The new season of American Horror Story continued tonight with episode two, “Chutes and Ladders.” After the season premiere dived right into the spooky, gory and intimate aspects of the show, this episode slowed things down a fair bit and allowed us to gain some insight into the various characters. Airing for well over an hour, this episode built a solid foundation for the upcoming season and as Iris puts it, “if you want to know what this place is about, you have to know about the man who built it.”
The episode starts off with Sally, played by Sarah Paulson, who is opening up a sewn up mattress (which was previously showcased). Hidden within it is Gabriel (Max Greenfield), who was seen getting raped in last week’s show by some sort of demon. She leans down and kisses him, advising him that he cannot cheat death and then sews him back up.
Shortly after, Sally hears a scream and follows it, which leads her to Iris (Kathy Bates) who is devouring a victim with two young children. It appears the victim is one of the women from the very beginning of the last episode (obviously the one who didn’t get her throat slit by The Countess, played by Gaga). After the victim is declared dead, she is rolled down the hallway and shoved down the hotel’s laundry chute, landing on a pile of other dead bodies.
The next scene shows Iris delivering a decanter of children’s blood to The Countess. Iris inquires where her son Donovan is, but The Countess simply shuts the door on her face and proceeds to share her “drink” with him. After The Countess decides she wants to go out and hunt for more victims, she is shown decked out in a glamorous red dress and sparkly silver gloves – definitely a Gaga moment.
Later, it is revealed that Detective Lowe’s (Wes Bentley) wife is a doctor and is seen treating a boy who has the measles. She shows concern when his mother claims his illness is “nothing serious.” Here, Lowe’s wife expresses the pain she is feeling due to her own son still being missing.
Meanwhile, Detective Lowe is staying at the hotel. He wakes up and notices something in his room that appears to be a camera. He suffers from a range of hallucinations (or at least they seem to be) including visioning the demon that raped Gabriel, and a dead couple having sex in his shower. After taking a sip of water to try and snap out of it, Lowe sees his son Holden running down the hallway. He chases him to the lobby but then loses him by the time he gets there.
Lowe winds up sitting at the hotel bar and starts conversing with Sally. The two get deep into conversation and Detective Lowe ends up telling her about the day he lost his son.
The next day, Detective Lowe is back at his office when he receives a suspicious package. Right away, he gets the whole building evacuated. However it turns out to be an awards statue. Nonetheless, he decides to get it tested for DNA.
The next scene introduces supermodel Naomi Campbell as a stylish employee from Vogue. She greets Will Drake (who is planning to purchase the hotel) and shows him the fashion show set-up that is underway at the hotel. During the runway show, we get another Gaga moment as she is seen in a floor-length white gown with an extravagant headpiece.
Meanwhile, Detective Lowe’s daughter Scarlett gets introduced to Drake’s son. They end up exploring the hotel together. Drake’s son shows Scarlett a room of glass cases with blonde children inside. He knocks on the glass claiming “nothing wakes them up,” however as he does Holden’s (Scarlett’s lost brother) eyes beam open.
Following the fashion show, model Duffy (Finn Wittrock) tries to track down The Countess. However, he runs into her partner Donovan as he breaks into their shared room. Donovan attempts to kill Duffy, as he didn’t like the connection he saw between him and The Countess during the show. Fortunately, Duffy is able to escape and breaks into another room in the hotel where he runs into Mr. March (Evan Peters), the original owner of the hotel.
Next, Scarlett is seen returning to the room of glass coffins, where her brother Holden was. Although the case is now empty, she winds up finding him in the games room. Right away, she notes that Holden has not aged at all since he disappeared. Then, she shows Holden a picture of her parents and explains how excited they will be that she found him. However, when she goes to take a picture of him he bites her. Unsurprisingly, this causes Scarlett to flee.
Afterwards, she is seen walking down a street at night filled with police. She walks into her home to find her parents frantic, as they have been searching for her for hours. Scarlett tells her father, Detective Lowe that she saw Holden at the hotel. However, he yells at her in disbelief.
Towards the end of the episode, we see Duffy and The Countess getting intimate, including an erotic love scene in the bathtub. At this point, it is clear that The Countess has converted Duffy, and he is now immortal. She advises him to stay out of the sunlight and never to fall in love.
At the end of the episode, Detective Lowe comes back to the hotel and arrests Iris. However, Iris convinces him to let her go, and she will tell him all he wants to know. Iris goes on to explain the origins of the hotel and how Mr. March designed it to be the perfect place for torture (including the chutes that were ideal for disposing bodies).
In a flashback, it is revealed that Mr. March’s wife turned him in for killing countless people in the hotel. Unfortunately, before the police arrived Mr. March shot her and then slashed his throat.
Afterwards, Iris tells Lowe that room 64, where he is staying, is where Mr. March’s office once was.
The episode concludes with Detective Lowe finding out that there were traces of blood on the award he was sent that match the blood found at the crime scenes he has been investigating. He ends up researching Mr. March and determines that someone is carrying out the Ten Commandments in their killing spree.
You can catch the next episode of American Horror Story on Wednesday, October 21 on FX.