“American Horror Story: Hotel” recap (5.8): Heart of Darkness


Guys, I just don’t even have the heart for this today. The endless mass shootings and violence that have come to define my experience of being an American have made it too difficult to take pleasure in the violence of American Horror Story. Scary stories aren’t fun if they look just like real life. Plus this episode is light on the Gaga and heavy on Wes Bentley’s increasingly gaunt face (someone get that man a sandwich), so it’s not exactly relevant to my interests.

But if there’s one thing living in America teaches you, it’s that the show must, and will go on, so let’s get through this week and onto the next one. (Realistically, there will be several more instances of mass gun violence in between now and then, but maybe I will have run out of emotional energy to be upset.)

So, as I predicted, this is the episode where John finds out that he has been the Ten Commandment Killer all along. The signs have been plain as day for a while, but that still didn’t stop me from raising my fist to the sky and shouting. “I AM A TV GENIUS.”


After Ren’s death (which is being treated as an emotional turning point even though we only knew her for five minutes), John finally goes fully bananas in his quest for justice. Which brings him, of course, back to the Cortez, where Sally promises she will take him to the TCK. Rather than just leading him to the nearest mirror, she guides him to his room, which has a secret closet filled with the gruesome trophies of his kills.


I’m confused about how the migrant workers’ teeth are thematically related to “thou shalt not work on the Sabbath” but whatevs. “Vent his spleen” is also a bit of a stretch, and presumes that Detective Lowe knew enough anatomy to accurately identify and remove said organ. John understandably feels a little foolish about having been the lead detective on murders he himself committed, but then he starts to put the pieces together and discovers that he and he are in perfect agreement.

Also, let’s just take a collective moment to mentally high-five Sarah Paulson.