[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Flicker” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Flicker Will Drake’s renovations uncover one of the hotel’s greatest secrets; John undergoes an evaluation.
Will Drake renovates the Hotel Cortez and, surprise surprise, construction workers unearth some uber old and mighty thirsty vampires in the process. Iris and The Countess then discover the workers’ bodies and it’s the first time Iris has ever seen The Countess scared. “Whomever did this must have been starving,” she says, voice trailing off. Then we’re taken back to Hollywood 1925 and Gaga (in a mousie brunette wig) plays an actress crushing madly on Rudolph Valentino. The feeling is mutual, it seems, and he invites her for dinner where Valentino says he sees greater things for Mousie than acting. But she thinks, “The flickers are the future – a true American art form,” movies are going to make her immortal, she claims. Valentino insists flickers are a phase and real immortality is something else entirely. They dance instead of eating until Valentino’s wife, Natascha, interrupts. Natascha, the cat calls her “Little Mouse” and explains that she’s been invited there because, “Gods have appetites,” and thus the awkward dancing continues as a trio. The three then have sex and Gaga’s happy to be the cheese in their mouse sandwich. In the next scene some time has passed and Mousie is now officially in love with Valentino. She attends the grand opening party for the Hotel Cortez when it’s announced that Valentino is dead. Mousie runs to the window to kill herself immediately but James March stops her from doing so saying, “I may never let you go.”
At Valentino’s crypt three fans gossip about a woman in black who leaves a single red rose on his grave every day. Turns out it’s the Mouse and here she comes, though no longer quite so mousie now that she’s platinum blonde – The Countess. Natascha comes up behind her to say Valentino’s not dead after all, it’s his stunt double in the crypt. And then out of the shadows… there he is. Natasha congratulates The Countess on her marriage to James March. She admits that she doesn’t love him but they have great sex and she likes his darkness – a 1920’s euphemism for murderous rampages. Valentino says he’s sad to see her suffer and she says she never suffers. Then Valentino tells her a story of the German director, F.W. Murnau who made the original 1922 Nosferatu. While researching that movie he’d discovered people with an ancient blood virus that kept them young and beautiful but with an infinite blood thirst. Murnau then turned Valentino into a truly free immortal – giving him the blood virus but also telling him to give up acting. It was all because the talking pictures were coming to “Kill the Gods” of the silent pictures. So, though Valentino the film star is dead, this guy The Countess loves lives after all, just a slightly diseased version. Then Valentino and Natascha say they want to give their virus to their little mouse. So, it’s time for a makeout bloodfest sex party right there beside Valentino’s crypt as they pass along the virus to The Countess. Meanwhile James March listens patiently nearby the whole time.
At the mental ward of an LA hospital John Lowe gets analyzed and admitted, his indigo eyes perfectly matched to his form fitting jeans. Alex offers to get him out but John believe he belongs in there, “I need professional help,” he says with great confidence and clarity. It’s because of a tough case at work, he explains, also his daughter’s lack of trust in him, and his wife leaving. Lowe neglects to mention the Hotel Cortez but keeps reiterating that he’s exactly where he needs to be. Later John’s wandering the mental ward when he eavesdrops on some orderlies talking about a psycho killer who’s kept in a “restricted area.” Being a detective with a self-destructive bent, he immediately steals a security guard’s keys and enters that restricted area. Once inside he finds a little girl named Wren in a british school uniform who won’t eat her dinner. She tells John she’s protecting the ten commandments killer because she doesn’t want him to get caught. Lowe tells her it’s not her fault the killer keeps killing but she insists that it is. Lowe sees her as a version of Scarlet. “But it’s me, not her and it’s him, not you,” he says about the dark behavior of men versus their little girls and Wren seems to understand what he’s driving at. She tells him a story about how in 1986 her father left her in a hot car and The Countess saved her. Lowe doesn’t really hear her when she talks about this part but when Wren says, “Get me out of here and I’ll show you where he lives,” about the Ten Commandments killer, John hears that part. They escape the asylum together and she says they have to go home to the Cortez. Will he kill the serial killer? she asks and then when he says he will she says, “I’d hate to see it end. I liked you,” before running into an oncoming truck and disappearing. John sees this and shrieks, thinking she’s dead. But we know better. When’s Lowe going to take a hint? Somebody needs to spell it out for him that blonde kids in british school uniforms are vampires. Maybe Alex could tell him except she’s a damn vampire too… and also she hates him.
Near the end of the episode we discover the two thirsty beasts that were unleashed in the first scene are Valentino and Natascha. It seems James March locked them away in a bricked up suite for all these years and now, unleashed they’re feeding on every Cortez guest they can find to revive their beauteous selves. One can only expect that their next step will be wreaking vengeance upon March. Then the Countess visits March and tells him she’s going to marry again – Will Drake this time. He recommends that when she kills this husband the Countess should do it off the property so she won’t have to keep dealing with his haunting annoyances for eternity. March then says he knows Valentino was the one love she ever really had and he’s clearly not over the fact that she never loved him, though he was her husband. Some people just can’t let stuff go… Then we see how March locked away Natascha and Valentino in a bricked off suite of the Cortez where they’ve been since 1925 only to be released now and he finally tells The Countess about it. She’s having feelings now just knowing that her beloved is nearby and likely seeking revenge against her haunted house.
This delightful episode brought us into yet another glorious origin story about the Hotel Cortez and its gorgeous, tormented inhabitants. There were many laugh out loud moments in this one and the show steamrolls ahead even as it looks back with reverent nostalgia. The coolest thing about American Horror Story is definitely Lady Gaga. She brings to glamorous life the inherent contradiction that comes with all ghost stories – yes remembrance of youth is glorious and beautiful but when we’re stuck in those memories we have to live with the indelible decay that comes from holding onto the past too tightly.