for hours at a time in glass-lined coffins. Nothing wakes them up except when Scarlet stands over the one who looks like her brother, his eyes blast open.

The kids apparently leave the empty coffin pool but the next day Scarlet returns on her own to investigate this mystery and find out of the little boy who stared at her was indeed her brother.

Following a bus trip to the hotel, Scarlet finds the secret room where the children play video games all day and she runs into the little boy she believes is Holden. She shows him pictures of their family and he wonders why she looks different than the photos — it’s because Scarlet continued to grow while Holden mysteriously disappeared and hasn’t aged a day.

Scarlet decides to take a selfie with her long lost dead brother, but just after snapping the photo, Holden snaps his jaws and nearly bites his sister. She runs away in fear before meeting Sally in the hallway. The junkie-ghost proceeds to chomp down and snap out all of her teeth and as the bloody lumps of enamel cascade down her withered face, Scarlet tears out of there screaming for her life.

“Kids are the best”
~ Sally

When Scarlet returns home it seems her parents have been frantically searching to find her for hours. She tries to explain that she went back to the hotel because that’s where Holden lives now. John explodes and yells at his daughter that it’s not possible because Holden is dead. He’s dead!!!!

She runs away but not before handing off her phone with the picture she took. The only problem is the little boy is blurred — you know like a vampire who can’t have his photo taken.

New Toys

 CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX


From the very start of the episode, it was clear that Lady Gaga’s Countess was beginning to grow bored with her lover Donovan. Last week he complained about getting dressed so they could go out and this week he preferred a House of Cards binge watching session to going to an art show.

So with her current lover no longer providing the thrill, The Countess turns her attention to fashion model Tristan Duffy, whose rage was simply infectious.

The Countess invites him to her room where they fuck and he drinks her blood and without ever saying that she has transformed Tristan into a vampire, that’s exactly what she does. After imbibing her sweet liquid life, Tristan wonders what rules now apply to him because according to The Countess they are immortal.

With the ‘virus’ you will never age, you have a super charged immune system, but never drink from the dead or the sick. The sun won’t kill them but it’s not good for them either. They don’t bite — they cut. Despite the whole living forever thing, Tristan curiously wonders if silver bullets and stakes can kill them?

“Bitch, please of course it can. You’re only immortal if you’re smart.”
~ The Countess

Now that he has eternal life, Tristan is fixated on getting revenge on Kendall Jenner, who had the gall to blow him off at Coachella and now he really wants to kill the bitch. The Countess can only laugh at her cute new play toy while warning him of the biggest threat to their kind.

“The only thing that can undo you now is your own recklessness. Just don’t get caught and don’t fall in love.”
~ The Countess

Following another session of pressing the flesh, The Countess reveals to Tristan that she was born in 1904 and turned by a vampire even more beautiful than him. Her favorite era was the 1970’s when she was a disco queen and to this day, she still misses her friends from that time period more than any other.

Story time stops when Donovan comes home and discovers his lover in bed with a model. Before he can even get pissed, The Countess tells him to pack his things and get out because they are officially over.

“You’ll learn — it isn’t our precious virus that makes you. It isn’t who you kill or who you screw. It’s the heartbreaks. Bigger the better. I know better than any of us.”
~ The Countess

One side note — is Lady Gaga now officially the sex symbol of the year after her performance on this show? Seriously every move she makes is just tinged with desire.

That said — after Donovan leaves, Tristan makes his first kill after picking up a date on Grinder and taking him upstairs to the penthouse. After slicing his throat, Tristan begins to drink for the first time but his new lover isn’t going to participate. The Countess would rather touch herself and watch him instead.

The Blackest Heart

CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX


Following Scarlet’s visit to the hotel where she swears she saw Holden, Detective Lowe wants answers and the person who is going to give it to him is the desk clerk Iris. She offers to help so long as he buys her a drink.

It’s there that Iris unfolds the deep dark history about Mr. March, his designs on the hotel, his voracious thirst for blood and his intense disdain for all things religious. Oh and it just so happens, John Lowe is sleeping next to him (in a manner of speaking).

“That was his office, the room you’re staying in — 64. If this building has a heart it’s as black as the ace of spades and you’re sleeping in it.”
~ Iris

Once John returns to work and looks into the crimes Mr. March committed, he finally starts to put the pieces together for the connection to his current murder investigation. The killer took out Martin Gamboa because he was worshipping a false idol in the Oscar. The couple that was glued together and the woman speared — committed adultery. The two men we saw gutted last week were brothers once accused of killing their parents — and thou shall honor thy mother and thy father.

It all comes together — the killer is acting out the Ten Commandments in ritualistic fashion with utter savagery. And he or she is doing it all while sending Lowe packages from the house that sin built when James Patrick March laid down the first stones for the Hotel Cortez in 1925.


“Spellbound” by Siouxie and the Banshees

“I Want Your Love” by Chic

“Don’t Stop the Dance” by Bryan Ferry

“In a Lonely Place” by New Order

Tune into the next episode of American Horror Story: Hotel on Tuesday night at 10pm ET on FX!

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