Saturday, November 21, 2015

American Horror Story: Hotel - Flicker

Two words sum up this episode of HOTEL for me -  RUDOLPH VALENTINO! And with that your usual warning that .... there will be spoilers. Now let's talk what happened in Flicker.

Will Drake is moving ahead with his ill advised hotel renovations. He's also having an extremely awkward conversation where he's trying to explain to his son why he suddenly wants to be with a woman. He son is obviously confused because he knows his dad is gay.

While doing renovations, the construction workers knock down some walls and find a previously sealed up section of the hotel. While exploring they are attacked by two really malnourished vamps who rip out their throats. Things just got real interesting. Has Mr March been sealing up vampires?!

John, in what is perhaps the best decision he's ever made, decides to check himself into a mental health facility. Seems that John knows he needs help and wants to get it. He is after all a murdering murderer, but that's not why he's there. John tells them that he knows his mental state is not in a healthy place and he wants to work on that. All lies, obviously. Turns out that John is still manipulating things because he wants to be committed into THIS particular hospital for a specific reason - an 'accomplice' of the Ten Commandments Killer is being held at this facility. John discovered this piece of information while attacking one of his old colleagues, so bad life decisions are still very much a thing for him.

Iris has found the bodies of the construction workers and immediately goes to get Countess. Seems that Countess is not sure who/what was in the sealed up section, but seems scared that whoever was in there is now walking around free. If the Countess is scared, it's bad news. Meanwhile, the two newly freed vamps are sating their hunger by eating hotel guests - including Marcy the realtor from Murder House.

A huge part of this episode is a flashback. The Countess' origin story to be exact. She was a young starlet in Hollywood (and very much human) in the 1920's. While working on a movie she catches the eye of the (currently married) leading man. This leading man is played by Finn Wittrock with brown contacts and a shorter hair cut, so it turns out my theory is probably correct. This explains who Tristan reminded her of! This actor is Italian, handsome (obviously), apparently divorcing his wife, and inviting her to his house for dinner. They flirt, he calls her 'a true American art form' and I pretty much become a swooning mess. He's entirely captivating as he explains to her that he is admiring her when she takes offence and thinks he's making fun of her. They dance, and flirt some more, until his wife strolls downstairs. Natacha is amazing. She refers to Countess as a 'mouse' and herself a 'cat' as she icily gives her the once over. This is where something fell into place for me. Countess starstruckedly calls her Natacha Rambova. Anyone obsessed with 1920s and Hollywood would know that name as the wife of Rudolph Valentino. So, Finn Wittrock is now playing Rudolph Valentino. It fits with the Italian movie star thing. It also makes the Margaret Gibson reference more plausible if Countess was part of the Hollywood scene in the 20's.

Turns out the divorce thing is a rouse as the studio wants them to separate (true story, actually. Rudolph got arrested for marrying Natacha too quickly before his divorce to his previous wife was finalized). This entire episode is filled with amazing nods to the real history and it is entirely delightful. Natacha isn't too angry Countess is there though, and things quickly escalate into them being a blissfully happy threesome (in all senses of the word).

Things are going great for Countess. She's blissfully in love with two stunning people, and they are all happy together. Everything is great, until she goes a party by hosted Mr March (naturally things would go bad when he gets involved). While at the party she learns that Valentino has died. She becomes overcome with grief and decides to kill herself by jumping out a window. She's caught the eye of Mr March though, so he steps in and saves her. Countess marries Mr March and is attracted to his darkness, so much that she wanted it to consume her. They have rough sexytimes (including choking each other) and generally seem to feed the worst parts of each other. She is, to nobody's surprise, the wife who liked to watch. She even pushed James down his murderous path. She, however, never stops mourning her first love. We see that she visits his tomb
and places a rose on it on the anniversary of his death. This scene incorporates another true part of the Valentino myth - the mysterious lady in black who visited his grave yearly with a single rose. On one of Countess' visits it is revealed that Valentino is not dead. Turns out they put a (very dedicated) stunt double into his coffin to fake his death. It also turns out that Valentino has been infected. The person who infected him? F. W. Murnau, the director of Nosferatu, who contacted it while researching the movie (he got it at some kind of orgy). A fantastic nod to the first episode as that is the movie shown at the cemetery where Countess and Donovan pick up the other couple. After explaining about the blood virus, they invite Countess to go with them, to become like them, and be with them forever. She eagerly accepts but Mr March overhears everything. Seems if your wife disappears on the same day each year, you get curious enough to follow her.

