In the American Horror Story: Hotel recap, Iris gets back to work, Alex spreads her seed and we find out how Liz Taylor became so fabulous…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
For a show built on blood and death, American Horror Story almost always paints characters with a lot of grey and very rarely exposes anyone in black and white.
Even the most vile villains who appear to be evil incarnate are rarely quite so easily defined. From season one’s Rubber Man to Sister Jude in season two to Fiona Goode in season three to Twisty the Clown in season four all the way until now with Lady Gaga’s outstanding performance as The Countess of the Hotel Cortez.
Of course she’s a murderous vampire who kidnaps children and forces their parents to drink of her blood to spend eternity with the very kids she took in the first place but she’s also the life affirming, identity discovering friend that helps goddesses step out from the shadows into the light.
The Countess certainly isn’t all good, but she’s not all bad either and that’s what makes the character so riveting and what makes Lady Gaga’s portrayal that much more enthralling. She’s wicked and wonderful — a character so rich that you can’t help but to hate to love her as much as you love to hate her. You root for her almost as often as you pray for her downfall.
And as American Horror Story: Hotel reaches the midway point of the season you truly start to wonder if The Countess is going to live forever or if her century plus run as the baddest bitch in town as the queen of the Cortez is about to come to a bloody end.
There’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep watching.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of American Horror Story: Hotel titled ‘Room Service’….
Donovan shows up at Ramona Royale’s with his secret weapon to go after the Countess so both of them can get revenge on the woman who ruined their lives. After passing along his ‘infection’ to his mother Iris, Donovan realized that she’s the perfect plant to get all the information they could possibly need to take down the Countess.
Iris runs the hotel, takes care of the Countess’ children when they need to feed or give blood and she knows everyone the Countess sees and sees everywhere the Countess goes. And she does all this with the power of invisibility because no matter what she does or says, the Countess barely knows Iris is ever there.
And Donovan also knows Ramona would do anything to see the Countess pay for their shared suffering.
“She took that life away from you. Promised you something better then took that away from you, too. I know just how that feels. You want to make her bleed. I want that too cause she did the same thing to me only in my case she never even gave me a choice.”
Ramona believes that Donovan is reckless, but that’s just the way she likes her men and so she aggress to Iris being their ‘inside man’ to keep an eye on the Countess as they begin to hatch the ultimate plan of revenge.
Iris is barely on board, however, because she’s currently going through withdrawal after not feeding for hours following her transformation from human to something else entirely. When she shows back up at the Hotel Cortez after going missing for a couple of days, including the annual Devil’s Night festivities, Liz Taylor is curious what exactly kept her away.
One look at the pale complexion and thirsty eyes tells the entire story.
Liz feeds Iris some of the Countess’ private stock but then reminds the hotel manager that she’s going to need to drink warm, fresh blood sooner rather than later if she wants to avoid this feeling of death creeping across her skin.
When the Countess and Tristan come downstairs before heading out for the evening they both look at Iris for a few moments as if something could be wrong with her, but like always they shuffle on by and just go on about their business. Inside her own mind, Iris is convinced she’s been found out and the Countess can smell the immortality on her.
Iris’ day only gets more complicated when a hipster douchebag couple come into the hotel looking for a discounted room so they can avoid the innate amount of trick-or-treaters currently buzzing their doorbell back at home. The insufferable duo doesn’t like the room, the carpet, the bedding or the towels but worst of all they want room service that includes pate and a cooked salad and Iris doesn’t even know what that is much less how the fuck to make it.
Finally overwhelmed with the moment and the blood boiling inside her skin, she turns to Liz Taylor who finally offers her a solution.
Liz: “Bitches want pate, pate they shall have!”
Iris: “Oh man, I don’t understand how cat food can smell worse that cat poop.”
Liz has all the answers as she commiserates with the hotel manager while forming some cat food into a delectable shape that these hipster assholes will think is delicious because that’s what they’re programmed to say. Iris finally turns to her new friend after barely speaking to her for the past 20 years and wonders why she’s so caring and how she ended up at the Hotel Cortez in the first place.
And that’s when Liz Taylor reveals how she traveled from Topeka, Kansas to Los Angeles, California on a business trip and never went home again.
A Goddess is Born
Before she was Liz Taylor, a hum-drum man by the name of Nick was married to an equally boring wife named Tracy in suburban Kansas. Their marriage was one of convenience — she needed a husband after turning 30 and he needed someone that wore the same dress size.
It was the moments when Nick got away from his wife and kids while traveling to medical conferences in cities like Los Angeles when he truly felt alive for the first time. He would finish his work and while his colleagues were out dropping singles at the local strip club, he would order a bottle of champagne, put on a slip and some fur and get down to the business of feeling and looking fabulous.
But this time when Nick returned to his room he found the Countess there waiting for him. She spotted him coming into the hotel and knew right away that there was something wonderful deep down inside that he was hiding and it was time to let it out.
“You don’t lack beauty, you lack commitment. Let me help you become you who you were born to be — a goddess.”
~ The Countess
The Countess proceeded to make him her living doll as she shaved Nick’s head and dressed him from head to toe in the finest furs and silks and she painted him with the best lipsticks and foundations until the finished product was all glamour and no shame.
On that night Liz Taylor was born.
The Countess was ready to show her off to the world by visiting a local club but Liz wasn’t quite ready for that kind of an outing so instead she just went to get them a bucket of ice to share some of that bubbly. When Liz walked down the hallway and passed a maid who was cleaning a room, she held her head high an felt like the queen she was always meant to be.
