Last weeks AHS: Hotel focused on the Countesses thirst for revenge, and this weeks episode was titled "she gets revenge" so you can imagine things come to a very climactic scene that could leave a major loss in the Cortez with someone achieving their coveted payback in an unexpected way. It starts out with Liz Taylor's perspective of residents that check-in to the Cortez. One elderly couple appears, both completely immersed in love and celebrating their 60th anniversary. Having nearly succumbed to cancer within her, the couple decides to get a room where the two jointly commit suicide - something Liz has seen before at the hotel with many losses. Liz and Iris come across the remains, and Liz contemplates using one of their guns to end her own life before the Countess can, but Iris convinces her otherwise. Liz explains to Iris that her only unfinished business is with her son whom she hasn't seen in years, so she tells her friend to tie up the remaining loose ends of her life and they can both collectively commit suicide afterwards. The pair doesn't feel like they have much to live for and their plan begins to pick up steam when Ms. Evers makes the phone call to Liz's son, but although he is reluctant he eventually agrees after 30 years apart. The housekeeper shares her sentiments on the issue and generally associates Liz as a gay parent, general labeling them as embarrassing, criminal, or even frightening, which surely causes Liz more anxiety to see her son so many years later.
John continues to gather trophies from his reign as the 10 commandments killer, with his most recent victims coming from a church where he massacred three innocent people. "One more and you'll be free" Sally explains to John to remind him the goal is within sight. A double trouble encounter takes place between the Countess and Natasha while Valentino is confronted elsewhere by a jealous Donovan. Natasha tells the Countess she should have killed her while she had the chance, but the blonde bombshell whips out a gun and shoots a knife wielding Natasha saying, "Who’s the little mouse now?" Donovan (still privately confronting Valentino) also shares the same idea and pulls a gun on Valentino before repeatedly shooting him over the love he has for the Countess. Drama is sure to ensue very soon...
Mr. March conducts his psychotic murderous hobby in the basement of the Cortez, by burning an unhelpful contractor. His pupil and new/old buddy John interrupts to ask for Mr. March to share the location of his wife (as she's going through her own major transitions.) The two discuss Scarlet and their parenting (or lack of!) and Alex says the Countess insists the infected children are dealt with before she ends Alex and Holden's life on her own accord. Liz is seen at the bar, and is notified her son is making her way to redeem drink vouchers they left as a more conspicuous way to discover more about him from a distance. The tall, well dressed man approaches for a drink and conversations begin to flow, with him opening up about his life and their bond is fairly instantaneous. He shares that he grew up without a father, and he says despite the absence he left, he's there to build a bridge between them possibly. Liz feels more nervous than ever to divulge her identity, and the scene concludes with her shaken after he exits the bar.
Alex finds the children and is attacked by a small (yet very evil) child with a knife, but John is quick to her defense. The children who want help are forcefully entrapped by the others, and one slowly dies from refusing to feed right before their eyes. Take this as a warning vampire children of the world - that's why you should take the advice of your vampiric elders! The police question the Countess about the whereabouts of her husband, pretending to be the grieving wife, until Will in spirit form makes a dramatic entrance to confuse the cops and have them leave. She tells him she did plan on claiming his fortune as the legal guardian to his only child, saying that she doesn't kill children - but will turn him into one of her kind. Alex brings the children (instilled with fear and self preservation) to the Cortez, and locks them inside of a sealed off floor where Will's body is rotting and Ramona is covered in blood and very hungry.
Alex and John sleep together again, hoping to postpone their divorce and perhaps reconcile because John seems like a new man... (Yeah, more murderous.) Alex leaves to check on their absent children, and Sally appears to John claiming she's been used by him as nothing more than a casual sex partner to express his dark side. John being the wavering man that he is, begins to hook up with Sally immediately after a little persuasion (didn't take much.) She doesn't actually get the chance to sleep with him, but there is still a clear sense of sexual tension between the pair. Liz prepares to end her life with Iris and leave things unspoken between her and her son, but finds out he's sitting at the bar hoping to speak with Liz. Before she can share her truth, he admits he's known who she was the entire time. There is animosity stemming from the absence of a father, but the open minded man tells Liz, "There's room for another woman in my life." With a smile that unexpectedly brings her more joy than we've seen so far. This is surely one of the best scenes this season for giving Liz better character development, and a touching scene involving a conflict that represents a real-life struggle for people of all walks of life.
Donovan and the Countess share a romantic dinner, and she enlists his help on cleaning up problems - but he reveals that he's killed Valentino, and when the Countess finds his body she lets out an emotionally devastating sob over the loss her former lover. Liz locates Iris who has prepared the largest supply of firearms in the Cortez, with a stellar tribute video she's created for herself. (The video includes the song "I hope you dance" with rainbows, mountainsides, and kittens in the background.) Liz however feels reinvigorated by her new relationship with her son, and thankfully convinces Iris that her life has so much more to offer – suggesting a different approach to their plans. Alex and John decide on leaving the Cortez (for good) and take Holden from his playroom, leaving a reunited and happy family (minus Scarlett, but she’s the next stop one would hope) and Sally doesn't let them leave without screaming at John from a balcony that she will kill him herself. It doesn’t stop their departure, but it’s doubtful that things end there for the unconventional family.
Donovan is seen in the suite the Countess resides in, dancing to "Hotline Bling" but the Countess returns with tears in her eyes and anger in her heart. She tells him she's surprised he didn't flee while he could, and tells him how long she spent seeking out Valentino after years of depression. The Countess says she tried to recreate his image in him and others, but yells that he'll never be the man Valentino was. Donovan says that he knows she'll kill him, and he accepts it as her closest act of love - which creates a soft spot him to the Countess. The moment takes a turn when Liz and Iris storm the suite armed with guns and send a barrage of ammunition at the infected creatures to "Hotline Bling" (I. Love. This.) Of course the episode ends on a huge cliffhanger with the fate of the Countess and Donovan current ambiguous, but when AHS returns in January you can guarantee there will be a few storylines to resolve...
Overall Grade: American Horror Story Hotel has taken a different approach from season before, and I have appreciated the creative choices for the eclectic characters the franchise is famous for. This particular episode was strongly fueled by the marvelous and captivating Liz Taylor, the Countess, and Iris’s amazing farewell video. The episode managed to add some comedic moments alongside the character growth for fan favorites – so AHS Hotel receives a ‘B+’ for a strong installment and a smart cliffhanger for the brief AHS hiatus.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-I never expected Liz Taylor to experience such growth in the begging of the series, but she’s quickly become one of the most memorable characters in AHS Hotel so far.
-The Countess didn’t get the revenge I expected, instead she received some rather upsetting news and a possible death that suggests being the Countess is no easy job.
-The introduction of Liz’s son was a heartfelt moment to AHS, which didn’t go unnoticed for its importance.
-Ramona needs to change up her strategy the next time she comes for the Countess… I’d say being sealed off in an unknown floor with no television is reason enough to really re-strategize.