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TV Review: American Horror Story Hotel (Season 5, Episode 7)

EPISODE: FLICKER

THE SCOOP: With John Lowe admitted to then attempting escape from a mental hospital, an odd connection between the Countess and James March is fatally revived.

THE SKINNY: And off we go! A week after spending a little ruckus-fuelled R&R in "Room 33", we now affix our eyes on American Horror Story Hotel's spotty 7th hour, "Flicker." At last blush, we saw Alex pay a debt of gratitude to the Countess by returning her hideously deformed demon baby after making its way into the Lowe abode. Well, we crank it up this time with Will Drake overseeing renovations of the Hotel Cortez. First order of biz? Tear down the wall of reinforced steel that lay hidden from the floor-plans. Beyond the door? A huge stench-ridden tomb filled with dustily zombified ghouls looking for fresh flesh to ingest. That they do in a couple of hardhat donning crewmen...chewing throats aggressively until a blast of blood juts everywhere. Hell of a start! Turns out no one knows exactly who these ravenous ghouls are, or where they came from. The Countess is actually alarmed, much to the surprise of Iris. Soon another unsuspecting guest - an elderly lady - gets gorged in similar fashion by the two amped-up zombies, who are now clearly intent on running roughshod over the entire hotel. Anyone up to stopping them?

We're then taken to 1925 L.A. in an oddly prolonged and ostensibly out of place flashback. Finn Wittrock makes a return as a Spanish lothario and screen icon of the 20s, preying on wide-eyed nubile starlets in training. Yup, dude's a fang-flasher! One such gal happens to be the Countess, who the actor makes quite an impression on, particularly when faking his own death and showcasing the kind of deceit she'd come to know and embrace. Then however, it seems the Countess got hitched to James March at some point in time, together the two relishing in the sex-and-violence-filled decadence the hotel is known to foster. All rather confusing really, and definitely the weakest portion of this week's episode. Who cares about slutty 20s flappers and the awful Spanish accent Wittrock tries so desperately to bag chicks with? No, this yarn plays out far better when brought up to the present, when it comes to light that the decrepit bloodsuckers who've been trapped in the walls are Finn and his loving wife (the always luscious Alexandra Daddario). It seems March, knowing the Countess had a thing for the actor, consigned them to a near-century of shut-in imprisonment. Now they're loose, the Countess is surely pissed off and vowing vengeance. What will she have planned for the ghost of March? Better be godd goddamn it!

Outside of the Cortez, Lowe has been, under his own volition, admitted to a mental hospital. He knows he needs help. His latest and final breaking point came when, in a disillusioned stupor, he lashed out at one of his colleagues and only friend. Too much to bear. But what does this mean for Alex? His kids? Their unified wellbeing? Soon John attempts an escape from the psych ward, knocking out a dopey security guard and stealing his id-key-card. Lowe sneaks up to a higher floor in order to confront Wren, a cherubic little lass who looks just like one of the creepy blond blood dispensers the Countess thrives upon. John interrogates the little girl over why she's there. She explains that she doesn't want to "feed anymore" and that even though she's been taking orders from possibly the Ten Commandments serial killer that Lowe is trying to bag, she too had a hand in murder, even as a child. We see her viciously slit a security guard's throat and watch him bleed off. Lowe vows to find the man who made her do this, her father most likely, but of course, she claims he's back inside the crazy confines of the Cortez. Just as she and Lowe head back to the hotel, little Wren gets fatally struck by a passing truck. F*ck!

So what did you guys think about this episode? I certainly thought it was at its best in the present storylines, with not just the long-awaited release of Wittrock and Daddario and their sick cannibalistic delights, but also the Lowe mental-ward B-story and how he's inevitably sucked back into the macabre charnel house that is the Hotel Cortez. I'm intrigued to see what measures he's able to take, and willing to take, against the abject evil festering among those halls. What he's able to do to rescue his family, and if he's capable of catching the Ten Commandments killer. That said, the clear letdown for me this week comes with the protracted flashback to the 1920s, with all the pageantry, the lame dance number, the confounding love triangle between March, the Countess and Wittrock's thespian. Beyond that, quite glaring were the absences of Alex, Iris, Ramona and Sally (Sevingy, Bates, Bassett and Paulson), arguably the four best actors on the entire show. In that regard, the shortest timed episode of the season so far actually works in its benefit. So,as we move forward to hopefully unmask the "Ten Commandments Killer" in next week's episode, let's hope more inventive carnage beyond mere throat-slashing and tongue-nailing is in the waiting. Bring it guys!

KILL OF THE WEEK: No one of great import lost their life in this episode. As such, since it was showcased in two different scenes, the old bystander guest who get gruesomely ravaged by the two dusty blood-parched zombies...throat ripped, legs gouged...has to be the best of the week.

BLOOD & GORE:

  • Severe throat chomping...blood shooting every which way.
  • Make that a double (see above).
  • Another throat slashing, this time with a knife and quick swipe.
  • A tongue nailed to a table.

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: How the hell did Lowe know to find Wren? Seriously? Did I miss something? Dude just snakes a key, looks up a detectives name and room number and somehow stumbles on Wren? Dude still hallucinating or what?

MOST BIZARRE SCENE: The most bizarre scenes are generally my favorite, but here I don't think it fully worked. The entire flashback sequence to 1925, the dance number, the love triangle, all a tad too out there to really give a damn.

Extra Tidbit: With half the season in the books, how are you feeling AHS Hotel?
Source: AITH

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