American Horror Story: Hotel: 5×11- ‘Battle Royale’

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I’ll be honest: I was so not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that was last night’s American Horror Story.  Here’s why I cried myself to sleep:

The episode picked up with Iris and Liz Taylor preparing to kill Countess Elizabeth.  Liz loads bullets into their guns, while Iris expresses a bit of nervousness.  Liz gives her a mini pep talk, and they walk through the halls to Elizabeth’s suite.  They start shooting, and manage to hit both Elizabeth and Donovan, who throws himself in front of his lover to shield her from the onslaught of bullets.  Iris latently realizes that her son is in the room, and stops Liz from firing her gun again, at which point, Elizabeth escapes from the room.  She rushes over to Donovan, who has been mortally wounded from the attack.  He knows he’s not going to survive, and begs his mother to take him out of the hotel.  An eternity as a ghost trapped in the Cortez with Elizabeth’s other lovers is not so appealing to him.  Iris and Liz drag him out of the hotel, and he dies on the sidewalk outside.

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Elizabeth has escaped to the basement, and is screaming in pain because Hypodermic Sally is digging the bullets out of her flesh with her fingers.  Sally’s going to heal Elizabeth and nurse her back to health.  But not because Sally is altruistic, and not because she particularly cares for Elizabeth; she needs her.  Sally tells Elizabeth that one of the bullets nicked her femoral artery, and that she’s lost a lot of blood.  Sally knows every vein and artery in the human body– not surprising considering her heroin habit.  As she stitches her up, Elizabeth compliments her on her sewing skills.  “They don’t call me Hypodermic Sally for nothin’,” she replies.  Sally makes Elizabeth promise that she won’t die and leave her, reminding us of the severe abandonment issues that Sally has.

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Sally continues to suture up Elizabeth, and we finally get her backstory.  She used to sell drugs for her childhood friend, and made a lot of “friends” because of it.  Except, it’s obvious that these “friends” were just hanging around her because she had high quality drugs, and they were all addicts.  But whatever– attention is attention, and who hasn’t thrown an “I love you” to their dealer at one point or another?  Sally goes on to talk about Nick Harley and Tina Black, who were musicians of the grunge rock persuasion.

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We flash back to 1994, in a music studio.  Nick and Tina are recording a song (titled “My Buddy Pain”) that Sally wrote.  Seems that in addition to being their drug dealer, she’s also their consultant, songwriter, manager, and roadie.  They leave the studio and get a room at the Hotel Cortez, earning snide remarks about their burnt-out, grungy aesthetic from Liz Taylor.  They have a three-way.  Or, actually a four-way, if you count the heroin.  They’re having a grand old time, sharing needles, swapping body fluids, and whispering sweet nothings like:

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Then, Sally has an even better idea.  It combines her needle fetish and her self-destructive obsession with being close to people.  If you’re guessing that she sews the three of them together, you’re absolutely right.

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Unfortunately, this bliss is cut short because Nick and Tina overdose and start choking on their own spit and vomit.  It’s gruesome, and disgusting, and Sally can’t help them because she’s physically anchored to them.  She screams for help, and Miss Evers shows up.  Not to help of course; she merely wants to taunt her about the stains that corpses make.

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Sally stays attached to the bodies for five days, and the Addiction Demon tortures her for three. Finally, she bites the bullet, or in this case, a leather strap, and pulls herself away.

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Sally reveals that she needs Elizabeth to kill John inside the hotel so that he’ll stay with her forever.  Elizabeth tells her that she needs vampire blood to heal, and requests that Donovan be brought to her.  Sally breaks the bad news that Donovan is dead.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 11.49.32 AM We cut to the Lowe residence.  John and Alex have brought their children Holden and Scarlett (remember her?) home, and have apparently given their daughter the rundown of their new situation, including the details of Alex and Holden’s condition.  Scarlett’s a bright kid and has some practical concerns. Like, what are they going to tell Grandma? And how are Alex and Holden going to find human blood to drink?  Alex assures Scarlett that she is not on the menu, and John tells her that find a blood supply will be his job, and that she shouldn’t worry about it.

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Speaking of blood, Sally brings Elizabeth two of her vampire kids to feed from. Elizabeth resists; she’d rather die than drain her own children.  “It’s okay, Mommy,” one of them says.  “Let us help you.”  Sally points out that Iris and Liz will kill the other children if Elizabeth isn’t around to save them.  Tearfully, Elizabeth hold her children as Sally sets up a blood-letting machine.

