I reviewed the premiere episode, and I reviewed the previous two seasons after the season finales. I’m reviewing this season, and speculating on the sixth season. And here’s what I have to say: Hotel has replaced Asylum as my favorite season of American Horror Story. And given my high standards, that means something.

Honestly, it’s hard to pin down a favorite part or moment to Hotel, so I’ll try to get in as much as possible. First, there’s the story. With AHS, it’s really hard to pin down where the story will go or how things will play out, who will live or die at the end (though I kind of saw how the first season was going to end at a certain point), and Hotel continues that, keeping me guessing right up until the last episode. I couldn’t even tell who the Ten Commandments Killer was until the show decided to scream it at us right before John Lowe finds out, at which point I was like, “I should’ve seen that twist coming! They’re really that good.” Not only that, but the writers manage to keep things interesting even in slower moments. Okay, not all the slower moments, there were a few moments in some early episodes where I got a little bored with the pace, but other than that, the writers told the story well, kept our interest, and even scared us a bit.

The show also managed to get across its main theme to us the viewers very well. Whereas Freak Show hit us over the head with its theme of “the other”, this year’s theme, “addiction” is given to us with a bit more finesse. Yes, there are lots of shots of needles and all that, but you also see it in the interaction of the characters, how certain characters cling to each other like a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean, and how other characters act as merciless and heartless as drug dealers to the people who need them. Besides the actual shots of heroin, the closest they ever get with giving us the addiction theme overtly is in episode 6, where one character reams out another about how she uses men, but that’s it. You really get multiple layers of the theme throughout the season, all done with a skill and complexity that I hope I can someday do with my stories.

Absolutely loved this character.

And then there are the characters. Oh my God, these characters are just so great. My favorite is Evan Peters as James Patrick March, the Hotel Cortez’s founder. He’s such a fun character, like a twisted, murderous Walt Disney, and he steals every scene he’s in. Not only that, but Peters looks like he’s having so much fun every time he’s on screen. Not surprising, considering this is such a different role than anything he’s handled on the show (or maybe in anything he’s ever been in). I also adored Lady Gaga as the Countess. I’ve said it a million times by now, but you forget that you’re watching Lady Gaga when she’s on that screen. She becomes her character, and it’s a magical spell that doesn’t break after the credits roll. I really hope she comes back next season, because she is so talented and fun to watch.

The rest of the cast is also a ton of fun. Denis O’Hare as transgender Liz Taylor is just divine, and totally a woman I would invite out with me on a night of wild partying. Wes Bentley (call me!) does a great job embodying John Lowe, who is a little flat as a character until the big twist about him is revealed, and then he’s just amazing fun. And the hotel itself is a character all on its own (how can it not be, when the word”Hotel” is part of the title?), with the most beautiful sets and an atmosphere all its own. It’s like meeting someone at a party, someone with looks and personality that everyone is drawn to, but if you get too close you see an all-consuming darkness.

Okay, that’s a good description of a lot of serial killers, but you get the idea. I like the hotel. The one character I disliked was Dr. Alex Lowe. Now her actress, Chloe Sevigny, was in Asylum as Shelley the nymphomaniac, and she had such a personality in that season, but here she plays her character like she’s bored most of the time. I know she’s going for frustration and depression at life’s injustices, but it feels more like boredom here. So yeah, not a fan of Alex.

I do have some complaints about this season, as much as I did love it. One was that the entity of the Addiction Demon was so underutilized in the story that if you got rid of it the entire season would be unaffected. I mean really, that thing was scary, so why wasn’t it used more? Not enough actors to play it? Too much time in the make-up chair?

I also could have used a bit more Finn Wittrock in the show (please marry me). I mean he’s such a great actor, he played two separate characters in the same season, and I was willing to forgive him for a bad accent on one of them. But hey, that might just be my problem. I do like handsome actors. Hopefully he’s around a lot next season.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving American Horror Story: Hotel a 4.9 out of 5. It’s near perfect as a season as AHS has produced yet, and I cannot wait to see how they try to top it next season.

Seriously hope she’s coming back!

And speaking of next season, what could it be? We’ve had Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show, and Hotel. Where could they go next? If I were a betting man (and I only occasionally buy lottery tickets), I’d say we might see something set at a private school. Schools are great places to portray a horror story, a lot of the regular actors look like they could be high schoolers, and I could imagine Gaga, who may come back next season, as an English teacher who has an affair with a student. I somehow doubt it’ll be anything involving a prison or a camp: the former is too similar to Asylum, and the latter is being done by the guys behind Once Upon a Time. Perhaps we’ll get something with a political bent, or maybe they’ll try to do a period piece in the 19th or 18th century (plenty of untapped potential there). Or maybe something involving a trial, that would be interesting new territory. In any case, a story set at a school, particularly a private one, is my bet.

