Sunday, December 6, 2015

American Horror Story 5x08 "Ten Commandments Killer" (Little Did They Know it Was ME All Along) [Contributor: Melanie]

"Ten Commandments Killer"
Original Airdate: December 2, 2015

We’re on an exposition streak here for American Horror Story apparently, because this week’s episode was all about recounting (or retconning?) the episodes up until now, revealing how Lowe was actually the killer all along. 


Wow, how will I recover from the shock?

Most of the episode gave us off-screen moments that reveal how Lowe committed the murders, but most of these moments happened before the events of the show even began. It wasn’t some cleverly grand reveal, detailing what had been happening in the background the whole time that we, the audience, missed. It’s a serious cop-out in terms of the writing, and it’s starting to feel like Hotel is falling into the same traps that Asylum encountered.

Asylum started out awesome, few people deny that. It was set in a Catholic-owned mental health facility in the 50s and featured insanity, demon-possessed nuns, and unethical medical experiments, with a loose serial killer to boot. But apparently that wasn’t enough to mine for Ryan Murphy, who decided to also throw aliens in the mix. It was already a delicate balance, and just like that, it all came crashing down. Coven rectified many of those mistakes by sticking to a singular concept and exploring naturally-associated themes. I didn’t watch enough of Freak Show to form an opinion in how it handled its story, but I can certainly form one for Hotel, which now has done a breakneck 180 mid-season.

The first few episodes of the show seemed to suggest our focus would be on the hotel (and its ridiculous Shining rip-offs that somehow magnified this week) and the vampires who seemed to run it. Now it’s suddenly all about serial killers and rewriting history to fit Murphy’s weird little narrative. There’s also the hovering idea of the hotel’s inherent evilness and status as a “haunted house.” And like Asylum, it’s all becoming too much, especially since Asylum covered the serial killer topic extensively. This rehashing is more in bad taste than anything else at this point, with the shameless use of real killers and romanticizing their stories with scenes of them worshipping March and hosting dinner parties where the favors are more victims. I’ve used this before, I think, but...

With that aside, here’s what happened this week.

The episode opens on Lowe, seconds after Wren jumped in front of the car. Recalling seeing her among the glass coffins in the empty pool, he returns to the hotel and accosts a heartbroken Liz for information. Sally reluctantly takes him to room 64 where he finds the preserved body parts of the Ten Commandments Killer’s victims stored behind the armoire. Sally insists that March — the original Ten Commandments Killer— was waiting for a successor and that Lowe was in fact the killer all along. Oh no, what a shock.

Lowe then visits Wren in the morgue, where he meets Detective Hahn and confesses to being the killer. He realized he’d been to the Hotel Cortez years before, which is what started his killing spree. In a flashback to 2010, Lowe gets served drinks in the hotel bar by Sally and Liz, and Donovan invites him to a party upstairs.

Elizabeth and March are having dinner upstairs when Donovan brings Lowe to meet them. March is immediately taken with Lowe, and he gets the detective drunk on absinthe before launching into a very lengthy conversation about the difference between right and wrong, and murder, and all sorts of philosophy student garbage, before Lowe finally passes out. March then insists to Elizabeth that Lowe is a perfect candidate to be his protégé, and Elizabeth agrees to kidnap Holden to help push Lowe over the edge. Lowe returns home hung over, and Alex is unnerved that he was off drinking for two days. To help the situation, they decide to have a family day, which is when Holden is kidnapped.

When he and Alex started to lose hope in their search for Holden, Lowe began to crumble. He constantly returned to the Hotel Cortez’s bar, where he’d drink and talk to March, and had an affair with Sally. At one point, March suggested to Lowe that perhaps he was in pain from a lack of justice in the world, and his inability to seek it as a detective. March then revealed his trophy room, filled with both hunted animals and heads of human victims. Lowe is unimpressed, insisting he’s going to report it, but later realizes March was correct about the lack of justice Lowe is able to bring after a murderer he investigated gets off on a technicality.

He returns to the hotel in 2015 on his son’s birthday, and March tells him a story about a former guest who molested a ten-year-old boy (the same age Holden would have been). Lowe goes after the pedophile and beats him to death with an Oscar award the man was selling. He then attempts to kill himself before Sally arrives and cuts him down.

March and Sally try and help Lowe through the aftermath of his actions, keeping him from trying to kill himself again. It’s also revealed that March is protecting Sally from an “addiction demon” conjured up from her activities. In the present time, Hahn insists that Sally has been dead for over 20 years and that Lowe is hallucinating and confused. Lowe insists it’s true, recounting a time when Sally informed him that the Cortez forces him to forget the things he’s done while he’s there when he leaves. Lowe had also revealed to Sally and March that he loved killing the pedophile, which March says is because using his pain was better than letting it sit. He then shows Lowe the work he did as the original Ten Commandments Killer, a job Lowe agrees to continue.

Lowe continues his affair with Sally while planning out his murders. Sally provides him with an adulterous couple as his first victims, and Lowe uses their phones to text each other a location, and then murders the woman and mutilates the man’s body. He then insists the suspect he thought he saw the night of another murder was actually himself as James March. When he concludes his story, Hahn still doesn’t believe him, insisting that he feels responsible for not catching the real killer. Lowe then stabs Hahn, insisting that he has broken a commandment by “coveting thy neighbor’s wife,” which Hahn does not deny, and kills him.

Lowe returns to the hotel with a bloody bag and informs Iris he remembers everything, She’s relieved that she no longer has to play games and dance around him. Iris insists Lowe leave the hotel and forget, but he demands the key to 64. There he presents March with Hahn’s severed genitals, which March applauds.

There's two more episodes of American Horror Story: Hotel left before we take a break for a bit, so stay tuned and see if you can't guess anymore obvious "reveals"!


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