We’re going to have to wait three whole weeks until we get another episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, but thankfully “She Gets Revenge” is primarily a thoughtful and satisfying installment with loads of material that deserves time to sink in.
The episode opens with Iris and Liz Taylor. Still heartbroken over losing Tristan, Liz envies an elderly couple that checks into the hotel so that they can kill themselves and die together on their 60th wedding anniversary. When Liz tells Iris that she’d like to end her life as well, Iris manages to talk her out of doing it right then and there, which would essentially trap Liz in the Cortez forever. But, Iris doesn’t talk Liz out of killing herself entirely. In fact, she merely insists that Liz wait, take care of her unfinished business and then they’ll off themselves together.
What is that unfinished business? Burying the hatchet with the son she left behind. For 31 years Liz sent Douglas checks and attempted to keep in touch by writing him letters but to no avail. Now in order to get him to the Cortez, Liz asks Miss Evers to call him and invite him to the hotel in exchange for the ultimate gift – a bottle of detergent that will produce “radiant whites.” Douglas arrives and goes straight to the bar to redeem his free drinks. Liz serves him and the two have a nice long chat, but Liz never reveals who she really is. Liz gets Miss Evers a washer and drier to repay her for that alone, but when Miss Evers makes Liz consider what it’d be like for her to tell Douglas that Liz killed herself, Liz rushes back down to the bar. Not only does Douglas reveal that he knew who she was all along, but in a surprising and very well earned twist, he’s also completely accepting of her.
When the time comes for Liz and Iris to kill themselves, much to Iris’ disappointment, Liz backs out. Iris likens it to everyone else in her life abandoning her, but Liz manages to spin the scenario back around and convince Iris that they could have something to live for if they took control of the Cortez and turned it into the hotel version of that bizarre rainbows and sunshine video montage Iris made.
As for John, he’s far less of a psychopath in this episode, which is a pretty drastic change from the last time we saw him. He’s still busy trying to complete what Mr. March started, but now he’s got another item on his agenda. After watching Mr. March burn the contractor alive for failing to complete the chamber door to The Countess’ specifications, Mr. March agrees to arrange a meeting for John and Alex. During their conversation, they rehash everything they’ve been through and come to the conclusion that they abandoned Scarlett and are the world’s worst parents. (Duh.) After finding some common ground, Alex admits that she needs John’s help. The Countess found out about the classroom full of vampire children and told Alex that if she doesn’t fix this, she’ll kill her and Holden.
They head off to the mansion where Alex saw them last. Even though the place looks deserted, the kids are still there. They corner John and Alex, but when one young girl dies, presumably from failing to feed, something finally clicks and they realize that they need John and Alex’s help. They bring them back to the Cortez, but with no plan to look after them. Instead, John and Alex put the kids in that eerie, bricked up, locked off hallway with Will Drake’s body and a hungry Ramona Royale.
John and Alex head back to his room for a little celebratory sexy time after which they contemplate getting back together. Alex attempts to brush off the idea, but before walking out of the room she does admit that she’s intrigued by the new John. Once she’s gone, Sally pops up, and she’s insanely jealous. She nearly seduces John but he’s committed to the idea of getting back together with Alex for the sake of their children. In their final sequence of the episode, John is reunited with Holden and the three walk out of the Hotel Cortez together as Sally threatens them.
Meanwhile, Donovan and The Countess are going to extremes to get what they want. (Surprise, surprise.) The Countess wants Rudy all to herself, but in order for that to happen, she’s got to take out Natacha. As one might expect, that’s what her little girls night is for. Trouble is, little does The Countess know, while she’s dealing with Natacha, Donovan is busy blowing Rudy’s brains out back at the motel.
Still thinking she has it made, The Countess reports that Will is missing. However, while chatting with the cops, Will walks right into the room, seemingly foiling her plan. Will brings up the fact that The Countess isn’t in his will, but she reminds him that he made her Lachlan’s legally appointed guardian so when he inherits everything, she’ll be in control. But really, The Countess is losing control, big time. While dining with Donovan, he catches her completely off guard by revealing what he did to Rudy.
After going to the motel and finding Rudy’s body, she returns to the suite to find that Donovan waited for her and is seemingly flattered by the fact that he’s willing to die if it’s the only way she’ll let him love her. Just when The Countess seems like she might give in, Iris and Liz burst in with guns blazing, presumably blowing The Countess away.
So, we went two for three this week. Unlike some of the more recent episodes, “She Wants Revenge” divides up the screen time and features multiple storylines, two of which pan out quite well. The weak link is the situation with John and Alex, but not because the scenario doesn’t show potential, but rather because it just doesn’t fit in this episode.
Whereas the John and Alex portion of the show feels a bit shoehorned in, the parts with Iris and Liz and then The Countess and Donovan come together nicely. Plus, they both function as solid, somewhat complete stories on their own. Obviously we have a little ways to go until we find out where all four characters end up, but as far as “She Wants Revenge” goes, they each go through highly engaging and moving experiences that have beginnings, middles and ends, making their transformations especially meaningful.
Episode Rating: ★★★
Odds and Ends:
- “I envy them.” – Liz Taylor
- “I must away. Bye now!” – Miss Evers
- “You have a freaking sword.” – Donovan
- “Who’s the little mouse now?” – The Countess
- “I have better cheekbones anyway. Cheekbones for days.” – Donovan
- “I have nothing but time and my imagination.” – Mr. March
- “There’s plenty of room for another woman in my life.” – Douglas