American Horror Story: Hotel: “Chutes and Ladders” (S5Ep2)

This was a pretty good second episode for American Horror Story Hotel. It answered a few of the thousand questions it raised last episode, it created a few others, it told us that John (Matt Bomer) might not be crazy but again it had a few scenes I feel were not necessary and introduced another pretty, brunette white dude.

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CJ "Winter's Tale" World Premiere - Inside Arrivals

Anyway, this episode started incredibly slow. It was an hour and nine minutes so maybe I should cut it some slack but if you are going to be long television, you should earn it. We had a scene of doctor Alex (Chloe Sevginy), John’s wife, dealing with a yuppie mom who decide not to vaccinate her son and how he has measles. Maybe that was some way to show real horror in society of parents choosing to let their children get violently sick for weeks. But, it didn’t work as the real horror of Lana’s gay conversion therapy in season two or the actual horror of Sally (Sarah Paulson) kissing Max Greenfield and then sewing him deeper into her mattress.

Fashion designer and new owner of the hotel Will (Cheyenne Jackson) is hosting a fashion show there.  The Countess (Lady Gaga) and Donovan (Matt Bomer) swagger down at some point and watch the show. John and his daughter Scarlett (Shree Cooks) get roped into attending. Scarlett hangs out with Will’s 2007 emo band member son Lachlan, who gets bored rather quickly and wants to show something actually cool to Scarlett. He takes her downstairs to the abandoned swimming pool. I’m torn by this location because 1) of course roaming kids end up in an abandoned swimming pool in a haunted hotel, 2) why are the coffins for the vampire children, including the one for Holden, Scarlett’s twin, who was kidnapped four years ago, in there and 3) is this the same abandoned swimming pool set Violet and that popular girl Tate traumatized in season one went to smoke by? If so, that is a cool connection.

Lachlan says the children never watch up but the Holden one awakes when Scarlett stands above him.

Back at the fashion show, The Countess sets her sights on model, junkie, bad-boy Tristan Duffy (Finn Wintrock). After he snorts either pills or meth before and after his first trip down the runway, Will kicks him out of the show. He stumbles around the hotel and ends up in Room 64. Evan Peters dressed in an old timey suit and sporting a pencil mustache and 1920s accent, has The Maid (Mare Winningham) bring in a bound up hooker. He tells Tristan he doesn’t have any drugs for him but he has something far better. Murder. He then murders the girl and the Maid excitedly goes to wash the sheets. Well, welcome to season five Evan Peters.

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Tristan ends up in The Countess and Donovan’s room eventually. Donovan tries to strangle him but the Countess stops him. She then bits him and starts to look much less like a strung out junkie. This episode seems to confirm that the vampire characters are actually vampires. Though Lady Gaga does call it “their virus” but I’m not sure why. She does say they are immortal and she was born in 1904, more on that later.

Before we get to the well done exposition dump that was the last 20 minutes of this episode, we find out that John was an alcoholic, who drank to numb away the gruesomeness of his detective work. Apparently he was on a two-day binge before he took his family to the San Monica pier in 2010 when Holden was kidnapped.  Why have all the leads since season two been addicts of some sort?

Also, Scarlett catches the bus to the hotel to see Holden. She has more luck than her father, who was just randomly running around the halls but kept ending back at the bar with Sally and Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare). Scarlett finds Holden in the brightly-light room filled with candy and video games from the 1980s that the vampire children hang out in. Vampire-Holden doesn’t make it clear if he remembers Scarlett or not. She tries to take a picture with him to prove to their parents he is alive. He tries to bite her though and she quickly runs home. Her parents have freaked and called the cops. She throws her phone at John, when he tells her Holden is dead. There is a blur beside Scarlett in the photo but that is all.

The last 20 minutes were really the best part of this episode. John ends up at bar with Iris (Kathy Bates), she agrees to tell him everything about the hotel so he will not arrest her for kidnapping, murder, John doesn’t even know. The hotel was built by oil tycoon John Patrick March (Evan Peters) in 1925. He was a bit of an insane serial killer, who built the hotel as a consistent ability for his murders. There are body shoots from multiple of the rooms and  hallways that lead to nowhere. Also, his office was Room 64. He was caught, a little too easily one day. Iris thinks it was by his wife, a blonde who conveniently never showed her face because cough, cough Lady Gaga, who inherited his millions.

He killed his victims in ways that displayed the 10 commandments and someone seems to be picking up his work as John has discovered, so is that why the 10 commandments are in the credits?

Also, in this episode newly made vampire Tristan meets up with a hipster dude from Tinder, it seems. He starts to make out with him in the elevator up to the Countess room. They kill him and drink his blood and then make out with each other a lot.

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Again, I am confused with this show’s LGBTQ representation. Tristan says in this scene he is not gay. So, has this show essentially introduced its third, at least, bisexual character but still avoided saying the word bisexual? Why? Why do television never say bisexual, like it is too much for the masses to handle? Did I mention Sarah Paulson sewed a guy who was nearly butt raped to death into a mattress this episode?

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Regardless, I am liking this season so far. See you next week.

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