American Horror Story: Hotel “She Gets Revenge” Review (Season 5 Episode 10)

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Well, what goes around certainly comes around! Since we last checked in with “American Horror Story: Hotel,” all sorts of things have gone down, from the predictable- to no one’s surprise, John Lowe (Wes Bentley) did indeed turn out to be the Ten Commandments Killer- to the decidedly unpredictable- i.e. most everything that happened on the latest episode, “She Gets Revenge.”

Of course, many assumed that the “she” of the title here would be Ramona (Angela Bassett), who would hopefully get free from her prison, and go from “wanting” revenge, as per the last episode, to getting it, but such was not the case, alas. That’s not to say that her former would-be partner-in-crime didn’t on her behalf, however- and then some.

In “She Wants Revenge,” Ramona and Donovan (Matt Bomer) teamed up to bring down the Countess once and for all, only for Donovan to betray Ramona to get back into the Countess’ good graces. It worked, and the two were at it again faster than you could say gratuitous Lady Gaga nude sex scene. Not that I was complaining, mind you. That Gaga’s fit, isn’t she?

Ramona was locked into the neon Iron Maiden previously occupied by the “Swedish meatballs,” and subsequently, upon consummating their marriage, the Countess killed and dumped the useless Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) into the same wing and locked him away behind the newly-installed metal door blocking the wing that once was the decidedly unwelcome home to her long lost love Valentino (Fin Wittrock) and his wife Natacha (Alexandria Daddario).

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However, much to Donovan’s chagrin, he discovered that he wasn’t enough for the Countess after all, and on this episode, it was he who got his revenge on the Countess by heading to Valentino’s apartment and in a scene that amusingly recalled a similar one in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” of all things, he shot down Valentino, who learned the hard way why you shouldn’t bring a sword to a gunfight. Repeatedly.

Meanwhile, as this was going down, the Countess was getting rid of her own adversary in love, Natacha, likewise shooting her dead. Little did she know that it wouldn’t matter one iota, as her long lost love was being gunned down as she did so. Unfortunately for her, she somewhat unwisely did so on hotel property, which I assume means Natacha will be back, unlike Valentino, who was killed off-property. Oh, but it didn’t end there.

Upon meeting up with Donovan for dinner, he informed her of what he did, leading a genuinely blindsided Countess to rush to Valentino’s side, only to find him dead, as Donovan claimed. She returned, fully expecting him to have run for it, but was surprised to find Donovan waiting for her instead, having resigned himself to his fate, and deciding he’d rather be dead than suffer without the Countess, anyway. Perhaps on some level, he expected her to do it on property, thus ensuring he’d return and continue to torment her about it.

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Although if I understand it correctly, the only ones who return are those with unfinished business, and I’d say Donovan’s business was essentially finished, so maybe he won’t be back after all. Whatever the case, the decision was promptly taken out of both of their hands, when, in a surprise twist, Liz and Iris, who had, up until that point, been intending to put themselves out of their misery via suicide, came in guns blazing and presumably gunned both the Countess and Donovan down where they stood. Did NOT see that coming!

So, unless Liz and Iris are as bad a shot as that one guy in “Pulp Fiction” that tried to take out Jules and Vincent and failed miserably, then those two are deader than doornails. Even better, if I understand how all this works, that means those two are not only stuck at the hotel from there on out- at least until they resolve their issues- but they’re stuck together, to boot.

Even worse for the Countess, she’s stuck there with her ex-hubby March (Evan Peters), who is going to be pleased as punch when he discovers his good fortune, to be sure. Bet she’s wishing she hadn’t been such a Grade-A Beeyatch right about now. Hell hath no fury like a Liz scorned, and Lord knows the Countess brought that one on herself. Whoops!

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how all that plays out, but needless to say, it was quite unexpected. I mean, don’t get me wrong: part of me thought that Liz and Iris might well end up ruling over the hotel in the end. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. After all, there are still three episodes left, and we’ve got a several week hiatus for the holidays to get through before the show returns on January 6th, when we see what everyone’s respective fates will be.

