[For American Horror Story – Hotel “She Wants Revenge” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
She Wants Revenge The Countess is reunited with her one true love; Donovan and Ramona take another stab at revenge.

American Horror Story shifts back to the Hotel Cortez and The Countess. She begins the episode poised at the entrance to the wing where Valentino was trapped all those years and says it’s time to construct something new and durable – steel and iron. The Countess starts this process by marrying Will Drake so she can finance the project with his money. Drake wants a flamboyant wedding while she wants simple and intimate – so small wedding it is. But her formerly loyal minion, Elizabeth Taylor, won’t help at all – still bitter that The Countess killed the love of her life. She says, “Buy your own damn flowers!” Then The countess drives to a motel for a rendezvous with Valentino. But before anything happens between them the scene shifts back to her at the Hotel Cortez with Donovan again now, screwing in only strategically placed sequin stars. She promises to love only Donovan… but mentions she’s getting married Wednesday. He gets a cranky look until she adds that she’ll be a rich widow on Thursday. Then they talk about making a fresh start and cleaning house, agreeing to make a list of all the people to “remove” ie; kill.

Then Iris stabs guests when Donovan walks in and flatters her that she’s certainly “come into her own” lately. Iris says she fears The Countess will figure out they’re in cahoots with Ramona to take her down and he says don’t worry. Donovan’s got The Countess right where he wants her, he claims. To this Iris knowingly asks if he’s hung up on The Countess again and Dononvan insists he’s in control.

Next it’s Wednesday and wedding time. Will Drake talks to his son about how The Countess is the one for him. But then Ms. Evers interrupts his delusions to warn Will that he shouldn’t marry her – it whall be his destruction. Turns out Ms. Evers feels like The Countess stole James March from her and never got over it. Meanwhile The Countess is pissed at March for what he did to her beloved Valentino – locking him away all those years. Now she’s turning the wing where he was kept into a vault-like chamber for her to hide within and watch the all hotel happenings with strategically placed video cameras. This is where she will live with her beloved Valentino by her side – that’s living the dream for The Countess.

Donovan brings a young stud to Ramona as a peace offering. He tells her they have to get rid of The Countess tonight. He’s already drugged her and she’s marrying Drake tomorrow so she’s certain to be distracted. They drain the young stud’s blood and talk about heartbreak and loneliness, despair… So, living in Los Angeles, basically. Ramona tells him how her last twenty years in LA passed like nothing happened. She was caring for her parents and not handling their deterioration particularly well. Turns out vampirism didn’t cure her father’s dementia. But Ramona is over all that now and and focused on how The Countess killed her lover. After telling him the story she and Donovan drink the young stud’s blood and toast to vengeance on the Countess.

Then we see Alex parked outside a house with a pizza delivery car out front. Inside she finds a pile of bloody corpses and that kid Max she “saved” with the virus along with all his vampire buddies. Alex tells them if they keep up their careless murderous ways they’re going to get caught. She suggests they all go to the Hotel Cortez where there are people like them who can help. But the kids are like hell no, that’s the last thing we need is for adults to tell us what to do. They have a point. It would really make the whole killing-their-parents thing moot.

Next Ramona and Donovan sneak up on The Countess while she’s sleeping. Ramona holds a big knife over her, all ready to get stabby, but it’s a setup. The Countess hisses at her, Donovan tazes Ramona’s neck and once again – she’s betrayed. Iris was right about Donovan, of course. A mother always knows. He’s too much of sucker for the love of the Countess. They lock Ramona into one of the iron cages.

The Countess and Valentino have breakfast and turns out Natascha has been out shopping all this time, thanks to The Countess’s black card. She wants Valentino all to herself and for them to turn the Hotel into a fortress against the modern world. It’s all part of her plan to recreate the love they had all those years ago when she was allegedly happy and in love. But then Natascha returns laden with shopping bags and The Countess changes her tune. She says Natascha has to come over tonight for girls fashion night and Valentino isn’t invited. Natascha’s imminent demise seems just around the corner at the Hotel Cortez – but at least she’ll be wearing the latest couture.

At the Will Drake and Countess wedding Elizabeth Taylor objects but can’t conjure a better reason than just because the bride’s a bitch, basically. The Countess says please ignore Liz, she drinks but the law requires a witness. Now that they’re married March visits Drake at the bar before taking him upstairs to “show him something.” There he introduces Will to The Countess’s monster child. Of course Will Drake, who cares deeply about aesthetics and little else insults the heinous creature. Then The (outraged) Countess knocks him upside the head. He wakes up in the cage room with Ramona still in the pink iron cage. The blue one stands open, awaiting Drake’s hot bod. Not knowing any better, Will frees her from the iron bars and then Ramona thanks him by feeding on his gorgeous face and neck. Ms. Evers stands over the bloody spectacle with arms folded and an I-told-you-so look on her face. All the while The Countess watches on remote video in her newly constructed vault-like chamber.

