American Horror Story Hotel: ‘Chutes And Ladders’ Review

March Madness

“What a glorious stain.” -Ms. Evers

Another Wednesday, another night spent in the Hotel Cortez. American Horror Story Hotel took murder to a whole new level and we took a trip back in time to when the original creator, James Patrick March, built this death trap. Played by Evan Peters, it looks like Mr. March’s story is based off of a real life serial killer named H. H. Holmes, one of the first documented serial killers in America. He was known for building the World’s Fair Hotel in Chicago, dubbed ‘The Castle’ by locals, and it involved many strange constructions such as windowless rooms, doorways leading to brick walls and stairways leading to nowhere. Chutes and Ladders took us on a ride back to 1925 where we have the displeasure of meeting Mr. March and this was easily the greatest part of the episode.

We’re only two episodes in and so far Iris and Sally have stole the show (and big props to Ms. Evers too). Gaga’s Countess had some awesome moments in the premiere but it was more of a repeat performance the second time around and I have to admit, I’m already sick of these murder sex scenes so hopefully that will be the last we see of them for awhile.

Personally, I love how the hotel setting has worked out. We get to take a trip through time this season with flashbacks of our characters and how they ended up at the Hotel Cortez and I’m all for it. I can’t think of many other series which will give us throwbacks to a variety of different decades. On top of that, I love how the story is moving along with the quick pace it always does. Things are happening and that is good. Plus this season is super dark which we haven’t seen since the Asylum days. It kinda makes me want to go back to the Freak Show but I welcome the change with open arms.

So grab a ginger ale and relax because you’re about to spend another night in the hallways of the Hotel Cortez. Enjoy the review, fellow guests!

When John Met Sally

Our episode begins with Sally chatting with her new bestie Gabriel whom she has so eloquently sewed into a mattress. I guess it didn’t take us very long to find who was responsible for putting those bodies to sleep for eternity.

Dirty Mattress

Just a quick thought about this though…if you die in the Hotel Cortez, are you not supposed to come back as a ghost? It seems like most of the individuals who have been murdered recently don’t seem to be sticking around. I’m not really sure why this is or if this isn’t the last we have seen of Gabriel but if there are rules to coming back after death, they don’t appear to very clear just yet.

Sally hears the remaining Swede screaming through the ducts and goes to check what all the fuss is about. Two of the vamp kids, including Holden, are having blood for breakfast until one of them says it tastes gross. I guess blood is only good when it comes from the living in this hotel. They dispose of the body by throwing it down a laundry chute into a pit of death.

Ms. Evers was my favorite this episode. She wasn’t involved too much but when she’s dropping lines like, “it’s a horror, I’ll have to use ammonia to refresh these linens” she doesn’t need to be around as often.We also got some new information on this virus that has allowed The Countess and others to live forever. The solution: children’s blood. I guess they need youth to stay youthful and Iris has our vamp kids giving blood so she can deliver a fresh cup of red to the Countess.

The Countess attends some kind of art show and both her and this set were absolutely stunning. There was something beautiful about all those street lamps and Gaga’s dress was straight up pimpin’.

Life Imitates Art

We also caught up with the Lowe’s, starting with Alex who is making a visit to some chickie’s house to check on her kid who has a bad case of the measles. The mother doesn’t seem like it’s that serious but Alex completely rips on her for her negligence because measles can fuck your kid up. Even though she hasn’t been in it much, Chloe Sevigny owned this scene and I love that Alex is doing her job like a boss.

Back at the Hotel Cortez, John goes to the bar after chasing Holden through the hallways where he meets Hypodermic Sally for the first time. It was a great scene too because Sarah Paulson is slaying it as Sally. She tells John that the hotel is bat shit crazy and she’s not wrong. Also, I loved when she told Liz Taylor to bring John a ginger ale.

"Bring him a ginger ale, Cleopatra"

This entire conversation was extremely important. First, she starts talking about John’s sobriety which, for Sally, is not something she’s looking for. After all, she hangs out with the Addiction Demon and seems to enjoy murdering addicts. If John isn’t an addict, than he’s probably safe for now. She also mentions that the hour between 2 and 3 AM is always the worst and I can only assume this is some sort of clue because every time we see a clock, it’s always between those times.

