American Horror Story Hotel: ‘Battle Royale’ Review

American Horror Story 'Royale Rumble'

“Until the sun falls from the sky and the heavens burn in conflagration.” -Mr. March

Now that is how you connect the seasons! American Horror Story Hotel just blew my mind. Is there any other show that could possibly feature a witch, a ghost and a vampire in a battle royale? I did NOT see that coming and I guarantee you didn’t either. Queenie’s arrival perfectly connected Coven to Hotel but there were a lot more connections than that. Simply put, this episode was genius in every way and I’m beyond excited to see things wrap up on finale night.

Battle Royale said goodbye to many of our characters and, for the most part, I didn’t really care to see them go. Oddly enough, I was more upset about the death of a character from a previous season. The characters who met their end from Hotel all got what they deserved so it was hard for me to feel any remorse for their deaths. Ultimately, I was more upset about Iris, Ms. Evers and Queenie than I was about Donovan and the Countess.

With only one episode left, there are still a lot of loose ends that need to be wrapped up. For one, I would like to know why the people who die on the property come back as ghosts. This was never explained and I am hoping the finale will give us a bit more info regarding this. Secondly, I was really hoping to see more of the Addiction Demon but this entire story has been a huge letdown up to this point. There has been no explanation and I’m failing to see the point of even introducing this demon considering how little its been used throughout the season.

Still, this episode was everything I have come to expect from this series and was, in my opinion, one of the best episodes of the season. The connections were many and have my head spinning because I can’t help but think there is much much more going on with respect to every character in the series. So let’s turn on some grunge music, grab a needle and thread and sew ourselves to the couch. Enjoy the review, fellow guests.

The Human Sallypede

That opening scene was bittersweet. On the one hand, I loved that they showed Iris and Liz preparing for war, especially given the fact that Denis O’Hare’s facial expressions are beyond priceless. Yup, that bitch better STAY DOWN:

Stays Downnnn

Plus the inclusion of Human League’s Seconds was the perfect jam to shoot a bitch up:

Of course, Donovan had to fuck up everyone’s plans by protecting The Countess and taking multiple bullets for her. I honestly cannot understand why he would even consider doing this after The Countess screwed him over so many times. Like really, would you take bullets for an ex that fucked you over? I know I wouldn’t. So in the end, Donovan got what he deserved and I couldn’t care less about his death. And don’t even get me started on Ramona because she pretty much did the same thing but more on that a little later.

Iris and Liz end up changing the plan so they can get Donnie boy out of the hotel before he becomes a ghost for eternity and they were able to do just that.

That moment when you die for nothing

Sorry, you won’t be missed Donovan. Your stupidity was your downfall and you should have never taken a bullet for that blonde jerkface. Iris, however, was devastated by her son’s death and it was hard watching her deal with this, even if she was the one responsible. Also, did anyone think about Murder House with respect to this scene? This was similar but opposite to what happened to poor Adelaide when Constance attempted to drag her body back onto the property so she would remain a ghost.

Somehow the Countess was able to escape with her life after Sally the Ghost came to her rescue. At first, it didn’t make much sense why Sally would want to help but this was obviously in reference to John Lowe so it actually makes a lot of sense why Sally kept the Queen B alive. I think the sole reason Sally did this was because of Mr. March, the plan being to have John kill the Countess and finish the trophy collection so Sally could finally be with John for eternity. Obviously this did not go as planned for poor Sally.

One of the highlights of Battle Royale was Sally’s back story because, let’s be honest, no one could have predicted this. She was a superstar on the guitar, full of talent and ready to take her career to the next level. The only thing holding her back, however, was her little drug problem. I have to admit, I was not prepared for what happened. I half assumed that Sally would have been screwed over in some other way but it was ultimately the drugs and her crazy ideas that turned out being her downfall. Plus, we got to see Liz Taylor say the word ‘grunge’:

Grunggggge

Now I think it’s pretty obvious that The Human Centipede was inspiration for this scene because what followed next was absolutely shocking in every way. Sally, possibly because she was high as fuck, decides to sew her fellow band mates together so they could be super close. Yup, you read this correctly. Bat. Shit. Crazy. This also explains why she enjoys sewing people consumed by addiction into the hotel mattresses.

The Human Sallypede

Sally’s decision to do this is interesting in every way. She doesn’t know why she had this sudden urge to sew the three of them together but if we take a minute to think about this, it actually supports a theory that’s been going around. This particular theory revolves around the fact that every character played by the same actor or actress is connected in some way. If we go back to Freak Show, Sarah Paulson played the Tattler sisters who were literally attached to each other and Sally, for reasons she doesn’t even understand, decides she wants to be close to her band mates by literally sewing them together. I’m no expert but it appears that Sally’s character might actually have some strange connection to Bette and Dot which would absolutely explain why she came to this decision in the first place! I don’t know what this all means but it has to mean something, right?