She’s been the most powerful force at the Hotel Cortez all along and seemingly remains unstoppable. So, what would a happy ending look like for American Horror Story – Hotel? Is it for The Countess to get her heart’s desire and spend the rest of her days with Valentino in a vault while the hotel continues on below, killing, torturing, and enveloping hostage after hostage? Or will John Lowe kill everyone, including The Countess? Then maybe Alex will become the new Countess and John the replacement James March as the Hotel sashays forth into a new era of deadly debauchery. Either way, it’s sure to be a glamorous, blood- soaked ride.

–Katherine Recap

[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Room 33” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Room 33 Ramona and Donovan enact their plan for revenge; Liz Taylor finds true love.

The title of episode “Room 33” raises the hairs at the back of one’s neck because in the first episode we heard Iris say she was “going to feed that thing in Room 33,” with a dreadful tone – an indelible detail. But the real fun of “Room 33” comes from the ways the episode follows through on this theme of three with titillating threesomes.

The episode begins with The Countess in 1926, when she was a mere Mrs. Johnson. Married and pregnant with a gargantuan belly, she visits a doctor to help her with this problem. She claims her husband somehow has no idea she’s pregnant and that she’s only three weeks along. So, her doctor/patient relationship is off to an honest start at least. He takes her to a dirty basement where a nurse shows concern about Mrs. Johnson’s temperature being only seventy five degrees. So, she must already be a vampire at this point, a pregnant vampire. The doctor then extracts the baby and the nurse whispers, “It’s alive,” in horror before the baby seemingly lunges at her. Then the creepy doc swaddles and places it on the pre-countess, Mrs. Johnson’s chest saying, “Congratulations, it’s a boy.” A bit later she visits the baby in a dark attic nursery and tells him, “Mommy’s going to Paris but then she’ll have lots and lots of money and will never have to leave you again,” thus providing this mysterious being with a lifetime’s worth of mommy issues in a mere one minute scene. We won’t see his face until the very last shot of the episode but soon find out his name is Bartholomew.

In the next scene John Lowe wakes up to find Holden in his bed and chases the vampire boy down the hall to his casket room in the empty swimming pool. There John sees the vampire kids in their clear coffins as well as his wife, Alex, who wakes just enough to see him seeing her. And yes, he sees her seeing him seeing her. It’s a trifecta of terror that perfectly encapsulates their marriage. They see each other perfectly well but inevitably deny they see anything, as will later happen when Alex pretends this incident never occurred between them.

Then Liz Taylor and Tristan are having great sex in Ms. Taylor’s bedroom. Liz gives him some Bronte and Oscar Wilde to help develop Tristan’s tiny starved model brain cells a bit. The better to fall in love with, Liz hopes. In fact, they talk about love and Tristan seems genuinely smitten with her. Part of it seems to be that he can still tell himself he’s not gay because Liz Taylor identifies as a hetero female though she still has a penis. She may even feel the same way about Tristan, Liz admits but she’s concerned The Countess wouldn’t approve of their relationship. So, there’s already a third wheel in their relationship at the very beginning. Speaking of The Countess, it’s now time for another, less industrious sex scene. What this sex scene needs is a third participant! The Countess tries to entice Will Drake but can’t get him off or even a bit hard because Will’s hardcore into dick. So, she texts Tristan asking him to come to her suite and fluff Drake a bit for her. Tristan insists he’s not gay but gets busy with Drake for her sake anyway. He’s such a trooper, that Tristan.

Alex then approaches Liz Taylor at the front desk for help because John saw her in her coffin so now he knows. Then she and Ms. Taylor “get rid of those coffins,” before Alex goes to John’s room. Lowe immediately confronts her saying he saw her in a coffin but she’s got a story about him calling her to say he was having visions. She tells John it makes sense because that’s the same story Scarlett told them. He’s just empathizing with his little girl by having the same visions she had. John then runs out on her and back to the coffin room to prove what he saw was real but, of course, she and Liz had removed everything by now… so, he’s back to his appearance vs reality conundrum. Time to hit the bottle.

Ramona and Donovan then visit the Hotel Cortez together. While they ride up in the elevator she’s pulls a shiny hunting knife out of her handbag, ready to slice up some vampire kiddies. Ramona’s excited and eager but Donovan’s a bit hesitant (still hung up on The Countess) so she says she’ll take care of the killing part herself. In the empty swimming pool she gets pissed that the kid coffins are missing now. Iris joins her and says she agrees the kids have to go first if they want to take out The Countess. Along with Bartholomew, they are The Countess’s only reason to continue living. Ramona then searches further for the vampire babies, especially Bartholomew. She finds the black-eyed-baby-monster-we-still-can’t-quite-see in a creepy bedroom. Ramona sing songs for him to come out and see “Auntie Ramona” while she holds her shiny hunting knife high and ready for stabby time. But then in the next scene she’s nursing a scratched cheek at the bar with Liz and asks if “they found it” about Bartholomew so the little monster somehow escaped her dagger and Alex has thus now been enlisted for the job of finding the baby monster. Ms. Taylor tells Ramona she has to get out of the Hotel Cortez right away because the sight of her will upset The Countess. Liz explains that things need to be calm right now because she’s in love with The Countess’s hottie, Tristan. She wouldn’t be able to negotiate with a fired up and feisty Countess.