Well, we’ll find out soon enough. Possibly very soon, if they release a promo like they did after Freak Show. In any case, I cannot wait.

What did you think about AHS: Hotel? Enjoy it or hate it?

What are your guesses for Season 6?

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Comments
  1. Adan Ramie says:

    Hotel was my favorite season yet!

    I definitely agree with you about Evan Peters. I thought he gave a commanding performance, and every time he was on screen, I was overwhelmed by just what an amazing actor he really is. And March was just a phenomenal character overall. Such evil. Such elegance!

    Lady Gaga… I could spend hours talking about just how stunning she was, or how she always managed to seem tastefully nude, or how watching the Countess make out with Ramona Royale was one of the highlights of the whole season for me. Her character was so deliciously flawed that I ate up everything she dished out, even when it was heartless and cold.

    And Liz Taylor! I have been singing her praises since her first appearance. Sometimes a trans* character can seem contrived or flat, especially if the actor portraying them doesn’t really understand or have the motivation they need to pull it off. But Liz? Liz was absolutely believable. With a look, a quirk of the mouth, or a toss of the head, allure dripped off of her.

    Can you tell I’ve had a lot of time to think about this?

    I also think the demon could have been better implemented. I was disappointed that it really wasn’t explained better, but I’m not sure I would have liked to see it more. That was maybe too creepy for my taste. LOL

    John wasn’t my favorite, and I hated Alex even more. He was boring and talked like he thought he was Batman, and she… ugh. She was just pathetic, cardboard, and blah. I was glad when entire episodes would go by without her. I do have to admit that I saw John’s “twist” coming from very early on, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been watching AHS from the beginning. That, or I was just hoping he would get interesting!

    I loved most of the other characters, though. Sarah Paulson was a brilliant addict; those permanent tears were a really nice touch. And Kathy Bates has had my heart for most of my life, so she does no wrong in my book.

    Speaking of book… wow. Look at this post. In summary, I liked AHS: Hotel. I’m not sure what’s coming up next season, but I hope it’s more like Hotel than Coven, which I didn’t like, or Freakshow, which lost me about halfway through.

    • Yeah, this was probably Kathy Bates’s best role on the show so far. You kind of wanted to hug her at every moment. And Sarah Paulson is always great. I’ve never seen her in a role she could not pull off, from AHS to SVU and everything in between. Hell, she makes a great jealous wife in 12 Years a Slave.
      And you’re right, AHS is better when it’s dark and serious.I mean, Asylum was my previous favorite, and it was as dark as coffee! If they end up doing Academy or something along those lines (and they hinted at it in the finale, according to some), I hope they show the dark side of school, rather than exploiting high school humor. Leave that to Buffy, thanks!

  2. i FINALLY finished the season and have saved this in the bottom of my email so I could read it spoiler free (ha ha!) Great review and I agree with pretty much everything – including Alex. I had a hard time finding any sympathy for her character, even with the missing son. It all felt hollow and so made me feel hollow about it. And John was barely better until he is revealed as the killer and becomes interesting.
    I could rave about Evan Peters but then I always love him 😉 I admit I was initially disappointed when he was first revealed as the “bad guy” (to use black and white terms that rarely apply in AH ha ha!) because he is usually the sympathetic guy I spend every episode saying “please don’t kill!” But after he got some real screen time he was so fun I didn’t mind anymore.and Liz Taylor did such a god job of taking the sympathetic character role that it was okay. That was an issue at the beginning for me, I admit, in the first few episodes there really wasn’t a sympathetic character, no obvious ‘I hope they don’t die’ person, so it took some of the suspense out for me. I think John was supposed to kind of fill that gap at the start as a red herring, but he didn’t for me, so it left it empty for a while.
    As for the demon – yes! I’d have like more explanation about it!
    All in all great season. I can’t wait for the next one!

    • Speaking of the next one, it is confirmed that Lady Gaga and Angela Basset will be coming back. Also, we do know that the series will revolve around children, so a school or orphanage is likely. And there’s been talk of the season revolving around Slender Man, though considering how hard it is to get copyright permission to use him in a commercial work, I wouldn’t hold my breath for him.

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