Of course, this leads to an overdose for her besties and it’s obvious that they aren’t going to be leaving the Cortez alive, except Sally who is visited by the awesome Ms. Evers. Never forget this, folks:

Post mortem excrement is the biggest stain challenge of them all

Seriously, Ms. Evers has been the star of the season and she once again slayed it big time this episode. I mean, look at how happy she is:

Ms. Evers Head Nod

So Sally ends up spending five days sewed up to her now very dead friends and that is when the Addiction Demon showed up to torture her. Unfortunately that was the only explanation we got regarding this entity. I guess it just lives at the hotel and feeds off of any guest who has been consumed by addiction.

Sally really wants John dead so she can spend eternity with him and she needs The Countess to do it which explains why she kept him alive. Sally ends up providing some vamp kid blood for the Countess so she can live one more day. At this point in the episode, I was a little pissed off because I really wanted the Countess dead and, let’s be honest, she should have died at the hands of Liz and Iris.

Meanwhile, Liz has incinerated Donovan’s body and put the ashes in an empty can of Campfire Gold. In case anyone didn’t catch this, Campfire Gold is also the brand name of the coffee Elsa Mars was shooting a commercial for in the Freak Show finale. A very subtle connection but definitely worth noting. Also, this could potentially be a clue for next season’s setting and who wouldn’t want to go into the woods for an entire season of American Horror Story.

Iris ends up pouring her son’s ashes over one of the hotel beds and you just can’t help but feel bad for the woman. She’s obviously devastated over losing her son even if it was her own doing. Ms. Evers arrives to clean up the mess and she lets Iris know that she’ll “have him scooped up in a jiffy.” I love you, Hazel!

Kiss My Ash

And the scene where Iris goes to the roof covered in her sons ashes was emotional in every way. Luckily, she didn’t jump! So Liz and Iris decide they still have to get rid of the Countess and their plan involves releasing Ramona from the Iron Maiden. They were not, however, expecting to find a trail of dead vamp kids scattered throughout the hallways. Eventually they’re confronted by Ramona who’s really pissed off about being trapped but luckily for all of us, Liz is able to convince Ramona that they are on her side. And this is when everything goes completely bat shit crazy because Ramona needs to take a life to bring her back to life. Enter the Coven.

Come On Down

Iris and Liz head back to the lobby and what they find is easily the best connection American Horror Story has made so far:

Queenie is at the Cortez

That’s right, QUEENIE is checking in because she’s got an enchanted ticket to The Price Is Right. I pretty much lost my shit at this point, especially when Liz acknowledges the fact that she saw Queenie on CNN after Cordelia went public with her Coven. It’s also worth noting that Queenie says they are part of an “ancient bloodline”, just like The Countess and the rest of the wannabe vamps from this season. So there must be more to the story here, especially when it comes to this bloodline. If only American Horror Story would go way back in time to explain all of this.

The real fun begins when Queenie is taken to her room and this may have been one of the coolest scenes to date. Not only did Queenie return but we also got to see her use her powers again. The Human Voodoo Doll was clearly not going to let Ramona take her down without a fight. This was the most intense thing I’ve seen this entire season. I admit that I loved Queenie in Coven so when Ramona attacked her, I was rooting for Queenie all the way.

Stop Slapping Yourself

But then this happened and I was NOT expecting it:

Mr. March kills Queenie

Sorry Queenie…the price is wrong, bitch! This was a completely BALLSY move by the writers and, as much as I loved Queenie, this was actually awesome in every way. So far, the connections we have seen have been very subtle. This, however, was a game changer because the writers actually killed off a character from a completely different season. What I like about this particular sequence of events is that it makes you think about what happened to the Coven after they went public and also how they are going to react to Queenie’s death in the future. Is there some kind of connection between these two ancient blood lines? The possibilities are endless now, it’s just unfortunate that Queenie never got the chance to play the showcase showdown 🙁

Further, while the title Battle Royale may have led us to believe that this episode was going to be all about Ramona, I think it was more of a reference to the fact that a witch, a vampire and a ghost battled it out in a hotel room. I know Queenie’s death probably had a mixed reaction but I think it was a perfect and unique way to connect the seasons. Plus, seeing as she died in the hotel, we can only assume she’s wandering the hallways with all of the other ghosts.

So after Queenie dies and Ramona has her feast, Mr. March tells Ramona that he needs her to kill the Countess so he can spend eternity with her in the Hotel. I don’t quite understand how these “ghosts” are able to move around the Hotel after they die since this was never really explained but I have this strange feeling this is all about to come to a head in our finale next week. Can anyone say the word exorcism?

