And now we begin our stay in American Horror Story season five, Hotel.

I love hotels, Killer Queens. There’s something cozy and yet uncluttered about them. I can think of few things I like more than a dog-friendly hotel with a good restaurant nearby.

The Hotel Cortez does not appear to be dog-friendly. And if dogs do exist in these halls, I don’t think they’re the sort I’d want to meet. If there’s a restaurant, I imagine the menu is a bit too rich for me.

We start this season with the arrival of two young women at the hotel. They’re on vacation, but not happy that Hotel Cortez isn’t close to any of the attractions they came to see. But as they’ve already paid their deposit, they’re stuck there for at least one night.

Or, you know, longer.

They’re introduced almost at once to a horrific mattress-dwelling creature. In attempting to flee, they’re trapped by Iris, who sets out to clear their system of drugs. Before the Countess gets to them.

The Countess, played by Lady Gaga, is a truly remarkable character. She’s like if the song Hotel California came to life and started killing people. A metaphor that is only strengthened by that song playing over the final scenes of this episode. She and her lover, Donovan, seduce a couple back to their penthouse suite for some playtime before dinner. I honestly didn’t know they were allowed to show such graphic sex scenes on cable. 

While all this fun is going on, we meet our hero, John Lowe. He’s a police detective that seems to get called in on the most gruesome shit. We first meet him while he’s investigating a serial killer who speared a woman onto a headboard, with her lover still below her. Still super glued inside of her.

I’ll give the fellows in the audience a moment to recover from that. 

John is likable right from the start. He’s a monster hunter, that much is clear. But he’s also the sort of dad who video chats with his daughter at bedtime so they can read Little Women together. And he lets nothing get in the way of that time. 

Even a phone call from the serial killer. Who then decides to break into his house and leave two dead men for his daughter to find. 

Worried that this psycho’s going to come after his family again, John leaves home for a while. He goes to stay at the Hotel Cortez.

This place is filled with characters I feel we’re only starting to get to know. There’s Liz Taylor, a delightful woman who appears to work there. Iris, who works the front counter and seems to enjoy tube feeding people. There’s a maid who is way too cheerful about cleaning blood out of bedsheets. And there’s a little pack of children of the damned. One of which may be very familiar to our hero John, as it’s his son who he believed to be dead.

This whole season feels like if The Shining and Murder House had a baby, then it was raised by Rob Zombie in a brothel. I think I’m going to love every gorgeously gory moment of it. 

Thanks for reading American Horror Recap Hotel, Checking In. If you buy anything from the links below, we do get some money back.