American Horror Story: Hotel "Battle Royale" Review: With Reckless Abandon(ment Issues)

American Horror Story: Hotel S05E11: "Battle Royale"


Every once in a while, American Horror Story: Hotel dips into pure downer territory and I want something—anything—to pull me out of having to watch junkies sewed together and shitting themselves and foaming at the mouth or feeling sad for Iris as she rolls around in her son's coffee-can ashes. I can handle this stuff and know it's necessary to tell a full story, but boy am I thankful when relief from the dramatic impact finally arrives. With this show, sometimes that "something—anything" comes in the form of jokes, sometimes in the form of "OH DAMN" moments, and preferably in moments of sublime beauty. 

This week's superb "Battle Royale" was fixing to be a real downer, in no small part due to the Countess surviving Liz and Iris' really cool murder attempt. Sorry "the Countess," but you really had it coming. Plus Queenie from Coven died! What I'm saying is the momentum of Cortez's own Bonnie and Clyde got trumped immediately, which was a bummer because the song to which they unleashed a bullet storm was so kickin'. Even worse, Donovan bit the dust trying to protect the Countess. 


Luckily, Liz and his mom were able to usher the lover boy curbside so his ghost wouldn't be trapped in the hotel forever. Then Iris messed around with his ashes. 


Real quick though, I think this season has used music the best so far of any AHS season to date. AHS usually feels like a music video reality, but this L.A. setting feels especially suited for what Murphy and his Murphineers do best. Anyway, though I was mad she escaped, I have to say that the Countess scooting off to some corner of the hotel provided a thrilling game of hide-and-go-seek that kept the tension up all hour long, all hour strong. From the point of view of Liz and Iris, they had no idea she was off getting bullets removed.


As there's only one episode left, the disparate story threads are getting pulled nice and tight like a dope-fiend with a spool of thread and abandonment issues. What I mean is, while playing Civil War doctor, Hypodermic Sally explained that back in 1993 she used to make music with grunge darlings "Nick Harley" and "Tina Black." They seemed like a real handful insofar as "fooling around" during recording sessions.

Essentially, Sally was so sick of people leaving her that she got way high with the musical duo in the Cortez and stitched the three of them together right then and there. 


Unfortunately, they OD'd and Miss Evers left Sally to think about her choices. 


Then screw-wang bro showed up to hassle Sally. Is screw-wang bro anyone's favorite character? I hate when he shows up.

I don't know, maybe screw-wang bro is integral to the story. March seems to have some power over the demon? 

So Sally nursed the Countess back to health because she wanted her to kill John and used the remaining kids in the basement to get her back up to speed. Though when the Countess learned that Donovan had perished, she seemed to lose that zest for power. I will say that THE master stroke of this season is making the Countess both the big bad and the heart of the whole show. She's endlessly mean for sure, but her struggles for love are so tragic I forgive her actions just long enough to pity the gal. That is until her next unforgivable act of inhumanity. 

Meanwhile, outside the confines of the hotel John and Alex returned home with Scarlett and Holden to pick up where they left off. Their daughter could tell right away something was weird. If there was ever a case for child services to swoop in... just saying. Anyway, Scarlett's serial killer/vampire parents gave her "the Talk": basically how family life was going to be an eternal secret and how daddy would disappear at odd hours of the night to bring home randos for mommy to exsanguinate. Healthy guardianship. 


Unfortunately, when John stepped out his whole family was kidnapped and held somewhere "safe" at the behest of Sally and John Patrick March. The only place safe I can think of in relation to the Hotel Cortez is NOT inside the Hotel Cortez. 

Next: Yep, more people die!

< 1 2
See Full Story
Comments (63)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Jan 18, 2016
Well, this season is kind of a dissapointment to me.
I was expecting Murder House vibes, but all we got was vampire bullshit. I'll admit that Lady Gaga did an amazing job this season, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her, but the show keeps getting worse each season. Hope that S6 will be better.

