Halloween episodes are a bit of a tradition with American Horror Story and are always highly anticipated. This year's episode may not have moved the core story momentum forward but did provide a few tricks and treats.
Starting this recap with the usual warnings that.... there will be spoilers. Now let's talk Devil's Night.
This episode is the episode of people (mainly John and Alex) making really poor life choices. Seriously. They make the WORST decisions in this episode. Before we get to that though...
We basically have two main story lines going on this episode. John and the dinner party people literally kill to get invited to, and Alex dealing with the aftermath of finding Holden.
We begin the episode with Richard Ramirez (aka The Night Stalker) checking into Hotel Cortez. He informs Liz Taylor that he has standing reservation on Devil's Night (his third year attending) and is shown to his room. Liz Taylor has taken the liberty of checking him into a room that is currently occupied and we end the opening with Richard attacking the husband and wife inside the room in his signature fashion (lots of bringing up Satan, etc). He kills the husband but the wife runs into the hallway. She has a few seconds of freedom before being grabbed by Mr March who greats Richard like an old friend and tells him to finish her off.
A very scruffy (and good looking) John has a phone conversation with Scarlet. Seems she's moved in with her grandmother which, let's be honest, is the best thing that could have happened to that child. Her parents are not exactly in the running for any parenting awards. John is distracted by the insane amounts of blood pouring down his wall from the ceiling though (which, obviously) so he goes to investigate. He goes upstairs where Ms Evers is scrubbing blood out of some sheets but it just keeps reappearing. Turns out Halloween distracts her a little and that her and John have something in common (and not just their current address).
We learn that Ms Evers had a son. One who she dressed up in a cheap ghost costume (eye holes cut in a sheet) for Halloween. While trick or treating she is distracted by her snarky, thinly veiled conversation with another mother who obviously had way more time to make a costume, that she doesn't see her son get kidnapped. Turns out it was a serial killer who took a bunch of boys from the town and that Ms Evers never even got his body back (the killer dissolved the bodies and all she got back was part of his clothing). John can obviously relate to this story and Ms Evers assumes they'll be total bffs after this. However, she is too busy to discuss. She has to get Mr March's table ready for his guests.
John decides to use the computer to check out Ms Evers story. During his search he finds out that the murders took place in the 20's which means Ms Evers should not be alive. John is having a REALLY bad day.
John decides that this day requires alcohol (bad decision number one). He tells Liz about Alex telling him that he was not an alcoholic and that he is actually just a control freak. John is enjoying his double Martini when Aileen Wuornos joins him at the bar. She's played by a nearly unrecognizable Lily Rabe. She is incredible in this episode and KILLS the role (pun intended). She takes a liking to John who thinks she's in a Halloween costume when he recognizes her. They end up deciding to go back to John's room (bad decision number two) after some really uncomfortable flirting. Liz tries to stop him but John is too drunk to care. On their way to John's room Aileen hits him over the head and knocks him out. When he comes to Aileen is crazily screaming at him to stop taking things from her. John replies that he is tied to a chair (which is my favourite line from the episode). During their exchange she reveals that she's not in costume and welcomes him to Devil's Night at the Hotel Cortez before attacking him. They fight and struggle with John getting the upper hand and whipping out his favourite handcuffs to restrain her. He goes through her purse to find a piece of identification showing her legal name as Aileen Wuornos. John rushes down stairs to the front desk to call the police. Liz can barely contain an eye roll at the hot mess that is John right now. It's explained that even if John could make a call (no phones, WiFi, or anything remember) that Liz bets they won't find anything in John's room - Mr March is very protective of his guests. John, even while drunk, recalls that he knows all about James Patrick March. Liz explains what Devil's Night means at Hotel Cortez. James throws an extremely exclusive dinner party and John just so happens to be on the guest list. One second. One second. The guest list is all serial killers. All of them. So, we need to consider something - that our 'hero' may not be a hero. In fact, I am going to say that John is the Ten Commandments Killer. Crazy right? Maybe not so much. We know that you have to be a serial killer to go this party (it's a requirement of being invited) and what if John snapped after the thing with Holden and his family falling apart. He may be blacking out even and not realize it's him doing it. Those phone calls he had from the killer? Nobody else heard them or was there. He could be hallucinating them. I think this is a STRONG possibility.
