American Horror Story: Hotel – Flicker Review

Old Hollywood is the focus of a rather lackluster American Horror Story chock full of references only your grandmother will get.

This American Horror Story: Hotel review contains spoilers.

American Horror Story: Season 5, Episode 6

A good indicator of whether a show is successfully keeping my attention is how quickly I put my phone down when it comes back from commercials. If I’m being completely honest, there were a few times that “Flicker” came back from commercials where I kept scrolling through Facebook for a few minutes before I put my phone away. I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything.

“Flicker” focuses mostly on the Countesses’ origins in 1920’s Hollywood. I’m always up for a period piece but honestly, who in 2015 is watching American Horror Story and knows who Rudolph Valentino is? The guy was dead before my grandmother was even born. And making F.W. Murnau a vampire is just an unimaginative riff on the far superior Shadow Of The Vampire, the film that posited that Max Schreck — the actor Murnau cast in Nosferatu — was a real life bloodsucker. Also, finding out that the Countess was married to James March felt very anticlimactic as far as reveals go. I saw it coming since “Chutes and Ladders “ and said as much in my review for that episode. At least the episode had James March in it. Evan Peters has been so underutilized this season it’s a crime. He is clearly having a blast playing March, hamming it up and chewing the scenery at every opportunity, and it’s just sad that those opportunities are few and far between.

A perfect example is when James gets a chance to get some delicious revenge on Rudolph Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova by giving the old “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” adage a gender swap and pulling a “Cask Of Amontillado” on them. Unfortunately even Peters’ presence isn’t enough to make the silent film era stuff very interesting. The vampire orgy followed by F.W. Murnau telling Valentino that films with sound would kill the gods was just…ugh. There is a fine line between homage and just ripping off all of your influences and the creators of American Horror Story walk that line often, occasionally losing their balance and falling head first into rip-off-ville. So much of the old Hollywood stuff in this episode just feels like it was done better elsewhere.

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The only other major plotline that gets touched upon this week, albeit briefly, is John Lowe’s. Poor John, when this guy finally goes off the deep end it’s going to be because everyone treats him like shit. His co-workers, his wife, pretty much everyone he comes in contact with. John finds someone that can possibly lead him to the Ten Commandments killer and the fact that she doesn’t just say “But he’s you!” makes me think even more that he’s not the killer.

I really hope that the next episode focuses on something more interesting, like what’s going on with the vampire school or Donovan and Ramona’s quest to bring down the countess. And for the love of god, why was Liz Taylor not in this episode? She better have lots of screen time in the next episode. This was easily my least favorite episode so far this season.

Random Thoughts About Tonight’s Episode

  • Flickers — so that’s where the term flick came from. The more you know.

  • Lady Gaga has four eyebrows at one point in this episode. You can see her blonde eyebrows and then two black eyebrows drawn in over them. Was this the fashion in the 1920’s?

  • Speaking of eyebrows, Lady Gaga looks like a Vulcan with the way her’s are arched in this episode.

  • Best lines of the episode: “I thought you liked men?” “Adults are complicated”

  • Looks at dead man in the tub “Who is he?” “He’s just a hobo.” Evan Peters’ line deliveries as James March are just a treat.
  • The next episode airs two weeks from now on Dec. 2 so there won’t be a review next week. Have a happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you the week after!


2 out of 5