'American Horror Story: Hotel' S5E7: Flicker

★ ★ ★ ★

"I’ve just never seen you scared before," Iris says to Elizabeth, perturbed by the Countess’ sudden show emotion. We feel the same way Iris, we feel the exact same way. It’s taken seven episodes for Elizabeth to demonstrate the array of emotions that Lady Gaga has been given to play around with in this episode — and it’s spectacular.

An homage to the silent film era and the ways of Old Hollywood, "Flicker" played around with both a foreboding love story, and Elizabeth’s origin story, and introduced two very daunting characters all in one fell swoop. Enter Will Drake (still the show’s weakest point), who’s in the midst of marrying Elizabeth (we and his son are all confused) and is continuing to refurbish the entire hotel when two construction workers happen upon Valentino and Natasha’s prison — and all hell breaks loose. Starved for near a century, the vampiric duo go on a feeding spree (poor Marcy) before strutting out to face a brave new world.

Elizabeth had absolutely no clue that her makers were trapped in the very hotel in which she decided to live out the rest of her immortal life, a fact revealed to her by Mr. March. And while Lady Gaga can’t exactly give life to Elizabeth’s death-defying character, the story most certainly can. While the entire vampire storyline hasn’t been the most interesting of the bunch, there are times, like in this episode, where it seems like it was fun to play with while being written — like how Nosferatu director F.W. Murnau was infected with the virus and used it to turn Valentino.

AHS S5

Valentino’s sire story took heavy inspiration from Nosferatu, an expressionist masterpiece, and rather than have all of the action take place on a boat (like in most Dracula adaptations) Hotel was smart to use the train — a very American symbol of industrial success — to turn an otherwise normal location into an easy hunting ground for Murnau as he stalked Valentino from San Francisco to New York. In the end, Valentino "died" to everyone’s dismay, only to return to Los Angeles with Natasha in search of Elizabeth.

By then, Elizabeth had married March after he saved her from killing herself. While Elizabeth claimed to have been overwhelmed by March’s darkness, flashbacks showed her to be far more interested in it all than she claimed to be. She wasn’t just a supportive wife, she wanted a piece of the action. Evan Peters continues to glisten and gleam as the sinister March, and even in the more humorous moments, always keeps a very dangerous tone. Natasha and Valentino may have been cats, but March is a lion when he makes himself known.

Lowe, on the other hand, is one dense, dense, dense f****r. Not only did he "pretend" to have a breakdown during his actual breakdown just to sneak into a psych facility for a lead, but he met one of Elizabeth’s wards and had the Cortez brought up again. If Lowe weren’t so preoccupied with catching the 10C Killer, perhaps he would notice he has an even bigger mystery literally staring him right in the face. And if Lowe happens to be the 10C Killer, then that would be a hilariously awful reveal. (He’s not my number one suspect though.)

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