This hotel should have vacancies!!!
[usr 1.5 of 5]
What in the hell is going on this season of American Horror Story? They are putting the Ho in hotel. The first season was actually something to rave about it. The twist of the plots, the M.knight “gotchas”, and how every episode carried the plot even further just as every line seemed to carry just as much in weight. The characters of season 1 were easy to relate to but this debacle of season 5 has me scratching my head.
The fifth season focuses on the downtown-Los Angeles. Hotel Cortez which has been purchased by New York-based fashion designer Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson). The 90 year-old hotel is haunted by mysterious ghosts, including those of its twisted founder James Patrick March (Evan Peters) and a drug-addicted prostitute Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson), as well as evil creatures, such as the deformed, strap-on-wielding The Addiction Demon. Staff and residents of the hotel include its 115-year old “warden,” The Countess (Lady Gaga), her drug addict-turned-vampire lover Donovan (Matt Bomer) and his mother Iris (Kathy Bates), the eccentric transgender bartender Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare), and the Countess’ vengeful ex-lover Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett).
The story of the Hotel Cortez is interwoven with that of Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley), who is still affected by the is appearance five years earlier of his young son Holden (Lennon Henry). He has been investigating a series of brutal murders perpetrated by the Ten Commandments Killer, who targets those who have supposedly broken Biblical laws. He has been led to the Hotel Cortez by a mysterious phone call telling him to go to there where he will find a clue. The serial killer is tracking Lowe’s movements, targeting his family, and attempting to destroy them. When Lowe first checks into the Cortez, he does not yet realize that the hotel’s secrets and horrors also have the potential to end its reign of terror. (Synopsis by Wikipedia)
The shoes of the season 1 has been hard to fill for every season there after. It hasn’t been a steady decline but more of a rocky climb to get back to what it once was. Asylum (season 2) was interesting, Coven (Season 3) had moments of goodness, Freakshow started on a high note bet seemed to fall a part when it came to its conclusion more of it being rushed to a conclusion, and once again its promotion was great but something with the story seems to fall a part once again. It seems that Ryan Murphy has a lot of good ideas but cannot pull them together as season one. Each season has the same flaw – Great ideas but no follow through.This season has a great premise with many factors of great American horror stories; but here are somethings that cause irritation: the issue with characters, the story telling, and useless violence and sex as a source of empowerment.
First, the characters are the first major issue. The Countess is supposed to be a blood drinking immortal creature but not a vampire. The sun does drain her vitality. She is a master of seduction. She even has a legitimate homosexual male wanting to marry her and be with her. If she makes you a part her brood, she has only one rule – Don’t fall in Love. Also, there was nothing wrong with the story of Denis O’hare but with the issues in media, it seems to be direct pandering/targeting to an audience which should be insulted. There have been cross-dressing men for centuries such as Ru Paul but to say he wanted to wear women’s clothes and the countess made him “transformed” is direct pandering and should be as offensive as the categorizing of Gay/Lesbian or Black movie categories. They are just movies where the cast may be majority Black and movies with a Homosexual love story.
Second, the story telling is really killing this season. I know Lady Gaga is a mega star and Julliard trained performer; but although she fits her 1920’s look and she is playing the hell out of The Countess, her background story drags the season. She has these children of the damned living at the hotel and they are just there. They are useless every time they are screen and don’t really propel the story line or add anything to it but wasted scenes. Only Holden serves a purpose: just barely. Her needing money is plot that doesn’t show how she is manipulating Will Drake. Another example of failed story telling is when Denis O’hare and Flinn Witrock (as the male model) characters seem to fall passionately in love. It isn’t shocking but just seems unexpected. It would have been something to have these two characters to pass looks at each other as the story progressed; but in the 60 plus minute episodes they are forgetting the intimate details that makes a story…well…a story.
Finally, the useless violence and sex as a source of empowerment is really tiring. I think Murphy has a bet to insert as many skin-a-max scenes he can have on FX every episode. It may be an on going performance piece for Gaga but is it really? Are the pointless sex scenes suppose to make the viewers feel uncomfortable? Is the use of the artistic nudity of women supposed to show women’s liberation or empowerment because a woman can display her body the way she wants? Or is it just playing into the male chauvinist view of women that they are just objects? Being somewhat conservative and liberal, sex scenes are supposed to have weight and aide the story. Either being raw showing of emotions, displaying vulnerability or having a meaning, but the sex scenes with Lady just feels pointless and also seem to come from left field. There were moments like when when Bomer and Gaga go to a screening and seduce a couple for their blood – Made sense. Just as the violence in the show. You have JP March having sex and hacking victim to death or Max Greenfield being raped in the first episode. These displays of violence just seems to be there for actual shock value. Not anything truly related to horror. The first season seemed to capture that with the slowing of a scene as the editing and story telling was married together in suspending the audiences disbelief.
To rebuttal the points that were made, maybe there is some method to the madness. Maybe the pointless sex acts are just that. The long con of Will Drake is just that a long a con. If thought upon, the immortal countess “has had decades” which would be fleeting moments. As in a favorite line from the movie Street Fighter, “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.” These are moments and people are just Tuesday. They mean nothing. The acts with them are nothing. The Countess, dare it be said, aimless addict seeking her next fix because she has felt real love and lost it. Damned to walk for eternity seeking what she lost but to never find it again. The lives she ruin and destruction wrought is just Tuesday. There are good moments that I actually enjoy. Wes Bentley’s story line could need more attention. This is a possible spoiler, but could he be the killer that he seeks? This could have used more attention as to how he was led to the hotel, his black outs and his drinking issues. I also do like James P. March. Peters is doing a great job. The accent is great. It gives the feel of the reels from 20’s and 30’s. His story line although a back story could be intriguing. With books of true crime dedicated to H.H. Holmes and being a devil during the first world’s fair, his tale of horrors at his hotel are remarkable to read about. JP March is the Holmes of this story and should be given something interesting. With all the all the madness this season is presenting, it leads one to wonder is there truly a method.
In conclusion, this season is horrible. If it is not for the issue with characters, the story telling, and useless violence and sex as a source of empowerment, these at this point are worthless. This is crumbling and falling quickly apart because the great ideas of Ryan Murphy doesn’t seem to be paying off as it had in season 1. The shock and awe factor parlor tricks to get people talking. Seasons 1, 2 and possibly 3 are seasons that could be watched a scared with the family, but as every season after the first are plagued overachieving ideas that just doesn’t pay off.
The verdict. It should only receive a Rating [usr 1.5 of 5].