American Horror Story: Hotel Review: Chutes and Ladders

Hello, all! This post brought to you by all those girls who dress up as Sexy Nurses for Halloween. You go, girls! Don’t let PC thoughtcrime police tell you that you’re de-legitimizing female employment. For chrissakes, HuffPost, it’s a Halloween costume. Don’t you have more important things to do like bully Raven-Symone?

I planned on writing a review of AHS: Hotel every week, but then school slapped me in the face and said: “NO!” so that will probably not happen. Yet here I am, 8 days after the episode has aired, and I’m READY to write about it. Let’s check back in with a bunch of boring characters staying in a nasty hotel.

The episode opens with Sarah Paulson (Sally, still not from The Nightmare Before Christmas) sewing Max Greenfield into a mattress, once again showing that AHS has no idea how to get rid of dead bodies. “Let’s hide him in a mattress! Nobody will smell him there!” Luckily, Max Greenfield wakes up and gasps “You lied to meeee!” but Sarah Paulson cares not a whit. She kisses him and sews up him snug in his little mattress coffin. And that’s the end of Max Greenfield I assume.

This will forever be my favorite gif

Presumably the point of Max Greenfield’s character was to introduce us to the Addiction Demon, who violently kills…addicts? Just guessing here, guys. AHS is so subtle sometimes that I can’t even understand their metaphors. Anyways, back to the plot (yawn). The other Swedish girl is still in her neon cage, but now she’s being sucked on by tiny platinum haired vampire children, including Wes Bentley’s missing son/ disturbing Catcher in the Rye reference Holden. The children remark that the Swedish girl tastes nasty and Kathy Bates tells them that’s because she’s dead. Wow, 2 people dead and we’re only 5 minutes into the 2nd episode. Apparently, Lady Gaga didn’t learn the only rule of vampires: no vampire children. Hasn’t she read Twilight?

The elegant Cleopatra finds another ingenious way of getting rid of dead bodies: dumping them down laundry chutes. That’s why this episode is called Chutes and Ladders, guys! HAHAHAHAH STOP IT! You’re not funny, Murphy. Our lovely Swedish girl has become literally disposable. And the media says there’s no good roles for women these days! There are a few other bodies rotting away in the body dungeon. It seems suspicious to me that nobody has yet connected the Hotel with multiple disappearances, but maybe Lady Gaga is bribing the LAPD with expensive modern art sculptures or night gowns or something.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga and Contractually Shirtless Bomer are bickering in their vampire loft. Gaga wants to go out and hunt for some prey, but Bomer just wants to stay in and watch House of Cards. These blatantly modern references are really rubbing me the wrong way. Contractually Shirtless Bomer would not be watching Kevin Spacey. Unless…this is another veiled reference to Seven? I’m on to you, Murphy.

So Gaga heads out by herself, dressed as per usual like a luxurious countess vacationing away from her Romanian torture castle. She heads to that stupid Urban Light exhibit that I swear I’ve seen in all the rom-coms lately. What was the point of this scene? Nothing except to show Lady Gaga between a maze of lamp posts. It’s ART!

And then, for no reason at all, we go to where Chloe Sevigny is. I thought that she would be the wife character with a “job” but it turns out that she actually IS employed! Feminism! She’s a home-visit doctor treating a boy with a disease that his mom thinks is pneumonia, but Chloe Sevigny informs her that it is actually measles. Wow, so current. Very enlightening. Sevigny preaches at the mom about how horrible it is not to vaccinate her kid and how there’s no cure for measles and blah blah blah. Maybe this would make a good PSA, but it sounds horribly preachy in a TV show about vampire countesses. It’s an ill-fitting scene with no easily discerned purpose. The show is establishing Sevigny as an earnest, heart-broken mother figure, so perhaps it’s trying to bolster her credibility in that field. But Sevigny makes about as  convincing a mother as Ted Cruz does as Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

Sevigny’s poor forlorn husband  Wes is still at the hotel. He’s having trouble sleeping and experiences that oh-so-familiar loop of dreams. Everytime we think he’ll wake up BAM IT’S A DREAM! The creepy housekeeper offers him turn-down service at 2:25 AM, everyone’s usual bedtime, but he politely refuses, preferring to wash his face in the mirror of sneaky movements. The camera does something which I found really funny. It swooped entirely over the sink and focused on Wes’ face, destroying the illusion that there was any actual mirror he was looking into. You don’t often see cinematography that so  blatantly ignores the parameters of a scene , but then again, most of the camera work in this show is odd and unpleasant. Granted, this isn’t a new thing for AHS. I’ve often found their editing to be jerky and their shots too short. But instead of being stylistic, these shots are plain weird and amateur looking.

