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Flicker

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"Flicker" is the seventh episode of Hotel. It premiered November 18, 2015.

Synopsis

Will Drake's renovations uncover one of the Hotel's greatest secrets. John undergoes psychiatric evaluation. Elizabeth learns the fate of her first love.[1]

Plot

Renovation is well underway at the hotel, and Lachlan asks if they're going to be staying, as he has made some friends. Will responds (to his son's approval) that he intends to be with Elizabeth forever. The foreman interrupts the father / son moment with a query about the mysterious, inch-thick steel wall lining the hallway. Will tells them to tear it out, and once pierced two workmen enter. One man taunts the other, but both remark on the stench of death. Moments later, two decaying ghouls set upon them and rip out the intruders' throats with their bites.

John is undergoing evaluation at the West Los Angeles Health Center. Alex questions whether he wants to stay there, as there are more comfortable options. He is seeking help, as he thinks he's having a mental breakdown. His partner found him trying to investigate the Ten Commandments Killer despite having been fired. He recalls seeing this hospital's name in a case file.

Elizabeth and Iris remark on the unsealed corridor, and Iris notices how scared she sees the Countess.

Marcy is visiting and picks the wrong time to answer the door. Expecting it to be room service, she is unprepared when the two ghouls attack her.

In 1925 Hollywood, Rudolph Valentino and Elizabeth are secret lovers. He invites her for dinner and an affair at his home. The two share a Tango, interrupted by his wife Natacha. They explain that the divorce is "for show". They truly invited her because "gods have appetites".  Both spouses continue the Tango (and later a tryst) with the starlet.

March hosts Elizabeth and others at a grand opening celebration for the hotel, and Elizabeth is distraught to hear her lover has died. Moments from leaping from a window, March wrenches her back. She begs him to let her go, and he says he may never let her go.

A mysterious lady in black has been leaving a rose every day for the late superstar, according to three celebrity watchers, who see the veiled figure themselves. They leave Elizabeth to her sorrow, and she in turn is interrupted by Natacha, who reveals a very much alive Valentino. He explains that his stunt double George Fisk is the body in the crypt. They ask about her quick marriage to March.

Valentino relates a story about his stalker on the Son of the Sheik press tour, who turns out to be the Afflicted director of Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau. Murnau, offered the immortal gift to Valentino (on condition of public death), who in turn passed it on to Natacha. Valentino and Natacha turn Elizabeth while her disappointed husband March lingered not far away.

John wanders near the criminally insane ward, overhearing the security guard talking about a killer within. Later, he overpowers the guard and breaks into the restricted room 153, finding the young Wren inside. She tells him she helped the Ten Commandments Killer at the TV station / church. She slit the throat of the security guard while he stuffed coins into the televangelist's mouth. She also was present for many of the other killings, and John tells her that it was not her fault. He believes she is innocent, but she shows no remorse for them. He sees (metaphorically) Scarlett in her and says she is not responsible for his mistakes. John comes to realize that Wren is related to the killer, but she says it is not her father (whom she says died years before) . In 1986, her father abandoned her in front of Hotel Cortez to go drinking, and Elizabeth turned her.  She says if John finds a way to get her out, that she will take John to the killer.

Valentino and Natacha were the trapped ghouls, and they bicker while they recover (now having fresh blood, they are returning to normal). Natacha is angry with him, and while they fight a trio of Australian men rattle their door. They muse at the fresh kills to be.

March and Hazel prepare for Elizabeth, his dinner guest. They dine together once per month. She tells him that she plans to marry again, and he seems delighted. March suggests that she murder Drake off property so that they don't keep bumping into each other for eternity. She says she may have found love, and he is resolved that she fell in love with Valentino (but never March, despite their marriage). He reveals having trapped Valentino and Natacha inside the sealed hallway, and she is horrified.

Now youthful once more, the silent film stars breeze past Iris into the modern world. Elsewhere, Wren and John escape the hospital to the Cortez. Wren asks if he intends to kill the killer, and he says he will. She responds that she likes him and is sorry to see it end, and then runs into traffic. She is hit quickly by an oncoming truck. 

Notes

  • This makes Finn Wittrock the second actor to play two parts on "American Horror Story" within the same season. (After Sarah Paulson in season 4).
  • Alexandra Daddario's AHS debut.
  • The Countess (Lady Gaga) in one scene, portrays The Lady in Black, who comes to visit the grave of Rudolph Valentino (Finn Wittrock). This character was based on the story of a woman who would visit the grave of Valentino once a month to place a single red rose on his tomb. Her identity remains unknown to this day.
  • Error: Mr. March imprisons Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova in his hotel shortly after Valentino's supposed death in 1926. In reality, Rambova lived another forty years, and remarried in the 1930s.

Quotes

Music

  • La canzone dell’amore – Beniamino Gigli
  • Apasionado – Pepe Motta Quartet
  • Lullaby – The Cure
  • Isn’t It Romantic? – Chet Baker
  • Circles – The Soft Moon

Gallery

References

  1. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/listings.aspx?id=20151019fx03

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