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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 that he intends to be with Elizabeth forever, which earns his son's approval. The foreman interrupts the father/son moment to notify him about a mysterious, inch-thick steel wall lining the hallway. Will tells them to tear it out.  After an opening is cut with a torch, two workmen enter an identically-appointed hallway, but thick with dust. 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 relieved of duty. In his recollection, he glimpsed this hospital's name in a case file.

As Elizabeth and Iris view the opening to the unsealed corridor, Iris notices something never seen before: the Countess is scared.

Marcy, a guest at the hotel answers the door, expecting it to be room service.  She is overwhelmed when the two ghouls attack her.

In 1925 Hollywood, Italian expatriate silent film star 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, which morphs into a tryst with the starlet.

James March hosts Elizabeth and others at a grand opening celebration for the hotel.  Elizabeth is distraught to read in the newspaper that her lover has died.  She perches on a window sill, ready to jump when March drags her back inside. She begs him to let her go, and he says he may never let her go.

According to three celebrity watchers at Valentino's crypt, a mysterious lady in black has been leaving a rose every day for the late superstar.  When they see the veiled figure approaching, they leave to give her privacy. Soon, she is in turn 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. His movie was actually a documentary of sorts.  Warning of the imminent end of silent pictures, Murnau offered the immortal gift to Valentino: on condition of his publically-staged death.  Valentino 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 of the hospital, overhearing the security guard talking about a killer within. Later, he overpowers the guard, checks the sign-in log for his former partner's name and breaks into the restricted wing.  In room 153, he finds the young Wren, who says she's "tired of living like this." She tells him she helped the Ten Commandments Killer at the TV station / church. She slit the throat of the security guard while the killer stuffed coins into the televangelist's mouth. She also offers details proving that she was present for many of the other killings.  John tells her that it was not her fault. He believes she is innocent, but she shows no remorse for them. Metaphorically, he sees Scarlett in her and says she is not responsible for his mistakes. John comes to believe that Wren is related to the killer, but she says it is not her father, whom she says died years earlier. In 1986, her father abandoned her in a car in front of Hotel Cortez to go drinking.  Elizabeth freed and turned her.  She tells John that if he finds a way to get her out, that she will take John to the killer.

The freed ghouls Valentino and Natacha bicker while they recover, now having fresh blood, they are returning to "normal." Natacha is angry with him, blaming their long captivity to his need for Elizabeth.  Interrupting their fight, a trio of Australian men checks into the room across the hall.  The couple salivate over the imminent fresh kills.

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, running into the path of 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).
  • 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

  • Elizabeth
    I think the flickers are the future.. a true American art form.
    Valentino
    You are a true American art form.
  • Elizabeth
    How do you know I haven't found love? True love, maybe for the very first time.
    James March
    Surely not for the first time, Mrs. March.

Cast and characters

Major characters

Minor characters

Gallery

References

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