1- Probably shut down by police.
2- Ms. Evers or Queenie
Reply
Flag
Jan 12, 2016
So witch trumps vampire, and ghost trumps witch. Poor Queenie :-(

I thought March's reaction to Miss Ever's confession was a bit hypocritical considering how much he had manipulated the Countess (getting rid of her lover AND getting her killed) for pretty much the same reason.

Loved it when Miss Evers (mis)quoted Shakespeare and walked out with her head held high. You go girl!

Reply
Flag
Jan 10, 2016
I get the feeling that they killed Queenie because some of us complained that no one really stayed dead that season.
I sorta laughed at this horrible joke that by killing Queenie they actually killed off just about every black member of that season's cast from Marie's subordinates, her lover, to Marie and now Queenie. But I hold the belief that the loving Supreme, upon not seeing the living voodoo doll on TV tracked her down, found her body, resurrected her, then they both gtfo. Let's be honest of that season she was one of the few characters with a touch sense and remotely likable who lived.

Pretty good episode. For once even the senseless things made sense. Ramona seems to have given into The Countess's charms but if she was in on March's plans then I'd like to believe that she was merely buying time for Lowe to arrive and handle the job. At least that's how I wish to see it. Not sure what becomes of Drake's son. I get the feeling at the end he and Scarlett are mentally traumatized by their parents choices and what happened in that hotel that they become mentally twisted.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 12, 2016
I'm hoping that the coven figure out what happened and resurrect Queenie too!
Wouldn't it be nice if Scarlett and Drake's son ran away together?
Reply
Flag
Jan 12, 2016
Yeah in the end they just look at one another, "I just found out that my stepmom killed my dad."
"My dad killed your stepmom among other things."
"Wanna get out of here?"
"Yeah, they would have just dumped me on my grandmother again."
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
March killed Queenie? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

March, you serial-murdering, hotel-building, God-hating, suit-wearing, affably evil, Brahmin-accented bastard!
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Did anyone catch the other connection? When Sally sewed herself to her band mates, she said she didn't know why she was doing this...and Sarah Paulson played Bette and Dot, who shared a body! I swear there is way more to this!

http://mikeydislikesit.com/american-horror-story-hotel-battle-royale-review/
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 10, 2016
What about the parallels of couples being together in the afterlife. The family in the Murder house, Fiona and Axeman's twisted eternity, and even with Freakshow and all of the freaks living on in the afterlife putting on their show. This one seems more akin to the Coven ending.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
I've been enjoying this season but this episode didn't do it for me at all. Too many layers. At this point I don't give a toot about John's family or the 5 seconds of screen time they got this ep. Chloe Sevigny (can't remember the name of the character) and pretty much every part of this story she's been in has been a snore. I can only imagine a conversation like
"Chloe Sevigny is available and REALLY wants to do it!
"She'd be a great Countess!"
"Oh Crap we promised that to Gaga. Quick let's write a story thread for Chloe Sevigny"
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Am I forgetting something that happened? Is Bartholomew still around? If so, there's no way that the Countess would have left without him.
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
She told Romona that she could have the Cortez all she wanted was to leave "with her baby boy". It looks like that is what she was doing when John shot her.
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Can someone tell me what is the music (score) playing at the end of this episode (when March dismiss Miss Evers)
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
This episode was great. Also bringing back Queenie to have a SPN fight w/ her Coven sister who she didn't even recognize, answered a lot of questions for me. One being, I guess we the audience see the same actors in different roles, but the characters don't. I just wonder what the ladies of the hotel saw when Queenie walked in?

Second, now I know we may get more crossovers in the future, I just hope it's more coven characters. Third, even though I didn't like that Queenie could be killed by a ghost, I was kinda glad she could save Angela Bassett.