Every scene where Sally is talking, I’m listening. She has a way with words and she’s a super interesting character. She used to get high all the time because it took her to a place like heaven but it looks like her addiction ended up destroying her soul. Also, she seems to get off on listening to others story’s about their problems with addiction. More backstory for Sally, please!

Sally offers John a drink in the hopes to encourage him to fall off the wagon, but he doesn’t fall for it. Instead, he tells her a story about what brought him to drink in the first place and if you didn’t assume it was going to be fucked up than I have no idea why you are watching this show. Apparently some guy ends up poisoning his entire family with carbon monoxide and shoots himself after but in a twist, it turns out that the guy was just trying to help out his family by bringing in a portable generator so his kids could stay warm. Jesus christ, show. That is fucking tragic and I’m going to need to take a drink after hearing that story.

Moved To Tears

There is something about Sally and her tears. She always seems to be crying after listening to stories involving addiction so there is definitely something that we don’t know about her yet but I am dying to find out and so should you.

John eventually goes to work where he’s informed that the victims of those grizzly murders from the premiere both had the same text messages on their phones asking each other to meet up at the Bel-Air. It looks like our killer is tech savvy. Take notes, people! Eventually a package is delivered to the police department from the Hotel Cortez and John is taking no chances as he instantly calls in the bomb squad only to find that it’s some sort of trophy with blood on it. Pretty crazy shit and hopefully we find out more about this in the future. Also, nice package John!

Fashion Statement

It’s fashion night at the Hotel Cortez and we catch up with Liz Taylor who is teaching the folks at vogue how to vogue. Also, ponchos are forever. We also meet Claudia Banks, played by Naomi Campbell, who works for Vogue magazine.

AHS Hotel: Claudia Banks

I see no way in the hell that she is not going to be murdered. She has plans to stay the week at the Hotel Cortez and this is obviously going to be a terrible idea. We also get our first look at Finn Wittrock as Tristan Duffy. He’s a drug addicted model who hates his line of work and, as we know, being addicted to anything in this hotel usually ends in death.

AHS Hotel: Tristan Duffy

Personally, this has to be the most boring story from the Hotel so far but I’m still going to give it a chance. Tristan heads to the runway and does things very eccentrically. He ends up making out with some girls in the audience which almost leads him to getting in a fight with one of the boyfriends. But before he can do something crazy with his broken wine glass, he sees The Countess which immediately catches his eye. And Tristan seems to have caught The Countess’ eye as well as she drops another awesome line.

"He's full of rage. I can smell copper."

After the show, Tristan ends up cutting his own face because he hates modelling. I’m already thinking that Tristan has no chance of surviving the hotel since he’s an addict and he didn’t help his situation when he storms into Donovan’s room to find drugs. They end up getting in a fight and who can really blame Donovan here. Tristan is one fucked up dude and deserves to get his ass kicked for his “I can do whatever I want” attitude.

But shit gets really bat shit crazy when Tristan gets stuck on the elevator where he is forced to escape to the 7th floor. That’s right, we finally get to meet Mr. March, played by Evan Peters, and his character was the epitome of fucked up beyond all recognition.

AHS Hotel: James March

Tristan is just there for the drugs but Mr. March lets him know there is something far better. And if you guessed murder, than you would be absolutely correct. Mr. March pulls out a gun and proceeds to call in Ms. Evers with a prostitute she found at the hotel bar. He wants Tristan to kill the woman but he thinks Mr. March is bat shit crazy and so do I. After refusing to participate in murder, Mr. March decides to have some fun of his own and shoots the girl in the head. What a glorious stain!

To Thine Own Self Be True

By the way, the above quote (To thine own self be true) is from Hamlet and I can only assume that Mr. March lives by this motto seeing as he loves to murder people in cold blood.

Holden On

John ends up bringing his daughter Scarlett to the fashion show since she has never been to one before. Probably a bad idea after what happened to Holden, Johnny boy. Will Drake, the new owner, invites them in and suggests that Scarlett can hang out with his son, Lachlan. Those two end up sneaking off so Lachlan can show her something “cool”. I don’t know if it was cool but it was definitely fucked up.

Nap Time

She obviously recognized her brother Holden who hasn’t aged a day since he was taken from the carousel five years ago. So Scarlett ends up sneaking out and heads back to the hotel so she can find her little bro. She first checks out the little coffins Lachlan had showed her earlier, but they’re empty so she does some snooping around and somehow finds the secret playroom where all the vamp kids hang out. She also finds her brother:

 What Took You So Long?

