After its short Thanksgiving hiatus, American Horror Story: Hotel returned with its weekly dose of scares and seduction. This week’s episode fittingly titled “Ten Commandments Killer” dove into the murders that have been intertwined throughout the season. From the beginning, Detective Lowe has been trying to determine who is behind the string of murders that have plagued the city; all of which had something to do with one of the commandments. For example, a pair of twins got dismembered for killing their parents in order to inherit their fortune. Evidently, the twins broke the “honor thy father and thy mother” commandment.
The episode begins where the last left off, as John Lowe tries to wrap his head around all that is happening. Wren, his one connection to the killer, jumped in front of a car and died and, therefore, he is once again left with no leads.
Afterward, John heads back to Hotel Cortez where he rages at Liz Taylor in frustration. Unfortunately, Liz is still mourning the loss of his love, Tristan Duffy, who The Countess killed suddenly in the last episode. However, Hypodermic Sally (played by Sarah Paulson, 40, who is rumored to be dating actress Holland Taylor, 72) comes to John’s aid and tries to help him figure things out.
Ultimately, Sally tells John that she will show him where the murderer keeps his “trophies” (aka dismembered parts of each of his victims). In a dark room, Sally shows him numerous body parts from the different crimes that John has been investigating, such as the hands of a thief, the eyes, and tongue of a cheater, amongst numerous others. Immediately, John gets confused as he tells Sally that he remembers bringing some of these artifacts to the police lab and, therefore, it is impossible for them to be here in the hotel. However, not long after reality finally sets in and John realizes that he is, in fact, the killer he has been searching for this whole time.
In the beginning of the season I wouldn’t have been able to predict this turn of events. However, the past few episodes (especially the last one) pretty much gave it away.
John runs off to see his former boss, Detective Hahn. He confesses to Hahn that he was behind the Ten Commandment killings, but Hahn does not believe him. Hahn tells him the first murder happened years ago, way before John was ever involved in the whole mess. John then begins to recount that he was, in fact, present for all of the gruesome crimes.
In a flashback, John explains that he went to the hotel to get a drink after a hard night on the job (where he found an entire family dead). While at the hotel, sinister Mr. March becomes intrigued with his hotel guest, as he claims he can see people’s auras and John’s is “jet black.” As the night goes on, John gets more and more intoxicated and begins venting to Mr. March. John admits that he often finds himself holding in violence, due to the injustices he has seen in the world. This triggers Mr. March to take him under his wing (although John is unknowing of this).
Detective John Lowe ends up spending the next two days at the hotel, as he becomes Mr. March’s murder mentee. However, March realizes that he needs something to push John over the edge if he truly wants him to embody the habits of a brutal serial killer. Therefore, March enlists The Countess to kidnap his son, Holden, which The Countess gladly does.
As he continues to remember his involvement in the murders, John tells Detective Hahn that when he lost his son he lost everything that ever mattered to him. While Hahn thought that John powered through the loss of his son, John explains that he only ever found peace when he would slip away to the Hotel.
One night when John was talking to Mr. March about the loss of his son, March begins discussing a hotel guest who is a pedophile. Vulnerable, John decides he wants to avenge his son’s disappearance, and the guest is the perfect outlet to do so.
The pedophile guest turns out to be Gold Derby blogger, who we saw at the beginning of the season, beaten to death (now we know it was John who did it). Shortly after his first murder, John is overwhelmed with shame and tries to hang himself, but his attempt is unsuccessful because March ends up cutting him down.
Hahn interrupts John’s story and tells him that he is just confused, as he is describing interacting with people that have been dead for years (i.e. Mr. March and Sally).
Meanwhile, John remembers Sally telling him that Hotel Cortez is a “jealous mistress,” therefore he will never be able to remember those he interacts with and what he does when he leaves the Hotel walls. He then proceeds to recall that he was suspicious that his wife and Detective Hahn were having an affair. John tells Sally he wants to murder them both, but Sally advises him to kill people he has no connection to. Thus, John decides to take out his anger on two hotel guests who meet up every week to have an affair (the victims of the Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery murder from the first episode).
Nonetheless, even after his long confession, Detective Hahn still isn’t convince that John had anything to do with the murders and believes he is just manifesting his story from the guilt he feels for not being able to find the true killer. Suddenly, John stabs Hahn in the gut as he states, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Evidently, referring to his suspicion that something romantic was going on between his wife and Hahn.
John returns to the hotel with a dismembered part of Hahn to add to his collection. He confronts Iris, and she then realizes he finally remembers all that he has done over the past five years. He now understands that he has been living as two different versions of himself and everyone at the Hotel was aware of it except him.
While we may know that John was behind the Ten Commandment murders, he still has two murders to complete. Now that he has embraced his dark self, we will have to see who his final two victims are that will round out his Ten Commandment killings (will it be one of his daughter? Will he try to kill his wife or Holden (who are both vampires at this point)?)
You can catch American Horror Story: Hotel next Wednesday, December 9 on FX.