As is frequently the case with episodes of the American Horror Story saga, some episodes are amazing while others leave us propping our eyelids open with toothpicks.
I mean, some of us could blame that on the recent time change, but most of us will probably agree that not all American Horror Story episodes are created equal.
American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 5 is one of those episodes. While there were some bright, shining moments tonight, this really felt like another night of too many things happening and not enough attention being paid to the season's over-arching stories.
Whatever they may be.
No, really. What are they? Because we have about a dozen right now and we're a third of the way through the season.
Things we know about American Horror Story Season 5:
This season has vampires. This season has mass murderers. This season has a cast bloated beyond belief and feels required to tell us the details of the lives of everyone who is now trapped and/or voluntarily living within the walls of the Hotel Cortez and it's tiring and boring and bad writing. This season has...ghost sex? Yeah. Ghost sex.
But I didn't hate it all. Here's what I loved about "Room Service."
Any and everything having to do with Iris and Liz Taylor and their new bond gets a solid A+ from me. Everything else? Meh.
Denis O'Hare is so, so incredibly talented, and he does such a great job as the hotel's sage that learning Liz Taylor's history and how she came to be a permanent fixture at the Hotel Cortez made for the best parts of the night. The Countess, like she's done with so many others, gave Liz her life by helping her find her voice and place in the world.
That place might be a hotel filled with murderers and spirits, but hey, it's home, right?
To do that, the Countess didn't turn Liz Taylor into a vampire, a word which has not yet been used to describe the Countess and her kind in case you're keeping track at home. Liz, as far as I can tell from tonight's episode, is a living, breathing human, who lives alongside the spirits inhabiting the Hotel Cortez. Unlike the others, she can leave, but there's nowhere else she'd rather be. She's found her people. Some of whom happen to be dead and undead.
Hey, they don't judge. Unlike the hipsters who checked into the hotel to avoid trick-or-treaters and wound up shoved down the trash chute.
It was absolutely lovely to see Darren Criss on the screen again. Part of me hopes he has unfinished business and winds up a permanent fixture at the hotel. I can see the social commentary about "Instagram influencers" continuing with the sharp wit Ryan Murphy often employs against pop culture and it would be divine.
Sigh. The guest character Criss brought to life tonight had to go. He was unbearable. Thank you, Iris, for taking him out with a steak knife to the spine.
As always, a parallel between character stories is appreciated. Liz found her voice with the help of the Countess and paid it forward by helping Iris find hers. Iris has transitioned into the world of a full-fledged vampire now, but nothing slips past the Countess. There's no way she doesn't know what's going on under her own roof.
Donovan's plan to use his mother as Ramona Royale's spy will backfire, and soon, and we'll probably find out exactly how one of the immortals can die in the process. That is, if we don't see an entire class of children dispatched first.
What's different about our American Horror Story vampires is that any contact with vampire blood turns the contact-ee into a vampire. Alex, therefore, is now responsible for siring an entire classroom full of middle school students thanks to her inability to let one patient go. No child should die from measles and respiratory arrest, but Alex's choice to save the child's life using her blood has now created quite a body count.
The Countess will be greatly displeased, I'm sure. She'll probably use Holden as even more of a bargaining chip than she already is. Because Alex created this mess, Holden will be withheld until she cleans it up in a way suitable to the Countess. Chances of that happening? Slim to none. The Countess doesn't lose, and her grip on Holden is strong. Her grip on all of her children is strong. (We'll learn more about that next week on American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 6.)
Discussing Alex brings me to the parts of this episode that I just...ugh.
John and Alex Lowe are the worst, most self-centered parents on the planet, and we could've done with about three less scenes of John tonight since none of his scenes really shoved the story forward.
John lost his job and slept with Hypodermic Sally. Probably. Maybe. He doesn't remember. But she does and so does her weird monster. Apparently it's their destiny to be together and so we'll get to see more of the monster. Hooray. Is he the Ten Commandments Killer and he doesn't know it? Is that where we're headed?
Now that both John and Alex are living in the hotel, who is living with Scarlett? What's going to happen to the daughter they seem to have forgotten about? Can a therapist please check into the hotel soon? She's going to need one.
What did you think about "Room Service"? Are you Team Liz Taylor? What happens to Alex when the Countess finds out about the middle school murder brigade? Why does Chloe Sevigny's hair and costume make her look like she's 85? Jump into the comments below and remember you can always watch American Horror Story online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.