This week we got inside the skeleton of Hotel in Episode 2 of American Horror Story, "Chutes and Ladders." And once there we got to meet the original owners of Cortez who imbued it with a heart "black as the ace of spades"
Fashion is frightening. And in Episode 2 of American Horror Story, blood is totally in. After last week's Season 5 premiere proved Lady Gaga was in Hotel, Episode 2, "Chutes and Ladders," shifted focus to the other characters inhabiting Hotel Cortez. Last night's episode picked up on detective John Lowe's recent stint at the hotel as he follow's the trail of the elusive Ten Commandments Killer to the lodging's infamous Room 64. In spite of his better instincts, the detective gets caught up in the strange nocturnal rhythms of the Cortez, finding himself up at the worst of hours "between two and three AM" confessing his inebriate sins to Hypodermic Sally and Liz Taylor in his Cleopatra mood. And when he goes back to the station, he receives a sizable package from the Hotel Cortez itself, within which - after calling the bomb squad to check it out - he uncovers an Oscar-like statuette covered in blood. At the hotel, the detective gets caught in the middle of preparations for a huge fashion display in the foyer, hosted by the Cortez's new owner Will Drake. After meeting Lowe's daughter, Drake invites them both to the party as his special guests, where Scarlett Lowe meets Will Drake's sallow boy Laughlan. During the show, Laughlan sneaks Scarlett out of the hall (under the infallible gaze of the Countess) to "show her something really cool." In an abandoned pool pit, the adolescent pair discover a crypt housing the wraithish infants who infest the hotel like Count Dracula and whose blood is siphoned out to feed the Countess. Among the glass tombs, Scarlett finds a body with the anemic palour of her missing brother Holden, who flashes back his pristine blue eyes like the day he went missing five years before.
Back on the runway, the Countess encounters her latest acquisition, a volatile model named Tristan Duffy, who even Donovan's "jawline for days" can't compete with. With a taste for junkie-type down-and-outers, Elizabeth quickly "turns" Tristan to the dark side of the virus, explaining to him over one of the show's characteristically campy sex scenes how to comport himself as a fresh immortal: "Never drink from the dead... the sun won't kill you but it should be avoided... don't get caught and don't fall in love." With Tristan on the scene, the Countess's time with count Donovan has come to an end, and she promptly turns her ex-lover to the street with unseen consequences that will play out over the next episodes. Perhaps the strange case of the real life Hotel might give us clues of what's to come. Back downstairs, Scarlett Lowe has become a little detective herself, cutting out of school to sneak into the hotel and track down her little bro. As though she was meant to find him, Scarlett stumbles upon Holden in the secret chamber where the zombie children nourish themselves on bubble gum balls and Sunny-D. "What took you so long?" the ageless Holden smiles down on her former sister. When she tries to get him to go home with her, he claims he is home (perhaps with a nod to Steven Speilberg's Hook). When she arrives home to find squad cars and police lights outside, Scarlett's livid parents ask her where she was, upon which she produces a phone to prove she'd seen Holden. In a rage, John Lowe looks down at the phone to find a smiling Scarlett beside a blurry face which may or may not be his missing son.
Incensed, the detective marches into Hotel Cortez and threatens Donovan's mother and concierge Iris with arrest if she doesn't tell him "everything that's going in this place." Oh she'll tell him what he wants to know, but first he'll need to "ask nice and buy a lady a drink." Back at the bar and under the sight of Ms. Taylor herself, she recounts the history of James Patrick March, the millionaire founder of Cortez in the 1930s and lifelong devotee of the decadent art of homicide, who "put every atom of evil in his being into building this hotel." Iris recounts the purpose-built hallways that lead nowhere in which the oil baron indulged his finer tastes for snuff and mutilation, aided by his committed laundress Miss Evers who was said to be able to get a stain out of anything - as well as his wife, who liked to watch. But one day, a massacre committed on a group of migrants working on a Sunday leads the depression-era police to the Cortez, where Mr. March is in the process of one of his great mutilations. Rather than submit to questioning, the urbane March produces a knife and pistol for Miss Evans, giving her the honor of choosing which order they should die in. A visibly giddy Evans pleads "to do me the honor of making me your last meal." And with that, he shoots her and slices his own throat, devolving his entire estate, including the hotel, onto his wife, who, while she never shows her face on the screen, is shown to be stunningly blonde and equally cruel. All of a sudden, James March is tied into the Ten Commandments Killer, who, all these years later, seems to have taken over his message to "kill God" in the world. Do you have any clue who the Ten Commandments Killer could be?