American Horror Story: Hotel
November 4, 2015
Hey, Dr. Chloë, how you feeling? Running a 75.5 anti-fever? Cool. (Literally.) Dr. Chloë checks on her dying measles patient (still dying) before helping herself to the hospital blood bank. Drinking all the blood, drinking all the blood, drinking all the blood, making quite the mess.
Dr. Chloë then slips back into Dying Kid’s room and injects a few drops of her Fauxpire blood into Dying Kid’s IV, which is one way to treat measles, I suppose. And it works! Just as soon as Dying Kid actually dies, he comes back to life with zero measles and an insatiable craving for human blood. So, absolutely, Dr. Chloë, definitely release him from the hospital, that’s just a very good idea.
The next day, Dead Kid snacks on his parents before hopping onto a bus and heading to school. There, Dead Kid lures his little girlfriend into a closet and infects her first with the measles, somehow, before slicing their teacher’s throat and instructing his girlfriend to feed. NOM NOM NOM.
And because kids are nothing more than walking bags of contagion, the measles and the hankering for plasma spreads through the classroom in no time at all, and suddenly teachers and office staff are being feasted upon by blood-hungry 6th graders because middle schoolers are the worst. NOM NOM NOM.
Eventually the cavalry arrives and “saves” the
monsters children from what they describe as a single masked attacker. Because it just makes sense that one person could carry out that kind of carnage.
So now there’s a whole classroom of tiny Lady Gagas running around Los Angeles which I am sure won’t be an issue at all. Well done, Dr. Chloë.
Elsewhere, Donovan has brought the recently turned — and looking worse for the wear — Iris to Ramona Royale’s house with the explanation that Iris will be Ramona’s inside man. He wants to get back at Lady Gaga as much as Ramona does, and Iris is just the person to do it. Iris worries that Lady Gaga will know that she’s been turned, but everyone is like, “LOL, as if Lady Gaga would notice you.”
So Iris returns to Hotel Cortez, where the glorious Liz Taylor takes her to the bar and pours her a glass from Lady Gaga’s private stash. There, he advises her to embrace her “moment of transformation” and get her hands on some warm, fresh blood, but Iris is like, “EW, GROSS.”
Later, who should check into the hotel but Blaine! from Glee! Along with his annoying girlfriend! They demand a discounted room because Will Drake liked some of Blaine’s Instagram posts. They then begin complaining about kids and Halloween so that we will all feel pretty great about them being murderized later in the episode. It’s effective!
Iris shows Blaine and Blaine’s Annoying Girlfriend to their room, which they sneer at before demanding new towels and new sheets, and then insulting her on her way out for good measure. And to think she should have put them in the mattress troll room.
When Iris returns to the registration desk, who should be heading out to celebrate Halloween but Lady Gaga and Tristan, who pause to take a quick sniff of Iris, making her TENSE. THEY’RE GONNA KNOW.
After they leave, Blaine and Blaine’s Annoying Girlfriend call down to order some schmancy room service, including paté and a grilled romaine salad, which Iris explains they do not serve. “DON’T CARE,” shouts Blaine because in the American Horror Story universe, Blaine is terrible.
So Liz Taylor takes Iris into the kitchen, opens up a can of cat food (despite being 0.000 cats at the Hotel Cortez), and plops it onto a plate. Voila: paté. Iris and Liz Taylor bond over this little subterfuge, and then Iris is like, “We’ve worked together for 20 years, and yet I’ve never asked you about the whole dressing as a woman thing,” as if it is a completely plausible scenario that they’ve never discussed this.
1984: Liz Taylor was living in Topeka with his wife and son, and was known by the name, “Nick Pryor.” Nick Pryor would take business trips, and it was on those business trips that he was able to be his true self and wear his stash of slinky ladies’ clothes and be “transformed.” One of those trips brought Nick Pryor and his colleagues here to the Hotel Cortez, where, alone in his hotel room, he put on his slip and his fur and ordered some champagne. He then discovered one Lady Gaga sitting on his bed ready to give him some beauty tips. She explained that though he walks like a man and dresses like a man, his blood smells like a woman. So: MAKEOVER TIME!
After applying a nice smokey eye and shaving Nick’s head, Lady Gaga rechristens Nick Pryor, “Liz Taylor” and orders her to go to the ice machine in her new skin.
Which goes swimmingly! Until, that is, on his way back to his room, he runs into his work colleagues who freak out and worry that he gave them the AIDS by breathing near them. Liz Taylor freaks out right back at them and orders them to look at her and GO TO HELL. And that’s when Lady Gaga arrives and slits their throats and gives a little speech on the “shadow self.”
Nick Pryor never went back to Topeka, but instead stayed to work for Lady Gaga — who, for the record, never infected him. Iris commends her bravery, and Liz Taylor gives it right back before ordering Iris to go teach Blaine and Blaine’s Annoying Girlfriend a lesson in manners.
Iris delivers Blaine and Blaine’s Annoying Girlfriend’s cat food room service, a delivery that ends with her slicing their throats with a wine opener and drinking their blood. NOM NOM NOM.
And then Liz Taylor helps Iris dispose of the bodies down the laundry chute before high-fiving her.
While all that is happening downstairs, upstairs Lady Gaga explains to Dr. Chloë that she is the new governess of the CHildren of the Damned, gives her a goth Mary Poppins makeover and then has Holden of the Damned lead his mother to their new bed: a double-wide glass coffin.
Meanwhile, on a completely different show, Detective John gets himself fired from the force after telling his boss that he was abducted by ghosts of a bunch of serial killers. No-Longer-Detective John then wakes up next to Ghost Courtney Love and is like, “WUUUUUHHHH?” before half-remembering that he totally brought her up to his room where they had nasty ghost sex. He orders her out of his room, and Ghost Courtney Love is like, “Fine, but this is going to happen again,” before launching into a mournful version of “Doll Parts.”
This episode was all about transformation, with the Nick/Liz Taylor story serving as the metaphoric heart of the episode. With Lady Gaga’s assistance, Nick becomes his most authentic self, shedding his old skin like the men’s clothes that never suited him. It’s a painful, frightening experience that requires him to expose himself fully so as to be reborn as Liz Taylor. But once Nick becomes Liz Taylor, she’s free, complete, happy — and beholden to Lady Gaga. (And a timely story to tell the day after HERO was voted down here in Houston. Although, I’m not sure that Lady Gaga slitting the throats of the anti-trans voices in the episode is going to do much to calm down transphobics…)
Similarly, Dr. Chloë and Iris owe their transformations into their new states of being to Lady Gaga and her immortal blood. They both resist the change at first: Iris recoils at the idea of feeding on people, and Dr. Chloë manages her hunger by drinking blood bags. However, by the end of the episode, Iris has devoured the unpleasant hotel guests (Do all guests who aren’t secret serial killers end up murdered at Hotel Cortez? How is this any kind of business model?), and Dr. Chloë appears to have left her career behind to be Holden’s nanny. (Which is something of a troubling message from a feminist position, but whatever.) The lesson here is that change is hard, messy, scary, and it comes at a price. Unless you’re a kid, in which case you just dive right into your mother’s jugular and you never look back.
American Horror Story: Hotel aired on FX.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.