Friday, November 20, 2015

American Horror Story, Season 5, Episode 7: Flicker

Will Drake is moving into the hotel with a whole team of builders to do so – and telling his son that he and the Countess are going to be together long term – yes he continues to be de-gayed on this show. Who knew the key to conversation “therapy” was vampirism?

Except for those pesky steel walls and hidden chambers in the hotel when James turned it into a murder lair. There are also apparently long forgotten vampires sealed in the walls.

Iris takes the Countess to see the newly chomped on construction workers and she claims to not know what killed them – but she looks frightened.

Those wild vampires eat another random guest.

Now to a random retro film set which looks like it’s filming a cringeworthy racist film with staff members throwing out homophobic slurs. We’re in 1925 in Hollywood for some reason. They’ve resurrected one of the actors to be a 1920s leading man with a dreadful Italian accent – Rudolpho, a small part actor – the Countess, presumably in her human days, a really really long dance scene, a 3 way dance off and a bisexual threesome. After he dies, the countess nearly commits suicide in James’ hotel (when the hotel-owning serial killer was still alive) and is grabbed by him.

She visits the grave – and Natasha and Rudolpho, alive, find her. Apparently while she thought Rudy was dead she decided she might as well be rich and grieving so married James. She was quite happy to join him in and encourage his murdering spree.

While Rudy describes, with nifty retro-imagery and lots of elegant language and Nosferatu homage – how he was turned into a vampire. They, in turn, offer to turn her and she accepts – but James appears to be a witness

And to the present and our two starving raging vampires are, of course, Rudy and his wife. And his wife blames his infatuation for the Countess of them being locked up – describing her as his “pet”. They continue to feast on the guests until they are fully restored

Also in the present, James and the Countess sit down to dinner –apparently a monthly habit they have (much to Hazel’s distaste since she’s infatuated with James and hates the countess). She tells him her upcoming plan to marry Will Drake which, despite pleasantries, does not thrill him. James pretty much expects her to kill him and there’s a whole lot of bitter tension and sniping across the table. He then tells her what he did to Rudy and his wife, out of jealousy for her loving Rudy but not him – locking them up in his hotel behind steel walls for decades.

The calm and collected Countess rages in fury and horror at the revelation

John is being checked into a mental hospital, recognising his need for professional help (In addition to what we’ve seen, John also assaulted his old partner, Hahn, to try and get at the suspect to the serial killing). And it seems while doing that he saw evidence pointing towards this hospital. Yes, he’s faking… (well, ish. Not faking his reactions and behaviour anyway).

Inside he hears a guard talk about the imprisoned suspected serial killer. He commits assault, steals keys and finds... a small girl called Wren. Running now! Running oh so fast. Ye gods running!

He goes in. WHYYYYYYYYYY?!

She says she didn’t tell the police anything – the police seem think she is traumatised and needs protecting, so does John. But Wren happily explains she helped the serial killer of her own free will and even did some killing of her own.

John, why have you not run now? Whyyyy?

She was at every crime scene… and John still doesn’t run! She claims everything that happened is her fault which has John go into massive guilt with huge, clumsy comparisons to Scarlett and how she must blame herself for John’s meltdown.

And Wren is a vampire – another of the Countess’s creations in 1986. She finally agrees to tell him who the killer is if he gets her out. He goes so – and she says they need to go home to the Cortez hotel. Yup back to the hotel. Then she turns and runs –in front of a truck

So we have Will Drake simultaneously being mocked and made a joke of for “waxing and bleaching his anus” while at the same time this gay man is now in a dedicated relationship with a woman. Well, I have to say this for American Horror Story, different seasons bring an entirely different flavour of homophobia. None of them are palatable.

The Countess and Rudy’s past bisexual relationship seemed better – yet it’s worth noting that my wording there is deliberate. Rudy’s wife seems very much an afterthought throw into this mix rather than a realised character or a real part of the relationship between Rudy and the Countess. On top of that, his wife blames and hates the Countess – and makes it clear that the infatuation with the Countess was more him than her – which makes their relationship feel more put on for his benefit than any affection or attraction from her

I’ve complained before that all of the plots of American Horror Story were too random and unrelated – but this episode, in addition to nicely bringing in the Countess’s history did a really good job of connecting all the plots (except John who this show really does not need).

Though I do kind of like how John is completely unable to see Wren as anything other than the poor innocent. You can see him almost completely ignoring everything she says and super-imposing the narrative he almost desperate needs to believe