Meanwhile Donovan is all up in The Countess suite, sniffing panties and such, until interrupted by the dead swedish model duo who are realizing that they’re dead. He tells them they have to find their purpose or they’ll be like hamsters on a wheel. That’s the hotel’s power over dead guests. Donovan tells them the story of a guest named Cara who killed herself in a Hotel Cortez tub. She remained aimless for months until she found her purpose – terrorizing guests of the hotel for kicks. That’s her reprieve from the hamster wheel. Her fun. So, they have to find their own kicks. In the Swedish duo’s first attempt they sex up a guest before killing him – threesome time! But it’s ultimately unsatisfying and they clearly haven’t found their purpose yet… Then they encounter Alex and she tells them killing isn’t where the fun’s at. They’ve got to mess with men’s minds. Alex proposes the perfect scenario. She knows this guy who’s always wanted two girls. Um, yeah Alex, pretty much every guy on the planet meets that criteria. But, of course, we know she’s talking about John and wants to mess with his mind so he forgets she’s now a vampire.

John’s already messing with his own mind, drinking out of a bottle in the hallway. Liz Taylor approaches him and tries to help but Lowe screams that he’d rather just have his breakdown, THANKS. After Liz leaves the two Swedish model types sidle up to him and before he knows it they’re headed to boner town – threesome time again! It’s all quite delightful until the Swedish duo start slicing each other up and bleeding everywhere, spilling blood all over his body while they still gyrate on his every skin cell. When the blood finally overcomes his lust, John runs naked and covered in blood to the lobby where Liz says it looks like his breakdown is progressing well. Then they return together to his room where the Swedish dead duo are so happy now. They say they’ve found their purpose, messing with the heads of horndogs. Goodie for them. James March even makes an appearance to John just to say it looks like he’s finally making himself properly at home in the Hotel Cortez. This propels him to leave. John packs his bags and goes home to Scarlet.

Sad Scarlet tells him Alex hasn’t been home for two days. He promises to make things right again for her. But then it seems like something is pulsating in his suitcase and suddenly he’s chasing whatever it is, eventually finding and shooting it in the kitchen. But then it still gets away, three bullets later, leaving a blood trail. After the shootout Alex and the cops come to the house to help and John’s boss ends up driving Scarlet away in his patrol car while Alex attempts to comfort John who’s upset that Scarlet’s afraid of him now. He says he knows Alex is going back to the Cortez for the night but she won’t outwardly admit it. Then he goes inside and Alex pokes around their yard, still looking for monster baby Bartholomew.

The Countess returns from a blissful getaway with the Drake when she encounters Liz Taylor who finally tells her she’s in love with Tristan. Ms. Taylor calmly explains that The Countess is just playing with Tristan but there’s a real love developing between them. So, let’s all three talk The Countess suggests. The trio talk in Liz Taylor’s humble bedroom. Tristan says The Countess only orgasm come from the heartbreak she causes. She gets a thrill from the moving on part, he says. Then Ms. Taylor pleads with The Countess, “Please just let me have this one, “ and The Countess asks Tristan if this is what he wants as well. When Tristan nods she says fine that Ms. Taylor can have Tristan. But then she slits his throat and tells Liz, “He’s yours. Bury him,” and leaves. It’s unclear what will happen now with Tristan. Does burying him kill him? Or will he come back different? Time will tell. After this she goes to Bartholomew’s room where Alex is caring for her monster baby. The Countess seems grateful that she “saved my son,” and Alex points out that The Countess saved hers as well, although kidnapping and turning a child into a vampire is a fairly progressive definition of lifesaving in some circles. Then we see that Bartholomew lives in Room 33 before the camera finally reveals his face. Let’s just say it’s one that only a mother could love.

–Katherine Recap

[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Devil’s Night” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:

Devil’s Night John receives an invitation to attend an exclusive Devils Night Soiree.

“Devil’s Night” opens with notorious LA serial killer Richard Ramirez signing the guest book for his standing Devil’s Night reservation at the Hotel Cortez. He then takes his usual course of killing and climbs the fire escape to smash hotel guests sleeping in their beds with a lampstand. One of them starts to get away but James Mason catches her for Ramirez, so he can kill her too. Then John Lowe wakes up to his hotel room phone ringing. It’s Scarlett and she doesn’t feel like trick or treating this year. As he hangs up John sees a giant bloodstain growing on the corner of his ceiling. Something died a bloody death up there for certain.

Speaking of dead, Ms. Evers is scrubbing a bloody sheet when she’s transported back to 1925 and taking her son trick or treating. He’s unhappy with her costume for him – a sheet with two holes cut in it for eyes. Then Ms. Evers talks to another parent and takes her eyes off her son. Then POOF her son disappears but Ms. Evers doesn’t notice until it’s too late and he’s driving away in the back of a car. Then it turns out Ms. Evers is the source of that wretched bloodstain on John’s ceiling. John bangs on the door and she sits with him to tell the tale about losing her son. Turns out it was a killer who took her son and this being the anniversary of his death, she’s quite upset. Then Ms. Evers gets all weird and manic, oddly jolly even. She says she’s got to get to work for the annual Autumnal banquet – Devil’s Night.

