You can check-out anytime you like, but you can never leave; AHS Hotel Season 5 Ep 1 Checking-In

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The new season of American Horror Story Hotel has begun with the first episode “Checking in”. As I predicted, the jeweled gloves have everything to do with the show and weren’t just a pretty distraction in the promos. [read here] Let’s get right to the juicy details because this season is going to be down right gruesome and I’m in love with the presence the creators developed.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY -- "Checking In" Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: Kathy Bates as Iris. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
AMERICAN HORROR STORY — “Checking In” Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: Kathy Bates as Iris. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

Two blonde Swedish girls booked a room at the hotel cortez (I believe through the internet), with the impression that it would be a cheap good looking place near all the tourist attractions. But their cab driver lets them know that Universal Studios is actually 10 miles away from the place, and they realize the information online, may not have been so accurate. The hotel itself is beautiful with high ceilings and red, black,and white interiors. However, it is a little dusty and quite outdated, with about two residents a month. The place is a ghost town. Most likely in the literal sense for AHS.

The Swedish girls decide they will get their deposit and look for a place that is more…inviting. Iris (Kathy Bates), the front desk clerk, tells them that there are no returns and that they might as well stay. I would have been on the next cab to a holiday Inn, but these girls don’t have the funds to throw away that deposit so hastily. Their room looks like the type of room you would get at a motel that hasn’t seen light since the 70’s.

The girls are prepared with their own mini liquor bottles and one of them goes across the hall to get ice. On the way there, she bumps into a maid that is steam drying sheets that have been stained in blood. She’s complaining about the mess she had to clean up and our blonde is just confused. Before she reaches the ice machine, a blonde littleboy in a school uniform outfit points behind her from across the hall, and when she turns around, she sees another similar blonde little girl. She runs after her and when they turn the corner, the little girl disappears. Only the maid remains steam drying her sheets. HELLO! Creepy ghost looking children flitting around hallways have been the biggest sign of, you should get the hell out of dodge, since The Shining! I still don’t know if this was bad writing or they decided to write two idiots into the script.

Our blonde tourist returns to find that the little boy has also disappeared. She’s spooked but continues to finish the job. While filling up her bucket with ice, we see that a jeweled gloved hand gets close enough to tough her hair, but disappears.

Either way, when the blonde returns, her friend is distressed over a rotting smell in the room that can’t be wiped out. They call Iris at the front desk and she tells them that the hotel is completely booked. No more available rooms. This still does not motivate them to get out. They realize the smell is originating from the bed and they pull off the sheets to discover that the bed had been sown together right in the middle.

At what point do you realize that the forces that be are warning you? And when does cutting open this sown bed to discover where the rotting smell is coming from, equal a good idea?

They cut open the bed and some bald naked man covered in sores comes screaming out.

Iris takes the girls out the room and apologizes for what she truly can’t explain. But instead of helping them be on their way, she takes them to room 64 until the police can arrive on the premises. She even threatens that they could be arrested if they leave, evasion of a crime scene or something. Oh, and the room is vacant, although they claimed they were fully booked, because they never rent the room out to anyone.

A few hours later the girls are without phone service and laying around bored out of their mind. When one of them falls asleep, she wakes up to the sound of the radio clicking on by itself. Her friend is no where to be found. When she walks into the bathroom she finds her lying on the floor while those scary children are chewing on her roommates arms and legs, that are covered in blood.

Told you so! Should have left when the signs were clear the first time.

Enter John Lowe. An attractive homicide detective with the eyes of Edward Mordrake. (AHS Freakshow) That’s because the actor, Wes Bentley, was also Edward Mordrake last season. John arrives at a crime scene in a very luxurious apartment or hotel room.

The victims are a man and woman who look like they were killed while having sex. The naked man is alive with no eyes or tongue. The eyes and tongue are in the ashtray next to the bed. the woman is on top with a massive arrow piercing right throw her mid section. Her hands have also been nailed to the bed. John’s partner immediately guesses jealousy as the motivation for the kill. There are pictures of the couples family around the bed with their eyes cut out, meaning that these two individuals are married to other people who have no idea that these two have been cheating on their spouses with each other. John guesses the motivation was far more sinister then mere jealousy.

Before they could detach the two, the man with no tongue begins to protest with hums. John finds glue on the floor and guesses that the man’s penis is still inside the dead woman and has been glued into its place. OUCH. Who ever did this really wanted them to suffer for their sins.

John gets an anonymous call from a creepy stranger on the phone claiming they are responsible for the crime scene he just saw. He says he’s at the Hotel Cortez at room 64 and he’s going to do it again.

Hotel Cortez’s next resident is a druggie with shades and a leather jacket looking for place to get high. Iris overcharges him and sends him to room 64. That room sees more guests then the hotel as a whole. Sally (Sarah Paulson) sees the man exit towards his room and tells Iris she has dibs on him. Sally looks like a strung out clubber that is in bad need of a blower and a comb.

