‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Episode 2 Recap: ‘Chutes and Ladders’
So, here we are again folks. Checking into the Hotel Cortez for another stay with more dead bodies, creepy children, and flashbacks than you can shake a bell at. Let’s just dive right in to the crazy, shall we?
This week opens up with Sally (Sarah Paulson) casually sewing up Gabriel (Max Greenfield) into the very same dirty old mattress Golem popped out of last week. Sadly, she's distracted by the screams of the remaining Swedish girl, as the demonic children of the Cortez nibble on her wrist before she kicks the bucket and gets dumped six floors down, where some other lovely dead bodies lay — because there's never just one body, is there?
We learn that Iris (Kathy Bates) is working for the Red Cross in her spare time because she's set up a blood drive with the kids as donors in an effort to feed Donovan (Matt Bomer) and The Countess so that they may keep their youthful glow. (Yaaaaas, Gaga!) You can tell Gaga is having a (monster) ball of a time with the Countess character, exuding glamour and class every chance she can. (I mean, did you see how flawless she looked in that pink dress with her metal glove of doom?) No part of me is mad that this season already feels like one very, very long music video for The Fame Monster.
We shift focus back to John Lowe (Wes Bentley), who is having a hard time sleeping in the super warm and cozy Cortez. We know that because he's plagued by visions of coitus-engaging corpses and fleeting images of his supposed to be dead son, Holden. He runs after his long lost child, leading him to get his drink on with Sally at the bar, who's smoking with tear-stained cheeks, because it’s very hard to be a junkie living in a hotel. He leaves the bar to go to work, only to receive a package with what seems to be a bloody Oscar statue inside, indicating that this indeed is a murder weapon.
In case anyone forgot Ryan Murphy is at the helm of this ship, Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) is holding a lavish, flower-ridden runway show in the lobby and Naomi Campbell has dropped by as a guest, because why not? It’s really just a means to introduce us to Tristan Duffy (Freakshow veteran Finn Wittrock), a punk rock Kate Moss type who immediately catches the eye of The Countess (looking absolutely divine with a dead cockatoo on her head), as well as the disdain of Donovan.
After the show, Tristan breaks into The Countess’ room, enraging Donovan and leading to very homoerotic confrontation that is broken up by the Countess — which is essentially Ryan Murphy’s way of telling you this is going to be a love triangle. Tristan ends up in some dark corridor, where time and setting is distorted all as a way to introduce to longtime AHS actor Evan Peters, who this time around plays a debonair business man with a pencil mustache by the name of Mr. March. Think Walt Disney with a macabre fetish, who let’s face it, is probably dead already. Five seconds later, Mr. March shoots a woman and rips off his ascot to reveal his slashed throat, which only means one thing: Serial killer spirit.
You’re not alone if you forgot that John Lowe had a daughter, and she was at the fashion show too, where she got quick glimpse of bloodsucking baby bro Holden sleeping in a "Bad Romance" coffin. She leaves, but curiosity gets the better of her, so she comes back to Holden, saying how happy Mom and Dad will be he’s alive and snaps a selfie with the little guy only for him to make a move for her blood. #Thirsty! She runs away back home, where her parents and cops are waiting, and whips out her sibling selfie as proof that Holden is alive, but of course it’s blurry so she fails.
Because many are only watching the show for Gaga, we go back to The Countess, who has decided to turn Tristan into her new immortal "G.U.Y." To cement their new bloodthirsty love, Tristan hits it from the back in a bathtub. After, The Countess gives Tristan a quick list of vampire do’s and don’ts before delving into her back-story (she was born in 1904!), which includes a glorious scene of Gaga as Disco Rapunzel Queen, complete with a cameo from Radar Horse.
We come back to current time, as Donovan walks in on The Countess and Tristan naked in bed. Donovan is jealous and pissed, but The Countess doesn’t have time for that, telling him to leave (get out) since she has found a newer, prettier model to sink her teeth into. (Told you this was going to be a love triangle.)
John Lowe heads back to the Hotel once again, this time engaging in a conversation with Iris, who takes us on a very long, noir journey into the origin of the Hotel Cortez.
Remember Mr. March, the guy with a flair for the dramatic (and the slit throat)? Yeah, he built this hotel in 1925 as a means to fill his sadistic hunger; a torture chamber maze that was built for his gruesome needs. After a nice montage of murders, we learn that he got sloppy and the cops are onto him, but before he can get caught, he orchestrates a quaint murder - suicide with his personal Igor, Miss Evers (the annoying cleaning lady who keeps ranting about the stains), and so they both bite the dust.
Since that’s the end of the story, we come to Iris ominously warning John Lowe that the room he is staying in, Room 64, used to be Mr. March’s office, and is therefore the heart of the hotel (dun dun dun).
As a means of progressing the plot, at the precinct, John Lowe has deduced that Mr. March used to commit his killings as means of embodying the Ten Commandments, and that the murders that happened in the first episode is someone picking up where he left off, because everyone loves a copycat.
But to remind us that this is Gaga’s world and everyone else is just living in it, we have one final scene to cap off the night. Tristan's trolling for some D on a sex app, only to ensnare some Colby Keller lumbersexual type in his seductive web. Poor guy ends up getting stabbed in the neck by Tristan who feeds while The Countess, clad in an outfit that looks like it came straight out of the "Alejandro" music video, coos “I’d rather watch." Us too, Gaga, us too.
If week two is any indication, AHS:Hotel is a bloody roller coaster ride that harkens back to the early days of Murder House. It’s fueled by sex, murder, dead bodies and a killer soundtrack, and I wouldn’t have it any other way — especially if it means Gaga stealing the show every chance she gets.
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