American Horror Story Season 5 has only three weeks left. But if the promise of Episode 10 holds true, Lady Gaga's the Countess met her revenge. Now let's just hope she stays down
Alright, someone has to say it. American Horror Story Season 5 has overstayed its welcome. Last night's Episode 10, "She Gets Revenge," made it eminently clear that Ryan Murphy's glam-horror showcase has nothing new to offer, little to say about its cast of increasingly bathetic characters and its flimsily constructed fantasy world is imploding on itself with every passing, irrelevant murder setpiece. The murder children are back after their city-wide vampiric rampage in L.A. At least Fear The Walking Dead, which the FX show is shamelessly hitching a ride from, had real-world and principaled consequences for the superhuman extravagances it unleashed in that city. Will Drake's ghost has risen to make Lady Gaga's privileged life a tiny bit more inconvenient after he was killed in Episode 9's revenge scene. Who cares? Even Liz Taylor and Iris's little suicide plot gets wound up and plucked over with little consequence or implication for the overarching narrative and interest in what viewers feel or care about. And it's about time we stopped caring at all. Like the Hotel Cortez itself, it's become increasingly clear that all American Horror Story is interested in doing is reflecting itself in increasingly recursive, small-minded plot pivots with no respect even for the laws of the self-contained universe this package has falteringly established. So what?
And yet show creators continue piggy backing on Lady Gaga like she's doing anything remotely interesting besides being Lady Gaga. The greatest sin Episode 10 commits is perhaps giving the Countess more lines than she deserves, allowing her to embarass herself with some of the most execrable acting perpetrated so far. "I came up her to change - and finish - packing," she declaims for a pair of detectives on the case of her missing husband (so cops do show up at the Hotel when people go missing - what about the several dozen other murders that go off without a flick of the light switch?). "He was - going to the bar for a drink. That's the last - I heard - from him." If these sickening hystrionics that pass off as acting were done on purpose, the detectives should have seen through this flimsy display and arrested her on the spot. Or does no one on this set have the courage to call cut on her Ladyship? It's too bad the professionals - Denis O'Hare, Kathy Bates, the exceptional Evan Peters - put so much work into their roles to have Lady Gaga rip the fabric to shreds with the éclat of a swipe from her elegent rhinestone glove. When Iris and Liz stormed into the Countess' penthouse guns blazing at the end of last night's episode, the action felt just as symbolic a leave taking of the real actors from the drudge holding this season down as a literal fusillade against the character everyone hates. Three more episodes are just not worth this insanity. Let's hope Lady Gaga's ratings-slumping reign of immortality is over. Stay down, Lady, for the love of good TV! Do you think the Countess is really dead? Do you care?