A&E 

‘AHS: Hotel’ tells Countess backstory

ahsFrom ghosts to vampires, Hotel Cortez holds countless horrors — that is no secret.

However, in episode seven of “American Horror Story: Hotel,” we learn that something horrifying is being hidden behind the walls, and it has been kept a secret so well that not even the Countess has noticed. Perhaps most importantly, though, we learn even more about the Countess’ backstory and, for the first time, see her pre-ancient blood virus. In a rare occasion, we see her truly scared.

With Will Drake taking a heightened role at the hotel due to his relationship with the Countess, he leads some construction workers through renovations, and they are surprised to find a brick wall. Will instructs them to tear it down, and it turns out to be the end for the two innocent men: two monsters attack and kill them, one of them being played by Finn Wittrock, whose character Tristan was killed in the last episode.

As we will learn later, this is Valentino and Natasha, and that was their first meal in a lifetime. After that, they find another victim in a real estate agent staying at the hotel. This ends up being a cameo of the realtor from hell, Marcie from season one of “AHS.”

The meatiest part of the episode is handed to the Countess, who gets even more backstory. In flashbacks to 1925 Hollywood, we see a much different Countess. She is fawning over a movie star, Valentino.

Fawning is hardly something we can picture the Countess doing today, but it is clear the virus and her century on earth have changed her. Instead of the in-control queen of the hotel, she is just an aspiring actress who barely knows what to do when Valentino invites her to his house for dinner.

During their dinner, the conversation turns to, unsurprisingly, immortality. The Countess is in search of it through fame. Their dinner takes a turn, though, when Valentino’s wife Natasha appears. It turns out that Natasha is not angry. In fact, the three go on to form a relationship. The Countess’ happiness is dashed when at the grand opening at Hotel Cortez, she finds out that Valentino has died. In her grief, she goes to jump out of the window, but James March saves her.

The Countess marries him not long after that. While she admits that she felt nothing for March, she was drawn to the darkness in him, which is proven when she finds him killing an innocent man and, instead of being horrified, offers advice and asks to get in on the action.

The Countess has always had evil in her, even before the blood virus. It is too bad she married March, though, because it turns out Valentino was not dead after all. He and Natasha find the Countess at his grave, and he reveals that he has been alive the whole time, infected with the blood virus. Seduced by the idea of living forever, she asks to be infected with Valentino and Natasha, and they pass the virus to her.

This displeases March. He does not sense the Countess’ feelings of indifference, and truly seems to feel some kind of ownership over her. In jealousy, he finds Valentino and Natasha and dooms them to a horrible fate: being trapped behind the walls of Hotel Cortez for nearly a century.

Back in present day, the Countess meets March for their monthly dinner, something March very much looks forward to, clearly still in love with her. The Countess enrages him by telling him that she is marrying Will, and implies that she never even loved March. To get back at her, March tells her about the now-freed couple that he locked inside the walls, and we get to see the Countess honestly shocked.

Back at the hotel, Valentino and Natasha are making moves. They look awful, showing that carriers of the virus do age if they do not feed, but they find some victims in a group of frat boys and, rejuvenated, hit the town.

They will prove to be only the latest horror to hit the streets of Los Angeles. Whatever did happen to that classroom of vampire children introduced two episodes ago? For the city’s sake, let’s hope they do not find each other.

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