Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's highly-anticipated fifth season of American Horror Story premiered last night with an hour and a half of blood and twisted can't-look-away scenes that didn't disappoint. While AHS fans were bummed that alumni Jessica Lange wasn't returning for the fifth season, they were quickly fascinated by the newest cast member on the scene (and at the hotel): Lady Gaga.
The show opened up with two innocent Swedish travelers who are visiting Los Angeles on their way in a cab to their hotel. The pair of ladies soon discover that Hotel Cortez is far from the Hollywood Strip and are instantly turned off by its retro (read: creepy) atmosphere. But when the hotel manager, Iris (Kathy Bates), tells them there are no refunds, the tourists decide to stay.
After the girls are shown to their room, one of them decides to get ice in a classic Shining-like scene where she sees a child at the end of the hotel hallway. Things get even weirder when they realize there is a terrible smell coming from the sewn-up mattress—and when they begin to cut it apart, a seemingly decaying man jumps out.
From there, we jump to another scene where a detective, John Lowe (Wes Bentley) is investigating a rather gruesome case where a couple was murdered in bed and nailed to their headboard. We learn that the detective has a wife (Chloë Sevigny) and an adorable daughter named Scarlett (Shree Grace Crooks). We also find out in a flashback to 2010, that the Lowes had one of their children, a sweet blonde boy named Holden, kidnapped from them while riding a carousel at the carnival.
Back at the hotel, all hell breaks loose. We are introduced to Max Greenfield's character, a man who arrives at the hotel and immediately goes to the infamous room 64 and is attacked after doing drugs. We also meet another long-time resident of Hotel Cortez, Sally (Sarah Paulson) who is a junkie that seems to claim the hotel as her home.
In the much-anticipated next scene, the Countess (Lady Gaga) appears on the scene and is seemingly preparing for a night out with her lover, a dangerously handsome man named Donovan (Matt Bomer), who also happens to be Iris's son. The Countess makes her debut in a killer red coat (no pun intended) and the couple brings home some friends from the outdoor movie.
Skip forward a few sexy minutes, and the Countess and Donovan are in a bed covered in blood, engaging in normal couple chitchat about staying in. Donovan said, "It's not the getting ready, it's the cleanup," to which the Countess replies sassily, "Call housekeeping."
Moving into the hotel from New York is fashion designer Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) and his son (Lyric Lennon). Gaga affectionately shows the young boy to a hidden room, filled with towheaded children playing video games and eating candy, and suspiciously refers to one of the small boys as Holden.
In another flashback to 1994, Sally and Donovan enter the hotel to do drugs, only to be followed by concerned mother, Iris. Sally wanders to an open window, where she is pushed abruptly by Iris. When the mother returns to the room where her son is unconscious, the Countess is sitting above Donovan, and says, "Your boy has a jaw line for days." We couldn't agree more.
As the final scene plays to the tune of "Hotel California" we see Detective John Lowe checking into the dreaded room 64 and the episode leaves us wondering, who else we be checking in? Or better yet, who will make it to check out?
Catch American Horror Story: Hotel, on FX, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.