I have been watching American Horror Story since it debuted on FX with Murder House back in 2011. The show follows a somewhat unorthodox method of casting, as it casts basically the same actors each season but in different roles. This has led to some confusion as to how each season ties together. So far, we have seen blatant connections from Freak Show to Asylum and so far with Hotel we see connections to Murder House. And trust me, there are a lot of connections.
Hotel is actually starting to look pretty familiar. My main complaint about AHS as a whole is how predictable the seasons have been up to this point and Hotel is no exception. It's potentially the most predictable and obvious season yet. Upon watching the past five episodes, there have been some noticeable and fun connections to Murder House that were intended to be obvious. However, there have been more connections that I'm not sure everyone else is noticing at this point and it all begins with our characters.
With the help of my friend Claire, this article will not only point out the not so obvious similarities between Hotel and Murder House, but will also make our case to prove it's basically the exact same season. We are just in an old hotel and not the infamous Los Angeles murder house. The characters in Hotel are familiar for a reason and this might not be apparent to just the two of us. It's worth mentioning ratings for this season have plummeted to the lowest numbers the show has ever seen in its five year history. Maybe the fans are telling you something, Ryan Murphy.
And in case you still needed warning, this article contains spoilers for both American Horror Story: Hotel and American Horror Story: Murder House.
Let's start with the characters
So far it seems that Hotel has, and will have, a lot more characters than Murder House ever did. When you look at the character arcs we have seen up to this point they might seem somewhat similar to the naked eye, but it goes deeper than you may think. The image above shows a basic comparison that isn't so far fetched and we will continue with more in depth character analysis to prove the character arcs are similar (Well, similar or exactly the same).
1. The Lowe Family
For starters, let's look at Detective John Lowe and his family. They seem like a nice family on paper but they are suffering from the tragic loss of their son, Holden. John's wife Alex and his daughter Scarlett are both equally suffering and recently Alex made the decision she wanted a divorce. Shortly after the divorce papers were filed, and John told her he wanted another baby, Alex decides to become a vampire child of the Countess to be with Holden forever.
Sound familiar? It should because we saw this arc in Murder House. Similar to the Lowe's, the Harmon family also was suffering from the loss of a child. Ben, Vivian, and Violet were suffering as a family after the loss prompted an affair with a younger woman. Ben's unfaithfulness resulted in a broken marriage and eventually moved them across the country to Los Angeles.
With these similarities it can only be assumed that we know what the outcome will be. Seeing how Alex and Holden are already technically dead, John and Scarlett will soon follow in their footsteps. Whether they are killed by other ghosts in the hotel, as was Ben in the murder house, or they willingly surrender to death, as Violet did, there is no doubt that the Lowe family will all soon be dead together.
2. James Patrick March
We haven't seen a whole lot from JPM so far, but we have seen enough to find the similarities between him and a fellow Los Angeles ghost. Remember in Murder House when the successful yet demented Dr. Charles Montgomery was killing people and mutilating his dead child? Yeah, we do too.
Both characters are psychotic, murderous, and had loyal servants to their cause. Whether that be their wives, nurses, or maids, the role they play in the setting is very similar. JPM has built the Hotel Cortez complete with nooks and crannies designed to hide bodies and allow him to carry out his blood thirst. Dr. Montgomery didn't necessarily build the murder house for the same reasons, but he did build the house and utilize the space to its full potential to carry out his demented procedures.
Seeing how the Montgomery's arc ended in season one, we can only assume that JPM's ghostly fate will be similar if not the same. Something will happen inside the hotel that requires his attention or help and he will be redeemed in some way.
3. The Countess (a.k.a. Elizabeth)
Remember when JPM's history was explained? He had a wife and she seemed pretty and very high class. Who else is pretty and high class and has been a staple in the Hotel Cortez for an unspecified amount of time? Yes, you're catching on. We are talking about The Countess. Remember who else was pretty and high class and was married to the creator of the terror? That would be Nora Montgomery back in season one.
So this is our theory: The Countess is the Hotel version of Mrs. Montgomery which would make her the widow of James Patrick March. To sweeten this theory is the idea as to why she has created a small army of vampire children. Also, there's the potential reason she and JPM are sympathetic to Mrs. Evers and her lost child. Perhaps Elizabeth and JPM were married, had and lost a child, and they both went their separate crazy ways after that event. She started creating everlasting vampire children to give them the life her child lost and JPM just went crazy and started killing people.
