American Horror Story: “Flicker” — Nov. 18, 2015

AHS-Hotel-FlickerAs the Cortez undergoes renovation, Will finds there’s more to the hotel than he bargained for.  John decides to have his head examined, and the Countess’ heart is broken by Mr. March. Special Contributor Tracey M. gives us the scoop on the horror hotel in her latest recap. – David F.

Builders have begun the massive renovations Will Drake has in mind. He struts around with his son, Lachlan overseeing the progress. Will asks Lachlan how he would feel if he and the Countess stayed together forever. Smart-ass Lachlan reminds Will that he is gay. Thanks kid! Will counters that life can be complicated for adults, so Lachlan gives his okay. They are stopped in the hallway by the foreman; there’s a big problem with Will’s plans. While workers swing sledgehammers and take down walls, they come upon a one-inch thick plate of steel, from floor to ceiling.

Will says he has no time for delays, so he orders the workers to cut through and see why it’s been blocked off (I think I’d tell him to do it himself). Using a blowtorch to gain access, two workers step through the hole. It’s a hidden hallway, all of the doorways and exits cemented shut. The air is stale and rancid. Against their better judgement, the workers venture down the hall and are set upon by two ancient and very thirsty vampires who quickly drain them of their blood.

After attacking a co worker, John has decided to check into a psychiatric facility. He says he thinks he is cracking up and needs to know why. His decision to check into the facility has an ulterior motive. It’s where he feels he can ferret out information about the serial killer undisturbed. Playing a little crazy-possum, eh, John? That evening, John manages to knock out the guard, grabs his keys to the restricted wing and unlocks a secured room to meet a young girl, Wren (Jessica Belkin). She’s being held for refusing to reveal why she was present during a recent murder at a local TV station. She says she’s been present at other serial murders, too, providing details only the killer would know. She says she helps sometimes. After all, a girl’s gotta eat. Quenching her thirst disgusts her, and that thirst is endless. Immortality has been just horrible for Wren.

She was raised by her booze-soaked ne’er do well father. He would tell her he couldn’t wait until she grew up. The way he looked at her made her wish she’d never grow up. It made her feel sick. One exceptionally hot summer, Wren was left out in the car while her father went into the Cortez to tie one on. Wren was drenched in sweat when the Countess found her and rescued her from her father and growing up. Wren says she can take John to the killer if he can free them. Um, John, you’re listening to a truly messed up kid.

Iris rushes to tell the Countess about the newly discovered hallway. She follows Iris in and sees the two dead workers on the floor. Iris remarks that whoever killed those men must have been starving and the Countess is clearly shaken by Iris’ statement.

The ancients drain real estate agent Marcy (Christine Estabrook) who was taking advantage of the free weekend Will Drake offered her as a ‘thank you’. That’s gratitude for you. Revitalized, the ancients gasp and stretch, the fresh blood reviving their wrinkled, emaciated bodies. (Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). They are covered in blood and furious about how many years they’ve lost. They want retribution, and feast on hotel guests until they’re adequately restored.

Flash back to 1925, to a lavish Hollywood movie set. Leading man, Rudolph Valentino (Finn Wittrock) is quite taken with the lovely young Elizabeth. Long before becoming the Countess, Elizabeth was a star-struck, struggling young actor. On the set, Valentino stares at her often. She’s an extra, one of the many harem-girls and concubines. He sends a note to her, inviting her to his home for dinner.

She’s thrilled, flattered and nervous. He is delighted when she shows up at his door. He calls her his “Bellissima”. He invites Elizabeth to pasa doble with him. Soon, Rudy’s wife, Natasha, slinks down the stairs and joins in the dance. Rudy and Natasha take turns kissing Elizabeth and entice her to join them upstairs. Before long, the three lovers become inseparable. It’s fantastic to see Finn Wittrock reincarnated. He morphs from recently doomed Tristan into Valentino superbly, from his accent to his appearance.

A glowing Elizabeth and her gal pal head to the grand opening of the Hotel Cortez. Music is playing and a multitude of glasses are clinking. James March pops champagne and locks eyes with Elizabeth. The celebration is brought to a screeching halt when a young man bursts in waving a newspaper,shouting “Valentino’s dead! Valentino’s dead!” Elizabeth crumbles and tries jumping out a hotel window. Just as she pitches forward, James March catches her around the waist. He swears he will never let her go. Lost in her grief, Elizabeth marries March, but feels nothing for him. She is, however, intrigued by his nasty habits. She doesn’t disapprove, in fact our naughty girl wants to watch!

Elizabeth remains broken-hearted over Rudy. Natasha eventually disappeared, too. Elizabeth wears veiled black every day to place a rose at Valentino’s tomb, becoming a bit of an urban legend. On one visit to the tomb, Natasha makes a surprise appearance followed by Valentino. He is very much “alive”, so to speak; says he used his double to fake his death. Rudy feels terrible for abandoning Elizabeth. He tells her of his travels, and the man who seemed to be everywhere, watching him. When the two finally met, Rudy discovered the man was a director in Germany, which gave them something to talk about. He spoke of immortality with Rudy, and offered him eternal beauty and youth. He shared the dark gift with Rudy. Rudy shared the gift with Natasha and then they offered it to Elizabeth. She gave them tearful consent, ready to join her happy threesome for eternity. On the floor below, James March listened to their plans to leave by train as soon as possible.

Back in the present, James March is patiently waiting for Elizabeth to arrive for their scheduled once-a-month dinner date. Countess Elizabeth March informs James she plans to marry again, Will Drake this time. James states that his best efforts both in life and in death couldn’t win Elizabeth’s love. He wants to know what makes Will different from the many others. Before dropping the mike, he delights in telling her that her beloved Rudy and Natasha have been walled up in the Cortez for decades. They were in the hidden hallway all this time. Now they’re on the loose in the hotel. The Countess is shocked and hurt. Her eyes well with tears. She remembers how she waited for them at the train station for hours. Meanwhile,  Natasha and Rudy strut into the lobby and out into the night, fully restored.  

John and Wren make their way out of the psychiatric facility. John asks Wren to lead him to the killer. She tells John she likes him, but must say goodbye. She steps out into traffic where a truck frees her of the gift she never wanted. Looks like John is on his own, teetering on the edge of insanity.

American Horror Story:Hotel returns December 2 on FX at 10/9c

Tracey D. - Special Contributor
Tracey Davenport is a Stephen King enthusiast who proudly owns all of his works. Currently a cat-loving housewife, Tracey loves a sense of the macabre. Saturday she may be baking her famous apple pie, but come Sunday, she's greedily lapping up every second of The Walking Dead. As long as there are books and apples, she's sure to be an apocalypse survivor.

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