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Next, we have another vampire mother with a dead vampire child: Iris.  Liz has taken on the task of cremating Donovan’s body, and gives her the can with his ashes.  Iris takes the remains to a room, dumps out some of the ashes and talks to her son one last time.  She then calls Miss Evers to vacuum up the ashes.  Iris is covered in ash, so it appears that, offscreen, she rolled around in it.

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After her brief grieving session, Iris is more determined than ever to kill Elizabeth once and for all.  She and Liz go into the hidden chamber to free Ramona Royale from her cage so that she can help them.  Iris is nervous about this.  After all, last time she saw Ramona, she was helping Donovan lock her up.  Liz assures her that all will be fine since they have a common enemy.  They enter the room and find the scattered bodies of the vampire kids that Ramona ate, as well as the decomposing body of Will Drake.  They walk further down the hallway to find that Ramona has been let out of her cage.  They sense the danger and start to run, but Ramona blocks the exit.  She’s not in good shape.  She drained the vampire kids, but she needs a fresh kill.  Iris and Liz promise to bring her a human to slaughter.

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Just as they prepare to go out and club a random person on the LA streets, who saunters into the Cortez with a reservation? Queenie.  From AHS: Coven.  She tells Liz that she’s in town to be on The Price Is Right; her Supreme enchanted her ticket to ensure a spot on the show.  Liz then immediately recognizes her from CNN as one of the witches from the New Orleans coven, and totally fangirls out before realizing that Queenie’s witchy blood will revive Ramona.  Queenie is led to the room, and immediately senses the bad juju.

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She requests another room, but Iris tells her that the hotel is almost at capacity and that it will be a bit of a wait.  Queenie goes to the bathroom to freshen up in the meantime.  Ramona pops out of the shower and attacks her, not realizing that Queenie is a witch, and that her special power is that she’s a human voodoo doll.

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Queenie fights back, and just when it looks like Ramona is done for, James March appears and stabs Queenie to death.  Looks like there’s a loophole to her power.  Ramona takes the opportunity to feed from her.  March becomes the second person that day to recruit Ramona to murder Elizabeth.  He wants her bound to the hotel so he won’t lose her.

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We see John pull his car into his driveway.  He opens the trunk to reveal two bags of groceries and a bound and gagged man.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  He makes the man swear that his blood isn’t tainted with drugs or alcohol.  He leaves him in the trunk and enters his home, only to find that his wife and children are gone.  All that remains is a key to the Hotel Cortez.  He storms in and finds Sally waiting for him in Room 64.  She tells him he has one more kill before March’s 10 Commandments project is complete.  He has to murder a murderer, and then Sally will lead him to his family.  Shouldn’t be hard to find a murderer; the hotel is lousy with them.

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Meanwhile, Elizabeth has retreated to her suite and comes face to face with Ramona, who is looking fabulous in one of Liz’s dresses.  They talk, and Elizabeth tells her that she is a curse; anyone who gets close to her dies.  She’s trying to apologize.

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Elizabeth bargains for her life, using the hotel as a bribe.  She wants to leave and take Bartholomew with her.  Ramona admits that killing her in her fantasies was easy.  Now that she’s about to do it, the act is a lot harder.  Elizabeth concedes to being murdered.  “But screw me first,” she says.  After they have sex one last time, Elizabeth takes her bags and prepares to leave the hotel (did she kill Ramona?).  The elevator doors open, and there’s John, aiming his gun.  He shoots her multiple times, finally killing her.  He then cuts off her head and puts it on display in the trophy room.  March congratulates him on his finished project and stops Sally from stabbing him to death.  March wants John to remain a serial killer.

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Elizabeth, now a ghost trapped in the hotel, meets with March for dinner.  She hasn’t acclimated to being a ghost yet, and March assures her that he will help her adjust.  He tells her that he can forgive her for turning him into the police, which led to his murder.  She tells him that she’s not the one who betrayed him.  Miss Evers confesses that it was her.  She wanted to die with March, and she is beyond upset that Elizabeth didn’t leave the hotel.  March banishes her.  The last shot is Elizabeth and March drinking wine, and Elizabeth, tearfully, accepting her fate.

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