Review: American Horror Story Hotel – The Ten Commandments Killer

Returning from a temporary hiatus (Thanksgiving break), AHS Hotel is back with some answers. The newest episode reveals the identity of the Ten Commandments killer. Since episode one we’ve been following the clues as to who it could be. The show itself hasn’t actually done a fantastic job at teasing this storyline. We’ve gotten glimpses to the cruelty of the killer and the toll it has had on John. This case has caused John so much pain that he’s had a breakdown as a result. So finding out the identity of the killer had to be big. However, this whole season’s been a bit of a snore so the twist was, unfortunately, unremarkable.

First, let’s have a little look back at what the Ten Commandments Killer has done for the show so far. It’s served as a main storyline in the pilot. From the beginning it has been used not only to ground John’s character and arc, but also given us a look at the horror that lies outside of the Cortez’s walls. It has been the driving force behind John’s downfall while also been the force that has given John purpose. Much in the same vein as Hannibal, this killer has left us with some elaborate and gruesome murder scenes. From the disemboweled brothers hanging at their beds with their entrails spilling out, to the gossip website’s entire office having their tongues literally nailed to their desks, to the fake pastor force-fed coins until he almost literally exploded, the killer had was not someone who had fear inside them. Their purpose was very clear: punishment, or rather justice.

The killer could have been anybody. Even if it was an entirely new character it would have had a significant impact, unlike some of the recent additions. But no, the killer, in a twist that really wasn’t a twist, is none other than our very own John Lowe himself. The whole episode was really an infodump where John tells his former partner how he came to be the killer. We flashback 5 years to his first encounter with Hotel Cortez, James March, The Countess and Sally. We see how despair lead John to be filled with rage and thirst for personal justice. He could’ve become a vigilante on his own but March made sure he become something less morally ambiguous.

Wes Bentley has had some fun with the character. He has at times overacted a scene, rivaling Evan Peters but not quite gotten to that level of cartoonish performance, but he has committed to the role. Finding out he was the killer just wasn’t as big a surprise as it should have been. Again, this could be due to the fact the show has reused standard plots from a huge range of film and TV.

The only other semi-important revelation in this episode is a hint at Sally’s role in the show. So far she’s been just a weird character with no discernible purpose. She doesn’t particularly get off on seeing other people get hurt but she makes it happen time and time again. The demon that follows her has been a mystery and this time we got hints that “[Sally] and her kind” has summoned this demon. If it doesn’t inflict pain on others then it’ll take it out on Sally. Hopefully now she’ll have a more relevant role rather than just being in the background acting all creepy.

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