AHS: Hotel episode 1, “Checking In,” premiered tonight on FX. Did you decide to extend your stay?
We would not recommend eating any mints off the pillows of this AHS: Hotel. That is if you can stomach them after tonight’s episode. AHS: Hotel kicked off with more guts than glory as it invites you into the mystery of the Hotel Cortez.
The Hotel as a structure represents a great deal of what viewers can expect this season: The suffocating feeling of being trapped in a labyrinth with unpleasantness around every corner. The fish-eye lens adds to the uneasiness of watching the events unfold as if you are peeking in on something you’d rather not watch, but can’t help leaning into until you are plastered against the door.
The timeline of the episode, much like the storylines, is all over the place, making it hard to gain your bearings. Perhaps that is the point. If it is, it will be interesting to see which hallway the story ultimately decides to lead us down. But if we are sitting around waiting to hear a story that never materializes, then an early checkout may be in order.
But everything you know and love, for better or worse, is jam packed into the mega-sized AHS: Hotel premiere, including five moments that made us throw up our hands and say, “WTF?”
1. A twisted game of hide and seek
The children of the Hotel are one mystery we may not want the answers to just yet. In fact, The Countess seems to be amassing a collection of blonde haired, fair-skinned children. As they play in the halls of the hotel, one must wonder if they are really there or if they are a figment of the guests’ psyche.
One child in particular, Holden, is the missing child of John Lowe, who disappeared in Santa Monica five years prior. Holden, however, has not aged a day since his disappearance. Instead he spends his time playing classic video games and eating candy in The Countesses’ secret daycare center.
2. The 10 Commandments Killer
Are we watching Hannibal or AHS? The death and positioning of a cheating couple nailed to the headboard and glued inside one another looked strikingly similar to the murder tableaus from the the late NBC series. Detective John Lowe walks into the scene to find the man missing his eyes and tongue, but still very much alive. The couple is surrounded by photos of their friends and family each with their eyes scratched away. They were blind to the affair.
Detective Lowe can add another murder to his growing list — Commandment number seven: Thou shall not commit adultery.
3. Assault with a deadly dildo
Subtly is not the style of AHS. Addressing an addiction storyline this season, Murphy and company held nothing back when they personified their Addiction Demon. A haunting figure masked in skin with a dildo shaped like a sharp drill bit attached to it assaults the junkie Gabriel, who checked into the Hotel looking for his next fix.
Congratulations, AHS. You drew that line in the sand 100 miles ahead and finally crossed it tonight.
4. Wait, who’s alive again?
Who’s alive? Who is dead? And who was resurrected? Those are three questions that are impossible to confirm by the close of tonight’s AHS: Hotel premiere. Certainly the maid who can get nearly anything out of the hotel’s sheets has long passed. But what about Gabriel (Max Greenfield)? His body was discarded under the bed of room 64, but we see him gasp for air as John Lowe tries to rest his head above him. Donovan was once dead after trying to go hit for hit with Sally one evening, yet he lives on after an encounter with The Countess.
And what about Sally? It seems that neither she nor Donovan have a choice to leave the hotel for good. Iris remains in the hotel in order to see her son, something she apparently cannot do outside of its walls. Sally brought the men into the hotel, so perhaps she is some kind of guardian who sacrifices them to the addiction demon.
5. Bloody orgies
The Countess and her companion Donovan have a supernatural ability to lure people into their grasps and convince them to give over their bodies completely. A brief flicker of recognition before making eye contact across a crowded public gathering, The Countess and Donovan lure a couple back to the Hotel Cortez where, well, passion takes the driver’s seat until their insatiable lust for blood slams on the breaks.
It is certainly the most interesting sex scene to hit cable television in a while.
“It’s not the getting ready. It’s the clean up.”
•This is one beautiful cast.
•Tonight, Matt Bomer joined the tiny list of men who can pull off guyliner.
•Denis O’Hare confirms our prediction — Liz Taylor is our favorite character.
AHS: Hotel episode 2, “Chutes and Ladders,” airs next Wednesday, October 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET on FX.