Typically, they don’t start wiping everyone out until the last few episodes, give or take a few minor characters here and there. I certainly didn’t expect Lady Gaga to be one of them, not this soon. Granted, much like the first season, “Murder House,” dead isn’t entirely dead in this hotel, and by doing it in the hotel, the show conveniently have allowed for her return, but still- it was quite a “Wow” moment, that’s for sure, and one I’m sure will get people talking over the hiatus.

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Less satisfying, though at least it didn’t take an entire episode to resolve this time, was the ongoing “Ten Commandments Killer” saga. We discovered that John had taken another host of victims, this time taking care of the whole “Thou shall not have any other gods before me” commandment. That leaves only one to complete: “Thou shall not murder.”

Like most people, I’m of the mind that the final piece of that puzzle will likely be John taking his own life, but not before he’s laid low, no doubt. My guess would be that it will come in the form of Alex being killed and possibly even his beloved kids as well. I’m a little fuzzy on whether Sally can leave the premises. I’m fairly certain she can’t, but then there was that scene where she picked up that customer outside, so maybe she can, after all.

However, that scene might have been directly outside the hotel, which is technically where she died as well, having fallen to her death out a window. So, maybe she can leave the property because of that, but I’m not entirely sure. Although, I do think that the spirits in question can travel elsewhere on “Devil’s Night,” so maybe she can simply wait it out a year and take revenge of her own on down the line. To be honest, I’m still a bit fuzzy on how all this works, so fill me in down below in the comment section if you get it a bit more than I do.

Also somewhat resolved was the matter of the vampire children on the loose. After informing John of her predicament, and the fact that the Countess knows all about it and will kill her if she doesn’t take care of it, he and she go back to the house where she last saw them. Although a crime scene now, sure enough the kids are still around and though one of them dies, Alex manages to talk them into coming back to the hotel with her, where they will be safe from outside forces.

They reluctantly agree and Alex dupes them into going into the sealed-off wing that Ramona is in, where she amusingly greets them with: “Mama smells appetizers.” LOL. (Speaking of which, I liked the touch in the previous episode of the kids ordering pizza for the delivery man, not the food- though I suppose he ultimately WAS the food. Pretty funny stuff, if perverse.)

Although that’s seriously dark stuff, it’s also darkly humorous, despite the whole ickiness factor of the fact that Ramona is almost certainly going to drain all of those kids dry. Or maybe not. They are infected with the blood virus themselves, after all, so I’m not sure if she’ll kill them all. At the very least, she might stockpile them for a while, as she went through Drake a bit faster than maybe she should have, given her circumstances. Either way, Merry Christmas, everyone!

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So, this was a great episode all around, and if Alex remains a bit on the annoying side, at least she was slightly more tolerable here, and at the very least, we got a little cute booty action after she and her ex hooked up, so there’s that. Still, if Sally manages to avenge herself via Alex, I can’t say I’ll complain much overall.

Since my last review, here’s a few of my fave moments not already referenced: I liked the detail that March personally asked the Countess to abduct Holden rather than her doing it because he was being neglected, which was her reasoning for her previous abductions- I always thought that was a little harsh, given that John only turned his back for a moment, which hardly constitutes the level of neglect as, say, the child the Countess previously took because her father was an implied pedophile.

The fact that March had the Countess do it to spur on John to become a serial killer makes more sense, and was one of the more satisfying aspects of the “Ten Commandments Killer” episode, which was otherwise somewhat meh. I also enjoyed Iris’ enormous, exasperated relief when John revealed that he finally knew who he really was and that she no longer had to pretend she didn’t know what she had known for some time. Great work from Kathy Bates there.

Another solid tidbit from that episode was the revelation that the “Drilldo” creature was and “Addiction Demon” that had to be “fed” constantly to be kept at bay, otherwise it might run roughshod over the ghost of the hotel. It was more or less Sally’s job to do so, thus keeping herself out of harm’s way in the process. Might the season end with the demon doing just that and running rampant, taking out everyone in the end? Could be.

