Home TV Series American Horror Story: Hotel/ Episode 1 “Checking In” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

American Horror Story: Hotel/ Episode 1 “Checking In” [Season Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

by Amari
Published: Last Updated on


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With the exit of Jessica Lange seemingly comes more attempts to draw your attention with the grotesque and shocking, rather than with compelling characters or an interesting story.

Characters & Story (with Commentary)

The best way to summarize what is going on, or what may go on, is by understanding the focus is between John Lowe (Wes Bentley), a detective who is trying to catch a serial killer, and The Countess Elizabeth (Lady GaGa), who is the unofficial queen of the Hotel Cortez. Now, Mr. Lowe’s journey isn’t necessarily strongly developed, all we know is the killer he is after is into leaving bodies more grotesque than even the jigsaw killer did.

As for The Countess Elizabeth? Well, she is a bit of a mystery. She seemingly is a vampire, or at least someone who may very well be other worldly, but as mysterious as you could make her, unfortunately GaGa’s past kept me from finding her interesting. If only because The Countess seemed like she could easily be a character GaGa would play in a music video.

Oh, and how could I forget Sally (Sarah Paulson)? A drug addict who seems to be haunting the Hotel Cortez and just as The Countess finds people to bring back to her chambers, usually to slit have sex with, slit the throats of, and seemingly suck on their blood, Sally likes to get people messed up on drugs. Though, rather than just get them messed up and that be the end of it, it seems she tag teams with some odd entity who uses a drill looking dildo to pretty much destroy a person’s anal cavity.


Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) is fabulous and I so wish they were at the center of American Horror Story: Hotel, rather than being a supporting character. For, as of episode 1, they are the only one who I honestly think maybe worth paying attention to.

Low Points

Kathy Bates, as Iris, playing someone’s mother again. Though not to Evan Peters, who doesn’t appear in the season premiere.

Sarah Paulson as a cheap Halloween costume version of Courtney Love, with hardly a single reason to take note of her character. To elaborate further, the reason Paulson is worth noting is because, with Lange gone, you’d assume she would be taking on the job of being the one to keep you around. Well, she doesn’t.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact I’m staring at a IMDB cast listing, and am familiar with at least half of the faces here, I wouldn’t be able to tell you most of the characters’ names. This is partly due to me just not catching most of their names, but mostly because the campiness of the AHS franchise has hit the point where it is no longer silly, or even comical. Plain and simple, the series has become bad. The decline began last season, and arguably Hotel will either be the nail in the coffin, or the hand reaching out from the grave.

On The Fence

With The Countess having, again, seemingly kidnapping John Lowe’s boy, and with the killer John is hunting likely a guest at the Hotel Cortez, it does make you wonder if The Countess may face off with John and possibly die? After all, The Countess is portrayed as some sort of villain, and almost every villain within the American Horror Story franchise dies.

Final Thoughts

You know, American Horror Story has been one of the few series which, since I started doing these overview/ reviews, that I probably wanted to drop damn near every season. For, despite usually starting off strong, halfway through the season someone would usually end up dying, or become emasculated, and then it became a struggle to make it to the end. Which, since damn near the beginning, would nearly always be a hatchet job to try to finish storylines and try to make it so someone, usually Sarah Paulson, somewhat triumphed in the end.

But I don’t think I can do it no more. Be it because Jessica Lange isn’t here; because the gimmick is pretty much overdone and the campiness is no longer laughingly terrible, but just terrible period; or just that I’m just no longer in the type of place where a show like this can be entertaining. Either way, this is the end of me covering American Horror Story. Maybe, if I have nothing better to do, I may see if it gets better. But being that this show has always been about peaking early, I worry between episode one to three, we may have seen the best this season may have to offer.

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