It’s interesting to note that Ms. Evers appears to feel terrible for playing a complicit role in the death of her son with her neglect, a similar role to John’s in the loss of his son, Holden at the Carnival. Ms. Evers then perpetuates this pattern of assistance to a killer when she goes to work for James March. So, Ms. Evers believes herself destined to a compliant role in meaningless murder, even if only her unconscious is her guide. John, on the other hand, made his mission in life catching killers but seems to see himself as an impotent victim to their whims over and over. Can the guy catch a killer already? Not yet, it would seem.

Meanwhile Alex has taken the pale and stuck-at-six Holden home. He says the light is too bright in their living room. She hugs him and says he’s finally home when Holden says he’s thirsty. Uh oh. Alex doesn’t get it, though, and goes in the kitchen to pour him juice. When she comes back he’s sucking blood out of the family dog’s furry white neck. She stops him doing it and Holden says he wants his mommy. “I am your mommy,” Alex replies to which Holden adds, “I want the other one.” Then Alex brings him back to the Cortez and watches as he returns to the comfort of his coffin. Offscreen The Countess says, “You must have questions. I have answers,” her voice creepy as F***.

The Countess sits Alex down for a chat and declares herself the savior of neglected children. Alex asks what she did to Holden and The Countess says he now has an ancient virus, a blood disorder that results in vitality and everlasting life. There’s no cure but she can join him, The Countess tells her. All Alex has to do in return is work for The Countess. Alex initially turns down this offer and leaves. Then we see John sitting down at the Hotel Cortez bar. He says his soon to be ex wife told him he was never an alcoholic – that he’s just a control freak. So, totally not being an alcoholic at all, John orders a double martini and downs it.

He’s soon joined by Aileen Wuornos, the female serial killer that Charlize Theron portrayed in the movie Monster. John thinks it’s a costume (Wuornos died via lethal injection in 2002) and is appropriately impressed with how devoted this woman is to the role. Aileen takes him up to his room for a roll around but instead of sexual it gets pretty brutal – not surprising given Ms. Wuornos’s history with cops. She wasn’t called a monster for nothing.

John goes to the front desk to call the cops on Aileen and Elizabeth Taylor tells him about Devil’s Night, the very exclusive annual party James March throws for serial killers and realizes that for some reason John’s invited to the Soiree this year. Elizabeth gives him the invite. When Lowe returns to his room there’s no sign of Aileen but Ms. Taylor has left him a tux for the fancy party and even laid it out on the bed for him. He puts it on like a good boy and heads to the party. Aileen apologizes when he comes in and says she’s just got issues with cops… and men. James March serves them each a glass of Absinthe then introduces himself. John says James March died more than eighty years ago. March gets annoyed then and says that’s what’s annoying about cops; they only care about evidence.

Then each weirdo at the table introduces themselves. First John Gacy then Jeffrey Dahmer, and then John points out the Zodiac killer. John also recognizes Ramirez because they’re from the same hometown. March explains how he built the hotel specifically to hide evidence and he brought John to this dinner to educate and help him. Then Gacy handcuffs John to his chair and the killers talk about how each of them visiting “The Master” in this Hotel educated them too. Clearly “The Master March” helped each of them become better killers.

March then asks Ms. Evers to bring out the amuse bouche and she enters with a young man for Dahmer. He gets his drill and explains that this is how he makes his victims a part of him. Then Dahmer dodges a bullet from John’s gun before drilling the young man’s head. The bullet does hit Dahmer but because he’s already dead, it barely slows his process. He then puts acid in the young man’s brain, turning him into a type of zombie. Meanwhile outside Hypodermic Sally flirts with a hot businessman and gives him an eightball before bringing him to the party where he will play the role of “dessert.” Gacy now has a clown face on for an extra layer of creepitude and each killer then takes a large knife in hand and stabs the businessman in manic tandem.

But then John it shifts as John wakes up in a dusty dark room where Sally says he’s just hallucinating. “Is anything real?” he asks. “I am,” she says. “But you disappeared on me last time,” John remembers. This reinforces John’s pattern of impotence on two levels. He was just watching the killers get to work, unable to do anything about it. Then he doesn’t even know if what he saw was real and with Hypodermic Sally as his source of clarity, John may never again know what’s real and what he can hold onto.

In the final scene The Countess dresses all in red for a ceremonial meeting with Alex. It seems she’s come around on the whole making-a-deal-with-the-devil prospect. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to have Holden back. The Countess tells Alex to surrender completely, kisses her, and then cuts her breast for Alex to drink the dripping blood. The Countess says when Alex wakes she can be reunited with her child for eternity. It’s a pretty quick and no nonsense interaction… The last shot of the episode is Alex laying her head down on the Countess’s lap with a bloody mouth much like what a baby would look like after feeding, just replace the milky mouth with blood.