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As for the previous episode, “She Wants Revenge,” in addition to the clever nod to the band whose music was used in the premiere episode, we got some solid acting from Lady Gaga, and, as per usual, especially from Denis O’Hare. I just loved his delivery of the word “flowers” to her when the Countess asked him to procure some for her wedding: “Get your own damn flowersssss,” Liz hissed. So good! (As were Liz’s “objections” to the Countess’ union later on.)

I also enjoyed Donovan’s elation at mom Iris’ newly-acquired backbone, which seemed to finally garner her some semblance of respect from him at long last, even though it wasn’t enough, unfortunately to stop her from contemplating suicide in this episode. That video she made on her laptop set to “I Hope You Dance” was both hilarious and touching, and so very her all at once.

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Also cool was the bemused reaction from Hazel both when her prediction that the Countess would kill Drake came to pass and, as promised, she hovered above him and her delight with the new-fangled detergent and- praise be! – a brand-spanking new washer and dryer that was presented to her by Liz as a reward for Hazel successfully getting her son to visit the hotel in tonight’s episode.

Surprisingly on the touching side was the tale told of Ramona going back home to live after her betrayal by the Countess, which led to her heartbreaking attempt to remedy her father’s Alzheimer’s Disease by giving him the blood virus, only to discover that it didn’t heal the disease, but merely continued to protract his life, leading her to have to care for him for some twenty years before eventually giving up and drowning him in the tub. So sad.

As for tonight’s episode, we got a brief cameo from longtime “AHS” vet Frances Conroy, as one of the people checking in at the beginning of the episode; March nonchalantly burning the contractor in charge of building the steel door to the closed-off wing for not getting the job done in a timely manner as he talked to John; Douglas melting his former father’s heart by not only figuring out who Liz really was, but wholeheartedly accepting her as she now was (nice touch referencing the touchstone that was Pedro on “The Real World”).

There was also Donovan terming the Countess witnessing Will’s downfall on her close-circuit TV as “hate-watching”; John finally getting a reunion with his long-missing son Holden; Sally raging against him as he left, his family mostly intact- save Scarlett; and last, but not least, the fact that they scored the final scene to, of all things, Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” LMAO, big time. (It might have also been a tongue-in-cheek selection, given Will’s surname, which is, of course, also Drake.)

Good stuff all round, and a solid winter finale to tide us over until the final three episodes early next year. While the season as a whole has been a bit scattershot, admittedly, I must say, overall, it’s a marked improvement over the last season, which left me cold. The infusion of new blood, particularly in the guise of the illustrious Lady Gaga- who, true to my prediction in my last review, was indeed gifted with a nomination for her performance, in the guise of a Golden Globe nod- helped immeasurably.

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Honestly, my complaints in the grand scheme of things are relatively minor, and mostly having to do with the all-too-predictable identity of the “Ten Commandments Killer,” and not with the performance of actor Wes Bentley, who has been solid all around. (Although I wish I could say the same about Chloë Sevigny, who continues to grate on the nerves.)

Beyond that, the cast has been mostly solid, though some characters are admittedly more effective than others, and some plotlines are more rewarding than others. But you could easily say the same about most seasons of the show, so I can live with that. The important thing is that the good ultimately outweighs the bad, which is the most one can ask for on this show, least of all after nearly five seasons. Now if we can just get two solid seasons in a row this time, I will be a happy camper, truly.

So, what did you think of the last few episodes of “American Horror Story: Hotel”? Are you happy with the direction things are headed in? Do you have a favorite plotline? How about a least favorite? Who’s your favorite character? How about your least favorite? What has been your favorite moment of the series so far? Any predictions on how things will turn out in the end? (Hoping Liz and Iris will indeed end up reigning supreme over the hotel, as Liz suggested.)

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Sound off down below and have a great holiday season and I’ll see you for the big finale, come January!