When I’m checking into a hotel, the last thing I’m worried about is ghosts stalking me, people sewn into my mattress and some vampires sucking my blood. At most I’ll complain that I need an extra set of bath towels. But not at Hotel Cortez. This week, we delve even deeper into the inner workings of the establishment — even getting a few more flashbacks.
Let’s start with Sally, our resident junkie ghost. At this point it’s safe to assume that Sarah Paulson is playing someone whose soul is trapped in the hotel, a spirit, similar to what we had in "Murder House" — considering Iris pushed her out of a window last episode and she seemingly lived. The episode opens on Sally talking not-so-sweetly to Gabriel (Matt Greenfield) who is sewn into her mattress. She babbles on about how he can’t cheat death before aggressively pushing his head back into the mattress.
Sally has such a way with words, especially when she has her little pep talk with Lowe, who finds his way to the hotel bar one night (yet another reference to "The Shining": alcoholism) after dreamily chasing his lost son, Holden, down the hallways. Sally tempts him with a drink, but he denies it, retelling the last time he drank: One night, after a case where a man killed himself after accidentally killing his family with carbon monoxide. This is potentially foreshadowing Lowe and his relationship with his dwindling family.
Also, I’m still not 100 percent sure why Lowe was okay with his daughter, Scarlet, running around the hotel during the fashion show, when there’s a psycho on the loose. A+ parenting right there. No wonder he lost Holden, poor kid. Tensions run high when Scarlet sees her brother held up, but she only has a blurry picture to show for it. Luckily, after seeing the eerie photo, Lowe has the chops to actually go and do his job, which means finally asking Iris what the fresh hell is going on in the hotel.
With a major 1930s theme, Iris brings us back in time, describing the life of the hotel years back. The former owner, an oil tycoon who built the hotel, is introduced as a serial killer. Meet Evan Peters' new character, James March, who enjoys torturing, killing and throwing people down a chute into a grave of his former victims. He practically built the hotel so he could perform these evil deeds, and he’s probably creepier than any character we have seen Peters play. Also: his accent. I’m still getting used to it.
Then comes Tristan. A druggie high-fashion model who inspires Ms. Gaga with good looks and killer rage. Naturally she turns him into some version of a vampire, hours later. These vampires don’t sparkle, and they play by a whole new set of rules. The Countess calls the transformation "the virus," which could be translated in real world terms as an STD. In this case, it makes Tristan even more beautiful, and he begins his affair with the Countess, who seems to have forgotten all about her other partner, Donovan.
Throughout the episode, we get a lot of backstory on the mechanics of this virus and see the Countess’s manipulation shine through. Some more foul play, drugs and vampire affections to come, stay tuned.
• Mr. March waged a war again God, which could possibly tie into the present day Ten Commandments murderer.
• Lowe’s wife, Alex, is lecturing other parents about keeping their kids safe when she can’t even manage to keep her own daughter under a watchful eye. That family just screams hypocrisy.
• Liz Taylor manning the bar is like ordering a glass of sass.
• Now we know that room 64 (!!!) used to be Mr. March’s old office. Explains the creepy vibe.
• Still not sure about drill-bit dildo man, but he tends to pop up when temptation is near.
• The frazzled, blond children sleep in actual coffins. Just in case the show didn’t hammer that last vampire nail into the coffin hard enough.
• Does Sally ever bring Gabriel any snacks? I’m sure mattress springs don’t digest well.
• Will Drake’s first order of business is to put on a fashion show? Really?
• Who turned the Countess?
• Is there anyone more beautiful than Matt Bomer?