TV Show Review

TV Review: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: Season 5, Episode 5: Room Service [FX]

Chloe Sevigny American Horror Story Room Service

FX‘s American Horror Story Room Service TV Show Review. American Horror Story: Season 5, Episode 5: Room Service was the Halloween episode that should have been… last week. It was brilliant. Alex (Chloë Sevigny) creates an epidemic while Iris (Kathy Bates) rediscovers her backbone. Room Service was part camp, part social commentary wrapped in a horror-flick cloak.

We saw Alex turned into a vampire in Devil’s Night, and she just went and did something really stupid.  She went to work in a hospital struggling to cope with her “change”, seeing people as snacks all the while trying to administer medical treatment to a dying child. Cut to Alex sloppily sucking down bags of donor blood bags in the hospital cold storage. Creepy and lovely at the same time. I thought perhaps we would just watch her struggle with her own issues for the hour, but no, instead, she compounds the world’s issues. Maybe it was her overwhelming compassion for a mother desperate to save her son. Maybe it was her blood-thirsty, temporarily addled brain. Whatever it was caused her to make the reckless decision to syphon her infected blood and inject it into her patient’s IV in an effort to save him from dying of measles. I say reckless, not valiant,  because she’s a doctor who introduced an unknown and untested foreign body into a human being without consent and unwittingly caused an epidemic of violence that will transform a whole society. Baby vamps ran amok in the local elementary school! They lied that the school was attacked by some “unknown man” and all went home to do more damage. This…cannot…be good. We learned in Mommy that The Countess (Lady Gaga) does not condone her progeny “making” other vamps. Perhaps this is an example of why she forbids such activity. I can only imagine the consequence that awaits Alex for this grave mistake.

Meanwhile, Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) lost his detective shield this episode. He is also slowly losing his mind. He slept with Sally (Sarah Paulson), and just the thought …ew!. John scrambled off the bed so fast when he saw Sally beside him, but you could not miss the many “passion marks” all over his skin. Sally says it will happen over and over? I hope not, but of course it will because once Sally has someone she does not let them go. I keep waiting for the moment when John disappoints Sally somehow and ends up in a mattress. What will John do now, especially when he sees his wife and child moseying around the hotel? Alex is in her personal heaven (immortal with her son) while John descends further into his personal hell (screwing a dead junkie). Alex and John have come to represent the two types of souls that Hotel Cortez attracts – lost souls looking for acceptance and lost souls looking for blood. Alex came to Hotel Cortez looking for a family, which seems to be the mission of The Countess (or you could say the The Countess wants slaves). John came to Hotel Cortez looking for revenge (or justice) against the man terrorizing him and the city, which is why March (Evan Peters) considered him a prime pupil. Which one of their paths is the true essence of what the hotel offers? Both March and The Countess are collectors, but whose mission reigns supreme?

Speaking of slaves and lost souls, Iris transforms from a blasé caterpillar to a murderous butterfly in Room Service. Thing is, Iris felt invisible, but all the evidence points to the contrary throughout the episode. First, upon sight, Ramona (Angela Bassett) knew she was turning. Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) knew she was turning the moment he saw Iris and whipped her up a bloody martini from The Countess’ blood stash. Even, The Countess and Tristan (Finn Wittrock) noticed she spelled different. (By the way, wardrobe creators for Gaga and Wittrock are having a blast. The costuming for their brief moment of screen time was a delicious ensemble of black tie avant-garde). Still, Ramona and Donovan thought Iris would be the perfect mole to help advance their schemes against The Countess because they think Iris is invisible. It is a shame when one’s own son thinks of you as invisible. Iris, is so not invisible. She is, however, in some serious trouble because The Countess is “restructuring” and it was not clear from this episode if The Countess plans on telling Iris that she has been replaced by Alex as governess. Maybe Iris will not mind being replaced. She never liked the job anyway. People are rude to her, like the hipster idiots that booked a room and order room service that Hotel Cortez does not provide. Iris took too much abuse over the years from her son, The Countess and probably other rude guests, and she was not taking it anymore. She went psycho on those hipsters. She bloodied herself and felt satisfied, “I never knew how to live until I died.”

Contrast that attitude with Liz Taylor’s truth that “you see everything when the world doesn’t see you.” We finally learned Liz’s story while he and Iris prepared room service. Liz’s story was heartwarming and on point in the post-Caitlyn-Jenner era. He was a businessman who felt out of place. He was a family man and a transvestite living in the 80’s era of AIDS-phobia when The Countess discovered him in Hotel Cortez, stopping in on a business trip. He and The Countess built the Liz Taylor identity together in a little room in a couple of hours. His bond with the Countess was beautiful and, actually fun in the midst of this horror story. She emboldened Liz, set him free without turning him. In keeping with the Halloween tradition of dressing up in something you would never dare to wear any other night, Liz got dolled up in silk and fur, jewels, heels and heavy makeup, and braved a walk down the hall to the ice machine only to be met with threats and heckling from his colleagues. That all ended when their throats were slit. Apparently, The Countess does not abide bullies. (I was on the fence about The Countess’ modified Michael Jackson gloves, but now I actually really like them, and the fact that she has an assortment to match every outfit. Nice!) Liz was endeared to The Countess and has been a resident of Hotel Cortez ever since. Yes, Room Service served up the blood-soaked Halloween heebie jeebies I expected last week with a helping of social rebellion.

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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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