American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 2 Review: Hotel Hell

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Thanks to the almighty power of the DVR and its fast-forward features, I'm relatively certain I'll be able to sleep after viewing American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 2. While it was definitely full of murder and mayhem, it was free of gnarly creatures coming up through mattresses to claim more victims. 

Whew. Bullet dodged. But not if you're Miss Evers, the stain-lifting ghost who likely reeks of ammonia. Tonight we learned how she came to be trapped in the Hotel Cortez and the origins of what I'm lovingly calling Hotel Hell.

Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga - American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 2

Ryan Murphy has completely out done himself with the gore for American Horror Story: Hotel. The amount of stage blood used on this production in only two episodes has to be an astronomical figure. I'm guessing we're well over 100 gallons at this point, so I can only imagine where we'll be by the time this season ends. 

It's a random thought, for sure, but it is nevertheless one I had. So now you can all have it too. You're welcome. 

If we take out last week's anal rape scene, the gore factor so far is just crossing the line of what most reasonable people might deem acceptable. It's enough to make you squeamish but probably not enough to force you to change the channel. Throw in that scene from last week and it's miles across the line for most people. Myself included.

If we take out ALL the gore, what we're left with is a typical season of AHS. There are so many storylines it's nearly impossible to begin discussing them. Maybe they're all intertwined, but maybe they aren't. Maybe we'll see resolution, but maybe we won't. Don't count on any of it making sense because clearly that's not what we're here for.

The gore is necessary because the shock value is what keeps us coming back. We're as twisted as some of these characters. And characters are NOT in short supply this season.

Evan Peters was, as always, perfectly creepy. He portrayed James March's murderous glee so well it's almost shocking and hard to remember that this is a real human in the real world and not an actual serial killer on the screen. He's just so good at being weird. 

My money is on his wife being the Countess, and on her turning him in because he drew too much attention to her secret. He doesn't fit her type of man, so it makes sense that the marriage was about inheriting the hotel and his fortune. There's always the chance that the shocking blonde hair we saw as he bricked a woman into a wall belongs to someone else and that we're supposed to think he was married to the Countess, but unpredictability isn't really this show's strong suit.

Speaking of the Countess, she's definitely an immortal and tonight she uttered the word "vampire." Plus, hi, she drinks blood for sustenance and that's sort of the hallmark of vampires.

What we do know is that she has an insatiable desire for sex with men who all look remarkably similar. Murphy has openly stated that this is purposeful and a part of Lady Gaga's character, and I'm not one to argue with Finn Wittrock and Matt Bomer being kept around. I'm totally okay with her having a "type."

Where this story of the Countess and her lovers, both current and jilted, is going is anyone's guess. We do know that Angela Bassett will play a rival of the Countess' and Donovan will find himself in her grasp, so we might be about to see an entirely different version of The Vampire Diaries right there on FX.

By the way, Lady Gaga is doing an exceptional job with what she's being given. The lines are minimal, and she's acting primarily with her eyes, which has always worked for her. So far, I'm a fan, and I haven't found myself missing Jessica Lange at all.

It helps that we have Sarah Paulson around, and DEAR GOD THE TEETH WERE TERRIFYING. Kids are the best? No, nope. Sarah Paulson is the best. Hypodermic Sally not so much. She's a pusher and a user and also she freaking sews living people into mattresses to let them...suffocate? Turn into monsters? 

No idea. But now is as good a time as any to turn our attention to the season's protagonist in order to ask ourselves WTActualF this guy is thinking.

John Lowe is trying to solve a series of murders while not even once stopping to question if he should perhaps consider checking himself into a Holiday Inn instead of what is clearly the creepiest and weirdest place on Earth. He seems to have found a connection between James Patrick March's murders and the ones he's investigating in the present day.

That seems like a legit connection until we think back to March's scene wherein he declares he should kill God and he hates religion. This is not a man who would methodically kill people based on the 10 commandments, but that's a continuity thing we probably weren't supposed to notice. These murders will all definitely be connected simply because they probably shouldn't be. 

Meanwhile, John will continue to see visions of his son in the hotel and also deny to his daughter that he's seen her brother, calling her a liar and ruining his relationships with both his daughter and his wife. Ten bucks says he ends up a permanent resident of Hotel Hell by season's end, perhaps even bringing his family along for the ride, much in the same way that the family in Murder House all decided to stay.

As far as the rest of the myriad stories go:

  • I would listen to Kathy Bates read a phone book. Her voice is super soothing and perfect for narrating stories about serial killers and probably also puppies.
  • Denis O'Hare is killing it as Liz Taylor.
  • The Will Drake story is bizarre and I can't even bring myself to care about it. So far it has only served to bring Tristan Duffy into the Countess' orbit and I have to think there was a less clunky way that could've been done. 
  • Chloe Sevigny's strange librarian hair might be the weirdest thing happening in this entire show.

What did you think about "Chutes and Ladders"? Which hotel guest's story most intrigues you? Do you find the gore this season overly gratuitous? Sound off in the comments below and then come back here to watch American Horror Story online!

Chutes and Ladders Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 2 Quotes

Our children are at risk from so much in this world, and we can never protect them from all of it. But when there's something we can do to make them just a little bit safer, we do it.


[to the Countess] Come on. Let's stay in. We can binge watch House of Cards!