This is an excellent way to leave us hanging because now we’ve got machines churning on all sides. John’s drinking again, hallucinating, and hot for Sally. Alex is a vampire, and Holden’s back in the arms with his Countess mommy – no clue his other mommy is about to emerge anew on his side of the world this time. Seems like the perfect recipe for mayhem at the Hotel Cortez.

–Katherine Recap

[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Mommy” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:

Mommy Alex is pushed to her breaking point after Scarlet stirs up memories of Holden.

The episode opens as Tristan, the douche, returns to the James March suite with a snakeskin blazer and new attitude. He’s consulted Google and is thus now a James March groupie. Tristan tells March he’s “the greatest serial killer who’s ever lived,” and appears to seek a mentor in Mr. March. Tristan now realizes killing is awesome. James then advises Tristan to put his murder palace to good use so Tristan the douche settles into the suite, making himself comfortable like douches do, but then Claudia and Will Drake enter in a flurry of beautiful and say it’s time for him to go.

In the next scene we hear Alex, John’s wife, in voiceover saying she always wanted to be an amazing pediatrician. Like many women today, Alex wanted to have a career saving kids but (perhaps ironically) she didn’t necessarily want them for herself. Then her baby Holden roused a teutonic shift inside her and Alex finally found her soulmate in her son. But then he disappeared at the carnival and the love of her life was gone. It wrecked Alex. Over the next year she attempted suicide and barely survived. Next we see a family therapy session with Alex, Scarlet, and John discussing Scarlet’s Hotel Cortez Holden story. Alex is angry that Scarlet keeps telling this story and it’s completely creeping her out.

At the Hotel Cortez Claudia (Naomi Campbell) prances around her room in lingerie, bodaciously British one minute and getting stabbed repeatedly by Gabriel in her bed the next. Then Detective John Lowe is checking out yet another Ten Commandments Killer crime scene. This one’s a gossip blog where employees have tongues nail-gunned to their desks and other such symbolic stabbyness. John gets it right away, quoting appropriate scripture and then heading “home” to the hotel. But just as he enters the Cortez the post-murdering Gabriel falls into his arms, bloodied and gasping toward death. On the way to recovery at the hospital Gabriel confesses to killing Claudia and says it was because he thought she was Sally. But when John comes back to the hotel Claudia has “checked out.” John puts the cuffs on a tearful, predatory Sally, falls under her sexual spell, and then just as he’s about to succumb and bang her POOF she disappears. Boner killer.

Next we see Tristan apologize to Will Drake for the runway debacle. The douche claims he’s clean now, pointing out that he even somehow managed to fix that pesky facial scar he’d made with a knife at the runway show. Then Tristan mounts Will and it’s make-out-city, he pulls out a switchblade for some stabby time but The Countess stops him just as he’s about to stick it to Drake.

Meanwhile The Countess’s last loverboy, Donovan, returns to the Cortez as well, apparently to bitch out Iris for being terrible mother she was and tell her how much he hates her. He’s leaving for good and tells her to kill herself as a final adieu. Then Donovan’s off to suck street junkie blood and even makes it pretty far down the pier. But his escape is quickly curtailed by Ramona Royale, the stunning Angela Bassett, who deposits him in her car trunk. As seems to be a lifelong pattern for Donovan, he’s helpless and back in the clutches of a powerful woman.

Next Alex shows up at the Cortez bar and tells John he needs to give up his obsession with control. Might as well have a drink, she suggests. Then Alex hands him divorce papers and says it’s time to move on. John drops to the floor and says he’s not OK and there’s something wrong with him. She has to stay. The scene shifts to Will Drake and The Countess talking in sensual riddles and then kissing until he’s hard beneath her, even though he’s allegedly gay. Of course, Tristan then takes that opportunity to interrupt -jealous as can be. The Countess leaves a mystified Drake on his own to manage the tentpole in his pants and powwows with her douche loverboy in another room. She shares her diabolical plan with him. Having lost all her money to Madoff, she’s gotta marry Drake and get all his money before she can kill him. Tristan will go along with this plan as long as The Countess includes him. Meanwhile, in a parallel scene Alex tries to relax the distraught John and he manages to entice her with some smooching but then ruins it and turns her cold when he wants to “make another baby,” so she leaves. Out in the Cortez hallways Alex sees Holden, who looks up at her and says, “Hi, Mommy,” but it’s eerie and terrible instead of sweet.

Ramona gives Donovan a blood transfusion to get the junkie blood out of his system. So, while he’s hooked up to the blood boosting machinery Ramona relates her glamorous backstory. A whirlwind career as a blaxploitation actress in the 70s and The Countess’s longtime girlfriend paints Ramona as an intriguing sex maven. The Countess and Ramona paired up in the 70s and stayed a duo all the way through the 90s. But then Ramona met and fell in love with Mo – a hip hop/rap star that Ramona turned into that special Countess brand of vampire all on her own. So, The Countess had to destroy Mo. She’s gotta be the only Queen Vampire creator in town. Now, Ramona’s found her perfect time for revenge and she’s back in the Queen’s town and hellbent on destroying those child vampires at the Cortez. She enlists Donovan’s help. He then admits The Countess dumped him and rips a snag into her plan. Thus, Ramona’s not interested in Donovan anymore. Sayonara, pretty boy.

