Do you dare enter Hotel Cortez for a second night? Episode 2 of "American Horror Story: Hotel" aired Wednesday night, introducing more strange twists and turns.
This week’s installment kicks off with Sally (Sarah Paulson) sewing Gabriel (Max Greenfield) into a mattress in one of the hotel rooms. “You lied, I’m not free,” he tells her. But Sally doesn’t care. She tells him that it’s his own fault because he thought he could cheat death.
But Sally’s “sweet” moment with Gabriel is interrupted by screams for help. The remaining Swedish tourist from the premiere is having her blood drained by Countess Elizabeth’s (Lady Gaga) vampire children. They're feeding, but they don’t like the tourist’s blood – and for good reason, she’s dead. Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) wheels the dead body away to the laundry room. The tourist’s body is tossed down the laundry shoot into a hole full of other dead bodies.
Iris extracts the blood from the children after they feed on the tourist. She then brings a decanter full of the blood to Countess Elizabeth and Donovan (Matt Bomer). The two drink the blood, but Countess Elizabeth wants more. She tells Donovan to get ready because she wants to go on “the hunt” at an art exhibit. Her lover’s not interested though. He asks her if they can have a Netflix and chill night. She counters by going out alone.
Meanwhile, Alex Lowe (Chloë Sevigny) is conducting house calls as her husband John (Wes Bentley) holes up at Hotel Cortez. Alex is angry because her patient has the measles, something that could have been avoided had his mother vaccinated him. However, Alex’s real issue is internal. Fans will remember from episode 1 of Season 5 that her son Holden was abducted a couple years prior, something that still haunts her.
As Alex is haunted by something that could have been prevented, John is having real nightmares at his new home. He first dreams of the addiction demon, then of two dead people having sex in his shower. When he finally does wake he sees his son in front of him. Like the week before, his son goes running down the halls … but he can’t catch him.
John’s chase for Holden leads him to the hotel’s bar where Liz Taylor is bartending and Sally is drinking.
“This place is bat s--- crazy,” she warns him. “Weird s--- goes down … especially at night.”
Sally opens up about how she was a songwriter before she got “lost.” John reveals that he’s a recovering alcoholic. He recounts a story about his last drink – He was investigating the death of an entire family. It initially looked like the father had poisoned his family then killed himself. However, the truth was that the family lost power and that he had set up a generator to provide heat. He returned from work that night to find that his whole family had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The father killed himself after the discovery.
John explained to Sally that the case kept him away from his family for two days. When he finally returned home he took them to the beach as a way to make it up to his wife. However, that was the day that his son Holden was abducted.
"I lost him," he tells Sally. “I can’t afford to get lost.”
The next day at work, John is working on solving the case about the man who had his eyes ripped out. It turns out that the victim and his mistress both received the same text. However, they didn’t send it to each other. John puts two and two together and realizes that the killer is the same person responsible for texting from his wife’s phone.
The killer also sends a package to the police precinct from Hotel Cortez. Not wanting to take any chances, John calls for the building to be evacuated while the bomb squad investigates. It’s no bomb – but whatever it is it is covered in blood.
Later that night, John returns to Hotel Cortez for an evening with his daughter. However, the hotel is hosting a fashion show, and Vogue magazine editor Claudia (Naomi Campbell) wants John besides her. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Sally. Even though she lives at the building she’s turned away at the door.
While John watches the show with Claudia, Countess Elizabeth has her eyes on Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock), a moody, addict model who doesn’t care about anything. When he walks the runway he rips a champagne glass out of someone’s hand, chugs it and tosses it on the floor. On the way back he grabs a woman and makes out with her … and then slaps the guy that she’s with across the face. However, all his antics stop when he lays eyes on the Countess.
“He’s full of rage,” she tells Donovan.
Tristan exits the stage and continues to snort drugs backstage. But Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) is not impressed. He tells the model that the show isn’t over and that he needs to pull himself together. That’s not Tristan’s thing though. He takes scissors and cuts his face before telling Will Drake that he’s done modeling.
While all this is going on, Will Drake’s son takes John’s daughter Scarlett to see something cool – glass coffins containing Countess Elizabeth’s blonde haired children. But the glass coffins aren’t cool to Scarlett … because one contains her brother, Holden.
