TV Show Review

TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Season 5, Episode 11: Battle Royale [FX]

Denis O'Hare Kathy Bates American Horror Story Battle Royale

FX‘s American Horror Story Battle Royale TV Show Review. American Horror Story: Season 5, Episode 11: Battle Royale left The Countess (Lady Gaga) in her own kind of hell. Although promos for Battle Royale hinted at Ramona Royale’s (Angela Bassett) epic revenge, the episode was sadly disappointing on that count. It was the supernatural catfight between Ramona and Queenie, our favorite human voodoo doll, played by special guest star Gabourey Sidibe, that ruled the night.

Picking up where She Gets Revenge left off, we found out that Iris (Kathy Bates) and Liz (Denis O’Hare) hit and missed their mark. They riddled The Countess, the penthouse and Donovan (Matt Bomer) with bullets.  Donovan was not supposed to be there, of course. He covered The Countess from most of the gunfire in his final act of true love. Obviously, Iris was devastated that they actually shot her son to death whereas Liz remained mostly concerned with finishing off The Countess who slipped away. Remembering the curse of the hotel, they carried Donovan outside the hotel where he died in the street in his mother’s arms. It was touching, but also a guarantee that we will not encounter Donovan’s ghost, which would have been of some comfort to The Countess.

Poor Countess (I mean that a bit sarcastically), her kingdom became her prison. Everyone in the hotel was plotting her demise. Everyone except Sally (Sarah Paulson) who actually nursed her back to health. In an intimate moment with The Countess in the basement dumping ground, Sally finally explained her own story before being trapped at the hotel. That she was an addict we knew, but she was also a musician, and artist. Her need for keeping people around was not just to save her own skin from the faceless man, but due to her fear of abandonment. Sally actually sewed people to her own skin just to keep them. She thought saving The Countess would help her capture John (Wes Bentley). Obviously, Sally did not trust Mr. March (Evan Peters) to keep his promise to let her kill John once March was done with him. I did feel a little sorry for The Countess because she had to feed off her precious children to stay alive. It is like her entire world was crumbling, and being cannibalized.

Iris and Liz released Ramona hoping that she would unleash her rage on The Countess and end her. They tried to feed Queenie to Ramona which backfired (literally). That fight was ridiculously cool and the highlight of the episode for me. Of course, every time Ramona struck Queenie she only hurt herself. I was cheering Queenie on the whole time, hoping she would get out of there alive. Alas, March showed up and wrecked everything crippling Queenie for Ramona’s sake. The mythology was beautifully at work though. Since March was a ghost, he could strike Queenie and not be harmed because he was not a corporeal body (well done writing room!). March had thrown in his lot with Ramona.

Yes, everyone was rooting for Ramona…and Ramona dropped the ball!!! Twenty-odd years waiting for revenge and she lets The Countess talk her down. I never felt Ramona’s hatred was strong enough and it indeed fizzled out easily. Instead, Ramona made a property deal: The Countess’s life for the hotel. To be fair, Ramona did always say she cared more about taking everything The Countess loved, but that whole sequence…what a let down!

Ah well, The Countess still got hers. Using John’s family as leverage, March convinced John to acquire his tenth trophy in order to finish his Commandments murder collection. In another brilliant twist, John takes out The Countess in spectacular fashion and mounts her head – thou shall not murder. Because she was killed on the premises, The Countess’ ghost is bound to Hotel Cortez and March got his revenge and his love, or so he thought.

This whole time March believed The Countess was responsible for his death, but it was Miss Evers (Mare Winningham) who called the cops that fateful day in the 20’s. Winningham‘s performance in the moment of revelation was captivating. She played pathetic and wounded beautifully. I almost (almost) felt sorry for Miss Evers, because she fancied herself “Bonnie” to March’s “Clyde”, but she also delighted in the filth of death and murder and creeped me out to no end. So, her broken heart was only slightly moving. The story she told about the loss of her son was more moving.

The Countess’ pain was clear as she was trapped in hotel hell for eternity with a man and people she despised. All in all, Battle Royale was an episode filled with disappointments for the characters and a little disappointing for me. The true victor, or hero, was actually John – the Ten Commandments Killer (what?!). What do you think?

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About the author


I am ...a lover of all things film ...a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law ...a D.C. native, who frequents local and international film festivals ...a self-professed couch potato who can usually be caught watching anything produced by Joss and Jed Whedon. My favorite TV shows include the Buffy & Angel Series, Sons of Anarchy, Oz, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Shield. Still, I am open to everything on TV and Netflix, which is doing big things.

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