Meanwhile Sally’s helping out Iris with a lethal dose of drugs after making her promise not to, “haunt my hallways, bitch.” Donovan then returns to the hotel and sobs his sad story at the bar, no job, no home, no girl, etc. Elizabeth Taylor, the remarkable Denis O’Hare, serves him moonshine and reminds Donovan that nobody will ever love him as much as his mother, Iris. Back in Sally’s room, Iris isn’t dead yet because the drugs aren’t working. So, desperately seeking Iris’s demise, Sally puts a plastic bag on her head and ties it tight then sits across the room to put her legs up and smoke with her back facing the dying Iris. Then Donovan knocks on the door but it’s too late… his mother’s dead. He can’t have that now that he realizes he needs love. He saves Iris with the vampire virus. Now the mother Donovan hates will live forever. But at least somebody will love him.

The episode title “Mommy” really cuts straight to the theme of this episode. It’s all about mothering and the love therein with all the potential nightmares that can entail. Alex represents the worst thing in the world, the death of a child. And Iris symbolizes the next worst thing, a child who hates you for bringing them into the world. But the Countess and Ramona also stand strong as archetypal mother figures – just in a much more complicated and messy way, the American Horror Story way.

–Katherine Recap

[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Chutes and Ladders” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:

Chutes and Ladders Will Drake brings couture to the Hotel Cortez; John learns about the hotel’s sadistic first owner.

This extra long episode begins as Hypodermic Sally rips apart the sewn up slit of a mattress to chide Gabriel for trying to cheat death then squeezes him back inside. The swedish blonde then dies in her neon lit cage with a vampire child biting her wrist. Ewww. It tastes gross. “That’s because she’s dead now,” Iris, the voice of reason, explains. The body gets dumped into the dusty basement down a trapdoor chute – reminiscent of Sweeney Todd. Then Iris drains the vampire child blood into a crystal decanter she delivers to The Countess and Donovan. They drink. The Countess wants to go out and hunt but beautiful Donovan wants to stay in and watch House of Cards. So Gaga glams up and goes alone. Surprise surprise… it’s just like every other relationship in the world.

Then we’re back at the Hotel Cortez where John Lowe wakes to see his little boy and chases after him crying “Holden” while running all the way to the lobby. Sally awaits at the bar there and immediately recognizes John as a recovering alcoholic. She explains that she ended up a junkie yes but used to be a poet – even wrote one for Patti Smith. John drinks ginger ale and listens. She asks John the story of his last drunk, so he regales a tale of woe. He was on a wretched case – a whole family killed in their home in a scene that wrecked John so much he boozed for two days straight while his family waited at home for him. Then Lowe tried to make amends taking them to a carnival and his son, Holden, went missing the next day. So, he stopped drinking because he, “Can’t afford to get lost.”

Next John’s at the police station where he immediately assumes a package addressed to him from the Hotel Cortez is a bomb. but when the bomb squad check it out they just find a bloody Oscar statue inside. Detective Lowe sends it to the crime lab, seemingly unmoved. Meanwhile, Back at the Cortez Will Drake throws a fashion event that inspires a visit from Claudia (Naomi Campbell) of Vogue Magazine in a fur bolero, nerd glasses, and the hots for Detective Lowe. During the runway show Scarlett, John’s daughter meets Lachlan, Blake’s jaded son. The model of the moment is a douche named Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock) and The Countess falls in love with his rage and drug-filled bod. After he hits the runway Tristan carves a slash into his cheek and declares he’s done with modeling. Then Lachlan shows Scarlett the child vampires in their day coffins. “Nothing wakes them,” Lachlan says right before vampire Holden opens his sapphire blue eyes.

Douche Tristan is on a rampage then, scavenging the hotel for coke in The Countess’s suite. He’s got a real nose for it, apparently. Donovan’s about to choke Tristan dead but then The Countess saves him instead. Tristan then saunters down a timewarp hallway that transports him to another era. It’s the 1920’s with FDR on the radio and the art deco designs of Hotel Cortez are fresh and new. Tristan starts to steal from one of the rooms when he’s discovered by James March (Evan Peters) who’s got a healed-over mortal wound on his throat and a propensity for murdering young, tied-up girls. Tristan then runs out of the room and right into the arms of the Countess.

Then we see Scarlett ride a city bus by herself into town to the Cortez where she returns to the child vampire coffin room and finds them empty. Winding her way through back hallways Scarlett finds the secret room with the child vampires playing on floor-to-ceiling video consoles. Holden sees her and says, “What took you so long?” and he even knows who she is. Scarlett asks why he hasn’t grown up. He doesn’t answer and doesn’t want to leave with her. Scarlett tries to take a picture with him but then he almost bites her neck and she runs away. In the hallway on her way out Scarlett passes Hypodermic Sally who chews her own teeth down to bloody nubs while laughing. This arouses deeply embedded archetypal terrors for anyone who’s had a tooth-crumbling nightmare. Scarlett, of course, runs away even faster.

