The second episode of American Horror Story: Hotel was, dare we say, even bloodier than the premiere. Last night's episode, titled "Chutes and Ladders," opens up to Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson) getting outed as the culprit who keeps sewing live people into mattresses, which seems to be the fate of hotel guest/junkie Gabriel (Max Greenfield) from episode one. Just how many other mattresses in Hotel Cortez have drug-rattled unfortunates trapped inside?
Next, the hotel "power couple," Elizabeth (Lady Gaga) and Donovan (Matt Bomer) seem to have their first relationship spat, as Elizabeth tries to convince Donovan to come to an art opening with her—which seems to be code for hunting humans to drink their blood. Donovan is all of us when he says the best quote of the night, "Come on, let's stay in. We can binge-watch House of Cards."
We then see Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) getting acquainted with Sally at the hotel bar, after ending up there following a hallucination-driven run around the halls. Here, we find out that Lowe is a recovering alcoholic, after he went on a two-day bender following a particularly horrific case and went back to his family just in time to have his son Holden (Lennon Henry) kidnapped from him at a carnival.
New hotel owner and fashion maven, Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) hosts a lavish party and fashion show at Hotel Cortez, where we first meet magazine editor, Claudia Bankson (Naomi Campbell). Countess Elizabeth shows up to the front row fashionably late with her vampire boyfriend in tow, looking killer in a strapless white gown and a headpiece that only Gaga could pull off. Hotel bartender Liz Taylor (Denis O'Hare) serves major fashion advice to Bankson, with the sassy line, "Skinny jeans are out, fringe is in, ponchos are forever. Make a note of it."
During this episode, we are introduced to yet another tall, dark-haired man (co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk must favor the look), the drug-addicted fashion model Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock). He stumbles down the runway making a scene, while also making suspiciously sexy eye-contact with Elizabeth. Following the show, the Countess gets ahold of Tristan and turns him into a vampire, and as it turns out, her new boyfriend. In the following scenes, Elizabeth teaches Tristan all about her vampire ways, recounting her favorite decades where we see her riding into a disco club in the '70s on a white horse. When Tristan asks her if stakes and other weapons could kill them, she replies, "Bitch, please. Of course it can. You're only immortal if you're smart." Which she clearly is since she was born in 1904.
Meanwhile, Detective Lowe's young, curly-haired daughter, Scarlett (Shree Grace Crooks) finds her long lost brother-turned-vampire in the hotel looking exactly like he did years ago when he was kidnapped. When she prompts him to come home to their parents, he replies, "I am home," which could only mean he has accepted Elizabeth as his new mother.
Next, we jump into a black-and-white flashback taking place in the 1920s, told by Iris (Kathy Bates) to Detective Lowe as he caves to a drink at the hotel bar. There, we meet the original owner of the hotel, Mr. James March (Evan Peters), a sadistic serial killer who tortures his guests before sending them down garbage chutes in the newly built Hotel Cortez. A mention of his wife who enjoys watching his torture and a flash of white-blonde hair leaves us wondering if he could have been the original vampire to turn Elizabeth.
At the end of the episode, Detective Lowe realizes that the murder case he is working on is based upon the Ten Commandments in the Bible, and he believes the killer is picking up where Mr. March left off in the '20s. The episode closes with a bearded man in suspenders at the hotel greeting Tristan, who promptly kills him as the Countess watches.
Following this episode, we have so many questions. Is Mr. March still alive and killing people for sport again? Will Elizabeth choose spiky-haired Tristan or always-shirtless Donovan? And most importantly, exactly how many bodies should we expect to come jumping out of sewn-up mattresses in the future? We hope to get more answers next week.
Catch American Horror Story: Hotel on FX, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.