Our rocker druggie passes a bald man with a face beat for the gods. (In fabulous diva lingo, this means–he had makeup) Baldy’s name is Elizabeth Taylor, incredibly appropriate. Meanwhile, the Swedish guests are no longer at room 64 and it leaves you wondering where those two ended up. We find out much later. Stay tuned.

Druggie sets up his handy dandy heroine addict kit and gets right to shooting up. Immediately after the drugs are in the system, he sees the maid and handful of other ghostly residents of the hotel. The man’s probably thinking he’s going through a bad trip. Till the boil covered man from earlier emerges, covered in plastic and donning a sharp metal strap on. He grabs the druggie from behind and pounds into him with the stamina and will of an overly excited horse.

I have to say that AHS has taken this new season to a new level of gruesomeness. But regardless of controversial criticisms, they did what they needed to keep the horror fresh. This scene makes me want to scrape out my eyes and bury them into a 16 ft pit, but I know that it created fear within me that was very real and necessary.

Sally’s sick self shows up bed side asking Druggie to tell her he loves her. Don’t how that makes her happy. After no reply, possibly due to the internal bleeding and excruciating pain, she lets him know how he can stop the strap on  guy. Druggie tells Sally he loves her and the man with the strap on, stops. Unfortunately, the druggie dies before he can tell Sally he loves her again.

Meanwhile, John has arrived and is suspicious when he asks Iris about room 64, and she claims that it’s vacant, when he can see behind her that the key slot for the room is empty. When John gets in the room it’s actually empty. How the hell did they clean up the sheets and where’s druggie at?

John looks around and then ends up laying down on the bed. Druggie’s dead body is under the bed. A very hasty clean up, but they did a good job. John instantly falls asleep, just like the swedish girl earlier. He wakes up to the sound of the radio clicking on again. On his way out, he catches a glimpse of one of the ghosty vamp children and chases him into a dead end. Nothing more here to see, except the frustration that all these people chasing these kids feel. Only, his remorse in not finding the kid may be deeper. Stay tuned.


To the sound of the above killer song: Tear you apart by She Wants Revenge, The Countess (Lady Gaga) and Donovan, get ready to go out on the town. She wears a corset and cape, does a few lines of coke and puts on the jeweled gloves. Donovan has one glove too.

They end up at an outdoor movie in the park, where couples are watching Nosferatu on blankets. The gothic couple sits down and Donovan makes eye contact with a girl sitting nearby. This whole scene is very couple on couple flirting. They all end up at hotel cortez naked in bed. The song is still playing as the foursome maneuver their way through foreplay. When Gaga and Donovan end up on top of the other two in unison, they slash the throats of the innocent couple with their gloves. They drink and kiss while the dying couple, grasp for air and squirt out blood.  So romantic, from a vampires perspective.

Back to our Swedish girls, who have been locked up in a room within individual standing cages. Iris is blending together the grossest ingredients into a slush drink, to improve the blood value of the two girls. Iris is afraid that the countess will be angry if their blood tastes like trash. Sally stops by to criticize Iris. They have a very aggressive relationship, where they seem not to like each other, but are forced to be around each other either way. Iris gives her the opportunity to take over but warns her not to mess up the opportunity because the ever powerful Gaga will be watching.

Sally lets one of the girls out of her cage and commands her to run. The girl runs and almost makes it to the exit, when Gaga magically appears and slashes her neck open with a golden claw ring. Gaga warns Iris that this should never happen again and then storms off with more hip switching then a victoria secret model on the runway.

John Lowe has an interesting living situation. At first, I figured he was divorced and his beautiful relationship with his young daughter forced him to deal with her angry mother, but I soon realized I was wrong. There are some issues in their marriage but they are still married. Alex, John’s wife, is a house call doctor and leaves him with their daughter, Scarlet,  after she rushes out to help a patient.

John takes his daughter for sushi. His daughter mentions a dream that she had and someone that she’s not suppose to talk about was in the dream, when John receives a destress text from   Alex. He calls in a cop to meet him at the house she was working in and leaves his daughter in the car, while he goes in to look for mom. A couple of rustles in the bushes attract the attention of the cop that was left watching John’s daughter and sends the cop in another direction.

I was like, OMG they are going to tear this little girl to shreds. But No. The little girl to this point seems very astute and smart, but decides that in this emergency, her best bet would be to follow her father into the house. DUMB. John doesn’t find anything. Except, he gets a call from Alex and picks up to hear the voice of the stranger that had called about room 64. The stranger tells John that he had warned him he would do it again. His daughter discoveries the bodies of two men hanging from the ceiling with their intestines hanging out.




Santa Monica 2010

It appears that Scarlet was not an only child, in fact, she was a twin. On a day where the parents split up the kids amongst them, John took his son to a carnival. He put him on a horse on a carousel and turned his back for two minutes to text on his phone. When he turned around, his son was gone. That’s was causing the marital issues between John and Alex. She might blame him for his disappearance or just can’t deal with the loss of their son. They never found him and don’t have the slightest clue as to what happened to him. Which also explains John’s frustration at chasing the blonde kid at the hotel.