Only for her to NOT kill any of the ladies of the Cortez, to then get ownership of it, after some great re-breakup sex I assume, to only then see the Countess get killed any by someone else! Twist's and turns a plenty. Great job A.H.S.:Hotel from the cooky ghost maid's love confession, to the creepy A.F. flashback, these last two episodes have been your best this whole season. Can't wait for the final chapter I assume, for the Cortez, where March puts all the spooks on probation! Lol, next wk. can't come soon enough:-)
More+
Reply
Flag
Jan 12, 2016
I thought they answered the question of whether the characters see the same actors in different roles last season with the Pepper storyline when she went to the Asylum.
Reply
Flag
Jan 13, 2016
I really don't remember that, could you clarify?
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
A part of me wants to see how the Lowe family would work. Daddy goes out and kidnaps some rando for mommy and Holden for dinner and stops off to get Chinese for him and Scarlet...and maybe along the way gets in an occasion Maurer, you know for sport.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Question: I may have missed something, but since The Countess turned into a ghost after being killed in the Hotel, why didn't Tristen also turn into a ghost when she killed him there? Before this episode, I had thought it was because the ones with the 'vampire' blood disease just didn't get turned into ghosts when they died in the Hotel, because they were essentially already dead. But The Countess becoming a ghost put a big hole in that theory.
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Theory- March made specific arrangements for the Countess's soul to remain trapped after death despite being a vampire, and needed John killing her complete the ritual to bring her soul over. Perhaps being a vampire normally prevents you from being trapped if you die in the hotel (We haven't seen Natasha's spirit around, either), but Donovan wasn't sure about this rule so he begged Iris and Liz to take him outside to die just to be safe.
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Don't you have to have unfinished business to become a ghost? I thought that was a plot point. Tristan was completely happy with Liz and had nothing else in his (un)life he needed to do. The Countess, on the other hand, was completely set on collecting her baby and escaping the hotel, which could be seen as unfinished business. That's how I interpreted it, anyway.
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
They probably didn't want to confuse the audience by having the actor playing two different characters at the same time:-/
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Because the actor who plays Tristan had other commitments or possibly he is there but doesn't want to be seen by Liz. Put it down to reasons.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I was wondering the same thing. And they're going to be over-crowded with the dead vamp-kids then...
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I think it's because when she slit his throat she told Liz to get rid of his body, so I think she had him removed so he died outside the hotel. I may be wrong though.
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
He seemed pretty dead to me when the Countess told Liz to get rid of him.
Reply
Flag
Jan 14, 2016
HE WAS A GHOST!!! Omg! He just didn't show himself until now. I'm glad because that hole was bugging the crap outta me.
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
"What are the chances the screw-wang demon is under a "Beauty and the Beast"-type curse?"

THIS ^^ I want this to happen in the finale. Nothing else. I want to see how the Beast became a drill-dick demon at the hotel Cortez, and how he became a slave to the best H.H holmes impersonator ever.

The title is "Be our guest", so please let me dream ! haha
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I thought March explained the screw demon as a manifestation of evil.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
........ naaah Queenie is fine. She didn't die. She never even made it to the Cortez. THE COUNTESS AND RAMONA NEVER EVEN FOUGHT so what was the point?! So, yeah, she ain't dead. She won the money and started a career as an actress under her showbiz name Gabourey Sidibe. End of Story.
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Maybe American Horror Story is a prequel to Empire and Queenie was "discovered" by Luscious Lyon and asked to be his assistant, but she changed her name to "Becky" to not seem vain?
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Head canon accepted!! :D
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Well, Unlike some other seasons of AHS, in this one, no one deserves happy ending. Every last one of the characters deserves eternity in hell (except Scarlet and .Holden of course)
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
That is what I love about Hotel. I loved that The Clountess had finally figured out what she really wanted and was going to walk away from the safety of the hotel when she was murdered and now has to spend the rest of eternity with a man she hates. Then there is Miss Evers who is hardly a good person but she got the courage to walk away from March who would never love her the way she wants him too.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
And Liz.
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Well, Liz is willing accomplice in all the murders. Has no problem in emptying the cart with dead bodies.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
But Liz is only really killing people who deserve to die anyway. I don't recall her deliberately killing any innocents. Not that there are too many of them at the Cortez.

