***Spoilers through Wednesday night’s “Chutes and Ladders” will be discussed in this post; if you’re not caught up, back on out.***
Like Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak house, or The Shining’s Overlook hotel, American Horror Story’s Hotel Cortez is itself a character. Running alongside Sally and Detective Lowe, up and down twisting stairwells, and through its maze-like corridors, it’s impossible not to be impressed by production designer Mark Worthington’s breathtakingly gorgeous creation. Last night we met the building’s fictional creator, Evan Peter’s Mr. James March. March is a serial killer modeled on the infamous H. H. Holmes, the subject of Erik Larson’s excellent and terrifying The Devil in the White City, soon to become a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Holmes. For Peters, this transition from his usual AHS characters suited him frighteningly well, and though his expository introduction was the least successful aspect of the episode, the evil Mr. March did provide a couple of the hours craziest moments.
First March shot a(n alleged) prostitute in front of Tristan:
Then, in flashback history, he sealed a live woman in a wall,
smashed a couple of guys’ heads with a hammer while pontificating about the evils of religion (the anti-vaxers got their lecture later), and pushed them down a chute,
and performed a nude, ritualistic murder so horrible, I can’t even believe there are gifs on Tumblr (ugh, don’t look).
When his adoring maid, Mare Winningham’s Miss Evers informed him the jig was up — cops had arrived and found his bevy of bodies — March let Evers pick her own murder method, kindly offing her quickly with a gun before he sliced his own throat.
Um, nice to meet you, too, Mr. March?
And, that was only the old history stuff. Before all that, Ryan Murphy managed to throw in a boggling amount of completely bonkers stuff. Then again, he is Ryan Murphy, so we’d have expected nothing less.
Finn Wittrock’s Tristan decided he didn’t want to model anymore, so he sliced his own face with a knife.
We found out that even ghosts should keep up their dental visits; I’m talking to you, Miss Sally.
Maybe sewing is her calming therapy, although I’m guessing it doesn’t do much for this poor guy, doomed to eternity in the bed where last week he…UGH.
Apparently this is The Season of Sexytimes, so settle in with the orgies, drill-bit dildos and Gaga getting it on. We had a gay sex (not really) scene followed by a murder sex scene, which ended with Tristan taking the Countess from behind in the bathtub, followed by the most awkward after-cuddle time conversation you’ve ever witnessed.
Gaga gave up Matt Bomer for Finn Wittrock?!! Girl, you crazy.
The Countess revealed her spectacular disco queen past.
Scarlett found her dead/not dead/really dead brother Holden, who’s happy at his new home, and she actually gets a blurred picture of him to prove she saw him. Even though the Countess’ brood aren’t vampires, per se, I didn’t expect Holden to be visible at all.
It would seem Detective Lowe now realizes he’s not completely insane, and his kid might really be running around the Cortez (along with all those other creepy things he saw in his room/bath). I don’t even want to know what’s going to happen to the poor guy. And,
what was in that box? I was so sure it was going to be Chloe Sevigny’s head in there, but I guess that’s a little too on the nose, even for Ryan Murphy.
This was a huge, long, wandering episode, that really could have done without the whole of March’s history thrown in (why not make that the standalone Halloween episode, or use the flashbacks sporadically throughout multiple episodes?). It’s only the second episode and everything’s completely off the rails already, but for so many reasons — including the great music — I just can’t look away.
Bonus: The one-liners were zinging all night long!
Donovan to the Countess: “Let’s stay in and binge watch House of Cards.”
Tristan: “Call the cops man! I don’t give a shit! I’m coming out in a Lars Von Trier movie next year!”
Tristan: “Just because I’m sucking on a dude doesn’t mean I’m gay.”
The Countess to Tristan, who asks if a silver bullet or a stake can take him out. “Bitch please, of course it can.”
“Coffins,” he asks? The Countess: “I prefer blackout curtains and a Duxiana bed.”
Tristan: “You know what I can’t wait for? To hunt Kendall Jenner. Bitch blew me off once at Coachella. Can I kill her?” Countess: “The only thing that can undo you now is your own recklessness.” (In other words, consider Tristan’s death GaGaguaranteed.)
Tristan: “Shit you lived through the wars, depression, Clinton, and everything.”
Tristan to Mr. March: “I Googled you.” March: “That sounds obscene.”
Liz: “Teaching the folks from Vogue how to Vogue.”
Iris: “If I were a few years younger, I might even enjoy the cuffs.”