Wes grows tired of falling through an Inception-like dream loop and goes downstairs to the bar that’s definitely NOT from The Shining. Sarah is sitting there, but she makes sure to tell him that she is not a prostitute. Just in case we thought there was a market for girls who looked like the Bride of Frankenstein. She offers him a drink, but he is Mr. Sobriety McGee. Everytime I think his character can’t get any more cliche, writer Tim Minear piles on another dose of been there, done that. Wes used to drink, but after he saw the horrible deaths of a family from carbon monoxide, he went on a binge and lost his son Holden at the beach. He never touched a drop of spirits again. Sarah commiserates with him by relating her history of drug use but all I hear is :

Sarah says that she gets high to get lost and Wes replies that he can’t afford to get lost. Says the guy who went down to the hotel bar at 2 AM to tell stories with a coked up ghost. Wes goes to his grimy police station the next day ready to get down to work, but alas, a suspicious Seven-like package is awaiting him. Please be a head, please be a head…damn it! It’s just a bloody Oscar statuette! Wes is bewildered by this mysterious package. Aren’t we all, Wes? We also learn some more details about Super Murdery Not Seven Serial Killer but to be honest it’s not interesting or important, so I’ll skip over these tidbits until they serve some purpose.

Wes returns to pick up his daughter Scarlett and attend a fashion show being thrown by the Hotel’s new owner, Cheyenne Jackson. I found it hard to believe that Mr. I’m A Cliche Cop would accept an invitation to a fashion show, but he does. Unfortunately, we must sit through this incredibly dumb fashion show too. Naomi Campbell pops in to tell us about Finn Wittrock, the super-hot model who’s also a total bad boy. I don’t know if he’s the first thing, but he is definitely a “bad boy.” We first see him doing coke backstage, then he walks the cat-walk in a red flowered jacket, makes out with some random girl, gets punched by her boyfriend, locks eyes with Lady Gaga, and saunters off. All in the space of about 2 minutes. Surprisingly, the only cop at this show doesn’t feel the need to break up a fist fight occurring right in front of him. Wes make me really uncomfortable. He’s the kind of actor who barely acts. Instead he stands there awkwardly, somewhat involved in the story, but mainly staring at something unseen with ungodly blue eyes.

Stop staring at things!

Gaga is very intrigued by the fashion show and Finn Wittrock. I don’t really get his appeal. I know some people find him to be very attractive, but he creeps me out. I thought Dandy was the most unrealistic and obnoxious character of AHS: Freak Show and completely inconsistent. I get it, people are murderers. But why are they murderers? We don’t watch television to see the what. We want to see the why! AHS relies too heavily on the “that’s the way people are” when defining their characters, but it’s really lazy story telling. In Dandy’s case, he was the stereotypical murdering rich kid (apparently that’s a thing), but there was literally nothing else to him. Now in this season, we have Finn Wittrock again, and his only role is to be the jaded supermodel. What is the point of having so many characters and so many story-lines if none of them are well-written?

While the fashion show from hell is taking place, Hipster Kid Lachlan takes Wes’ daughter Scarlett on a tour of the hotel. He takes her to an empty pool which holds a cluster of neon coffins, each enclosing a sleeping blond child. Scarlett does not high tail it out of there because children in Ryan Murphy shows are dumber than rocks. She tries tapping on one of the coffins, but Lachlan tells her that it’s pointless, as the kids never wake up. Except, just as Scarlett taps on the glass, the fricking kid wakes up! You’re useless, Lachlan!

Scarlett recognizes the little boy in the coffin as Holden, but since we already knew he was living in the hotel, that’s a pretty lame discovery. She decides to come back later and investigate. Despite the fact that she’s only 11, I have faith in her. Right now she’s the only character I’m remotely interested in.

After the fashion show, Cheyenne Jackson comes backstage and berates Finn Wittrock for acting like an asshole. Finn takes a knife and cuts his face, saying that he’s done with modeling. This is a real show, guys. He decides to go look for coke in the hotel, but instead he stumbles upon…EVAN PETERS!

*SCRIMS*

Finally, after 3 agonizing hours of AHS, we finally have seen Evan Peters. He makes a spectacular entrance by inviting Finn to shoot a screaming girl on his bed, but when Finn refuses, Evan shoots her himself. Murder is so much more exhilarating than coke. We’re learning some really important lessons here, friends. Finn sprints out of that place without so much as asking Evan’s name. Rude. I guess we have to go check on the other characters or something.