Next thing we know it’s late at night and Scarlett walks down her street toward home where cop cars are a flurried collection of sirens outside. They’re all about her because she’s missing. John and Alex are all a twitter with terror. She tries to calm them saying she saw Holden at the hotel and wanted to surprise them by bringing him home. They’re understandably still upset and tell her Holden is dead. Back at the Cortez The Countess has made Tristan a vampire now. So he’s excited to sex it up with her out of gratitude while she explains all the vampire rules to him in between banging. Don’t suck on the dead, no sun, blah blah blah. She warns him not to get caught or fall in love. He pretends to listen.

The Countess tells Tristan she’s been alive since 1902 but the best days were the late 1970s when she was a disco queen. They’re lounging around the bed enflagrante when Donovan comes in all jealous and pissy. Donovan says he loves her and she tells him he’ll get better from this because that’s what makes us all better – heartbreak. Donovan’s shockingly ungrateful for this news. Then John Lowe comes to the Cortez pretty pissy himself that his daughter was able to roam the hotel halls without anyone stopping her. Iris tries to get him to drink so she can tell him why this hotel is so special.

Iris recounts the tale of James March, the sadistic pyscho original owner and builder of the Hotel Cortez. John has to understand the origin to understand the hotel, she says. In 1925 Mr. March, a filthy rich loon, was obsessed with art deco design and killing. His unquenchable bloodlust was perfectly suited for building a torture chamber with secret passageways, escape chutes and built-in alibis. He loved murdering so much that he even used it for sexual pleasure, much like The Countess. Turns out Ms. Evers, the laundress goes all the way back to James March. She’s been working at the hotel from the very beginning and has all sorts of magical methods for cleaning linens with love, as the eerie Ms. Evers loves to say.

But he was sloppy in murders outside the hotel, Iris explains, and once even left a bunch of bodies out in the road. Thus the police came after him. It was assumed his wife turned him in – the wife role a great candidate for The Countess – but not yet revealed. As soon as Ms. Evers announced to James March that the police were there he “does her the honor” and shoots her before slitting his own throat just as the police arrive. Thus, Iris has now told Lowe the story of how the Hotel Cortez is full of ghosts and ghouls. John sarcastic claps for Iris’s story before saying, “people do enough damage without help from the afterlife.” The man has a point it’s just he’s in the wrong world for making it.

Back at John’s office he’s in the straight world again, posting crime scene photos next to articles on his board of evidence. He points out a pattern and realizes the Ten Commandments are being expressed through these serial murders. Meanwhile Tristan is at the Cortez scamming a sexual conquest on Grindr. He takes the tasty man up to his room to kill him quickly after only a few kisses. The Countess watches and Tristan tells her, “Just cause I’m sucking on this dude doesn’t mean I’m gay,” which ends this extra long episode with the best line of quite a storied evening.

–Katherine Recap

[For American Horror Story – Hotel‘ “Checking In” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Checking In Detective and family man John Lowe investigates a chain of gruesome murders in Los Angeles.

If the fact that Lady Gaga plays a bloodsucking fashionista doesn’t make you want to watch American Horror Story – Hotel, the fifth installment of this macabre series, probably nothing will. Unless it’s the hot perfection of Matt Bomer, or towhead child vampires in british school uniforms, or a fascinating mystery involving murder, missing children and pretty much every other terrifying thought you’ve ever had. In other words there are many reasons to watch this sexy, weird and playful romp into a horrorland hotel. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously but it does tap into all the hidden terrors deep in the crevices of our grey matter. American Horror Story makes it fun to face our fears thanks to all the glossy glamour and movie star magic. Solid storytelling helps too. It’s only episode one and this watcher is hooked.

Right away the show provides an impeccable sense of place. Luciously decorated in art deco style and located near LA, the hotel echoes with sensual, spooky mystery. Iris, played by Kathy Bates, explains to an immediately dissatisfied blonde duo fresh off a plane from Sweden that their deposit is nonrefundable. Welcome to America. Mare Winningham plays Ms. Evers, a maid steaming what appears to be a bloody bedsheet in the hallway. Their room smells like dead animals too but then it gets even worse when a zombie climbs out of their bed. Welcome to the Hotel Cortez! An unflappable Iris then threatens rather than comforts the blonde duo while finding them another room; this one bigger, nicer and yet somehow scarier too. One of the blondes falls asleep then awakens to find her friend on the floor, being bitten bloody by two child blonde vampires in british school uniforms. Some days it’s better just to stay in bed.

Next we see Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) solving a gruesome murder mystery, seemingly unaffected by the horrific scene as he untangles deductions out of a bloody mangled mess. Then he’s at the office face-timing with his adorable daughter and reading her “Little Women” in between looking at bloody corpse evidence photos. The man compartmentalizes like a pro. That night as he’s leaving the office, John gets a call from the Ten Commandments Killer, who tells him he’s going to kill again this very night at the Hotel Cortez – room 64. We then see Gabriel (Max Greenfield) checking into room 64 gussied up like a rockstar and ready to shoot drugs. The eminent Sarah Paulson, playing Hypodermic Sally, instantly lays claim to him, not that anybody else was interested. But then a creepola encased in what appears to be wet papier-mâché and wearing a drill bit dildo rushes in and beats her to it. Sally sits by to watch and tells the writhing Gabriel to say “I love you Sally” and the pain of the drill bit up his tuchas will go away. So, he says it and drill bit dude disappears at once. Poof.

