Episode 10 of American Horror Story: Hotel, She Gets Revenge, begins with narration by Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) ruminating about how everything new fades. If this sentiment can be applied to the show, then I’d agree. The last two episodes were “new” and the best of the season, because they told a single, coherent story. However, this unexpected progress for the series has faded already and She Gets Revenge returns to true form with an inconsistent mess.
Heck, with the name of the episode, you’d think it might pick up from last week and continue, if not wrap-up, the Countess (Lady Gaga) vs. Ramona (Angela Bassett) subplot. I mean, last week it was “She Wants Revenge” and this week it was “She Gets Revenge.” It doesn’t. In fact, it’s almost like there’s been a mini-time jump. Will (Cheyenne Jackson) has inexplicably escaped the iron chamber and we catch only a glimpse of Ramona over half way into it.
I’m hard pressed to tell you the focus of this episode; however, Liz and Iris (Kathy Bates) are the bookends. After Liz ruminates, the two friends contemplate suicide, but not until Liz can take care of unfinished business and make things right with the son whom she hasn’t seen in 31 years. This part of the episode is sweet, with Liz’s concerns about how his son will accept the fact that his father is a woman. (“You don’t know his aspect… his point of view.”)
The most erratic subplot of the episode is John’s (Wes Bentley). Two weeks ago we learned that he is the Ten Commandments Killer. He now has one murder left, but March (Evan Peters) already has plans for what his protégé will do next. Even this subplot shifts focus to the relationship between John and Alex (Chloe Sevigny) and the vampire children. Together the couple is finally able to convince the kids to come back to the Hotel Cortez.
Sally (Sarah Paulson) is violently jealous that John and Alex seem to be rekindling their romance. While Alex notices something in John’s eyes that has changed him, Sally wants to know what she’ll think after she finds out he’s a serial killer. John tries to tell Sally that all they have between the two of them is an addict’s high. She’s incensed, though, and screams that she deserves more than this. (“I sear on my soul I’m going to kill you!”)
Finally, there are some developments related to the Countess and Donovan (Matt Bomer). I won’t reveal an early-in-the-episode surprise, but I will say that the Countess is shocked to learn that Will is free to roam the halls. “You murdered me, you bitch,” he complains. “Oh, get over it; you deserved it,” she responds. During the final scene of the episode, their relationship to Rudy (Finn Wittrock) reaches a climax and the show ends with a cliffhanger.
The funniest line comes during Ramona’s brief appearance. When the vampire kids are lured into the iron chamber, she lurks in the shadows and whispers, “Mama smells appetizers.” However, as usual, Iris also offers a strong laugh. Preparing to kill herself, she creates a video tribute to herself, about which she says, “It will be a beacon of hope for my three followers on Instagram.”
The subplot of Liz and Iris does not end in despair, though. Finding hope in the acceptance by her son, Liz tells Iris, “My friend, the best is yet to come.” I don’t know if we can say that about American Horror Story: Hotel. I fear it peaked during the last two episodes. The difference in writing and structure is apparent to me. This week, Liz and Iris go out with guns blazing. It remains to be seen if this season will do the same.