This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Gross, gross murders.
American Horror Story: Hotel Introduces The Countess's Little Monster
And no, you didn't miss an episode: there are suddenly just a bunch of brand-new couples. And some throuples. And some murders!
Hey! It's That Guy! And His Basement "Surgery"!
In 1926, the Countess Elizabeth gets out of a cab in front of Murder House, and if you saw that season, you know why: she's knocked up, and she would like it knocked out.
The Countess got Dr. Montgomery's name from a friend, and as she starts to explain her situation, Montgomery stops her, assuring her that she doesn't have to tell him anything. The only thing he wants to know is how far along she is.
"Three weeks." Yep, story checks out.
In the basement, Montgomery's nurse quietly informs him that his thermometer must be busted, since it's saying the patient's temperature is 65 degrees. YEP, THAT MUST BE IT. One dose of ether later, Montgomery makes the request the Countess is probably pretty lucky not to hear: "Get me the big knife."
One dose of ether for Montgomery later, the Countess's "three-week-old" "embryo" is delivered, and Montgomery's telling the nurse, "Dispose of that." Curiously, the nurse says she thinks it's still alive, and she turns out to be right.
One dead nurse later, the Countess wakes up, and Montgomery cheerfully hands her a bundle: "Congratulations. It's a boy." Having seen the episode, I'm going to say it's a boy...ish? But it's got a face only a mother could love, and the Countess instantly does, crying and kissing...uh, it.
And we slam into the credits before we see her wipe off any kind of goop it must have inevitably left on her lips.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
The Girl Can't Help It
All of a sudden we're watching a sexy assignation between Tristan and...Liz?! For a second I sincerely thought I had skipped an episode because it felt like there was zero buildup to this pairing, but then again, dropping breadcrumbs like that is something I have no reason to expect this show to do, and not just because no one in its cast other than Kathy Bates has eaten a breadcrumb in years.
Anyway: Tristan can't understand why sex with Liz is so mind-blowing, but Liz does: "'Cause you're an orphan. Orphans love girls like me because it's like Mommy and Daddy are both in the room, loving you to pieces." Well, that was a sweet-ish moment that turned gross in a hurry with the "Mommy and Daddy" talk. Liz has also come to their encounter with gifts: he's brought Tristan some Wilde and some Brontë. Tristan is moved, saying he hasn't read anything in years except weekly glossy tabloids, to which Liz says she wasn't really a reader until she came to the hotel: "Part of it was all the free time at the desk, but I also think you can't shut down one part of yourself without shutting down the whole thing. And when I let the Liz out, I could see and feel and taste and love." Tristan very seriously asks Liz, "Do you love me?" "Oh," Liz replies, considering. "I don't know. I think so, but goddammit, who can tell when you're so damn handsome?" "I think I love you," Tristan tells her. "Don't tease me," says Liz. But Tristan means it: "When I come down to the lobby and see you, it's like you're genuinely happy to see me. I believe you." Liz says that when Tristan comes down it's like Christmas morning for her. Tristan sighs that no one's ever thought he was smart enough to give him books before...and also, "You want to know the weirdest part? When we screw, I swear I've never come harder in my life." He adds, "I'm not gay or anything!" "You're not gay for being with me," says Liz, educating America. "I'm a girl. I'm a hetero girl. Thank you for seeing the girl." Except...he didn't? Because of the gay thing he just said? But never mind, Liz is too lovestruck to be that doctrinaire, as she finally admits when she starts to cry: "I do love you. And I know this doesn't end well -- and it shouldn't, not after what I've done to the Countess. She gave me everything -- it's wrong what we're doing to her." "How can love be wrong?" asks Tristan, as though he's never met the Countess before and has no concept of what she might be capable of. Or like a dope who's never going to read Brontë or Wilde. Um. Spoiler.
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
Landing A Very Fashionable Whale
Speaking of the Countess: while Liz and Tristan are enjoying the carnal pleasures that can result from a true soul connection, she's trying to work her particular magic on the gay whale she wants to land, but apparently all the times you've heard "a mouth is a mouth," that's not true 100% of the time, and when the Countess tries to go down on Will, it is to no avail. Unfazed, she asks if he wants her to do something different, but he sighs in frustration: "This always happens to me with women. I love them -- I love their bodies and their femininity and their sex. But my cock and my mind operate separately. I'm embarrassed." The Countess dgaf, calling it an "invitation for an adventure." What could that mean?
It means Tristan's about to be pressed into service. In Liz's room, Tristan hurriedly dresses. Liz knows where he's going and stops him before he leaves, cautioning him not to say anything to the Countess yet: "Let it be just ours for a little while longer." Tristan nods and tells Liz again that he loves her, planting a nice kiss on her on his way out the door.
