'American Horror Story: Hotel,' episode 4: A reunion to die for
Jeffrey Dahmer. Richard Ramirez. Aileen Wuornos. Zodiac. These are household names in the history of serial killers. They're also honored guests at James March's annual Devil's Night soirée at the Hotel Cortez.
The fourth episode of American Horror Story: Hotel confirmed the only living being in the hotel is John Lowe (for now).
We knew how the devoted Miss Evers died, but "Devil's Night" gave us a little backstory. Not fully committed to creating an elaborate Halloween costume for her son, Albert, she sent him out in a white sheet with two eye holes -- a stereotypical ghost. Like Lowe with Holden, she turned her back for a second and her boy was gone, quickly whisked away in a black car. He and other boys were found weeks later, though only traces of Albert's blood were found on a sheet.
After some research, Lowe finds out Albert was a victim of the Wineville Chicken Murders -- some 60 years ago. There's no way Miss Evers could still be alive.
But as March would say, "You've seen enough evidence to know what's impossible becomes very possible here ."
I need my mommy ... my other mommy
Last week we saw Alex find her lost son, Holden, roaming the halls of the Cortez. No questions asked, she brings him home. The sunlight streaming in his former home bothers him, his temperature is only 75.5 degrees and he's thirsty. Alex gives him the option of apple or orange juice, but Holden prefers the blood of the family dog.
Desperate for answers about what happened to her son -- and why he hasn't aged in 5 years -- Alex takes him back to the Cortez. Holden leads his biological mother down to the drained swimming pool where his glass coffin sits and quickly crawls back into bed. Alex's head is swimming, and the Countess comes just in time to answer her questions.
Holden contracted an ancient blood virus, which comes with immortality, vitality and no cure. The Countess explains how she handpicked all of them to become her "children." Her ghostly babies were neglected, ignored, not given enough love. She explained Holden came with her willingly and has been very happy living with her.
Alex is set on never leaving her boy's side every again. The only option -- joining Countess, working for her and contracting the virus.
The episode ends with Alex feeding from the Countess's chest while Countess explains the transition process -- she will be broken down and torn apart so she can rise up again.
To be a great killer, you must understand people
The best parts of this episode came during the serial killer dinner. James Patrick March, famed builder of the Cortez and master murderer, hosts his Devil's Night dinner and a show every year on Halloween. His honored guests include an infamous serial rapist and torturer (Rich Ramirez), a woman who enacted revenge against her attackers (Aileen Wuornos), a literal man-eater (Jeffrey Dahmer) and the Zodiac killer (never found or identified). Though the line of the night came from the Killer Clown himself, John Wayne Gacy, "Just because you got 30 bodies buried in your crawl space doesn't mean you can't have a nice great room."
Gacy must know a thing or two about good interior design.
John Lowe was also invited to the bloody feast. After a hefty shot of absinthe, Lowe goes in and out of focus. The serial killers he learned about through his years as a cop are all dead, yet they sit right in front of him. They're drinking with him, eating with him and even killing in front of him. Dahmer is hungry, but he doesn't want salad. Ms. Evers brings out a frightened, shirtless young man to be Dahmer's feast. Next comes Sally bringing in a victim for all of them to share.
Lowe is drunk and wakes up screaming and crying in an empty hotel room with Sally by his side. He doesn't know what happened. He could've sworn it was all real.
"Is anything real?" Sally says, explaining how he hallucinated everything, but she's here to protect him.
During the dinner, March praised his cohorts for "living the American dream." He gloats of his masterful murder palace and reminisces of the times each of the killers came to him for guidance. They all learned from him, and they all achieved their ultimate goal -- to be remembered. People around the world are still enthralled by them, they study them, even write books about them. "Your stories will live on," March says.
Surrendering to the illusion
Detective Lowe and his wife, Alex, both took deep cuts this episode. Their marriage, held together by a thin string, probably just snapped. Alex so desperately wants to be with her son again, she's willing to give up her marriage -- and her other child -- to join her true love, Holden, in immortality.
Lowe's head is swimming with whatever it is that's going on around him -- the murder investigations, the loss and sudden appearance of his son and the revelation that everyone in the hotel is already dead. They're all bound within its walls by their bloody pasts and relationships to one another.
He's now so connected to all of them, and I have a feeling the only way out is to become one of them or die at their hands.
Closing thoughts: Lily Rabe played an AMAZING Aileen Wuornos. She's probably the only person to make a greasy mullet and bad eyebrows look good.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at email@example.com or on Twitter @chelseatatham.