American Horror Story: Hotel Episode 9 Review: “She Wants Revenge”

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American Horror Story: Hotel Episode 9 Review: “She Wants Revenge”

American Horror Story: Hotel

Last week’s American Horror Story: Hotel finally answered the mystery of the Ten Commandments Killer in a predictable but focused way, so let’s see how things continue in this week’s episode, “She Wants Revenge.”

The episode opens with The Countess finally realizing, after all of these years, that Rudy was taken away from her by James March. As this revelation settles inside of her, Will Drake begins planning their wedding in earnest. She is also being forced to deal with the fact that her “underlings,” for lack of a better word, are losing their draw to her (with the best example being Liz, still hurting from the murder of Tristan). Elizabeth has had big moments throughout the season, and the episode revealing her backstory has been one of American Horror Story: Hotel‘s best offerings, but she hasn’t been the “Jessica Lange”-esque focus that I expected when Lady Gaga was cast on the show. “She Wants Revenge,” though, puts her character back into the spotlight, and I think that the show is better for it. As with last week’s episode that centered on John, Hotel has proven that its real strength comes when an episode has a tighter focus.

The Ramona/Donovan/Iris scheme also receives a good bit of focus in “She Wants Revenge,” which is something that I’ve been desperately waiting on. Even though Angela Bassett is credited this season as a main cast member, her character of Ramona has only been in a handful of scenes during Hotel‘s run. Because of Ramona’s deep history with the Countess and the relationship that’s been established between Iris and Donovan as mother and son, this story has had a ton of potential that hasn’t been used up until now. I’m glad it’s finally getting the exposure it deserves, and I’m glad we’re finally getting more of Bassett. The flashback to her 1992 experience with her parents was another perfectly tragic piece of her past that adds just as much to her character as anything she went through with the Countess did. It also adds more depth to her revenge motivation, which is very welcome in a story like this.

It’s been a while, but we finally got some follow-up to the story of the kid that Alex turned in the hospital that later turned his entire class at school. Unlike most seasons of American Horror StoryHotel has done a pretty good job at not leaving wild loose ends without a satisfactory conclusion. For the past few weeks, though, it seemed like this might be one of the glaring ones that this series is known for (and, actually, I had almost forgotten about it since it’s been so long), but this episode makes it clear that the writers are actively trying to keep everything as tight as possible.

As I seem to do every week, I have to, again, mention how perfect Evan Peters has been this season as James Patrick March. His performance has gotten exponentially better with each episode, and I can’t think of a bigger shame than Peters not receiving any love come awards season. Peters has delivered A+ performances with each season of American Horror Story, but his turn as the demented and twisted spawn of Howard Hughes and Tony Stark in Hotel is, without a doubt, his best one yet. This is the kind of performance that makes me wish American Horror Story wasn’t (for the most part) an anthology, because I could watch James March for season after season.

There isn’t much to say about it, but Liz’s objection at Will and Elizabeth’s wedding was perfect.

“She Wants Revenge” told a broader story than last week’s wonderful episode that had a singular focus, but it was still a solid entry in the season that progressed the story in big ways. With only four episodes left this year, everything seems to be ramping up to what I hope is a satisfactory ending.

What did you think of “She Wants Revenge”? Are you satisfied with this season’s twists? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

[Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

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