Tristan, expecting to find his girlfriend there wanting a right proper rogering, is surprised by the scene he actually finds.
"I need some help for Mr. Drake," says the Countess. "I'm not gay," says Tristan. Will and the Countess crack up before Will reminds Tristan that he was JUST telling Will about "all the dick [he] took in prison," but Tristan does not care to be reminded about that: "I had my reasons." "Just fluff him up for me a bit, baby," says the Countess. "I'll finish him off." Tristan quietly tells the Countess he doesn't want to: "I'm not into it." The Countess:
"You are for the next hour." Admittedly, I'm not a straight man, but I still think most of them could manage to be gay longer than an hour when presented with a naked Cheyenne Jackson? Still, Tristan really does seem to be in the minority here, but getting coerced either by regular pressure or the Countess's vampire mind control powers teaches him a valuable lesson.
I need your help.
Judging by how fast you put your nose up in the air when I offered you an evening of backgammon and rosé -- to welcome you, no less -- I'm really not your girl.
It's Time To Light The Gaslights
Situation: Lowe discovered Alex and the rest of the vampires chilling in the dry pool.
What makes it awkward? Alex doesn't want Lowe to know she got a new job/body temperature.
How is order restored? Alex doses Lowe with Versed, gets Liz to help her destroy or relocate all evidence of the vampires and their coffins, and then hangs out in his room waiting for him to wake up. When he does, he remembers that he just saw her in a coffin, but she starts right in on making him think he's craaaaaaay-zee: "You called me, John. You said you were having visions." She claims she found him in the hallway outside his room. When he describes what he saw in more detail, she supplies all the details and wearily points out how similar what he's describing is to what Scarlett had claimed she saw. Lowe defiantly sticks to his story, whereupon Alex tells him she thinks he's having a psychotic break -- and when he runs down to try to prove he's telling the truth, of course he finds nothing, thanks to Alex and Liz and some sledgehammers, I guess. Alex wins this round, but...I mean, I know she wanted a divorce even before she was vamped and that she has good reasons not to want to be honest with him, but is it really necessary to make him think he's for-real going insane? She loved him once! This is cruel! Why am I expecting people on this show to act according to recognizable human motives?
The Countess glides down a hallway looking like a Disney princess...
...and ends up in Room 33 (which can anyone explain the numbering on these fucking rooms? How does that tell you what floor you're on???), a dark chamber containing toddler toys and a small cradle.
The Countess fondly leans over it to greet the baby she calls "my love" and explain, "Darling, I wanted to say goodbye. Mommy's going to Paris, and when I come back I'll have so much money I'll never have to leave you again, I promise." And suddenly I realize that this whole season might have been conceived around the idea of casting Lady Gaga and giving her an actual Little Monster and I am not mad about it!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Donovan vs. Ramona
Remember how Donovan and Ramona are launching a revenge plan on the Countess and doing it in super-slow-motion? Here's the latest tiny step...or is it?! Apparently Iris has alerted them to the Countess's departure on her trip to Paris, so Ramona's all set to get down to the pool and "take care of those kiddies," but she can tell Donovan's not that psyched about it, and accuses him of "going soft" on her. Donovan seems offended that she'd respond that way to his lack of excitement about killing (undead) children, but Ramona's just looking at the bigger picture: "When I stab at those little heart I'll be stabbing at hers." Donovan wants to go to the penthouse, which Ramona takes as proof he isn't over her. Donovan shoots back that Ramona isn't either -- "You're obsessed" -- which Ramona finally agrees, with a shrug, is actually true. She dismisses Donovan from the task at hand: "You go. Sniff her panties. I'll take care of this myself." I guess Donovan just didn't want to murder the kids himself but didn't really object to it in principle, because he doesn't try to talk her out of it.
Winner: Ramona. She's got the eye of the tiger! When she gets down to the pool and runs into Iris, both of them discovering the kids have been moved, I'm kind of bummed for her!
Weirdest Avenue Q Homage Ever
Situation: Donovan's in the middle of his appointed panty sniffing when he turns around and sees the Swedish girls, looking wan as they ask him, "Can you show us to the line of The Fast & Furious Supercharged? We are lost in this hotel for so long. It's like a maze."
What makes it awkward? They're dead. So getting to the Fast & Furious ride at Universal Studios is no longer on the table for them.
