Saturday, December 5, 2015

American Horror Story, Season 5 (Hotel), Episode 8: The Ten Commandment Killer

So, evil little girl Wren just ran into traffic and died – so John charges to the hotel and demands a grieving Liz produce the 10 Commandments Killer. Liz is not impressed, not intimidated and meets John threat for threat

Sally arrives and agrees to take him to where the 10 Commandment killer is hiding – to where there are “answers.” She takes him to James’s old office, throws in a brief history lesson and shows him a hidden room.

Inside which are the trophies from each of the 10 Commandment Killer’s victims – one for each commandment, all of them grisly – including some trophies that must have come from police evidence.

John panics and has a flash-back melt down (with Sally trying to comfort him) as the obvious becomes clearer and clearer – John is the killer.

He goes to the police station to confess to his partner, Detective Andy Hahn. Complete with all his restored memories – and how his killing and first entry into the Hotel Cortez was 2010 though he had since forgotten. Back in 2010 he went to the hotel after a particularly awful case and Donovan took him to James and the Countess’s one night a year thing they have. They’re all very intrigued (and delighted) by the horrible deaths he just saw and how it affected him.

James is so eager to work on his new protégé, he’s willing to cut his Countess night short. They talk auras (John’s is black), elaborate language and police brutality and vigilante “justice.” James is sure that John will be the super-duper perfect serial killer (dismissing the others with added homophobia). To push him over the edge into serial killerness, James encourages the Countess to kidnap Holden.

We also see that he and Alex didn’t exactly have a sunny marriage before Holden’s kidnapping – John’s drinking and disappearance was not all funsies.

John continues to recap how his life fell apart after Holden disappeared and he spent more and more time at the Hotel Cortez with James being recruited into serial killing as he becomes more disillusioned by the system and him being lured into his first kill of a paedophile. He tried to hang himself

He had an affair with Sally though she wasn’t the one who cut him down (though, in this place if he died it wouldn’t have made much different – but James did, annoyed that Sally was going to turn him into a ghost before James had all his fun. We learn the one actually unpredictable thing about this show – Sally and her fellows have apparently conjured the rape-demon from their “depraved acts” (whatever they are) and it will feed on them if it doesn’t feed on others.

Sally is worried John may end up dead out in the world and she won’t get him as an eternal ghostly partner. In case you hadn’t guessed, we also learn that Sally is already dead and a ghost. John, aided by Sally, continues James’s 10 commandment serial killing.

More flashbacks, more of Hahn’s doubts that Kohn is the killer while, hilariously, the more we see of Hahn and John together the more obvious it was that something was seriously up with John.  Along the way, Hahn comforting Alex is mistaken for (or actually is) adultery by John – so when Hahn continues to deny John can be the killer, John kills him. Well that’s a convincing argument – goodbye Andy Hahn, we hardly knew thee (no, literally).

We even has a cameo of Iris finally being happy to see John fully remembering himself and her not having to keep up the act. John has no regrets – except for the death of Wren, though Iris blames that on Sally who sent Wren out to follow and protect John. She does try to get John to flee – but he doesn’t and adds Hahn’s heart to the collection: the complete 10 Commandment trophy collection.

Pet hate here – media loves to talk about people being freed because of a “technicality” but it rarely happens – usually the other way round, the system is geared towards screwing the most vulnerable, not getting them off. Most of the “technicalities” people rail about are usually the police or prosecution being caught ignoring the law and then, rarely, having cases collapse because of that. As police abuse becomes more and more of a notable issue (I won’t say more of a problem, because it has always been like that) one of the terrible memes we have to banish is that rules and “technicalities” that constrain the police are bad things we need to do away with.

Of course, I can argue that American Horror Story does that by showing John, a cop without those pesky technicalities, becoming a serial killer.

This whole episode just felt a bit too predictable for me to care about. John is the serial killer – is anyone shocked? And part that comes from the fact the serial killer simply has not been a focus of this show. There have been so many things going on – ghosts and vampires and clumsy drug analogies, that the serial killer plot line simply didn’t stand out enough to be notable or for this predictable big reveal to be that special

I was more interested in Wren the vampire being killed by a car accident, and disturbed by the demon Sally has to feed. A rape demon with a drill dildo, really American Horror Story are you that addicted to rape? And what is this perversion of Sally’s that feeds it? Is this actually a drug addiction demon because, no, really no.