American Horror Story Ep. 1: “Checking In”

American Horror Story Episode 1: “Checking In”

A recap and review of American Horror Story Episode 1: “Checking In”


(photo courtesy of

Sullywood Rating: 7/10

What We Learned:

  • The Hotel Cortez is one really screwed up place (this cannot be overstated enough)
  • It’s current owner is absent from daily responsibilities (lucky!)
  • Two foreign girls were the viewers’ guinea pigs into taking a deep dive in to Hotel Cortez.
  • Lady Gaga aka The Countess may or may not be a vampire, the word wasn’t used by Ryan Murphy but I mean really dude, semantics
  • The Countess’s boy toy Donovan (played by Matt Bomer) has a short temper and is very protective of his vampire, I mean blood lover
  • Iris (Kathy Bates) is the least welcoming hotel front desk person ever, but that’s because she only works at the hotel to stalk her own son Donovan
  • Iris and Sally aka Hypodermic Sally (quite the nickname, I wonder how she earned it…..ohhhhhh) don’t like each other due to a nice little flashback showing us Sally and Donovan having a stay at the Hotel Cortez and dabbling in a little bit of drugs
  • Sally (Sarah Paulson) may or may not be a ghost.  This is because Iris wasn’t too keen on Sally corrupting her baby boy, so she killed her (possibly a little rash)
  • Sarah Paulson has no problem playing her first villain in the AHS series.  She was phenomenal as always, her hair on the other hand was less than phenomenal
  • Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley), who was called in to investigate some happenings at the Hotel, lost his son years ago while riding on a carousel a la Face/Off
  • The Lowe’s son, Holden, is currently at the Hotel Cortez’s bad ass secret candy/video game room, he hasn’t aged one bit and seems happy playing video games and eating candy all day long (poor kid)
  • Lowe’s wife Alex (Chloe Sevigny) can’t look at him because he reminds her too much of their son, so she chooses to be a total asshole towards him (that seems fair)
  • The rooms in Hotel Cortez seem to have just as many secrets as the tenants who occupy it. Room 33 has some thing in it that requires feeding by Iris and Room 64 seems to change by the second
  • Denis O’Hare, who plays Liz Taylor (the bell boy????), will never play a normal character in his life again I’m convinced
  • Never go on a double date with The Countess and Donovan, bloody terrible idea
  • Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) purchases the Hotel Cortez, which if you are The Countess you are intrigued and if you are Donovan you are outraged
  • Gabriel (Max Greenfield) uses the hotel as his personal recreational drug Chucky Cheese and finishes the evening bottoms up
  • We have still yet to meet the characters of Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Finn Wittrock.

My Thoughts:

Welcome to another season of craziest show on TV, American Horror Story!!! This show is nuts, point blank, with “Checking In” being no exception. But that’s not a bad thing.  After a very disappointing, and yes it was, season with Freak Show, it can’t be understated how important this season is to AHS.  A majority of the fan base loathed Coven and most people found Freak Show boring with no plot.  So Hotel better be good or else the days of AHS might be numbered 🙁

From what I saw so far in “Checking In”we have ourselves the crazy element of AHS, we have beautiful sets, we have ourselves some interesting characters, and we might just have a plot to go along with all of those things.  My biggest gripe with Freak Show was that there was no plot.  Besides everyone dying, which yes is a large difference from everyone being alive in the beginning, the show practically made no headway at all.  I think the Wes Bentley character is a step in the right direction, his character is the warden so that the inmates don’t run the asylum so to speak, like in Freak Show.  Now, he does have some emotional baggage, which hopefully he can overcome.  But either way, its already nice to have a normal person thrown in with the crazies of AHS.

I thought Lady Gaga did a good job figuring she doesn’t have any real acting experience.  Enough dialog to make it good, but not enough to ruin some scenes if she is a sub-par actor.  The veterans were great as always.  Paulson and Bates sharing scenes will be fantastic figuring they hardly got to do so in Coven and in Freak Show.

The sets are visually stunning.  Would love to visit the Hotel Cortez set, I bet its amazing.

“Checking In” definitely emphasized meeting the all of the new characters and some of their back stories.  I think the show will really pick up next episode.