Next thing you know Detective Lowe shows up at the Cortez, led to room 64 by a bald “Liz Taylor,” played expertly by Denis O’Hare in flowy drag. But when John gets there the room appears empty so he lies down on the bed for a moment of reflection. Detective Lowe wakes up hours later to see one of the blonde vampire children next to the bed. The kid runs away and John chases him through the mesmerizing hotel hallways until he’s lost in confusion.

Next we see a neon sign on one of the hotel’s interior walls that says, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?” It’s a good question given the level of hotness in this particular suite. Gaga, The Countess, gets dressed with the stunning Matt Bomer, Donovan and snorts coke. The pair then head out in sublime evening wear to sit on a blanket among beautiful people at a sort of drive in movie without cars. Nosferatu plays on the screen as The Countess and Donovan silently seduce a sexy young couple back to the Hotel Cortez with them. Next we see the quartet in an enormous circle bed enraptured in fourway nakedness all but for The Countess’s black thong, glittery pasties, and silvery spiked glove. But Donovan also has a glove, this one black and beaded with claw-like nails.Turns out these gloves are crucial because the couple uses their spiky sharp nails for slashing throats.

In the following scene Detective Lowe gets home to find Alex, Chloë Sevigny, his quinoa-cooking wife, headed out to her late night job – whatever that is. She leaves him with his young daughter who agrees with John that quinoa blows and they should go out to eat. Then Iris tortures the blonde duo (now caged) with threats of oyster smoothies until Hypodermic Sally rudely interrupts. Iris then leaves Sally to finish the oyster smoothie ritual so she can “feed that thing in room 33.” Sally lets the girls out “to entertain her” which means one of them must move her with their tears while the other attempts to escape. The escapee makes it all the way to the lobby before The Countess slits her throat with a razor sharp golden fingernail. She seems a bit cranky then and tells Iris “This can never happen again,” before sweeping out in an elegant wave of white silk.

Detective John is out with his elementary school-aged daughter when he gets a text from his wife with an address, 911 and “Help me!” So, he races to the location, gun-ready, and tells his daughter to wait in the car. Once out and about at the address, John’s phone rings, seemingly his wife, Alex calling but it turns out to be the killer. Then John’s daughter walks in before he can stop her and she sees some disemboweled gentlemen strung up and hanging from contraptions. He rushes to comfort her. Honestly, that’s what you get. He told you to stay in the car, kid.

It’s flashback time now and we find Detective John and his wife Alex at a carnival in 2010. At first you think the child with them is a younger version of their daughter but it turns out to be a son, Holden. He went missing at this carnival, on the merry go round with John watching him. Holden has the same impossibly blonde hair as the boy vampire from the Hotel Cortez and we find out in the next scene during present day that Holden is still missing and Alex says she “doesn’t blame John at all.”

The next scene brings Marcy the real estate broker back from American Horror Story season one. She’s showing the hotel to her client, Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) and his son, Lachlan. Marcy introduces Will to Iris as the new owner of the hotel. This throws Iris into a chicken little tizzy and she’s utterly convinced this Drake fella signifies the end times for her. Showing the new owner around also arouses the ire of Donovan but merely piques the interest of The Countess because Drake is a famous fashion designer and she’s REALLY into fashion. Lachlan tells The Countess, “People aren’t supposed to live in hotels” and she explains that this place is special. She shows him a hidden room with floor to ceiling video games and giant jars of candy where platinum blonde children in british school uniforms play and eat on shiny black couches. She addresses one of the children as Holden. Sound the trumpets! So, now we know it’s personal for Detective Lowe… and also why he chased the kid through the maze of hotel hallways.

Then we find out Iris is Donovan’s mother and she’s working there just so she can “see him every day.” Clearly it’s time for another flashback – this time to 1994. Donovan enters with Hypodermic Sally and Iris follows close behind to beg the desk clerk (Liz Taylor back in the day) to let her intervene to save her junkie son from shooting up. But Iris doesn’t have the necessary bribery cash and has to hit an ATM. She’s gonna be too late. Sally only has a dirty needle to give the young Donovan for his fix but he uses it anyway before his mom is pounding on the door – a middle-aged bespectacled buzzkill. Sally then leaves the room while Iris coddles and rocks her doped up son. But then at the end of the hallway Hypodermic Sally takes a moment to stop and fondle a curtain – big mistake. Iris is suddenly right behind her and pushes her out the window. Sally’s dead on the pavement many many floors below… but not really – right? The song Hotel California starts to play and when Iris returns to her son’s room there’s The Countess falling in love with her unconscious son.

As the song keeps playing Detective Lowe packs a suitcase and leaves home. He checks into the Hotel Cortez and gets room number 64 where he can check out any time he likes… but he can never leave.

–Katherine Recap