4. Donovan and Iris
Iris and Donovan are a tragedy, but it's difficult at this point with these two characters to relate to actual arcs that have happened. However, we can easily pinpoint which characters they they shadow from Murder House and which role they are playing in the overall storyline.
Iris is easily the Hotel version of Larry Harvey, seeing how she was introduced and that she quickly became loyal to Ramona after being turned into a vampire. Sound familiar? Yeah, it's like when Larry fell in love with Constance and quickly became devoted to her at the expense of his wife and two children. Iris very well might follow Ramona at the expense of Donovan, but her devotion to Donovan despite his overall ambivalence to her also shadows Larry's longing devotion to Constance.
Speaking of Donovan, so far it could be said that he is the Violet Harmon of this season but it's a bit too early to tell. He is either Violet completely or a mixture of both Violet and Tate Langdon.
5. Mrs. Hazel Evers
Without having to go into great detail on the particulars, it's obvious that Mrs. Evers is our devoted, red-haired maid. I simply can't put it any other way: she is this season's Moira O'Hara. She gets caught up in something she no doubt shouldn't have been involved with and the cost was her life. Hazel becomes a silent accomplice to JPM's murderous rampage while Moira is killed after having an affair with the home owner's husband.
6. Liz Taylor (a.k.a. Nick Pryor)
We just learned about Liz's origins this past week and learned she's not a ghost or a vampire. So she is one of the few humans we have left in the Hotel Cortez. Who else was one of the few humans left in Murder House? Our friendly, neighborhood psychic Billie Dean Howard.
Similar to Liz, Billie Dean could see what no one else could and could often communicate with spirits that not everyone was willing to see or talk to. So far it would appear that Liz plays a similar role in the hotel and will continue to play this role until all is completed.
7. Hypodermic Sally
Wherever there is trouble we seem to find Sally hanging around. Whether it's sewing drug users into the mattresses, helping people overdose on heroin, or sleeping with someone else's husband, Sally's character arc is beginning to take shape into an arc we have seen before. After all, Tate Langdon was another one who always seemed to find trouble in the murder house.
Granted if Sally is actually the Tate of this season we are no doubt in for a show and will see her character rise to more importance, but as for now she seems to be around the same spot Tate was in during season one. This past week we saw Sally have sex with John in the Cortez which shadows Tate having sex with Vivian in Murder House. The only question is if Sally winds up pregnant with a 'demon' half-spirit baby like Vivian did. We can't forget that John did want another baby.
8. Ramona Royale
There is no doubt in our minds that Ramona Royale is this season's Constance Langdon. We haven't seen much of Ramona, but her past with the Hotel Cortez and desire to reclaim what was once hers leads us to believe that she couldn't be any other character. Prepare yourselves for some craziness.
Okay, the characters are similar. What will this do to the story?
Oh, you mean besides the Hotel Cortez being full of nothing but ghosts like the murder house was? That is easily the most glaring comparison to make, but it goes far beyond just the dead living with the living in plain sight. As we mentioned in the character analyses, by knowing which character arcs our Hotel characters are following it's quite easy to assume where this season is going. You just have to know what you're looking for.
- The Hotel Cortez will continue to change hands with new owners. The fate of these new owners will depend on whether or not they get sucked into the spirits or not. No doubt our favorite realtor, Marcie, will return.
- John Lowe's fate will shadow Ben Harmon and after discovering his family's fate, he will either take his own life to remain in the hotel with them or he will be killed by the spirits. Either that or he will be revealed to be the Ten Commandments Killer.
- In addition to Alex turning whoever she wants, the new vampire child, Max, will continue to create vampire children. The new army will probably join the Countess in the war between her and Ramona, similar to how Hayden used the ghosts in the murder house.
- Like we said before, the Countess will be revealed to be tied to James March in some way. Our prediction is that she is his widow.
- Similar to Constance getting what she wanted by the end of Murder House, Ramona will no doubt defeat the Countess. She will more than likely takeover the hotel entirely including the remaining vampires and spirits. After all, she is more than likely the "dreadful" Governess that preceded Alex.
Big thanks again to my AHS buddy Claire for helping me sort out these theories and connections. Now it's just a waiting game to see how right or wrong we are.