This week, American Horror Story takes things back to connect the previous seasons. It starts with the Countess in 1926 arriving to the one and only murder house from season 1. She visits Dr. Charles Montgomery (the secret abortionist) from the first season, and seeks out his help to deal with an unplanned pregnancy early on. After he puts her under anesthesia, the doctor and his assistant begin. Dr. Montgomery removes her unborn child, and the other doctor notices unusual movement – but the “child” strikes, killing her in seconds. (it can be assumed that the virus helped the baby mature and survive). When the Countess wakes, he takes her baby to baby to her and congratulates the new mother for having a son. I don’t even know what to think, other than this is quite a way to start off the episode by crossing over with season 1 so quickly, and revealing her own child - I’m all for it. Back in the present day, John is awoken in his own room by Holden playing games with the detective, running in and out of hallways. Eventually, John follows him to the room where the coffins are stored and not only finds children – but his wife Alex residing in the glass tomb.
In yet another shocking turn of events, Liz Taylor finds a new sexual partner in Tristan, as the two sleep together and bond over literature. The two already seem to have a connection of sorts that could also be read as chemistry in an unexpected yet adorable way. When Tristan asks if Liz Taylor is in love with him, she doesn’t offer a solid answer but describes seeing him as Christmas morning. Tristan shares that he’s never felt as cherished as he does with Liz, and that although he isn’t gay – he’s had the most mind blowing sexual encounters with her. (Which Liz clarifies that she is a heterosexual girl.) Liz finally admits to loving Tristan, but tells him it won’t end well because of the Countess. Tristan goes to leave, and reminds Liz he loves her (awww). In another room, our Countess and Will Drake also form a sexual relationship where he makes an exception to his sexuality because of the intriguingly mysterious woman. Tristan enters and she enlists his help (quite forcefully) to appease the sexual desires of Will, exerting her dominance over him.
A concerned Alex finds Liz and explains that John has come across the truth (sort of) and drugged him to have time to figure out what comes next. Liz Taylor offers her assistance to hide the coffins to play it off as a mere hallucination or imagination. After dealing with things, she wakes him up with a fake story to cover her new identity as well as Holden’s. He continues to push his claims as possibly true, and Alex says Scarlett’s story must have creeped into his own dreams. John decides to see for himself, but of course it’s too late and he looks around completely confused by whatever is happening at the Cortez. Elsewhere, our one and only queen Countess enters room 33, where her undead child is kept. She tells the young one that after she returns from a trip to Paris, she’ll never need to leave his side again. We don’t get a clear look at the baby, but I’d imagine it’s slightly on the gruesome side so far…
Donovan and Ramona wait for the Countess to leave the Cortez, and enter with the plan to kill her vampiric children. However, Donovan seems to be apprehensive now, and she decides to execute the plan on her own. Iris and Ramona find the previous chamber without coffins and are infuriated at a missed opportunity to strike back at the powerful creature. Iris states her motivation is because this is no life for the children, but Ramona is purely fuelled by revenge. Ramona then says that she’ll have to settle – and asks Iris for the key to room 33. Donovan goes through her room seeking her closeness in an uber creepy way, and comes across the spirits of the Swedish guests who are now confused spirits. (We also catch a glimpse at the murdered hipster’s spirit wandering the halls seeking Kale.) Donovan explains to the young women that their best bet at happiness is simply finding a purpose – but without the countess he feels as if he has none.
Ramona enters room 33 and calls out to the baby (who we learn is named Bartholomew) and lures him by sharing his auntie Ramona has come to visit. The creature skitters across the floor (still unseen other than its creepiest black eyes) and attacks Ramona. I’m already on team Bartholomew; he’s just a little misunderstood guy with some major murderous impulses! When Liz Taylor goes to feed him, she realizes Bartholomew has escaped – and she insists he’s located before the Countess returns. Liz and a barely scraped Ramona grab a drink to catch up, and she realizes that Liz has fallen for one of the countess’s spawns, which she warns leads to nothing but trouble for anyone. Elsewhere, the Swedish girls found a man who they begin to flirt with. It quickly turns sexual, but he becomes weary of their intentions and asks them to leave. The girls don’t seem to be the same as before, and begin to stab him repeatedly with some sense of pleasure – but are found by Alex, telling the vampire that they just want to find something to pass time. Alex tells them that she has an idea, and it involves a “man” who has always wanted to be with two girls…
John tries to get back involved on the case, and is told that they have already arrested a suspect, leaving John once again unfulfilled and drinking. (Well if he didn’t have a problem before like he thought, he still has time to develop one!) Liz scrapes him off the floor, and John nearly becomes violent with her. Liz leaves, not wanting to put herself in the situation, and the two Swedish girls find John. Things seem to progress rather fast, and we next see a threesome go down that somehow results in a blood orgy. John notices the blood and his freak-out ensues once again. To make things worse, Mr. March appears to John and applauds his official welcoming to the Cortez (it’s not official until a bloody ghost orgy goes down.) John’s mind is starting to become unhinged with numerous entities and no explanations, so he packs his belongings ready to exit the Cortez once and for all.
