Friday, November 6, 2015

American Horror Story Season 5 (Hotel), Episode: 5: Room Service

Alex is now a vampire – but still a doctor (and naturally checks out her less than normal body temperature). Walking around the hospital she finds her new vampirism slightly disorientating. She’s also consuming blood bags – yum yum. I ask again, don’t hospitals and other medical establishments keep a track of their blood? Do they have such an extreme surplus they don’t need to count? I know they’re not desperate but I would have thought some accounting system would be useful.

The measles boy, Max, she’s treating is in a terrible condition (Vaccinate your kids!) and Alex has the perfect cure – her vampire blood. He makes a miraculous recovery, of course.

Which is nice, until he goes home and eats his parents (Vaccinate your kids or your kids will eat you!). Then he goes to school which is having a Hallowe’en event. And at school he plays a nice game with his friend involving them tasting each other’s blood and killing the teacher for his friends to snack on.

Soon this spreads – dead teachers and turning children everywhere (vaccinate your kids or you will start a baby vampire apocalypse!)

This spreads to the other teachers – even the good one who calls out one of her fellows for wearing an appropriative Native American costume while not being Native American (I think another teacher is dressed as a costume shop Rroma as well). All are eaten, sadly including the sensible one. (Vaccinate your kids! Or sensible people get eaten as well as those in racist hallowe’en costumes!)

Police arrive and find an utter bloodbath. Of course they save the poor poor children and get them out to their terrified snackfood parents. They blame a fictional masked man for the massacre all telling the same story.

This is how The Strain starts but with more costumes and less dicks falling off.

Alex returns to the hotel and her vampire son Holden – and the assurance she can stay forever so long as she obeys the rules: to be a governess. There’s also the possibility of her connecting with John. Alex and Holden go into one big coffein for the pair of them.

Donovan also has a new vampire to deal with and takes his newly vampiric mother to Ramona. She’s presents Iris as the perfect inside man for their scheme to bring down the Countess. She is perfect because she’s “invisible” among all the young beautiful people, Iris is ignored. Ramona is torn between admiring Donovan’s ruthlessness and scorning him for it.

Iris returns to the hotel and is clearly not entirely invisible – because Liz sees her and knows exactly what happened and what Iris is. She feeds her blood and tells her she has to feed on fresh living blood. Iris is not happy about getting immortality at her age – she angrily tells Liz how invisible she is as an older woman, how completely forgotten and invisible she is and will be forever.

We have new guests in the hotel and they’re caricatures of sheer demanding awfulness. Iris fumes. She also has to deal with a suspicious Countess who seems to accept her feeble explanation for why she is so nervous.

Liz is there to support and help mock these kids, she’s very observant which, as she points out, something you learn being invisible. Iris graciously swallows her own words, accepting that she’s pretty much ignored Liz. She assures Liz she’s not homophobic – Liz says back “I’m not gay.” Iris is confused and Liz invites her to ask questions to learn more – and we get Liz’s history

Liz was a married man, a cross dresser in a not-very-happy marriage who fully enjoyed being a travelling salesman when she could be “trans-formed” with women’s clothes in rooms where no-one could see. Until she met the countess who supported her while she cried, called herself ugly and offered her help (she terms Liz as lacking commitment which… is not the word I’d used. It implies a lack of dedication or resolve rather than a reasonable fear or painful internal conflict).

The Countess gives Liz a full make over – and a new name. She encourages Liz to come out with her, but when she says she’s not ready to go on the town, instead she encourages Liz to go get ice down the hall – she does, becoming more confident. Until he meets his fellow sales agents who spew homophobic slurs and accusing Liz of having AIDS – Liz keeps shouting that she’s not gay (which is true and important to note – but a defence against slurs of “hey that doesn’t apply to me” is never ideal)

And the Countess kills them – and hires Liz.

Back in the present Iris praises her courage and Liz urges Iris to stop taking shit – and go assert her own strength. She massacres them both while screaming how easy they have it and, best of all “I matter!” She feeds and later Liz helps her dispose of the bodies quite content with her success.

On to Detective John who has decided to tell his boss that he totally had dinner with several famous serial killers. Several famous dead serial killers. He does turn it into a murder cult pretending to be serial killers – and he wants to tear apart the hotel looking for bodies. His boss also brings up his breakdown, believing he’s not fit for the job. He is fired

He goes back to his hotel and wakes up in bed with Sally, apparently after sex. Sally is really not amused by John trying to get rid of her the next day. He claims he remembers nothing and she calls him a liar – and that they’re destined to be together. Ok it started powerful rejecting his morning-after-rejection then became creeper stalkery.

This episode was apparently co-written by the society of Old Men Who Want You to Get Off Their Lawns who decided to grouse their way into some ridiculous millennial caricatures.

And remember, stop the vampire apocalypse, vaccinate your kids.

All praise goes to Iris’s “I matter!” speech. Because that is an awesome.

I’ve been using female pronouns for Liz because there’s no solid word from her which she prefers, but she presents as a woman and the Countesses comment on her blood smelling like a woman seems to be a comment on Liz being a transwoman rather than non-binary or a male cross-dresser.

There was a lot of power and passion in Liz’s story which, I have to say, I expected to be a lot worse. I actually expected her not to have backstory at all and to just be there. I’m glad we have her have her moment, her story her time

I’m less glad that her moment, her story is used as an inspirational story for a cis woman