“American Horror Story: Hotel” recap (5.6): Mommy issues

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Remember in Buffy when Dawn appears in Season 5, and everyone treats her as though she’s always been there, and only we, the audience, think her presence is suspect (or possibly we think we just missed her this entire time because we’ve been smoking too much weed)? This episode does the same thing, by introducing new and improbable relationships, and it’s hard not to feel like we’ve missed something. It’s the first sign Hotel has shown of getting lost in the needless subplots and inconsistent characterizations that have marred earlier seasons, but it’s still carried by its macabre sense of glamour and the mesmerizing presence of its central mother figure.

Speaking of, it’s time to travel back in time for a piece of Mother Monster’s history. Not who she was before she turned vampire, because the show has not yet made the mistake of trying to humanize her (that’s next week). We go back to a day in 1926 when The Countess goes to the doctor for what we at first assume in an illegal abortion. She claims to be three weeks pregnant.

ahs6.1 IN…IN DOG WEEKS.

What follows is a video even more damaging to the pro-choice cause than the recent Planned Parenthood fiascoes. The doctor asks for “the big knife” and inhales some ether to steady his hand. But soon we realize that this isn’t an abortion at all; it’s the delivery of a healthy(?) baby vampire, whose first act in life is to eat his nurse. Gaga cradles him lovingly. It’s all very moving.

In a somewhat less tender parental reunion, Detective Lowe finds the pool where his wife and son are cuddling in vampiric splendor. The sight pushes him–not over the edge because that point is long past—but deeper into the abyss. And Chloe Sevigny has to spend the whole rest of the episode trying to convince him he’s having a psychotic break, WHEN SHE SHOULD BE MAKING OUT WITH GIRLS, AS GOD INTENDED. At least his paranoia makes her move the glass coffins to a secure location, which saves their lives when Ramona and Iris show up with butcher knives.

ahs6.2 WELL SHIT. NOW WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?

But there is a sweet queer love story unfolding, in the unlikeliest of places. Tristan has found his way to Liz Taylor’s bed, and they are in lurve.

ahs6.3

And even though Liz has to explain that this doesn’t make Tristan gay since she identifies as a straight woman, it’s not only progressive, but lovely. The way Tristan’s eyes light up when Liz gives him books, and the way they both nervously take the long way around admitting that they love each other before finally just declaring it in goofy, un-selfconscious glee (oh god, that word really is ruined forever). But Liz knows that The Countess is a jealous soul(less monster) and advises that they keep their amour a secret for the time being.

I’m thrilled to jump in medias res into Triz’s love story, but Gaga and Cheyenne Jackson is just a bridge too far.

ahs6.4I JUST MISS WHEN I WAS ON 30 ROCK AND THINGS WERE SIMPLE.

First of all, did you know that his name isn’t Wildrake? It’s Will Drake, which is empirically not as good. And secondly, he cannot get an erection, not even from the artist formerly known as Jo Calderone.

The 28th Annual MTV Video Music Awards - Press RoomI FEEL LIKE LADY GAGA WOULD PREFER WE FORGET ABOUT THIS.

So The Countess calls up Tristan to act as a fluffer, a position he is unhappy with since it feels a lot like cheating on his one true love.

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