How is order restored? Temporarily? Donovan has to be the one to tell them they can't leave the hotel because they're dead. (Vendela whines at Agnetha that she knew it: "Everything I put in my mouth tastes like chalk.") Donovan tells them they need to find their purpose, or else they'll be "stuck in an unbreakable chain, repeating [themselves] over and over again." (So that we get what that means, we see a quick shot of Justin's restless ghost screaming about his "goddamn kale.") And to illustrate what HE means, Donovan tells them the story of Cara, a schoolteacher who had a lot of love to give but no one to give it to, so she checked into the hotel, killed herself in the tub, and then just hung out there rotting for months, because I guess a Housekeeping department made up of one psychopathic ghost is going to take a while to get around to cleaning all the rooms. "Never drink the water from the fifth floor unless you want the taste of Cara," Donovan warns...the ghosts he's talking to? Anyway, Cara just left sad little wet spots on floors until she found her purpose, which was terrorizing hotel guests -- particularly in the pool, until they drained it. Hopefully, Vendela asks Donovan whether, once they find their purpose, they can leave the hotel, but he says no; it'll just give them "a reprieve from the hamster wheel." When they ask Donovan what his purpose is, he sighs, "I lost mine when I lost her." ALSO HE'S NOT A GHOST AND CAN TOTALLY LEAVE THE HOTEL, WE SAW HIM DO IT, FIGURE OUT YOUR OWN MYTHOLOGY, SHOW!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Ramona vs. Bartholomew
Having struck out at the pool, Ramona heads for Room 33 to launch her attack on the one member of the Countess's brood she thinks she probably can dispatch: good old Bartholomew. "I've got a surprise for you," she coos, trying to draw him out of his hiding place.
Or he for her!
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Whenever The Countess Is Not On Screen, All The Other Characters Should Be Asking, "What's Up With The Countess?"
Having come to Room 33 with Bartholomew's dinner and discovered him gone and Ramona momentarily sidelined, Liz has brought Ramona to the bar and is offering more ice for the cut Bartholomew left on her forehead. Ramona shrugs off her ministrations, sighing that it'll close up in an hour anyway, and crabs, "That thing should have died way back when it was supposed to." The same thing could be said about a lot of people around the hotel, notes Liz, adding that it's why Ramona has to leave. Ramona tries to pout her way into getting Liz to change her mind, and Liz sighs that it's not Ramona -- she's definitely missed her, but Liz can't have upsets right now. Ramona demands that she spill the tea, so Liz tells her all about Tristan. Apparently Iris actually is supplying good intel, because Ramona knows that's the name of the Countess's current boy toy. Liz says that the Countess doesn't love Tristan, but Ramona says that doesn't matter: "You think that's gonna matter? If you really want to be with this boy, what you need to do is run." "Tristan is a passing fancy for her," says Liz, kind of naïvely. "If I am really honest with her -- if I tell her from the heart what we mean to each other -- she will understand." Ramona knows better: "She will rip that heart right out of your chest. Just know when it's time to run." That's good advice from a good friend! Liz should take it! But Liz is blind from love! Spoiler!
Plot Lightning Round
Ugh, fucking Lowe. Wild-eyed from lack of sleep and whatever else, he shows up at the scene of another couple of really gross murders in a church, having heard about it on the police scanner he has in his room, normal stuff. Seeing one corpse disembowelled and covered in coins, he jumps to a fairly logical conclusion: "Televangelist! He was preaching the gospel of prosperity! He used the word of God to make money! It's another commandment: 'Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain'!" (Not "bear false witness"? Okay.) Hahn can't with suspended Lowe and his sleep-deprived bullshit and -- more nicely than Lowe deserves -- tells him to leave; they have someone in custody. (We don't find out who, so probably no one we know and/or the wrong person.)
Back at the hotel, Lowe sits in the hall drinking and feeling sorry for himself. Liz Taylor, low-key on the hunt for Bartholomew, suggests that Lowe go sit at the bar, but he's not interested in going there or in letting Liz help him back to his room: "This is my breakdown, I'm gonna have it!!!"
Vendela and Agnetha take this as their cue! See, earlier they'd tried to find their purpose by killing an obnoxious bro guest named Mr. Wu, and when Alex found them in the aftermath, upset that this didn't seem to satisfy their yearning for purpose, she suggested that they don't have to resort to murdering living guests: "You can break their minds....I know this guy. He's always wanted two girls."
And then Lowe's having two girls...though maybe not quite the way he always wanted.
Back in his room with Liz, Lowe finds Miss Evers dealing with the bloody sheets, and the girls -- who were just bleeding all over him a second ago -- emerging from the bathroom looking not just fine but very gratified by how crazy they seem to have driven him. And in the corner, March tells Lowe he's pleased to see Lowe's truly checked in to the hotel at last!
