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Reason Literally bloody murders.

FX

American Horror Story

American Horror Story: Hotel Knows Liz Taylor Was Born This Way

A flashback shows us how the Countess Elizabeth helped the former Nick find his true self. We should all be so lucky! Meanwhile, Max's mom finds out -- too late -- why maybe she really should have immunized him against measles when she had the chance.

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Doctor Alex Lowe

    Patient

    Max Ellison

    Diagnosis

    Pneumonia, possibly turning into staph, all resulting from his having contracted measles, a preventable disease against which his idiotic mother declined to immunize him because she knows better than medical science, I guess.

    Prescription

    Well, his doctor has discovered the secret to keeping herself in the glow of good health...

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    ...and since she wants Max to feel as well as she does, she's going to give him a dose of her own vampire "infected" blood!

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    Refill   infinity   times
    And like probably don't be too sentimental about where you get it from?

  • Meeting Time
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    The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Mom

    Who called the meeting? Donovan.

    What's it about? Joining forces with Ramona to get revenge on the Countess Elizabeth.

    How'd it go? It starts out badly: Ramona and Donovan didn't exactly meet cute, and he doesn't make a better second impression by showing up at her mansion in the middle of the night with his blood-sick mother in tow. But since Donovan's there, Ramona decides for whatever reason to find out what he wants, so he lays out his plan: even though neither of them is going to be able to get near the Countess since she's used them both up, Iris manages the hotel and can be their "inside man." After Donovan and Ramona take a self-indulgent moment to commiserate over how badly used they both were by the Countess (pretty sure Ramona was actually the one who vamp-cheated on the Countess, but sure) before Iris gets it together enough to glance up at Ramona and recognize her as a movie star, gasping, "You're so beautiful." "Yeah," sniffs Ramona. "Real waste, isn't it?" Donovan sees his opening and takes it: "It is a waste. Goddamn shame. She took that life away from you, promised you something better, then took that away from you too? I know just how that feels. You want to make her bleed. I want that too, 'cause she did the same thing to me. Only in my case she didn't even give me a choice." "Did you give her a choice?" Ramona finally asks. "What do you mean?" says Donovan, and I have to say, if you're going to play dumb, try to do it behind a face like that. "Your mama," says Ramona. "And I know that ain't no case of the DTs: she's been turnt." "I did what I had to do," says Donovan. "I don't know if that's Oedipal or just mercenary," Ramona drawls, adding, "You're reckless. I like that." "We're all going to die!" Iris quavers. "She'll know, the moment she sees me she'll know." "She never looks at you," says Donovan, which is pretty rude given that he's in the middle of asking her a favour she does NOT want to do for him. "She never looks at you. You're invisible." "Which makes her the perfect inside man," smirks Ramona, finally getting it. Donovan: "Right?" Donovan couldn't have handled that better if he'd come in with a Powerpoint deck. (Which, frankly, I would like to see next season on American Horror Story: Office Park.)

  • Dialogue

    Inside Man, Reporting For Duty

    Apparently having agreed to come mole for Donovan and Ramona after all, Iris staggers back into the lobby at the Cortez, where Liz has been at the desk since she took off and is HAVING NONE OF IT. However, when she sees the state Iris is in, she backs off, offering Iris a little "hair of the dog" upstairs at the bar, because Liz is the best.

    Ohhhh, that's good.

    It should be: it's from the Countess's secret stash.

    I'm drinking blood?

    With a drop of Triple Sec. You know how this goes, honey. This little cocktail's gonna hold you for the next couple hours, but you're going to need to feed on fresh blood -- warm, living blood.

    Oh God. ...How'm I gonna-- Oh, I can't even say the words.

    ...

    Can I have some more?

    Look at you, in your moment of transplendent rebirth. How exciting to me.

    "Exciting," give me a goddamn break. This world holds nothing for women like me. When you get to be my age, men look right through you. Unless they want something. It's not just them, it's everyone. You're invisible unless you can give them a key, an extra goddamn pillow. Ask any one of those guests upstairs who checked them in, I guarantee you they wouldn't remember a single detail. It's ironic, isn't it: I'm damned to eternity in this body, with this life. This dark, meaningless little soul, right when it's never been worse. Yeah, I guess it's just me and the one-armed bandit, down at Morongo's every Saturday night until the end of time.

    You never know when you're gonna get lucky, honey. You might a little violet eye shadow: it works for me every time.

