American Horror Story: Hotel: A Trip Down Memory Lane
If you were still looking for some answers at this point in the season of American Horror Story: Hotel, last night delivered. The episode opened up to a few workmen attempting to get through a steel wall in Hotel Cortez by order of the new hotel owner, Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson). Unfortunately for these hardworking men, as soon as they get through the wall they are barely able to mention that it "smells like death" before two very thirsty vampires come out and attack them.
Countess Elizabeth (Lady Gaga) sees the hole in the wall while walking around the hotel with Iris (Kathy Bates) and for the first time in the show, she looks genuinely terrified. The scene cuts to a movie set in 1925, and things get confusing. While Finn Wittrock's character, Tristan Duffy died in the last episode, the actor is back again playing famed silent-film actor, Rudolph Valentino. Elizabeth is also on the movie set, playing a concubine in the same film as Valentino. After a note is passed to her during rehearsal, she meets Valentino at his mansion where they tango and discuss film as an art form. The sweet date is interrupted, however, by Valentino's wife Natasha (Alexandra Daddario) and in true AHS fashion, the three of them fall into a passionate love affair.
Elizabeth and her flapper friends show up at Hotel Cortez a few months later to celebrate its grand opening. After owner Mr. March (Evan Peters) pops a bottle of Champagne like an evil Jay Gatsby, an announcement reveals that Valentino died in New York that very morning. A distressed Elizabeth is found by James March right as she's about to jump out of the hotel's window, and he dries her tears and says, "I may never let you go." At this point, we can assume that Elizabeth is not yet the vampire countess that she ends up being years later.
After Elizabeth marries Mr. March, she and Natasha run into one another at Valentino's grave, Elizabeth with a lace veil across her face and Natasha wearing a short beaded dress reminiscent of the '20s fashion. In a turn of events, Valentino also shows up with a wild story about how his stunt double was buried instead of him, because a man greeted him on his press tour and offered to "preserve his beauty" by giving him the ancient blood virus. Valentino reveals that he shared the gift with his wife, and they offer to have Elizabeth run away with them. She promptly agrees.
In present day, Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) has seemingly gone utterly crazy and is admitted into a hospital. While in the hospital he finds the room of a little girl dressed innocently in braids and a school uniform, but with the pale face of one of the Countess's vampire children. The little girl explains that she was helping the man who was behind the murders in the case that Lowe was working on before he was fired from the precinct. She also explains that her dad was not very nice, and one time locked her in a hot car in the middle of the summer. As she suffered, Elizabeth showed up at the window of the car with big '80s hair, which confirms that the little girl must be one of "her children." The detective convinces the little girl to show him where the murderer lives in exchange for helping her to escape the hospital, which she agrees to.
In the meantime, we come to find out that the two thirsty vampires who attacked the workmen at the hotel were in fact a locked up Natasha and Valentino. The two vampires had been locked up by Mr. March at Cortez so that they wouldn't interfere with his marriage to Elizabeth, and the couple had been wasting away in a hallway with no exits since the 1920s.
The episode closes when the little girl and John Lowe make it out of the hotel and are discussing their next plan, with the detective hoping to have her lead him to the murderer that he has been trailing for weeks. Unfortunately, the vampire girl has other plans and attempts to get back to Cortez, but when she turns to run across the street, she gets hit by a bus Mean Girls-style.
While this episode answered a lot of questions about Elizabeth's past, they also prompted many new ones. Who is the actual murderer? Whatever happened to the gang of vampire children from that elementary school? And, most importantly, which decade's fashion will the Countess slay in the next flashback? We'll have to stay tuned for the next episode!
American Horror Story: Hotel returns Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 10 p.m. ET on FX.