John returns home with Scarlett, and both tell each other they haven’t seen or heard from Alex in two days. Poor Scarlett is brought to tears by everything going on, and out of all the children in American Horror Story, I feel the worst for her. Scarlett sees blood on one of her father’s belongings, and John begins to recognize that there is something amiss. He arms himself, worried that something has followed them home, but sees something that he fires his gun at (off camera). Scarlett, still fragile, screams at the gunshots and runs to her room to stay away from her father (to be fair I’d be a little freaked out too.) The Countess returns to the Cortez, and Liz nervously prepares to drop the bombshell that she’s fallen for Tristan. She shows how much she cares for Liz before the subject comes up, but when she says his name – the Countess changes her demeanor. “I don’t share.” She tells Liz, while Liz continues to push that she has madly fallen for Him. The Countess makes the decision for the both of them to talk to Tristan…and I feel that someone’s days are numbered.
Alex returns to their former home to check in on John, and has Scarlett taken to her grandparent’s home. He tells Alex he is questioning his sanity, and Alex insists he just needs rest, but he realizes she will return to the Cortez - which doesn’t sit well with him. Back at the Cortez, The countess finds Tristan and questions their relationship. Tristan states that she thrives on the pleasure of leaving her “loves” seeking her out, craving more of the Countess in her absences – and that he isn’t one of them. Tristan says that he may not be the smartest, but he has her figured out and isn’t ready to sacrifice his love with Liz Taylor for someone who is using him as an object. The Countess is taken aback, and tells Liz she can have him. The two share a moment together where they both appear relieved, and in love – but she takes this feeling away by slicing Tristan’s throat in front of Liz and covering her in his blood. “He’s yours. Bury him.” she coldly tells Liz in one of the most devastating and chilling scenes this season. The performances, the writing, the looming feeling of death, it was completely effective in showcasing how twisted the Countess can really be. She leaves and goes to check on her baby, to find Alex rocking a slightly injured Bartholomew. The Countess becomes tearful, and shows great appreciation to Alex for saving her son’s life, which Alex responds, “you saved my son.” Before the episode concludes, we catch a glimpse at the babies face with open flesh and jagged teeth that are definitely on the spooky side. (But I’ll admit, I still feel for the little creature!)
Overall Grade: AHS Hotel picked up speed this episode and provided spectacular performances by Lady Gaga and Dennis O’Hare. Seeing the Countess play a vast range of emotions in this episode (in the Countess’s subtle way) was very well executed by Gaga. The character progression and ties to season 1 made this a great episode for all AHS fans, and one of the strongest episodes of the season. It’s a good week to be a Ryan Murphy show! Episode 6 receives an ‘A’
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Lady Gaga needs a Golden Globe nomination after this episode. Watching her flourish on AHS only gets better and better.
-Liz and Tristan…What a way to break hearts. I was pulling for the new romance, but of course in a series like AHS, relationships succeeding are a rarity. Kudos to both Finn Wittrock and Dennis O’Hare for giving us passionate and genuine scenes that came as a major surprise.
-I’m all about baby Bartholomew. Something about the vampire child who is feared by most makes me want to see him have a happy conclusion. #TeamBartholomew
-I was pleasantly surprised to see the Swedish tourists’ spirits in this episode, but it was fun to see them in a completely different light.
-Rest in peace Tristan! I’ll seriously miss the edgy and fragile model with a damaged perception of society. Seeing him find love before his death was a great direction, but nonetheless a devastating loss. Does this at least mean he’ll be a spirit?