But on the way back, Nick’s co-workers were coming back from a night paying for lap dances and when they spotted him all made up, the insults and slurs came flying out of their mouths until Liz finally snapped and told them both to fuck off (more or less). The bigoted co-workers didn’t get to go home and spread gossip about Nick either because the Countess was there to slit both of their throats because these hate mongering idiots didn’t deserve to live.
The Countess then imparted some wisdom on her new friend.
“We have two selves — one the world needs us to be — compliant. And the shadow. Ignore it and life is forever suffering.”
~ The Countess
Liz never returned home again and instead landed a job at the Hotel Cortez after The Countess freed her from a self-made prison and she’s been there ever since. Now it was time for Liz to pass along that same kind of wisdom to Iris. She’s been stepped on and stepped over her entire life and now it’s time to fight back.
“It’s time to stop taking shit. Scorch the damn Earth before you.”
Iris takes the cat food pate to the room where as predicted the hipster assholes lick it up like it’s fine dining but she accidentally drops a knife that nearly catches a foot, the couple admonishes her for being mean spirited while belittling her as an idiot. Iris finally snaps and kills them both before drinking blood for the first time from a fresh corpse.
Liz helps her dump the bodies and Iris has finally experienced her awakening and it looks like she’s ready to be fabulous, too.
The Kids Aren’t Alright
Following her night with the Countess where she drank her blood in order to spend eternity with her son Holden, Alex returns to work where she’s barely able to function much less keep her eyes open.
The first case she deals with that day is the boy Max, who was stricken with the measles after his mother refused to vaccinate him as a child. Now Max is on his death bed and might not have more than a day to live so Alex takes it upon herself to share the same gift with him that the Countess did with her.
Alex feeds from the hospital blood bank and then spikes Max’s IV with her own blood and a few hours later the kid is as healthy as ever. His measles are gone and he’s ready to go home.
The only problem is the next morning Max needs to feed and without any kind of guidance like the Countess gives her own children, he ends up killing his parents and feeding on them. When he returns to school, Max passes on his ‘gift’ to his girlfriend before they ultimately give it to everyone in their classroom. The teachers get sacrificed as Max tells his friends that they need to feed and all the sickness inside will go away.
“Drink — it will make you feel awesome!”
The school ends up on lockdown and finally when the SWAT team goes inside they find a bunch of dead teachers and the kids all huddled up into one room together. The police bring them out one by one and they are reunited with their families but when the detectives begin to ask the children what happened there’s a shared story between all of the classmates — a big man, dressed all in black, wearing a mask just came in and started killing people.
Max takes a glance around at his handiwork and this is one bloody problem that’s only going to get worse before it gets better. Remember what Ramona said a few episodes back — the Countess doesn’t like for any of her creations to create new vampires and Alex’s mistake could cost her dearly when the queen finds out what happened.
Later that day, Alex returns to the Hotel Cortez unaware of the blood bath she just unleashed on the local school and the Countess offers her a new position. She will be the governess of the children and there she can spend as much time with Holden and the others while caring for all their needs.
Alex agrees but as Holden gets ready to go to bed, she wonders if they could possibly spend more time together. It’s been so long since they were able to just be mother and child.
“You misunderstand, Alex. You and Holden will have forever.”
~ The Countess
Alex and Holden walk down to the empty pool sleeping area where all the glass coffins are laid out except there’s a new one directly in the middle — the pillow is marked with an ‘A’ and an ‘H’ standing for Alex and Holden. Mother and child fall asleep together and from now until eternity, Alex will never let go of the boy she lost five years earlier.
Detective John Lowe returns to work after his hellish date at Devil’s Night while trying to explain to his boss about this whacked out party full of serial killers and it’s all sounding a lot like madness more than reality. John tries to play it off like all of the people he encountered were just actors dressed as the famous murderers but deep down he’s well aware of what he saw happen that night.
Finally, John tries to connect the dots to this deadly dinner party to the investigation he’s been running to find the Ten Commandments killer. He believes all the answers lie inside the Hotel Cortez and they need to start tearing that place apart to find out what’s hiding in the walls, in the mattresses and under the beds.
John’s boss isn’t impressed and instead believes that sending the detective back to work after his psyche profile showed some questionable results following the loss of his kid was a bad idea. Rather than listen to John’s theories, he fires the detective on the spot but promises to keep his pension in tact as a reward.
John is stunned but despite his reservations about all things evil lurking inside the hotel, he returns there and wakes up next to Sally in bed.
John has no clue how he got there but as he sees a half dressed Sally laying there he finally begins to remember in flashes as he drank with her downstairs before taking her from behind upstairs and the things they did to each other (according to Sally) will never truly be forgotten.
John tells Sally to get out because he doesn’t want her there any longer and she’s enraged after all he did to convince her to come there in the first place. Whether he likes it or not, Sally is going to return and she’s never going away.
“You’re a goddamn liar. You remember everything you did. And it’s going to happen again and again and again and you can’t stop it. Cause it’s our destiny and you can’t fight destiny.”
John can’t close his eyes because the visions of what he just did continue to haunt him, but his lack of memory about the things he just did with Sally only further prove my ultimate theory about this disgraced detective. John Lowe has a split personality and while he’s been a cop this entire time, he’s also been murdering as the Ten Commandments killer. It all makes sense when you think about his ability to always be on the killer’s trailer while also being just one step behind. He ravages Sally one moment and then can’t remember it the next.
John is a man battling his own demons but lately it appears the devil inside is beginning to win.
“Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode
“Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
American Horror Story: Hotel returns next Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FX!