Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Hotel”
After nine incredibly inconsistent episodes, “She Gets Revenge” satisfies on every level and delivers the best episode of the season. Rather than focusing on backstory for individual characters, this episode blends the ensemble cast and gives each character their moment to shine.
The opening scene shows an elderly couple checking into the hotel; a voice-over monologue from Liz Taylor sets the scene. The elderly woman is suffering from cancer, so the couple decides to commit suicide together in the hotel room. This act greatly touches Liz, who considers following the idea of the couple, however, Iris declares that she should clear up unfinished business first. Iris and Liz decide to create a suicide pact as both have lost their will to live any longer. The main piece of unfinished business to take care of is Liz’s long-lost son. Miss Evers calls and invites the son to the Hotel Cortez to reunite with Liz. For her help, Miss Evers is rewarded with several modern day cleaning products, including detergent, a washer and a dryer. These scenes were incredibly humorous and highlights the character of Miss Evers greatly.
The evil plan of The Countess to inherit Will Drake’s fortune is shown to be fully underway. The Countess calls the police to report Will missing only to be surprised when his ghost suddenly reappears. The Countess makes Will fully aware of her plan and mentions that she will use Will’s son, Lachlan, as she is his legal guardian. The characters of Donovan and The Countess both parallel one another in this episode. Donovan visits The Countess’ other lover, Valentino, who he abruptly murders. Meanwhile, The Countess invites Natacha to the hotel, who she also murders. The reasoning behind these murders is simply for love; The Countess wants to be with Valentino, while Donovan wants to be with The Countess.
John’s story in this episode is finally relevant to the rest of the plot as he helps Alex deal with the vampire children. Alex’s worries that if the vampire children are not dealt with, The Countess will kill both her and Holden. John and Alex pay a visit to where the children are now living, however, they are not so willing to listen to reason. John and Alex manage to bring the children back to the hotel where they lock them in a sealed off hallway. Ramona Royale reveals herself to the children in the hallway, however, it’s still unclear what Ramona will do to them. John also has a great dynamic in this episode with Sally, who repeatedly questions what will happen when Alex finds out that he is a serial killer. Sally appears to be jealous of the rekindled love between John and Alex and promises revenge. Mr. March also alerts John that he only has one more murder left in his Ten Commandments killings.
The more touching storyline of this episode follows Liz and her son, Douglas (Josh Braaten). After checking in, Douglas visits the bar when he strikes up a conversation with Liz. Douglas is seemingly unaware of the true identity of Liz and the two discuss each other’s lives; Liz encourages Douglas to follow his dreams and drops hints about being sorry for abandoning the family. After their meeting, Liz is still ready to follow through on the suicide pact. She later returns to the bar where Douglas admits that he knew exactly who Liz was all along. He also reveals that he is following the advice Liz gave him and that he accepts who she is, claiming “there’s plenty of room for another woman in my life.” Liz alerts Iris that she cannot go through with the suicide attempt after her meeting with Douglas. Iris, who has already made herself a tribute video for her three Instagram followers, is saddened and worried that she will be alone once again. Liz formulates a plan to take over the hotel from The Countess and turn it into a much nicer place; “we are the ones who should inherit the earth.”
The next set of scenes are some of the most hilarious in the entire series. Donovan, in the penthouse suite of the hotel, dances to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” as The Countess tearfully returns from viewing Valentino’s body. She turns the music off and the two seem to have a moment of rekindling. Suddenly, the music returns as Iris and Liz burst in, guns blazing, leaving the fates of Donovan and The Countess unknown. This was an unexpected ending to the episode and definitely speeds up the pace of the story.
“She Gets Revenge” uses the perfect mix of emotion, humor and action to develop the characters and story. One of the major negatives of this season has been the pacing, however, this episode has the ideal pace for the various complex storylines. Did The Countess and Donovan survive this shootout? What does the future hold for the Hotel Cortez? “American Horror Story: Hotel” returns on Jan 6, 2016 on FX.