  • J. Walter Weather­man Lesson

    The Kids Aren't All Right

    It's pretty lucky for Max that when he was hospitalized and so close to death that nurses were asking his mother to sign a DNR, he happened to have a primary care physician who could perform a miracle on him and bring him back to life, right? Welllllll, depends who you ask.

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    After killing his mom and, I guess, the housekeeper, Max heads off for his school, all dressed up in his pirate costume for his class's Hallowe'en party! His friend Madeline rolls up to ask where he's been, and for some reason seems dubious when he says he almost died. Their teacher, Mrs. Pritchard, buzzkills his costume by confiscating his plastic pirate sword, and when she leaves with it, Madeline grumps that Mrs. Pritchard already took her witch wand, and Max shows her that he came prepared with an actual steak knife tucked into his boot. Madeline seems excited that he's a bad boy, though she might revise her opinion when he gets her into what seems to be an empty teacher's office...

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    ...creeps us all out by skeeving on her like they're not pre-pubescent children, leans in for a kiss, and then bites her lip.

    Madeline's not thrilled that they've progressed so quickly to BDSM, but Max is unfazed by her reaction, telling her, "There. We're even. Now you can taste my blood."

    And I guess she does, because before long Mrs. Pritchard is noticing the two of them are gone and finding Madeline writhing on the floor, complaining that she's itchy all over. But she doesn't get a chance to call 911 because then Max is slashing her throat and ordering Madeline to drink: "You're gonna be stronger and feel better than you've ever felt!"

    Things...kind of fall apart from there.

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    Before succumbing to the child vampire swarm, one of the administrators manages to put the school on lockdown, and before long, a battalion of cops and news vans and anxious parents are descending on the school. SWAT teams move through the school, finding a shitload of dead adults and a bunch of blood-covered kids they reasonably assume have witnessed a massacre as opposed to...you know, gleefully participating in it.

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    After assuring the kids that they're safe, the SWAT guys start leading them out of the school to their waiting parents; once Madeline's reunited with her dad, a cop approaches her so that she can tell the officer what she saw, which she does: "There was just one man, dressed in black. He had a mask over his face. And he cut Mrs. Pritchard with a knife!" Over on the back of an ambulance, another kid essentially corroborates the masked man in black story. And when a detective in shirtsleeves finds his way to Max, Patient Zero confidently announces, "I know exactly what happened."

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  • Meeting Time
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    "This Crazy Story Isn't Like The Last Time I Told You A Crazy Story, Honest!"

    Who called the meeting? Lowe's lieutenant.

    What's it about? That weird dinner party he went to.

    How'd it go? Very badly for Lowe. For starters, his tale of having sat down for dinner with a bunch of famous dead serial killers sounds like the ravings of a lunatic, and trying to retcon it as having been attended by people dressed as serial killers, for Hallowe'en, who then murdered someone for real doesn't really help. Lowe tries to convince the lieutenant that the guy "posing" as March is the Ten Commandments Killer, saying that they need to get warrants and cadaver dogs and a whole forensics team to the Cortez to find all the corpses Lowe is pretty sure are there -- not that they seem to have stopped him LIVING THERE or anything. Lowe says he'll stake his reputation on it, and Lieutenant's like, well, about that. It seems that he let Lowe skate on a marginal psych evaluation five years ago, when Lowe had a mental breakdown. Lowe defensively says that his son had just disappeared and that he was under stress, and Lieutenant's all, "This job is stress, John," which is a great point. Now Lieutenant has to do what's best for the department, which even Lowe knows is to fire his buggy ass. Lieutenant soothingly says Lowe's pension will be "safe," but as Lowe slams down his badge and gun -- a trope I feel no cop show can ever do again after the joke Brooklyn Nine-Nine did about the actual procedures involved in suspending an officer earlier this season -- he hisses, "Nothing is safe. Nothing." See, this is the kind of thing you say that just means as soon as you leave Lieutenant's going to be like, "Well, THAT was the right call."

  • Character Study
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    Barfluencers

    Names: Babe (that's how she's credited on IMDb!) and Justin.
    Age: Mid 20s.
    Occupation: ??? and sometime photographer.
    Goal: To hide out from all the "randoms" who are going to be ringing their doorbell tonight looking for candy since everyone in their formerly cool neighbourhood started "pooping out kids" and turned it into "Strollerville."
    Sample Dialogue: "We were wondering if you had any special rates for, like, influencers?"
  • On The Menu

    What's On The Room Service Menu At The Hotel Cortez?

    Iris has just barely gotten through a suspicious inspection by the Countess and Tristan...