Alex is perfectly fine after the incident happened with the intestine bodies. They figured someone found a way to hack into the phone lines so it seemed the texts and calls were coming from her. Alex opens up about her feelings regarding Holden’s disappearance. It isn’t that she blames John for anything, it’s that he looks so much like Holden, she is reminded of her son every time she looks at her husband.

They discuss the dangers of the stalker having so much access to them and John decides he will move out to concentrate on investigating this situation and to protect their family, since the stalker seems to be targeting John. His wife is happy with his decision because she needs a break from looking at his face. Talk about true love.

At Hotel Cortez, they get an unexpected visit from Will Drake and a real estate agent. Will Drake is the new owner of the hotel, who hopefully intends to make changes, such as remodeling. Iris is frazzled as they walk in like they own the place. She feels they are going to be turned out on the streets by the new owner. Even Will Drake’s young son is playing around the lobby like he’s lived there all his life. He runs back to his father’s side only after having a brief encounter with the naked man covered in plastic sans strap on.

Donovan is livid. I would be too if someone disturbed me sleeping naked in my pent house suite. Gaga wasn’t expecting Will Drake, but she’s the only one that knows exactly who he is. Mr. Drake is a fashion designer that intends to combine his profession with this new investment. Gaga compliments his work by specifically singling out a outfit he created for Mrs. Obama for an event.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY -- "Checking In" Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: (clockwise from left) Christine Estabrook as Marcy, Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake, Lyric Lennon as Lachlan Drake. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
AMERICAN HORROR STORY — “Checking In” Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: (clockwise from left) Christine Estabrook as Marcy, Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake, Lyric Lennon as Lachlan Drake. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

He seems impressed that she knows his work, but Gaga is buttering him up to get him to leave the hotel as it is. The agent has been making references to remodeling suggestions for the hotel that seems too dark and retro for anything that she thinks Drake has planned. Fortunately for Gaga, Drake is a new yorker that is tired of the posh hotels that have taken over, eliminating the eclectic array of motels and hotels filled with colorful and weirdo people.  Things may stay as they are.

Based on the meaningful look that Gaga gave Donovan when she asked him to give Will Drake a tour of a light sculpture in the building, it’s unclear if Gaga intends to really work with the new owner or eliminate him. While Donovan takes Will Drake on that tour, Gaga preoccupies herself with appealing to his son.

She takes him to a secret room behind a wall where all the vampy children live. You know, the ones that dash around the halls creeping people out with their pale faces and disappearances. There are candy machines all over the room and the wall wide screens around the room are for video games. Gaga introduces Will Drake’s son to the youngest of the clan and we realize that it’s Holden. The hotel has John Lowe’s son.

Donovan appears at the lobby fully dressed and without Will Drake and the agent. What happened to Will Drake and the real estate agent? I guess we’ll find out if they became someones next meal on the next episode. Iris follows Donovan as he makes his way out, completely distressed about the sale of the hotel. Donovan tells Iris that she should have left a long time ago. She only stood because she’s his mother. So, a little more background on how this odd family ended up in Gaga’s blood sucking empire through another flashback.


It appears that Iris had first walked into the Hotel Cortez running in after her druggie son who had entered with another known junkie, Sally. Iris tries to get Elizabeth Taylor to tell her where her son was so she can stop him, but Elizabeth Taylor gives her enough attitude to set the tone for the job requirements for front desk clerk. Now I kno where Iris gets that nasty attitude.

When Iris finally barges into room 64 (Suprised?), Donovan is passed out on heroine. This also sets the tone for the aggression between Iris and Sally. Donovan looks like he won’t wake up because he over dosed and Sally’s bragging about how well she handles the same amount of heroine. Iris takes advantage of an open window and Sally ends up on the sidewalk, dead as a doornail.

When Iris returns to her son laying on the bed, he’s nestled in Lady Gaga’s arms. Gaga is delighted that Donovan has a jawline for days. We can assume that this is how Donovan became a vampire and that his mother is probably still part of the living. It is also safe to assume that Sally is another member of the night sucker club.

I swear the soundtrack to this show is so on point. The very appropriate Hotel California plays reminding us that you can check-out any time you like, but you could never leave. John packs up his bags and leaves his wife and daughter in the middle of the night. He checks-in to Hotel Cortez and Iris wordlessly passes him the keys to room 64.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY -- "Checking In" Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: Wes Bentley as John Lowe. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
AMERICAN HORROR STORY — “Checking In” Episode 501 (Airs Wednesday, October 7, 10:00 pm/ep) Pictured: Wes Bentley as John Lowe. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

What an episode!!!

Let’s reflect now. Any idea what will happen with hotel Cortez’s new owner? Will John Lowe survive the dark secrets of the hotel? What is that plastic covered creature?

Tell me what you think about the premiere of AHS Hotel. Comment Below or tell me on one of these channels.


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