John takes his invitation and goes to his room to find a fancy tuxedo waiting for him (a gift from Mr March, naturally). Wes Bentley wears the heck out of a tux, just saying. He decides to go to the party (bad decision number 3) and finds that John Wayne Gacy has joined Richard and Aileen. They serve up absinthe which John drinks. Aileen wants to sit near John at the dinner table BUT Mr March shuts that down quick (with Aileen calling him Clark Gable, which BRILLIANT). Everyone takes their seats and we see that Jeffrey Dahmer is already at the table. Mr March holds a toast to their special night and their new guest (seriously, John is a serial killer, 100%). John, showing signs of being intelligent for once, asks who Mr March is. John doesn't believe him when James tells him who he is citing that James Patrick March is already dead. James' reply that John has been at Hotel Cortez long enough to know that strange things happen is what everyone else is thinking. The Zodiac Killer (a faceless entity that waves his gun around a lot) interrupts John's questioning (and gets called out by Richard for giving himself his own nickname). The macabre group goes around the dinner table doing introductions (with Aileen teasing John that Dahmer has a crush on him). John gets handcuffed to his chair by Gacy during this exchange. After, John does his own version of introductions for each of them which pretty much involves insulting all of them (MY FAVOURITE PART OF JOHN'S STORYLINE IN THIS EPISODE) but still doesn't believe that they are real. He thinks they are actors. The serial killers explain that James March taught them all while they were still alive. Each of them had a run in with James at the hotel and he shaped them all in some manner (so Tristan is not his first pupil). They look to James as a mentor. Once again Evan Peters is diving into this role and is the stand out of the season so far.
Jeffrey Dahmer complains that he is hungry and that he does not want salad while Aileen and Richard decide to have a dance party (I don't even know). Jeffrey doesn't have to worry because James has planned in advance and offers Dahmer a young man as his evening entertainment (which, ewwww). Dahmer immediately gets to work on murdering the poor young man (and it is the most unsettling part of the episode).
Meanwhile, we see Sally flirting with a young business man who just wants to score some drugs. She is eager to assist but instead takes him up to the demented dinner party as dessert. She is exchanging this man for another year of being left alone by James (ghost politics).
This entire episode is dark, and unsettling. It toys with the idea of serial killers having this notoriety and James even toasts this with his speech detailing how they are his definition of American success, how years later people are still enthralled, and that they have left their mark on society (he calls them the greatest killers of all time). Extremely true. It's totally a commentary on how society views these killers.
As the murder group begins to stab Sally's peace offering (with John freaking out) Sally slaps John and we see that everyone but John and Sally has disappeared. Sally tells him that the alcohol was making him hallucinate and that nobody is there. She tells him to trust her and takes him back to his room. We see that the party is still going on as Sally carries John out with Mr March watching them go (Again, he's totally the Ten Commandments Killer, isn't he?!).
Alex took Holden out of the hotel. She's even brought him home. Holden seems out of place. He allows Alex to give him a check up (the kid has a really low body temperature). Holden complains that he is thirsty, so Alex rushes to get him some juice and has a complete breakdown in the kitchen (that is entirely warranted). When she collects herself enough to go back, she's discovered that Holden has bitten the family dog and is drinking his blood. Holden complains that he doesn't feel good (after Alex freaks out) and that he wants his 'other' mommy. Poor Alex.
Alex takes Holden back to Hotel Cortez and the tyke immediately runs to his coffin bed and Alex is greeted by Countess who offers to answer the questions she must have. Countess explains that Holden is infected with a virus that makes him immortal (putting it in terms that Alex can understand as a doctor). We also learn that Countess herself abducted Holden from the carnival that day (in the most conspicuous outfit EVER). Alex demands Countess change Holden back. Countess tells her that is not possible, but offers to turn Alex into what Holden is for the price her undying loyalty. Alex is not into it and goes to leave, vowing to call the cops. Tristan enters and pushes Alex down (and steps on her face. Rude much, Tristan). Countess tells him to let her go. She muses that Alex will not go to the police because she won't risk her one true love. Tristan takes her words the wrong way (he assumes the 'true love' is Countess herself) and demands to know if Countess is sleeping with Alex too. Jealousy isn't a good look, Tristan.
Obviously, Alex cares more for Holden than anything so she goes back to be turned by Countess (bad decision number four, for those keeping count). Countess explains a little of what happens during the process of being infected (it is apparently painful). We end the episode with Alex being held by the Countess as she takes the final breathes on her journey into immortality.
So, what did you think of Devil's Night? Are you, like me, convinced that John is the Ten Commandments Killer (without realizing it)? I would seriously bet money on it at this point. Is Scarlet basically screwed (perhaps she should stay with her grandmother permanently)? Will we ever find out what happened to Gabriel? I hope so! All in all, a decidedly decent outing this week that did not have nearly enough Finn Wittrock for my liking (fix this ASAP, Ryan Murphy).