“American Horror Story” typically follows a pattern: The first three or four episodes are really great, and then after that things start to get a little messy. There are too many characters, too many separate threads to follow, and unless you watch multiple times, there may be moments where you start to forget who certain people even are when they show up.
Wednesday night’s new episode seemed to hit the accelerator on the show making little to no sense. We’re two episodes in at this point, and it feels like the writers have went to a buffet and tried to stuff every single thing into their mouths at the same time. You’ve got the further blood-sucking adventures of The Countess, Iris and the children, Iris narrating the terrible story of Mr. March, the Ten Commandments Killer, the fashion show, more backstory into Finn Wittrock’s new character of Tristan, Sally doing some pretty disgusting stuff, and the show repeatedly hitting you over the head with its addiction theme.
What makes this all the more perplexing is that we do think that “American Horror Story: Hotel” is featuring quality performances, and the visual effects are second-to-none. The problem is excess. Like the Cortez itself, there are so many elements here that are virtually unneeded.
Let’s start with villains. We know you want Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters on the show, but do we really need Mr. March, Sally, Gaga, and others potentially all off doing potentially horrible things? Do we really need to spend as much time with the children as we do? Why not put more of the focus on John Lowe, given that his investigation is at least what we’re led to think is the main story? There’s not enough of a consistent driving narrative through the first two episodes, and while we didn’t mind the length last week, it felt like a whole lot of exposition this time and not nearly as much action.
It is too early to write off “Hotel” as a season, mostly because there are so many good people in it and we are drawn in to the story of John and Kathy Bates’ Iris in particular. They just need to remove a few names off the list soon, or focus more on scares rather than throwing a million things against the wall. After all, there are only so many times that we are going to be surprised to see Gaga drinking blood in bed, or an elongated story about something that happened years in the past. Grade: C.