That is the creepiest fucking kid of all time. I mean, this show has already ruined clowns for me after watching Twisty and now I may never have children because of this. And yes, that room is full of candy but I’ll be damned if I am ever going in there to get some.

This storyline is obviously going to be a major part of the season and I’m glad the writers are moving it along with Scarlett already finding her brother. She says something to him that caught my ear, “I grew up, why haven’t you”, which leads me to believe that Holden has been infected with the virus. He also doesn’t want to go back home and who cam blame him? He’s living in a room filled with video games and candy! Fuck growing up, Holden’s got it right. Before Scarlett takes off though, she gets a picture with her brother who then proceeds to try and bite her right in the neck.

After Scarlett attempts to leave the hotel, she is stopped in the hallway by Sally  who proceeds to break all of her own teeth since she’s a ghost and all. She also scares the living shit out of Scarlett. And me. And you.

Kids Are The Best

And no Sally, when it comes to American Horror Story, kids are not the best. They are creepy as fuck and I am scared out of my mind. I’m still reeling over this entire scene because it was so fucked up but Sally is definitely awesomeness this season and it looks like Sarah Paulson is once again stealing the show. Give this one an Emmy immediately.

Scarlett finally returns home from her little adventure and the Lowe’s have already called in the police even though it’s only been five hours. That said, who can really blame them since they already lost their son. Scarlett ends up telling her parents about Holden and that he’s still alive. John gets in her face about it but as we all know, Holden is alive and well…and immortal apparently. And things get stranger when John finally looks at the photo.

Blurred image of Holden

Apparently this happens if you’re infected with the virus? I have no idea at this point but I reallllly want to find out how this virus works which is exactly what happens when we take a trip through time.

Trip Through Time

The backstory’s of our characters is what makes this series truly amazeballs and it’s what has me so fascinated about this vampire thing. As much as I hate stories about vampires, this is a bit different. We learn that the Countess has infected Tristan with the virus, which prevents aging and gives the holder immortality. This doesn’t, however, mean you can’t die because you still can definitely be killed. We also learn that drinking blood from the dead is to be avoided, as is the blood of an addict. We also find out that the sun should be avoided as well because it will sap your immortality.

A New Kind of Vampire

We learn more about The Countess too. She was born in 1904 but we don’t know who ended up turning her, at least not yet anyways. She lets us know that her favorite decade was the 1970s, where she was able to live like a disco queen. Unfortunately, this revealing conversation is interrupted by a jealous Donovan who is a bit upset over the fact that the Countess turned a stupid trashy model into one of them. Don’t be such a hypocrite Donovan, you were a pathetic addict dying on a filthy floor after all. The Countess ends up kicking Donovan out to make room for her new lover. I can safely say that I have no idea where they are going with this entire story now, but it should be good to see how Donovan reacts to this situation.

I’m not really sure why The Countess decided to kick out Donovan but I’d be super pissed about it if I were him because she didn’t really provide a reason for the split. And just like all ex’s, what a bitch! Of course, this was not the highlight of the episode and this show was saving the best for last. John Lowe is back at the hotel and he’s super pissed because he knows Holden is lurking around there somewhere. He attempts to arrest Iris but she’s more than happy to tell him what he wants to know so they head to the bar for a drink and a story.

And this story is fucked right up. We go back in time to 1925 where we find out that Mr. March moved west to build a monument to excess and opulence where he could satisfy his own peculiar appetite. That appetite being one of the murdering kind. The hotel was a perfectly designed torture chamber with secret chutes and rooms to hide and dispose of the bodies. It also had hallways with no rooms and the walls were lined with asbestos to mute the screams. This guy was one fucked up dude.

I hope you like small spaces

We also find out that he had a wife as well and it makes perfect sense if this turns out being The Countess. We caught a glimpse of a blonde woman who also enjoyed watching March torture his victims, and based on the fact that she was born in 1904, she would have been 21 at the time. I’ll be pretty shocked if his wife ends up being someone else.

It is revealed that Ms. Evers was around back in 1925 too and she could get a stain out of anything using a secret ingredient called love. Mr. March ends up murdering A LOT of people in his newly built hotel and it’s pretty clear that this character is based on H. H. Holmes, as I mentioned earlier. Things get even more complicated when we find out that Mr. March thinks religion is the worst thing in the world. For fuck sakes, I am never staying at a hotel again.

