‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Recap: ‘Room 33’ Returns to ‘Murder House’

American Horror Story Hotel Episode Six
Courtesy of Ray Mickshaw/FX

Spoiler alert: Do not read on unless you’ve seen episode six of “American Horror Story: Hotel,” titled “Room 33.”

Ryan Murphy and Co. have said from the beginning that if any “American Horror Story” season resembles “Hotel,” it’s season one, “Murder House.” But episode six of “Hotel,” titled “Room 33,” made that connection much more literal by bringing the Countess (Lady Gaga) straight to the place that’s going to seem very 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, who the Countess turns to when she’s pregnant and wants to abort the baby. Dr. Montgomery does, but the baby comes out alive — and kills the nurse. Now, it all becomes clear: The Countess is the mother to one of “Murder House’s” terrors (insert joke about little monsters here).

But the rest of the episode takes place in present day, where love has blossomed in the Hotel Cortez. Liz Taylor (Dennis O’Hare) and Tristan (Finn Wittrock) are seeing each other, and it’s more than just sex. The two genuinely care for each other and have fallen in love. But Tristan is the Countess’ current boy-toy, so, as Liz probably should’ve guessed, it’s not going to end well. The Countess doesn’t take it well when her “creations” turns on her.

Sadly for Tristan, the Countess calls him away, as she’s still trying to get Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) to warm up to her sexually. She calls Tristan to “fluff” Will up for her, and when Tristan tells her he doesn’t want to, she continues to pressure him. He obeys without much of a fight, indicative of how quickly he’s adjusted to her ownership of him.

Meanwhile, John Lowe (Wes Bentley) continues to slip further and further into insanity. He wakes up one night to find Holden in his bed and follows him to find Alex Lowe (Chloe Sevigny) sleeping in her coffin. Alex panics and runs to Liz, who comes up with a plan: Take away the coffins and lie to John, telling him that he called Alex to say that he was having “visions.” With John hearing lies left and right, on top of the fact that he’s already in an unbelievable situation, it’s a wonder he’d ever be able to trust himself.

The ones who are really thrown off by Alex and Liz’s antics, though, are Ramona (Angela Bassett) and Iris (Kathy Bates). Ramona heads to the hotel with Donovan (Matt Bomer) to kill the Countess’ children, but Donovan doesn’t go through with it because, as Ramona points out, he’s still in love with the Countess. So Ramona teams with the newly liberated Iris, but they’re 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 very well have been the Antichrist baby that Jessica Lange’s character raised in “Murder House.” However, the baby attacks Ramona and escapes.

Before you get the chance to get too wrapped up in that, though, the show brings back two characters that almost seemed forgotten about: Agnetha (Helena Mattsson) and Vendela (Kamilla Alnes), who are now very sad ghosts traveling through the Hotel Cortez without purpose, and living an especially painful afterlife in constant search of the “Fast & Furious” ride at Universal Studios, a horrible fate indeed (Darren Criss’ character is also trapped as a ghost, forever on the hunt for some fresh kale). Donovan informs them that they can break the cycle by “finding their purpose,” as a previous resident did after she killed herself in the hotel and found her purpose in terrorizing hotel guests.

Desperate, the ghost girls find a victim in a random hotel guest, with one luring him into bed before the other one joins in to kill him. However, it doesn’t work: Alex finds them afterward, and they’re thoroughly upset — not because they’re remorseful over their cold-blooded murder, but because it didn’t work. Alex, either trying to get John out of the hotel for his own good or proving that she doesn’t care about him anymore, tells them to work their magic on her husband, who was just tracking down another murder from the 10 Commandments Killer.

Agnetha and Vendela take the bait and seduce John, with a threesome ensuing (by the way, this episode must have had a record number of butt cheeks for a non-premium cable show). Their intercourse turns bloody, but it’s not clear whose blood it is — it doesn’t appear to belong to any of the three.

Finally saying enough is enough, John packs his things and leaves the hotel. Mr. March (Evan Peters) even shows up to watch him spiral, clearly still seeing potential in him. But John does indeed leave — though not before Bartholomew sneaks into his luggage.

He returns home to Scarlett, who has been left alone for the past few days. A little girl who’s unsurprisingly frightened with all that’s happening with her family, she’s traumatized again when John appears to begin shooting his gun indiscriminately in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to her, he was shooting at Bartholomew.

Back at the hotel, the Countess returns from a Paris trip with Will, who seems to have finally fallen in love with her. However, 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. And, when Tristan tells the Countess the truth, that she’s just going to break his heart and move on, just for a second, she seems merciful, telling Liz that she can have Tristan. But then, she slits Tristan’s throat, devastating Liz.

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

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

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  1. Lina says:

    I like AHS….But this new season is getting a little too racey for my taste. I like the concept, but why, in every single season, does the writer HAVE to talk about abortions, mutilation of children, etc..etc…Why? THIS IS THE ONLY SHOW that is NOT on lifetime that talks about these topics THIS MUCH. It’s a theme in every season and I wish they’d chill out on that. I’m not one who gives a shit about the sexuality/sex scenes/gore, all of that goes over my head. However, honestly, why does a male writer have to consistently put that theme…I’m seriously debating not watching the show only because I get sick of that. Also, who wrote the script….Because it really sucks. The entire gay exchange didn’t seem believable at all to me, it looked forced and the overall conversation was horrible. AHS needs to know the difference between horror and unsettlingly controversial, and good scripts and bad scripts…. Just my two cents…

  2. Paula says:

    The child Jessica Lange raised in season 1 murder house was
    we see a few years later named Michael he was blonde older and killed Constance’s maid that’s how it ended.

  3. Liz says:

    Also, Liz isn’t a vampire. I think when she calls herself one of the countesses creations, she means because she finally allowed Liz to stop living as a man and showed her how she could live as herself

  4. Liz says:

    There’s no way that Bartholomew is the Anti-Christ baby from Season 1. Bart is the Countess’ kid, the AC from S1 is Vivian Harmons kid. BUT, remember that Jessica Lange from S1 still has a 4th child that we haven’t learned anything about yet…can’t wait to find out who that one is!!!

  5. Ehud Avni says:

    The finale is leading to a butchering of Gaga. Kind of ironic because that episode will be her career up until this point in time.

  6. Casey says:

    John is definitely the Ten Commandments killer. All the evidence points to him: he blacks out and we never see the killer, only his crimes; Sally tells him that he knows exactly what he’s doing when he blacks out; he’s invited to the serial killer dinner because of his “line of work”; all this talk about our “two selves” and shadow persona indicates that perhaps he’s schizophrenic; he even stays in room 64 (6+4=10, as in commandments). I think the real question is whether or not he’s ever truly able to leave the hotel…is he doomed to keep repeating his psychotic break, or must he “find his purpose” like the other ghosts in order to “break the chain” of never ending suffering? I guess time will tell…

  7. I knew the Countess was not going to be okay with the affair but I thought she’d kill Liz, not Tristan. But when she got them in the room together I thought she’d kill them both. I’m thinking now Liz will either totally lose his mind or just shut down. Either way he will definitely join the team to kill her. And, on another note, that is one ugly baby. More than anything I could imagine.

  8. Nanny Mo says:

    But it didn’t return to good. Please get to Season 6.

  9. Roy Fenimore says:

    If it’s room 33, then why does the door say 11?

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