John's plan to get access to the accomplice is under way. It's a relatively simple plan involving just two steps: 1) fake being sick and 2) beat the guard and steal his key. It's a smashing success and John uses the key to unlock the door where the accomplice is being held. Turns out it's one of Countess' vampire children. The girl looks an awful lot like Scarlet. Her name is Wren and she seems to be familiar with John. John questions her about the Ten Commandments Killer and her role in the whole thing. Turns out she was a willing accomplice and even killed the security guard to save 'him' from being caught. She tells John a story of her father who was basically waiting for her to grow up enough for him to rape. One day while locked in a hot car in the middle of summer she decides that perhaps she would be better off killing herself. She's saved by Countess (who, as we know, has intense maternal instincts) and that is how she was turned. John questions if her father is the killer, a notion that Wren basically laughs at. John demands she help him find the killer as he is just going to keep killing. She offers to take him to the killer's house (and politely doesn't ask John why he's speaking about himself in the third person because she's totally taking him to his own house, right?!).

The vamps currently feasting on Hotel Cortez guests are Valentino and Natacha! Mr March sealed them away in his jealous rage making the Countess believe that they had abandoned her so that she would stay with him. They argue over who is to blame for their current circumstances. Valentino wants to kill James, but Natacha blames Valentino. Most particularly his unwillingness to leave Countess. She is angry that he let it come to this. He agrees, and promises her that they will take back everything they lost and rebuild a life that is even more glorious than the one they had before. They spy a group of guest across the hall and use them to regain their health as their hunger is still not sated.

In present time we see that James and Countess have a monthly dinner date. It's nice when divorced people can be friends. James is still totally in love with Countess. She is there to tell him about her upcoming marriage to Will. James requests that when she murders Will for his money that she do it off the property so that he doesn't have to keep running into Will forever. They have a discussion about how many times Countess has been in love, and it's obvious that James isn't talking about anyone but Valentino. Countess realizes that Valentino and Natacha are who escaped and that James put them there. He taunts her with the fact that he put her 'god' in the palace he built for her. Worst husband ever, right? Countess is obviously upset by this news. As this dinner is happening, a  healthy, modernly dressed Valentino and Natacha leave the Cortez (looking smoking and fierce). Seriously, how hot does Finn Wittrock look here?!

The episode ends with John and Wren leaving the hospital and as they walk she tells him they have to go back to the Cortez for answers. John assures her that she's safe and that he will make sure the killer never touches her again. She inquires if John will kill him, and he tells her that he will if he has to. She sadly tells him that she likes him and she would hate to see 'it' end (all but screaming that he is the killer) and kills herself by running out in front a transport (ensuring John's mental state is not going to improve any time soon).

This season is all about sex, lust, jealousy and love. The things we do for love (both good and bad) and the ways it can drive you literally insane. This episode in particular explains a lot about the Countess and how she views things. She leaves before she is left because she thought Valentino abandoned her. Perhaps she killed Tristan instead of allowing him to be with Liz because he reminded her of Valentino. She couldn't handle 'him' leaving her again. I bet it also explains why all the guys on this show look the same. They are all meant to resemble her lost love (and Countess totally has a type).

I loved every single thing about this episode. Vampires, Hollywood, real life inspiration and the 1920's. It's like Ryan Murphy took everything I love and decided to combine it into a sexy, blood filled hour of television and he combined it with Finn Wittrock calling people 'Bellissima' in an Italian accent. It's like he gave me an early Christmas present. I demand that it be mandatory for Finn to play two characters each season going forward. Get on it, Ryan Murphy. Make it happen. I am so psyched that Finn is back and cannot wait to see what delicious havoc Valentino will cause now that he is free. Watch your back, James!

No new episode next week (thanks to Thanksgiving in the USA) but until we're back... do enjoy your stay!

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