Spoilers for the premier of American Horror Story: Hotel.
I gotta hand it to Ryan Murphy. I may hate Glee and Scream Queens was a resounding disappointment, but he is not afraid to take chances with his storytelling.
American Horror Story: Hotel premier sets up a lot of characters, plots, questions, but the ending song leaves you with no doubt as to what Hotel Cortez is. Hotels are inherently creepy. I have stayed in plenty over the years (I used to travel A LOT) and there is an odd sterilization feel to the rooms, but you know the rooms are anything but sterile. It is hard not to think about the all the people who have slept in the bed you are about to and now after the opening teaser for Hotel, I can now add paranoia someone is in the mattress.
The hotel day to day is run by Iris (Kathy Bates), a transvestite named Liz Taylor (Dennis O’Hare), and a maid who claims she can get out any stain, Mr. Evers (Mare Winningham). The residence include three Targaryen-blonde children who love their video games and blood, Sally (Sarah Paulson) and her faceless, terrifying pet, and Iris’s son, the painfully beautiful Donovan (Matt Bomer). All of them, residence and staff alike, are there to serve The Countess Elizabeth (Lady Gaga) and her need to feed on the blood of the young and beautiful.
Sally, Iris, and Donovan have a history together in the hotel. Sally took Donovan to room 64 to shoot up, Iris followed them to try and save her son. Iris was too late and Donovan OD’d on White China. Iris takes her revenge on Sally by pushing her out of window. The Countess finds and falls in love with Donovan’s perfectly chiseled jawline and takes him as her lover and hunting partner.
I assume The Countess allowed Iris to stay and work at the hotel so she could continue to see her son every day.
Most of the first episode focused on Detective John Lowe who is investigating a string of seriously gruesome murders reminiscent of the killings in Seven. In fact the killer is known as the Ten Commandments Killer. The person claiming to be the murderer calls Lowe and tells him he will keep killing unless Lowe comes to room 64 at the Hotel Cortez and stops him. He does not find a body in the room (even though we just witnessed one of the most disturbing scenes in television I have ever watched take place in that room), but Lowe does see his son, Holden who went missing five years earlier, running around in the hallways of hotel. It is later revealed his son is one of the vampire children. Later that evening, Lowe receives a text from his wife’s phone from the killer telling him where more bodies are (none of which was his wife, she is okay) and calls Lowe to tell him that it is up to Lowe to stop him. The detective correctly assumes the killer is going to continue to target him, so he moves out of the house and checks into the Hotel Cortez to stay in room 64.
Who is the killer and why has he become obsessed with Detective Lowe? Is it because Lowe is good at his job and could find him and stop him? Why is the killer leading Lowe to Hotel Cortez? Why is Holden living at the hotel?
The other major story happening is the unseen owner of the hotel has sold the place to an artist, Will Drake, and his son, the annoyingly named Lachlan. Will is looking to escape the normalcy of New York for the strangeness that is LA. True artists cannot thrive in a normal environment. What does the new ownership mean for the current residence of the hotel? And how much does Will know about the history of the building? He seems unfazed by the strangeness of the place.
So far I love the mysteries being set up and the purgatory like setting of the hotel. I thought I was going to get annoyed by Lady Gaga, but I found her to be perfectly cast as the strange and mesmerizing Countess Elizabeth. My only complaint was on that one scene. We all know what I am talking about. It was way too much for me.
What did you think of the premier of American Horror Story: Hotel? Are you planning to stay awhile? Let me know what you thought of the series premier in the comments section.