Finn is accosted by Lady Gaga on his way out and she turns him into a vampire. And then they have more vampire sex. It’s so boring I really don’t care. We learn that Gaga has been alive since 1904 (this is really becoming Twilight) and that her favorite decade to live in was the 1970s because she was the disco queen. I barfed a little, but they still kept speaking. But just as they’re getting really intimate, Contractually Shirtless Bomer busts in and tries to fight Finn Wittrock. Mind you, both of them are naked in this scene and they look really silly fighting. But they’re manly men!

SO MANLY!

Gaga dumps Contractually Shirtless Bomer for Finn Wittrock. But where oh where is Bomer supposed to go? He’s a vampire with no money and no connections. How will he ever find a respectable husband? Gaga has lost all respect at this point because who in their right mind would trade Matt Bomer for Finn Wittrock? No one, that’s who! As if Murphy knew we wouldn’t believe this, we skip ahead a few days to see Scarlett taking the train BY HERSELF to the Hotel. Is no one watching these damn children? She goes to the secret room where Holden is having his blood taken and eating jelly beans. She tells him that she’s his sister and tries to take a picture of him, but he moves away and it becomes blurry. Classic vampire lore, eh? And of course, Scarlett has an iPhone. Every eleven-year-old has one these days!

Scarlett goes home to find that her house is swarmed with police cars. Her parents were understandably frantic to find her missing, seeing as they lost their son only a few years ago. Scarlett tells them that she’s fine and tries to show them the picture, but Chloe Sevigny and Wes Bentley freak out at mention of Holden. “He’s dead and he’s never coming back!” shrieks Wes unconvincingly, adding another line to our collection of The Most Trite Things Ever Said. But Scarlet throws her phone angrily at her father and stalks away. You go, Scarlett!

I like when people throw things at Wes Bentley

Wes is disturbed by Scarlett’s pronouncement that Holden is alive and drives to the Hotel to accost Kathy Bates. He threatens to handcuff her if she doesn’t tell him the truth, so she tells him the story of the hotel’s founder, James Patrick March, a.k.a EVAN PETERS! He built the Hotel as an art-deco torture chamber in the 1920s and used it to kill hundreds of victims. Now, many of the murders we see Evan commit are chilling, such as when he smashes a man with a hammer and throws him down the death chute. But then there’s the one where he painstakingly builds a wall around  a screaming girl. Like, he built the wall by hand and she’s just standing there shrieking. Rush him, goddamn it! He’s spending hours building this wall and all you’re gonna do is wail? It worked in Edgar Allen Poe because she was dead. But walling in someone doesn’t really work when they’re ALIVE.

Sadly, Evan’s murder schemes came to an end when the police caught on to his crimes, so he killed himself and his loyal housekeeper. And thus we learn that the hotel was built on murders and is full of ghosts. Just like AHS: Murder House!

We learn something more about the Super Murdery Serial Killer: that he’s killing based on the Ten Commandments. Now hold the fuck up! I was joking about this show being an homage to Seven, but now it’s shamelessly ripping that movie off. Seven had a murderer doing the seven deadly sins and now this show is doing the Ten Commandments. This is really low, Murphy. 

For some reason this episode got a B on AV Club. How? It’s messy, badly filmed, cliche, and over indulgent. The only characters I give a fuck about are Scarlett and Evan Peters and that’s only because he’s too darn cute with that little mustache. I have a feeling AHS:Hotel is going on a train to nowhere, but as I’m a glutton for punishment, I shall detail every last minute of that ride. But the real reason I’ll watch? To see  Wes Bentley reveal  the robot underneath his human suit.

So.Creepy.

Spare Parts

  • James Patrick March sounds like Evan Peters pretending to be Tom Hardy pretending to be Bane.
  • “Broccoli–somebody cared.”
  • Wes Bentley ignoring Naomi Campbell is now  the most unrealistic thing I’ve seen on television
  • Finn Wittrock is ready to quit modeling because he’s “coming out in a Lars Von Trier movie next year”  Nothing you say makes sense, Ryan Murphy.
  • Half-eaten maggot sandwiches! You can’t even get some decent room service from dead people anymore.
  • The saddest thing about Evan Peters going on a murder spree is that I can’t see his beautiful body when it’s obscured by all that blood. Just kidding. The saddest thing about Evan Peters going on a murder spree is that he’s still on this show.
  • Watching Sarah Paulson spit out all her teeth is the worst.party.trick.ever.
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