Eventually, Mr. March gets careless with his murders. The police find a pile of bodies with a pile of bibles around them and the police end up finding a piece of evidence that points to March for the murders.

Say Your Prayers

The police arrive at the hotel but Mr. March had a plan all along if this happened. That plan obviously involved suicide and March asks Ms. Evers which order they should die in. Part of her wants Mr. March to go first so she can launder the sheets but since they are out of time, she decides that it should be her and that she wants Mr. March to do the honors. She also died in hilarious fashion.

Ms. Evers takes a bullet

That’s the beauty of this show, there are always certain characters that stick out every season (Amazon Eve, Myrtle Snow and Pepper immediately come to mind) and so far, Ms. Evers has stood out in her supporting role. I think Mr. March somehow knew they would remain as ghosts in the hotel too.

Also of importance, March’s wife ends up inheriting his fortune and Iris seems to think it was her that ratted him out to the police. Once again, I think this probably points to The Countess. After hearing this insane story, John goes back to police headquarters where he informs us that someone has picked up where Mr. March left off by killing people who have broken the 10 commandments. Bat. Shit. Crazy.

Finally, we get our final scene of the episode with another awesome song selection, Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees, playing in the background. You can check out the track below:

I wasn’t really feeling this final scene though. My only real complaint about this episode was with respect to this final scene where The Countess and Tristan lure a random dude to the hotel and we’re forced to sit through another bloody sex scene. I think once was enough, show! We get it. The Countess and her fellow vamps need blood in order to stay young but we don’t need to sit through this every single episode. I will be perfectly fine if we never have to be exposed to another Gaga sex scene again. Besides, it’s not like they were ever going to be able to duplicate the scene from the premiere with Tear You Apart. May I suggest letting us spend more time with Mr. March and Ms. Evers? And where in the fuck is Angela Bassett?

Overall, our story is moving along at breakneck speed. The Lowe’s seem to know Holden is holed up in the hotel and we finally learned about the origins of the Hotel Cortez and its creator, James Patrick March. I can honestly say I have no idea where this story is going and that is definitely a good thing. But in the future…a little less on the vampire Gaga sex and a little more of the bat shit crazy.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LIKES IT (especially the clean linens)

Mikey Likes ItChutes and Ladders wasn’t nearly as good as the premiere episode but it still did a lot of things right. I absolutely loved the flashback to Mr. March and how the Hotel Cortez came to be. It might also help to explain why all of these dead people are roaming around the Hotel much like the first season. It’s no wonder we are bound to see some connections to Murder House since the same rules apply. You die in the hotel, you stay in the hotel. Pretty simple, right? I also wonder if this means our ‘ghosts’ will be able to leave on Halloween, much like they did in season one!

Speaking of Murder House, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see some old friends arrive at the hotel. The possibilities are endless since we continue to go back in time. Possible suspects include Madison Montgomery from Coven who might just be connected to the Montgomery’s from season one and is also from Hollywood. Myrtle Snow could make an appearance as you’ll remember she had an obsession with fashion and Frances Conroy has not been announced as part of the cast. And of course, everyone’s favorite next door neighbor Constance, whom I could definitely see showing up at some point which would obviously break the Internet.

I’ve also heard that the Halloween episode is going to feature some of America’s most notorious serial killers which I can assure you is going to be true. Lily Rabe is playing Aileen Wuornos and I definitely saw a glimpse of a clown at the hotel in one of the previews so it’s almost certain that the hotel will be featuring some kind of serial killer super party. The thought of Aileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy making an appearance is absolutely chilling and would be a twist for the ages.

So what did everyone think of Chutes and Ladders? Did Mr. March scare the shit out of you? Do you agree with Sally about kids being the best? And who is the Ten Commandents Killer? Let us know all of your thoughts and theories in the comments. And please vote below for your favorite character! Ma Petite won the award last year so I’m excited to see who ends up on top this season. So far, I’m going with Ms. Evers who absolutely crushed it in this episode. Time to do some laundry.

Lastly, next week’s episode is titled Mommy, and it looks like Angela Bassett is finalllly going to make her first appearance. SHITTTTT! Check out the promo below and thanks for readings, fellow guests.