A&E 

‘AHS: Hotel’ explores love, death

Ryan Murphy and Co. have said from the beginning that if any “American Horror Story” season resembles “Hotel,” it is season one, “Murder House.” Episode six of “Hotel,” titled “Room 33,” made that connection much more literal by bringing the Countess straight to the place that is going to be familiar to “AHS” fans.

The episode kicks off in 1926, with the Countess arriving at the infamous haunted home that housed the unsuspecting Harmon family in season one. Matt Ross returns as Dr. Montgomery, whom the Countess turns to when she is pregnant and wants to abort the baby. Montgomery does, but the baby comes out alive — and kills the nurse.

The rest of the episode takes place in present day, where love has blossomed in Hotel Cortez. Liz Taylor and Tristan are seeing each other, and it is more than just sex. The two genuinely care for each other and have fallen in love. However, Tristan is the Countess’ current boy-toy, so as Liz probably should have guessed, it is not going to end well. The Countess does not take it well when her “creations” turn on her.

Meanwhile, John Lowe continues to slip further into insanity. He wakes up one night to find Holden in his bed and follows him to find Alex Lowe sleeping in her coffin. Alex panics and runs to Liz, who comes up with a plan: Take away the coffins and lie to Lowe, telling him that he called Alex to say that he was having “visions.”

The ones who are really thrown off by Alex and Liz’s antics, though, are Ramona and Iris. Ramona heads to the hotel with Donovan to kill the Countess’ children. Donovan does not go through with it because, as Ramona points out, he is still in love with the Countess.

Ramona teams with the newly liberated Iris, but they are thrown when they see the lack of coffins and children. As a backup plan, Ramona goes to Room 33 to find the Countess’ baby, Bartholomew, who may well have been the antichrist baby that Jessica Lange’s character raised in “Murder House.” The baby attacks Ramona and escapes.

At the end of the episode, the Countess returns from a Paris trip with Will, who seems to have finally fallen in love with her. Her good mood is quickly dashed by Liz, who tells her about her love for Tristan. The Countess almost seems reasonable at first — she calls both of them to talk to her alone.

When Tristan tells the Countess the truth, that she will just break his heart and move on, she seems merciful and tells Liz that she can have Tristan. However, the Countess slits Tristan’s throat and devastates Liz.

Luckily for the Countess, Alex ends up finding Bartholomew and saves him. The Countess, for once, seems legitimately shocked and grateful.

How long will that joy last? With Tristan dead, the Countess has lost the favor of Liz, one of her most loyal creations. Who does she have left in her corner?

We are almost halfway through this season and are still trying to anticipate the “Hotel” finale. Keep checking into Hotel Cortez every Wednesday night.

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