Finally, Lowe decides this is the last straw and that he should probably leave? But as he starts packing, he notices that he's getting blood all over his stuff, so he just hops in the hotel shower, where nothing bad ever happens.
But he's not alone!
Keep The Home Fires Burning By Shooting At Them
Who's causing a family crisis? Both Scarlett's idiot parents.
How? Alex has apparently left Scarlett at a friend's house and failed to answer her calls for two days; Lowe is in the middle of being driven crazy.
Which relatives have a problem with it? Scarlett -- who, under the circumstances, isn't that happy to see Lowe back in the house and, as soon as he's dropped her off, basically tries to kick him out: "You don't live here anymore."
Who's an unlikely ally? It's hard to discern the motives of Lowe's little stowaway...
...but maybe Bartholomew, who may credit Lowe's parenting skills more than Scarlett does if he's trying to join the family? However, Lowe doesn't seem too psyched at the idea of adopting another child, or pet, because when he sees Bartholomew on the kitchen floor, he immediately starts shooting at him, freaking Scarlett the FUCK out. Before long, Hahn is there to take Scarlett to her grandmother's, and Alex is there to downgrade her earlier "psychotic break" diagnosis to prescribing a good night's sleep in his own bed. Lowe mopes that Alex is going to go back to the hotel. She pretends not to know what he's talking about. "You still playing that game? Okay." Left alone, Alex can investigate a sound that seems not quite right.
Spoiler: After the day she's having, the Countess is going to be happy to have at least one member of her entourage doing something right.
Love, Exciting And New And Threatening
Returned from Paris, the Countess lets Will take Lachlan up to bed (and take the night off from sticking it in her after an assist from Tristan, I guess) and runs into Liz in the doorway of her suite.
You seem anxious. I can hear your heartbeat.
Yes. There is something I'd like to speak with you about.
Do you want to have the surgery? Because I'm happy to pay once Will and I finalize things.
No. No, no, not that -- never that, I think. Um, you see, this is, hmmm, difficult for me, and I know it might not mean something to someone like you, who does this all the time, but it seems, for the first time, I've fallen in love.
Well, why would that wonderful news make you worry?
...Interesting. How long?
Not long. A couple of weeks. I know he's your current mild obsession; I don't think you love him, not like I do. You know me. You made me. I belong to you. But this is my one chance at him.
I don't share. Maybe when I'm done with him.
But time passes for me! You measure decades by the changes in hemlines -- it means nothing to you! You know as well as anyone that we all just get one great one in our lives.
Let's talk to the boy.
[whispering] Thank you.
Who called the meeting? The Countess.
What's it about? Who gets Tristan.
How'd it go? It seems to go okay, at first? When Tristan shows up in Liz's room, is obviously shocked to see the two of them together, but recovers as best he can, stiffly kissing the Countess and asking about her trip. The Countess then speeches at them for a while about how she doesn't feel emotions the way humans do, but rather she experiences them as flavours in her mouth -- love is rosewater, for instance -- and that she enjoys all of them but one: "Betrayal. That has the taste of the char on a piece of burnt meat." "You told her," Tristan guesses, coldly. "Yes," the Countess confirms. "The one in the dress has more balls than you, babe." Tristan doesn't care for the slur against his masculinity and gets instantly mad, asking whether she expects him to spend his life crying over her broken promise: "I know I'm dumb and I'm just a model, but I know you. It's not that you get bored and move on. Moving on is the point of the whole thing. That is your orgasm. You collect us and create us and get us addicted to the light of your love just so you can take it away. You feed off the heartbreak, knowing we're out there suffering over you. Well, not me! I was made for more than that. For a real love!" Liz joins Tristan in his plea: "Please, after all I've done, let me just have this one!" The Countess calmly asks Tristan whether this is what he wants, too. Tristan sniffles and takes his place next to Liz. "Fine," says the Countess. "You may have him."
Oh, Countess. Not cool. You need to reread your Ethical Slut! As Liz covers Tristan's body and sobs, the Countess delivers her final blow: "He's yours. Bury him." I'm going to guess Liz would say this meeting did not go well.
Wrap It Up
Wearing another very glam gown, the Countess comes back to Room 33...
...where she sees Alex soothing Bartholomew in his rocking chair like a good governess. "He was hurt," says Alex calmly. "He got out?" gasps the Countess. Alex says he lost a little blood, but he'll be fine.
"You saved my son," says the Countess, choking back a sob. "You saved mine," Alex replies. I mean -- ish? Alex very carefully picks her way out of the room, leaving Mommy and "Baby" to get reacquainted...