After the fashion show, Tristan breaks into the Countess and Donovan’s room. Donovan catches him searching for coke and threatens to kill him. However, the Countess stops him. She allows Tristan to flee into the elevator. But the elevator doesn’t take him downstairs. He’s taken to a floor where he’s greeted by Mr. James March (Evan Peters), the original owner of Hotel Cortez. He finds drugs in March’s room and March allows him to snort it. But he tells him that there is something more satisfying. The maid, Miss Evers (Mare Winningham), brings a prostitute from the bar into the room.
“Pull the trigger and take her last breath,” March tells him. But Tristan won’t do it.
March reveals a cut on his neck and pulls the trigger himself. Tristan runs from the room back to the elevator. The Countess pulls him inside … but his journey is only just beginning. Countess Elizabeth inflicts him with the ancient blood virus, turning him into a “vampire” like her.
Tristan is in love with his new life. Long gone is his “meth face.” However, there are things he needs to learn about this new life. While the “beauty of the virus” is that you don’t age, you’ll only remain immortal if you’re smart.”
The Countess explains that they don’t bite – they cut. They don’t drink from the dead and avoid the diseased because their blood is polluted. The sun won’t kill them, but it should be avoided.
But why did Countess Elizabeth turn him? She explains to Tristan that he reminds her of someone. She was born in 1904 and the one that turned her was “even more beautiful” than Tristan. However, he’s long gone. She warns him to not be reckless and to avoid falling in love.
“That’s the part you save for me,” she tells him. “Forever.”
The same can’t be said for Donovan. He walks in to find the two in bed. “You won’t last a week,” he warns Tristan. But it seems as if the Countess will be keeping Tristan around for a while. She kicks Donovan out and tells him that her turning Tristan was one of the most erotic moments of her life.
Elsewhere, Scarlett can’t stop thinking about her brother. She takes a bus back to the hotel to look at the coffin again. But when she gets back the coffin is empty. She follows a trail to the secret game room where she finds Holden waiting for her.
“What took you so long?” he asks.
Scarlett shows him a picture of their family and tells him that they think he’s dead. She asks him to go home, but Holden says he already is home. He offers that she can visit anytime, but that’s not good enough for Scarlett. She tries to take a picture with him, but his quick gesture to nip at her neck scares her away.
When she returns home she finds that her parents alerted the police about her disappearance. They’re relieved to find that she’s fine – but John is not happy to hear her say that Holden is alive and at his hotel. He yells at her that Holden’s dead, but Scarlett throws her phone at her dad and insists that she took a photo with her brother. John looks at the picture … but the image of Holden is blurry.
John heads back to Hotel Cortez to demand answers from Iris. He handcuffs her for murder and potential kidnapping, but releases her when she promises to talk.
The two head to the hotel bar and Iris spills everything about the original hotel owner, James Patrick March. March was new money, making his fortune in oil and coal. But March also had a “peculiar appetite.”
In 1925 he began building Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles. The floor plans had hallways with no rooms off of them and secret passage systems. March killed the builder when he questioned it.
Hotel Cortez was the finest hotel when it was built – and it also housed the “perfectly designed torture chamber.” The building was designed to hide bodies. And March’s theory was, “no body, no crime.”
From lashing someone to death, to burying them alive in a wall of the hotel – March did it all approximately three times a week. And all the while he had his wife alongside him. Although rumor had it that he forced her to watch, the flashbacks make it appear as if she enjoyed it. While her face wasn’t shown, she had blonde hair – just like Countess Elizabeth.
But his wife wasn’t his real partner. Miss Evers, the maid, did everything for him. She tirelessly got blood stains out of all the laundry. Her secret ingredient? “Love.”
Ultimately March got sloppy and someone reportedly turned him in. Although the identity is unknown, Iris believes it was March’s wife since she was the one who got his millions.
When the police arrived that fateful day, March and Miss Evers made the decision to kill themselves. Miss Evers was going to pull the trigger on the gun herself, but then asked March if he would do the honors. He shot her in the head before taking a knife and cutting his own throat.
Iris finishes her story, but John isn’t impressed. Iris warns him that he must expand his way of thinking if he wants to find out the truth of Hotel Cortez. She then drops a bombshell – John’s room, Room 64, is March’s old office. She tells him that he’s sleeping in the room and that it has a heart … a heart that is “black as the ace of spades.”
Episode 2 of “American Horror Story: Hotel” ends with John pitching a theory to his cop partner – the killer that they're investigating is murdering people based on the Ten Commandments, and picking up where March left off.
But the Ten Commandments killer is not the only one with bodies stacking up. Tristan brings back his first prey – from a dating app – to feast on with Countess Elizabeth.