I seem to recall even Queenie doing nasty things back in Coven.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Queenie died!

From Season 3, she was a guest at the Cortez! :)

Wonder if this is going to bring some repercussions into future seasons..

And the Countess is now a trophy.. When she was so close to leaving.. We all knew she had it coming.

You have to wonder.. Queenie was next to Iris / Kathy Bates which was Delphine LaLaurie in Season 3.

And then of course, she was attacked by Ramona / Angela Bassett which was Marie Laveau in Season 3.

So, obviously, there is no karmic link between characters and seasons.. Because it would be hard to forget the faces of these 2.

Anyways, that John took the Countess out, wasn't all that surprising.

You just gotta wonder how this season will end.

And I really hope this will eventually lead to some furthering of stories in the future, such as Coven vs Hotel :)


1
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Question, if Donovan dying on the curb could prevent him from becoming a ghost in the hotel, then why didn't that work for Sally, who died OUTSIDE OF the hotel but still ended up stuck there. (I really think she's a ghost, not a vampire.)
7
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I've seen this question a lot, and the answer is simply that Sally died on the Hotel's property (the alley next to the hotel is fenced in), while Donovan was dragged onto the road which obviously is not part of the Hotel's property. The AHS Ghost Logic is simply that anyone who died on the property (not within the building) is trapped (a la Hayden dying in the Murder House's backyard).I hope this clears up any confusion surrounding the ghost logic on the show :)
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
I thought the same thing! Then it occurred to me that Sally broke her neck on the way down and died before landing in the ground...still seems odd it's ahs they have their own rules. Disappointed about Tristan too a lot of gray areas e pecked better writing and Sally deserved we deserved a better backstory for her. Ramona ridiculous and underused. Btw where is papa Legba coven when you need him? Lol
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
And why didn't Tristen become a ghost when The Countess killed him?
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 14, 2016
Damn the finale. All that I had said, yeah never mind all of that.
Reply
Flag
Jan 10, 2016
I thought about it and answered it by asking myself this question, as much as I enjoyed Tristian and his brief relationship with Liz would I really want him to suffer being a ghost?
Him being a ghost would have been nice just to be with Liz and maybe a touch of revenge but Liz would grow old and eventually die (Liz didn't want to be changed). And that would leave a heartbroken and lonely Trist until he loves again. Would we really want that? He could eventually would become like Countess finding that lost love in other lovers, not really loving them but loving that ghost he sees in them.
For the 'dumb' one I like that he was actually the smarter one of Countess's boys and figured her out and actually found himself and his happiness away from her.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I was kind of wondering about that too so I just went and rewatched Sally's death. She falls into the alleyway, rather than towards the street and her feet are practically still touching the Cortez when she dies so I am sure that is the reasoning they will give.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
...but that begs the question, if she didn't die the day that she stitched herself to her friends, but died later on when Iris pushes her... why? Why come back to a hotel where you spent 3 days stitched to your dead friends and being tortured by some weird drill dick demon?
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
You're asking for logic from an addict.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 19, 2016
You can't say what you would do if you were an addict, because you're not. It dramatically changes people, driving many of them to do things that they would never imagine doing. Surely, addicts aren't thinking rationally when they do things that mess up their health, their jobs, their relationships and their lives! How is this any different?
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
Fair enough. I just personally feel like, addict or not, if I got tortured by a drill dick demon for a few days... I would probably just head down the street to a La Quinta or something.
3
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Was anyone else kind of distracted by the question, who did March/the Countess/Sally get to kidnap Alex and the kids? March's human proxy is John, the Countess can leave, but she wasn't exactly in the state to do so and I suspect Alex could have taken her, and Sally doesn't really have minions. Its not like Iris or Liz would do it. I suppose Ramona could have.