Banishment 

We catch back up with John who has returned home with a body so his wife and son can feed but no one’s home and a key to the Hotel Cortez is left hanging. I guess that means that’s where Alex went  but we’re not sure why at this point. John immediately heads back to the Cortez and finds Sally who explains that she would love to bludgeon him with a hammer but Mr. March wouldn’t let her since John hasn’t completed the trophy collection. He’s got one commandment left to go so John just needs to find a murderer and Sally’s reply was right on point:

"Well that shouldn't be too difficult."

Meanwhile, Ramona is ready to rise and take out the Countess and off we go for the big showdown. Sadly though, this didn’t live up to my expectations because, even with grizzly bears running through her veins, Ramona is still persuaded to let the Countess walk out of the hotel with her life. Angela Bassett and Lady Gaga completely crushed this scene and I loved the dialogue between these two. What I did not like, however, was how easy it was for the Countess to convince Ramona to spare her.

"Kill me...but screw me first."

Now we don’t actually find out what happened to Ramona after this scene but it appears that Ms. Royale let the Countess leave the hotel. Fortunately for us all, the Countess did not get very far. Who would have thought that John would have been the one to bring the bitch down:

John kills The Countess

YES! So glad she finally got what she deserved. As you all know, I was not a fan of the Countess mainly due to the fact that she hurt every single person that loved her and blamed everyone else for her own actions so watching her downfall put a smile on my face. So with the trophy collection finally complete, what is left for Mr. March and John?

You have earned a trophy

After Sally tries to murder John, Mr. March stops her because he still has plans for him but John is having none of this and leaves to go find his family. I’m not quite sure what Mr. March still has up his sleeve but it’s obvious that he wants to keep John around for some unknown reason. And it looks like we’re going to have to wait until the finale to get some answers because it’s time for Mr. March’s monthly dinner with his wife. The only difference this time is that they’re both ghosts now.

Ms. Evers prepares dinner for the two and you just know she’s super jealous about the whole situation when she serves them beef on toast. This final scene was a little upsetting for me because I love everything about Ms. Evers and she always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Mr. March. Ms. Evers loses her marbles and comes clean about the fact that she was the one who planted the handkerchief at the crime scene so her and Mr. March could die together so he would see the depth of her devotion. Ms. Evers is completely right too because the Countess resented every moment she was obligated to be in Mr. March’s presence. This confession, however, doesn’t sit well with Mr. March and he ends up banishing poor Hazel from his presence.

"You are banished from my presence."

Seriously though, the poor woman. She would have done anything for Mr. March, she was his devoted servant, and instead he ends up choosing the whore over the one who truly loved him. Ms. Evers feels strangely free after being banished. Her final words were extremely fitting: “There are more stains in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Is this the last we have seen of Ms. Evers? I’m not sure but if so, she will definitely be missed. This was easily Mare Winningham’s best character to date and she was one of the best characters of the season by far.

We end things with a toast from Mr. March who plans on spending the rest of eternity with his wife but I have a feeling things are not going to end so easily for these two and the rest of the ghosts wandering the hallways. With Billie Dean Howard making her way back for the finale, I can only imagine that there will be some plan to rid the Hotel Cortez of its demons, something that has never been done on this series to this point. I’m not sure if this is actually what is going to happen but there is no way this is going to end the same way as Murder House so I’m expecting our ghost friends to be in big trouble next week.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LIKES IT

Mikey Likes ItBattle Royale was so full of connections from previous seasons that it’s impossible for me not to like this. While I didn’t like the end result of the opening scene, I was thrilled to finally see the Countess get what she deserved. Honestly, I’m impressed with the fact that she was able to convince every single person she fucked over from killing her but, in the end, it was our 10 Commandments killer that put an end to her reign.

Bringing Queenie back only to have her killed off was also awesome in every way. I certainly did not expect her to die 10 minutes after returning but I really liked how the writers were able to show us the death of a character from a previous season. This opens up so many possibilities with respect to other characters we have come to love and hate and I can only hope we will be getting more crazy appearances like this in future seasons.

Lastly, I’m really starting to believe that each character played by the same actor/actress are connected to each other in some way. When Sally randomly decided to sew herself to her band mates, this instantly made me think of Bette and Dot. Why else would she want to do this? While I still have no idea how the Tattler sisters would have anything to do with Sally, there has to be some reason she went to extreme lengths to connect herself to her band mates.

So what did everyone think of Battle Royale? Did it make you want to pick up a needle and thread and sew yourself to your friends? Or would you rather be cleaning up human excrement? Also, does anyone have any theories of their own regarding these connections? Let us know in the comments and be sure to vote for your favorite Hotel character:

It all comes to an end next week with the finale, titled Be Our Guest. I have to admit I love the reference to Beauty and the Beast for the title but, based on the promo, I also get the feeling that Iris and Liz are going to be trying to exterminate the ghosts that haunt the hallways of the Hotel Cortez. It’s too bad the Ghostbusters aren’t around. Check out the promo below and thanks for reading, fellow guests.