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    ...as they're on their way out the door to a Hallowe'en party at "Demi's" (I KNEW she was a vampire!!!) when the phone rings: it's that dickhole Justin, and he wants some room service! Here's what he demands:

    A Plate Of Artisanal Cheeses: So, probably not Kraft singles.

    A Full-Body Red: No spoilers but he's going to get all the full-body red he can handle tonight.

    Grilled Romaine: When Iris -- like the rest of the world -- has no idea what that is, he tells her the chef just needs to grill it a little and top it with a little parmesan, lemon juice, and cracked pepper, and originally I thought that was some foodie shit but that sounds REALLY GOOD. Then Babe has to add that it has to be organic and non-GMO and now it sounds as awful as she does/is.

    Some Pâté: "For chrissakes!"

    Here's what he gets:

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    Iris has no idea how cat food always smells worse than cat shit (true story), and is worried that Justin and Babe are so fancy that they'll definitely know that cat food isn't pâté, but Liz knows better: "They need to believe they're the kind of cool that eats pâté in a shit hotel on Hallowe'en night. They will swallow whatever we put in front of them." "You don't miss a thing, do you," murmurs Iris. "You see everything when the world doesn't see you." "Guilty as charged," sighs Iris, adding that they've worked together twenty years and in all that time haven't talked as much as they have today. Liz shrugs that Iris had Donovan. Iris says Liz is being generous, adding, "I'm not homophobic." "I'm not gay," says Liz. "No, you see!" says Iris. "That's why I stayed away: 'cause I look at you, and all I see is questions." "Well, you can't offend me -- ask away!" offers Liz cheerfully. "How does something like this happen?" Iris asks helplessly.

  • Flashback

    How Something Like This Happens

    In 1984, Liz was Nick, a married man in Topeka. His wife's name was Tracy; she married Nick because she was thirty and she had to marry someone; he married her because they wore the same size clothes. (I'm not sure why it's necessary to insult this sad woman who married a closeted transwoman and whose story just ends with...the end of this Particle, but she shits on The Facts Of Life and tells Nick she wants to watch The Cosby Show so she's CLEARLY A MONSTER.) Nick also had a son, who drew Nick a picture of the jet he's going to take to Los Angeles, which Nick critiques for its accuracy. Basically, everyone in this family is having a great time.

    But NICK is obviously just counting the hours each day and week until he gets to go on the road for his job as a pharmaceutical rep -- which is what has brought him and a couple of bro colleagues to the Cortez. They can't wait to go get lapdances -- with condoms on, so they don't stain their pants again -- but Nick begs off for a quiet night of TV and room service...

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    ...and transvestism. "There's nothing like whispering a secret out loud, if only to yourself," and Nick is in such a celebratory mood that he calls down for a glass of champagne -- no, a bottle! He hides out in his room, asking the waiter to leave it outside the door, and after he's crept out to pull it into the room...

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    ...the Countess is there waiting to change his life for him. Nick instinctively tries to explain away his outfit to this stranger, but she's not having it, saying she's been watching him since he checked in: "You dress like a man, walk like a man, but you smell like a woman." "It's Paco Rabanne!" he sputters.

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    "Not your skin," says the Countess. "Your blood." Immediately, Nick starts sobbing and takes her hand, blubbering, "You're so beautiful...I'm so ugly." "No," says the Countess firmly. "You don't lack beauty. You lack commitment. Let me help you....Become who you were born to be: a goddess." MAKEOVERRRRRR!

    As "Bette Davis Eyes" plays, the Countess fixes up Nick as though he were "her living doll" -- shaving his head with a straight razor; giving him a smoky eye. When she's done, she asks, "What is your name?" "Nick Pryor," he answers. "No," says the Countess. "With that white slip and shame-wrapping fur? I christen you Liz Taylor out of Butterfield 8."

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    The Countess says they're going to the Roxy: she'll lend Liz one of her Halstons; they'll call Mick Jagger. Liz is quietly horrified by the idea of going out like this, and the Countess scolds, "Oh, honey, goddesses don't speak in whispers. They scream." But, she allows, Liz isn't ready, so they'll start with "a tiny yelp just to warm up the pipes": she sends Liz down the hall to get them some ice. Liz had never felt so naked in all her life, but she loved the freedom: "I was Venus in a clamshell. I was a goddess born upon the world." But then...

