American Horror Story: Hotel Episode 9 Recap: Sweet Sex Spells

Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FX.
Now that she’s a century old, the Countess is suddenly worried about aging. But instead of slicing the internet’s throat to find out what she can do about it, she draws upon a motivator even stronger than money and fresh blood: a fierce commitment to herself. “A woman can only be pushed so far,” Lady Gaga drips like wax, her blonde, feathered eyebrows fluttering with rage, or is it sleepiness? “And I am right on the edge.”

Ooh, the edge of what? Glory? Close: greedy sex with multiple partners. First, she finds her silent-movie-era lover Valentino at a motel; then it’s back to the Hotel Cortez and onto the recently scorned Donovan, who somehow thinks he’s playing her even though she’s the one on top, now and forever. Now fully charged, she’s ready to marry that gay fashion designer: “You design my gown; I’ll take care of everything else.” Ah, the life of a countess!

“NO ONE SURVIVES HER,” Ms. Evers the maid warns Will Drake, who refuses to face reality in so many ways and therefore never gets to realize that this hotel’s population is almost exclusively vamps and ghosts. Because he JUST. DIES. Not from the Countess’ nail-dagger. Not from Donovan’s jealous gaze. And perhaps most surprisingly, not by strangulation from the clutches of baby Bartholomew. Instead, it’s Ramona Royale who claws the hotelier to death in the hotel’s secret bricked-off wing, which by the way, is temporarily tricked out with those fun stand-up neon torture structures that really make a statement. Namely: “This show is batshit crazy, but you’ve got to admire the set design.”

Donovan’s fallen under that sweet, bloody sex spell again, so just count him out of the anti-Gaga conspiracy, okay? He and the Countess have some “hate-watching” to do instead, he brags to his mom. Normally Iris would die inside, but she can’t anymore. She’s got that ancient blood virus and the feed is on. Why stop at a couple of hipsters and a trio of pornographers when there’s more justice and cat food to be served on a silver platter?

Please excuse the sudden reality check here, but is staying alive just never an option for hotel guests? I’m interested to know if there are any living patrons who make it past the hour mark without falling prey to whichever vampire is the thirstiest. I suppose if they did, their prize would be a hazy glimpse of the drill-cock demon or a tearful conversation with Hypodermic Sally, and then they’d get murdered. But does anyone last longer? How does anyone decide to sleep/make adult films here? Is it possible the Cortez is in an entirely different dimension, or is it just that no one ever tattles on the place for murdering dozens of weirdos at a time? Obviously, the only answer here is that I need to stop asking questions. The simplest explanation is that everyone trickling in here is so deplorable on the inside that no one misses them on the outside. Very chilling. More chilled blood for Lady Gaga, please.

The best throughline I can barely tease out of this episode is the power of family dynamics even among vampires. Iris still loves her misguided son Donovan, the Countess loves her little gremlin progeny, and love ultimately drives Ramona Royale to drown her father in the bathtub after the ancient blood virus fails to cure his Alzheimer’s. Their hearts may have shrunk to the size of only a few carats, but their emotional capacity runs deep. Not deep enough to thwart mass murder on the outside, though. Time for a random follow-up: Dr. Alex plays temporary mother figure to that brood of orphan bloodlusters she’s technically responsible for, but they refuse to accompany her back to Hotel Purgatory, because she’s just a mean old adult and they hate that. So it’s back to the quarantine for Dr. Alex, where her son remains Wonka-visioned into oblivion and her daughter Scarlett is…oh wait, she’s not a vampire (yet), so who cares?

Next week: The Countess’ girls night with Valentino’s partner Natacha will surely come to a daggering end, but Dr. Alex might be the one to go splat first. Head ghost in charge Mr. March finds spouses to be a distraction, and those two remaining Ten Commandments murders aren’t going to commit themselves…

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