TV Review: American Horror Story: Hotel – Episode 9: ‘She Wants Revenge’

weighs on the latest episode of AHS: Hotel, which is a chaotic but enjoyable romp

★★★★☆

Image: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Image: Ray Mickshaw/FX

This review contains spoilers

As if to make up for the fact that last week’s episode focused exclusively on John Lowe, who holds the impressive achievement of being this season’s least interesting character despite being a serial killer, ‘She Wants Revenge’ gives equal screen time to several characters. This makes for a very enjoyable, if slightly chaotic episode.

First, we have the Countess, who is preparing to marry (and then murder) Will Drake, while also coming to terms with the fact that the love of her life has been secretly walled up in the Cortez for the last ninety years. As you do.

Fortunately for the Countess, Valentino appears to be coping with what happened rather well, and is delighted to see her when she pays him a visit at his motel. Meanwhile, Drake cannot wait to marry the Countess, telling his rather sceptical son that he has found “the one”. Miss Evers, always eager to help, appears and warns Drake that the men in the Countess’s life always end up dead, but the love-struck hotel owner refuses to listen. Big surprise, things don’t end happily for Drake. Shortly after the wedding, he bumps into an eerily cheerful James March at the bar. March congratulates him on the “modern” achievement of having blended his and the Countess’s families together so well – except, he isn’t talking about Drake’s son. After reacting with horror to catching a glimpse of his new wife’s own offspring, the Countess appears and knocks out her bewildered husband. The next thing he knows, he’s walled up in the Cortez.

Next, we have Donovan and Ramona Royale. Never one to be monogamous, only seconds after we witness the Countess making up with Valentino, she’s rolling around in bed with Donovan. He’s forgiven her, it seems, just so long as she promises to remain true to him. But wait! It turns out that this is just a ruse to get close to the Countess again, as soon afterwards Donovan is at Ramona’s door with a new plan to for them to get revenge. After asking why Ramona waited two decades before seeking vengeance, we get a brief insight into the vampire’s past. The reason she’s waited so long is that she’s spent the last twenty years taking care of her father. After burglars broke in and almost killed him, Ramona gave her father some of her blood, hoping to not only save him but also cure his Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, giving him “The Gift” only cured his body, and a devastated Ramona eventually ended up killing him.

Back in the present day, Ramona and Donovan sneak into the Cortez, where the Countess is lying unconscious, courtesy of Donovan having spiked her drink. Ramona is just about to finish her off, but is stopped when the vampire wakes up! It turns out that Donovan is a double double agent, who is still slavishly in love with the Countess. He knocks Ramona out with a taser, and walls her up with the unfortunate Will Drake, who ends up becoming Ramona’s lunch.

Finally, we also get some closure on what happened to those vampire children. Alex finds them hiding out in an abandoned suburban house that’s slowly filling up with the corpses of their victims. While most of the kids are enjoying the lack of parental supervision, some of them aren’t enjoying their new lifestyle so much. Alex tries to convince them to come with her to the Cortez, warning them that they’re going to get caught, but the children won’t listen.

Besides the fact that John Lowe was nowhere to be seen, what I liked most about the episode was that we got to catch up with some characters we haven’t seen for a while. Although I’ll never forgive Falchuk and Murphy for this season’s underuse of Angela Bassett, it was great to have another insight into Ramona’s past, especially one that showed her life away from the Countess. Despite having been walled up in the Cortez, I doubt this is the last we’ll see of Ramona, and I’m hoping that the title of next week’s episode (‘She Gets Revenge’) is referring to her. Similarly, I was glad that Iris and Liz Taylor made an appearance, particularly as those two always have the best lines. This episode’s came courtesy of Liz, who, never one to mince her words, objects to Drake and the Countess’s wedding on the grounds that the latter is “a bitch with no conscience, no mercy, and no soul”.

Next week’s episode is shaping up to be an exciting one, particularly as there are so many characters whose allegiances are now uncertain. I’m most curious about Valentino, who went from declaring his love and loyalty to Natacha in ‘Flicker’ to implying in this episode that the Countess can kill her. Hmm, somehow I’m not buying that. I reckon that he and Natacha have their own revenge plan lined up. I’d also be really interested to see if Liz and Valentino get to interact at any point, and if so how she’ll react to him; after all, he does look almost exactly like her recently murdered lover. More than anything, though, I’m looking forward to finding out who it is that “gets revenge”. While, as I’ve said, I’m hoping that it’s Ramona, what I’d really love would be if that “she” also refers to Liz, Alex, and Iris.

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