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    These bro assholes are, predictably, not supportive of Liz's new gender identity and start in with the homophobia: the blond one says he had a sip of then-Nick's Sprite on the plane, and what if Nick has AIDS??? The brunet one says he's toast at the office, and that some Janet is definitely going to tell Tracy. At first, Liz cowers, but as the bros close in, she comes into her own, and screams just like the Countess knew she could: "I'M NOT GAY! Look at me, you piece-of-shit bastards! See me, and go to hell!" And they're going to be going to hell a lot faster than they think!

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    "We have two selves," the Countess declares. "One the world needs us to be -- compliant -- and the shadow. Ignore it and life is forever suffering." Man, I wish the rest of the show were just Liz and the Countess hanging out and looking gorgeous and bored.

  • Dialogue

    She didn't...?

    Infect me? No. She hired me instead. I never went back to Topeka. I kept the fur. I send them money. ...I did, until the kids turned eighteen. We don't speak.

    You're so brave.

    You are! Don't you get it? Stop ignoring yourself! Especially now. It's time to stop taking shit. Scorch the damn earth before you. How about you start by teaching that hipster couple some manners?

  • Passages

    R.I.P. Millennials

    Iris delivers the hipsters' room service tray and they live all the way down to our expectations, bitching that there's no grilled romaine and acting so cool that they don't notice their pâté is Fancy Feast. They're tiresomely nattering back and forth about whether they should have gone to the Ace -- "That place is teeming with hot young Dominicans and Harajuku fabulousness!" -- when Iris accidentally knocks a knife off the tray. Babe immediately turns on her, accusing her of having done it on purpose and saying she's been hostile to them since they checked in. They're in the middle of making a flurry of entitled threats -- "That's reckless endangerment, and we can make sure that you never work again" -- when Iris grabs a corkscrew off the tray and jams it into Babe's neck, before reaching for the knife and stabbing Justin in the back with it several times. And then, in case you haven't been getting enough of Ryan Murphy's poor opinion of millennials on Scream Queens this season, he gives Iris a few lines of his thesis statement: "You think the world didn't exist before you were born? You've suffered nothing! You have no idea what it's like to be gutted! To scrape yourself up off the floor! I MATTER!" With that, she pulls up Justin's head by the hair and slashes his throat. Sick burn thus delivered...

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    ...Iris feeds. I bet it tastes like quinoa.

  • That Happened
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    Lowe's Banging Hypodermic Sally Again

    Lowe doesn't remember anything about anything they've done, but from what Sally's saying, it was quite a scene. Lowe just wants to get rid of her, but Sally refuses to go quietly: "You remember everything, everything you did. And it's gonna happen again and again and again, and you can't stop it, 'cause it's our destiny, and you can't fight destiny." Cool? These two are boring.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    A Pal And A Confidante

    As Iris and Liz bus the hipsters' bodies, Iris very sincerely thanks Liz for opening her eyes and giving her permission to take up space in the world: she feels deeply changed. Liz drolly says she just thought Iris needed a makeover from a lady at the Lancôme counter.

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    After they've dumped the bodies down the chute, Liz and Iris decide to enjoy the good red wine the hipsters didn't get a chance to taste, and toast to the new Iris: "It's ironic, but I never knew how to live until I died." AND NOW WE ARE LIVING FOR YOU, HONEY. Seems like since the Countess made Liz what she is and indirectly also made Iris (via Donovan) what she now is, and since these two have become pals, I'm not so sure Iris is going to end up being the great mole Donovan and Ramona think she will.

  • Wrap It Up
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    With Alex all done up in one of the Countess's most glamorous gowns and her weird Gibson girl updo, the Countess has apparently decided that she's presentable enough to see Holden, and sends him to give Alex a kiss. Alex hugs him for a little too long, and when they've broken up their clinch, Holden yips, "Mommy, you're just like me now." "Yes, baby, I'm just like you," she replies. "Does that mean you'll stay with me forever?" he asks. The Countess says that as long as she obeys the rules (hmmmmm), Alex can stay as long as she wants: she'll look after the kids as their new governess. Nervously, Alex notes that Lowe still lives in the hotel (FOR SOME REASON) and that she hasn't told him how she's all undead and shit now, so what if he sees her? The Countess doesn't seem to think that's a big deal: "You'd be amazed the wondrous possibilities that can begin with a simple..."

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    And then it's Holden's bedtime! Alex whines that she's barely had a minute with him, but the Countess says she doesn't understand: "You and Holden will have forever."

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    If Ramona thought it was Oedipal of Donovan to have turned Iris, I am eager to hear what she has to say about this creep show, other than that it sure puts this celebrity couple in perspective!

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