American Horror Story: Hotel, “The Ten Commandments Killer,” (5.8) - TV Review


AHS 10

December 2nd, 2015, 10PM, FX

After his unfortunate encounter with the young vampire Wren, John finally zeroes in on the Ten Commandments Killer thanks to Sally…and it turns out the guy was under his nose the whole time. I’m sure all of you can guess where the show was going with this just from watching the season as a whole, but let me sum it up. John’s been close to the killer BECAUSE IT WAS HIM AUSTIN. IT WAS HIM ALL ALONG. Or rather, he’s been used as an avatar for James March’s evil, murderous spirit now that March can’t walk the earth nor leave his beloved murder hotel without a human host. John tries to solve the problem by handing himself in to the authorities, but the real world’s pretty bad at believing this whole spirit avatar thing, so he has to take the more direct route and speak with James himself. Turns out that’s a bad idea, as James decides to convince him to finish off his legacy. Which is something afforded to him when his fellow detective reveals a simmering attraction to Alex.

We also get more backstory into why Sally delivers living victims to March to preserve her status and freedom at the hotel; it seems that she’s not allowed to kill any of the guys she claims if March has previous dibs on them – and March only really has previous dibs on them if they’re ten commandments killer potentials.

Brace yourselves, kids – this is a John-centric episode and it’s extremely plot twisty and requires a lot of concentration. Hope you ate your Wheaties before watching. It could be worse, we could be dealing with something entirely focused on Alex. If you don’t find the Sally/John tangle compelling and you think Evan Peters has come on a little strong with the John Waters wild eyes this season, this might not be the episode for you. If you’re like me and the only thing that holds your interest episode to episode is Peters’ ridiculous over-the-top acting, then you’ll take to this like a duck takes to water. Peters in fact saves the majority of this episode with his ridiculous Howard Hughes lite performance. We find that March, like Holmes and Caligula before him, enjoys killing people for petty social transgressions (and sometimes not-so-petty but really who’s counting with so many bodies?), and we find that March desperately wants Lowe to be his new apprentice and eh, what does he have to lose at this point. The getting there is super tedious, but at least we finally manage to discover the end of the rainbow. The episode may be predictable but at least it gets the job done.

The rest of it suffers rather a bit - In typical AHS fashion, the show blows its main plot thread up far too early, leaving it to flounder along in the final three episodes with the vampire/ghost conflict and Elizabeth being its main sources of tension. Well, as much tension as you can pull out of the flaccid vampire tale at this point.

  • Liz is still mourning the death of Tristan from the last episode, something the show actually handles with subtlety. Yes, I know.
  • Anyone willing to bet that Lowe kills himself to complete the set. We haven’t gotten to “Tho Shalt Not Kill” after all.
  • The events that play out in this episode were foreshadowed heavily throughout the season; see if you can pick out the pattern yourself!
  • The most interesting thing about Lowe’s Ten Commandment killings is that he’s doing it as a form of revenge against the unjust, unsolved death of his son – who’s not dead, and is in fact under the thrall of the countess. How…intriguing, in a word?< I hope it pays off./li>
  • Next Week: The Countess is reunited with Valentino, Donovan and Ramona try to gain their revenge on Elizabeth and Alex deals with the repercussions of a stupid choice in “She Wants Revenge.”

Foregone conclusions play out at a dizzying speed in this week’s episode. You will groan, but at least the gore’s good.

  • MEDIOCRE 5.5

About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.