It’s Halloween at the Hotel Cortez, and the “Mount Rushmore of murder” gathers for Mr. March’s annual soiree. The exclusive guest list has a new name this year: John Lowe, who soon rather regrets his decision to attend. Nearby, another major character makes her own regrettable choice.
“Devil’s Night” assumes that American Horror Story: Hotel viewers are also serial killer buffs, which isn’t too much of a long shot really. In the opening scene, Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. the Night Stalker, checks in for his third annual visit (“I died in 2013”) and immediately settles in by flashing his pentagram-decorated palm and committing one of his signature Satan-invoking murders.
We also meet a hair-flipping, twitchy Aileen Wuornos—who takes a “liking” to John—and catch a glimpse of the Zodiac Killer, whose true identity remains an eternal secret:
(Kudos for eerily recreating that famous handwriting, though.)
Once a tuxedo-wearing John rolls into the party, he meets the rest of the Dead Serial Killer’s Club: John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Charles Manson, who’s still alive (and not technically a serial killer, really), gets a shout-out, but the party is rounded out solely by the snappy Mr. March. Apparently, he’s the “master” of this group; each party guest stayed at the Cortez at some point in their lives and received specialized tutoring on the fine art of slaughter. Everyone except John, who recoils in horror when March says “I’ve invited you here to help you!” (WAIT IS JOHN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS KILLER? IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE THOUGH?)
The party skewers the idea of serial killers as celebrities, which is admittedly a thing that is totally bizarre. And it also offers the opportunity for Mr. March to ask aloud what viewers have been wondering for weeks now, which is when will John start to just accept that Strange Things happen at the hotel? He’s been seeing ghosts and vampire children and interacting with people like Hazel the maid, who somehow looks exactly as she did in 1925. But he’s still clinging to his ideas of what’s possible and what’s impossible, so much so that he lets Sally (who is a ghost) comfort him and tell him that the party—which turns into an inevitable bloodfest—was just a hallucination.
Back to Hazel for a moment. Intriguingly, we learn that like John, she also lost her son, and feels terrible guilt about it. But Hazel’s son was snatched by Gordon Northcutt, which means he was one of the victims in the infamous Wineville Chicken Coop Murders case. Northcutt doesn’t make the cut for Mr. March’s party, one imagines, because that would be awfully awkward for Hazel. Also, he’s a little more on the fringes; even John the LA cop hasn’t heard of the case until he looks it up on the internet—which is how he realizes that Hazel is over 100 years old. Or she would be, if she weren’t a ghost.
The other storyline in “Devil’s Night” follows Alex Lowe, who turns out to be way more accepting of the supernatural than her ex-husband. After an unsuccessful attempt to bring Holden home (he sucks all the blood out of the family dog and asks for his “other Mommy”), she storms back to the hotel and confronts the Countess.
Alex is a doctor, but she’s Holden’s mother first and foremost. So she not only accepts the Countess’ explanation that her beloved Holden has become infected with an incurable ancient virus that’ll let him live forever, she also agrees to become a vampire herself, if it means she’ll be reunited with her “great lost love.”
So John and Alex’s other child, Scarlett, is basically screwed at this point. Alex is gonna be a vampire (along with Iris, who has yet to resurface). And is John a serial killer or what? Get that guy a drink, Liz. He sure needs one.