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'American Horror Story: Hotel' recap: 'The Ten Commandments Killer'

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Prashant Gupta/FX

American Horror Story

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Cuba Gooding Jr.

In a nutshell, Detective John Lowe is the Ten Commandments Killer. The policeman has been chasing himself all season. Most of us guessed this before John did, but in fairness, John doesn’t seem to be a very good detective. He doesn’t notice when his wife becomes a vampire. He doesn’t notice that his mistress is a ghost. Is his daughter a werewolf? If so, John doesn’t notice.

After watching poor little Ren kill herself rather than reveal the identity of the TCK, John goes back to the Cortez looking for answers. Sally promises him answers. She takes him to TCK’s room. She shows him the TCK’s secret trophy case. “But, but, but, this is my room!” yells John, suddenly remembering all the times this season that someone strongly implied he was the TCK. “It’s you, John,” says Sally. It’s always been you.”

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John goes to the morgue, where his partner is monitoring Ren’s body. John spins a yarn. Seems that five years ago, after that whole tragic incident with the dead family, he found himself all alone on a weeknight in Los Angeles, trying to find a drink after midnight. He walked into the Cortez, had a couple of Liz Taylor’s martinis, and then followed Donovan upstairs to meet James Patrick March. (He disrupted March’s monthly get-together with Lady Gaga; Lady Gaga is on this show, remember?)

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March loves John immediately. He talks about auras — Kirlian stayed at the Cortez, turns out — and John has an aura that shows a need to dominate, to control the world around him. They drink absinthe and talk for two straight days. John doesn’t remember any of it; John will suffer constant immediate amnesia about anything that happens at the Cortez. It’s a split-personality. Or rather: “I began to live two different lives,”  he says, the fifth-best thing Wes Bentley says in this episode. One John is still the family man; one John belongs to the Cortez.

Turns out that March wants to groom John to take his place. He knows that John needed a little push. So he sends Gaga to steal John’s son. That pushes John over the brink. He’s very open to suggestion. So when James Patrick March suggests killing a pedophile, they cook up a scheme where it all lines up with the Ten Commandments thing — Oscar blogger, false idols, etc etc — and the man dies, killed painfully by John.

NEXT: Bentley goes bananas[pagebreak]

Things progress. John kills people, goes to the Cortez. He falls in with Sally. They have sex, and they watch televangelists on TV. One televangelist catches John’s eye. “Hypocrite. Spewing hate and calling it love,” he mutters, the fourth-best thing Wes Bentley says in tonight’s episode.

John’s split personality weighs on him. After his first kill, he tries to commit suicide. March stops him, and chastises Sally. In the process, he seems to reveal the answer to another one of Hotel‘s mysteries. “This demon that you and your kind have conjured with your diseased acts must feed,” he says. “If not on others, then on you, dear Sally.” So, check it: The Hotel Cortez has vampires, and it has ghosts, and those ghosts are so depraved that they have conjured up a sex demon, and John’s werewolf daughter is still hanging out with her grandma, and somewhere in Los Angeles there are vampire children spreading everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

John’s partner tries to calm him down. Tell him to chill out. He reminds John of that time he told John to calm down, chill out. John’s partner is worried about him. His wife is, too; they had coffee. “You had coffee with my wife,” he says, before repeating, “YOU HAD COFFEE WITH MY WIFE,” which is the third-best thing Wes Bentley says on tonight’s episode. Andy keeps trying to tell John all the ways he definitely didn’t kill a lot of people. “You are a lot of things, John, but you are no killer,” he says, right before John stabs him. “THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE, ANDY!” declares John, shockingly only the second-best thing Wes Bentley says on tonight’s episode.

See, John is happy now. He goes back to the Hotel Cortez. They don’t need to pretend anymore; not the receptionist, not the bartender, not the eternal guests. John understands everything. He is the Ten Commandments Killer. He puts a trophy up on his trophy case: “The instrument of adultery.” There are still two murders left. Who will John murder? How many commandments have been broken by everyone in the Cortez? “Everything’s chaos,” John says, the best thing Wes Bentley says in tonight’s episode and a good preview of coming events.