I'm actually kind of curious if Miss Evers is missing from next week's episode and they actively look for her and she's not around because they find out when March banished her, she was released from the Cortez.
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 08, 2016
The countess was also wearing ten inch platform heels while recouping from gunshot wounds lol then having sex with Ramona wtf? I hate that the show becomes too silly love a good combination of horror one liners drama love but last night felt like I was watching clue scoobie-doo n all my children lol
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Ramona kidnapped John's family. That's why he asked her for a favor after saving her from Queenie.
1
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Wow... We kind of pegged that the Countess would be John's last victim. Can't say she didn't deserve it. Truly the humiliation conga... just when she gets the love of her life back and the money to run away with him forever, her love is killed, her other lover is killed, she's severely injured and needs to sacrifice her kids to survive, only to get shot to death and wake up trapped forever in the hotel she hates with a man she utterly despised. Karma!

Still, there are a few loose ends that hopefully the finale will tie up. Namely, what's going to happen to John and his family? He completed the 10 commandments, but he's still batshit crazy and his wife and kid are still bloodthirsty monsters. And what happened to Ramona? Did the Countess kill her? And what of Iris and Liz, my two favorite characters? Their boss is dead; they're free to do as they please now. But the Countess took the ones they loved (Liz's boyfriend and Iris's son) so they pretty much have hollow lives now that they technically got their revenge. I mean, Liz's son is still out there, so there's that, but Iris has no one now. Poor Iris. (There's also a chance that killing the Countess now has made her more powerful than they could ever imagine and she'll try to get revenge herself, but she's confined to the hotel so all they have to do is simply walk out the door to escape her

Yup, locking a bunch of vampire children with a pissed off psychotic vampire lady... I expected this result, Kind of surprised that she didn't have any defensive injuries, though. The kids may have been weaker than her, but they had numbers, so I was expecting Ramona to be hurt way worse than just a stomachache.

Queenie vs. Ramona... best scene ever.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 10, 2016
Well the kids were growing weak from the measles. But what about Drake's son? Will Ramona really have ownership over the hotel given Countess didn't really have control over it given she wasn't in the will and I think unless it was a wedding gift to her she still doesn't own it. Seriously where in the hell is this emotionless kid all of the time? I think I can count on one hand the number of episodes that he's appeared in.

And what happened to that guy in the trunk of John's car?
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Oh, i liked The Countess, at least we still get to see her as a ghost (i still think Gaga is a pretty decent actress,unlike so many other singers that have tried to act before and sucked). The Coven crossover was nice, too bad for Queenie though.

Looking forward for the finale, this has been a terrific season =)
3
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I also felt like this episode was a season finale, don't know what's gonna happen next week... Sally's background story was disappointing, I was expecting much more...

Coven crossover totally surprised me, didn't see that coming! I was glad to see Queenie and her power again (at least she can come back as a ghost).
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Maybe Queenie could call the rest of the coven to come pick up her body and bring her back to life.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016

im bummed donovan died too
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Honestly, this felt like a season finale. every storyline that was going was wrapped up. this would work well as the end but i see we have one more episode. im not sure what they are going to do for an hour
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I'd assume the finale will be an epilogue of sorts explaining what the characters will do after everything that's happened. The episode synopsis just says that Liz and Iris are running the hotel and that Alex and John are struggling with their new lives. We also know that Billie Dean Howard will be investigating ghosts in the hotel. There isn't really anything else to wrap up.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
Sally's flashback was aptly short and bizarro. Shame on the writers for giving us a legitimate tie to last season only to brutally murder it, just great.

Other than those things though, this episode was so good. Everyone running around trying to kill The Countess for different reasons made for entertaining viewing. Ms. Evers few.

I'm sort of disappointed we didn't actually get to see Iris rolling around in Donovan's ashes though.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
I was just amused to see the Coven crossover.
2
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
The Countess was actually killed by bullets?! She's a vampire! She'd have to be stabbed through the heart.
Reply
Flag
Jan 07, 2016
They're not that kind of vampire. They can live forever as long as nothing ever mortally kills them.
2
Reply
Flag