American Horror Story: Hotel - Ep. 5
Iris returns to the Hotel Cortez a changed woman while Alex tries to use her powers for good. Liz Taylor reveals her past to Iris.
November 4. 2015
Lady Gaga as The Countess
Kathy Bates as Iris
Sarah Paulson as Sally
Evan Peters as James Patrick March
Wes Bently as John Lowe
Matt Bomer as Donovan
Chloe Sevigny as Alex Lowe
Denis O'Hare as Liz Taylor
Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake
Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale
Special Guest Stars:
Finn Wittrock as Tristan Duffy
Mare Winningham as Hazel Evers
Madchen Amick as Mrs. Ellison
Anton Lee Starkman as Max Ellison
Darren Criss as Justin
Jessica Lu as Babe
Alex has gone and done it now. She’s unintentionally created an army of undead pubescent middle-schoolers. Sure, her intentions were noble, trying to save the child of an anti-vaxxer by giving her his blood. Apparently she either didn’t know or didn’t care about the boy’s insatiable hunger after she turned him. You know how much teenage boys eat.
This may all seem like adding on more adjacent subplots, but I actually don’t hate it. It’s strange how over the course of the last five episodes I’ve grown to care less about The Ten Commandments Killer (maybe because he hasn’t killed anyone or shown up since the first episode) than I have the vampire storyline. I actually like Iris and Alex as new members of the Hotel Cortez’s Undead Club. They are both grounded in the real world and provide and interesting foil for Gaga’s Countess and Wittrock’s Tristan.
Even when Alex shows up in one of The Countess’s dresses you can visually see the difference between their minds. The Countess looks flawless, every hair is perfectly in place and her skin looks amazing. Alex looks tired, her hair is messy and just thrown up in a bun. Where The Countess and Tristan are about excess and eternal beauty, Iris and Alex have become vampires out of necessity. Alex to be with her son, Iris to be with hers.
Iris even talks about this over a blood cocktail with Liz Taylor. She says the world isn’t made for women like her and it never was. Why would she want to hang around for eternity being treated the same? She is even being used in Ramona and Donovan’s plan to kill the children because she’s “invisible.”
At least she’s invisible until a Hipster couple shows up, looking for (discounted) refuge at the Cortez on Halloween night. You see, people have been popping out babies left and right in their neighborhood and they just can’t be bothered to give out candy. They then proceed to whine about the accommodations, request grilled romaine salads, pate, and an earthy red. I don’t think I’ve been more excited to see a couple of characters die in my entire life. Iris slits both of their throats and sucks them dry after feeding them cat food as pate.
My favorite part of the evening was, obviously, Liz Taylor’s backstory. Not only did it give Denis O’Hare a chance to really do what he does and disappear into his characters, but it gave The Countess screen time where she wasn’t being malevolent or creepy. Instead we finally get a glimpse of The Countess as a motherly character with emotions that aren’t just rage and revenge. That came later, when Liz encounters his coworkers in the Cortez hallway.
The entire sequence of O’Hare’s backstory was just amazing. From shamefully hiding in his room and trying on his wife’s furs, through meeting The Countess and being able to match his outside to the inside, then him walking with confidence down the hallway in fur, makeup, jewelry, and an ice bucket. I love that they didn’t just make her a freak or just say “he’s fabulous because he just is.” They gave her a backstory where he married a woman just because she was his dress size. He was a vulnerable person who felt shame for dressing the way he wanted to. It was very nice to see how he changed from that shy, sad man in 1984 to the sassy, well-dressed woman she is today.
Amongst all of this happiness (people finding themselves, finding their children, finding blood to drink by murdering others) John is over at the LAPD precinct sucking at life. Why he thought it would be a good idea to tell his superior about the dead serial killers who drugged him I will never know. Even after being told how crazy it sounds he goes: “I know! I’m not saying they were, they just SAID they are!” How about just making a sane spin on that and saying a bunch of killers were dressed up as dead serial killers on Halloween, John? That sounds at least a better than random people saying they were dead killers. Still no forward momentum on finding out if John is the Ten Commandments Killer or not. But he did have a blackout and sleep with Sally.
While this season continues its forward momentum (I am excited to see how Donovan, Ramona, and Iris try to go up against Alex and The Countess to kill the children) it does seem to be losing steam on the non-vampire subplots. Nothing else has been done regarding the Cortez or how the dead seem to stick around or be able to travel to it. Meanwhile the Ten Commandments Killer storyline has completely flat lined and gone forgotten, unless John really is the killer, then it’s just trying to drag it out longer. Though I have to say, I’m secretly hoping that the vampire Children of the Corn continue their murder spree, changing other children along the way, and turning LA into an undead wasteland. ‘Salem’s Backlot?
Army of pubescent vampire children.
Iris killing the hipsters.
Liz Taylor's backstory
Non-vampire subplots are losing steam.