‘American Horror Story’ 5.11 Recap: “Guns Blazing and Don’t Stop”

‘American Horror Story’ didn’t take much of a break over the holidays at all. The show only had two weeks off and is already back with a new episode. Then again, considering that the finale is coming right up, there’s no sense prolonging the inevitable. It’s just about time to wrap this thing up.

To remind us where we left off, the new episode opens with Liz and Iris loading a bunch of guns and discussing their plan to take out the Countess. Then we get a replay of them storming into the Countess’ suite and shooting the hell out of the place. I wondered if perhaps this would end as a joke with them missing every shot, but no, they hit the Countess a bunch of times. She uses Donovan as a human shield and slips away. Liz wants to chase after her and finish her off, but Iris is too upset about her son. With his fading breaths, Donovan begs her to get him out of the hotel before he dies so that he won’t be stuck there as a ghost forever. Iris and Liz haul him downstairs and out onto the street, where he thanks his mother and then croaks.

The Countess crawls to Sally for help. Amidst much screaming and blood, Sally pulls all the bullets out of her. She makes the Countess promise not to leave her.

In a flashback to 1993, we learn that Sally was the drug dealer for a pair of junkie musicians. She fell in love with the both of them, and they all went to the Cortez for a threesome. In some sort of weird S&M fetish fueled by drugs, Sally convinced them that it would be the ultimate expression of their love to stitch the flesh of their bodies together with her in the middle. A bad idea on its face gets even worse when both musicians OD and die, leaving her stuck between their corpses for several days. She’s discovered by a very unsympathetic Miss Evers, who leaves her there to be tortured by the freak who hides inside mattresses. (I don’t believe we ever got the full story on that guy.) Eventually, she manages to pull herself out, tearing all the stitches from her flesh.

When Sally finishes telling this story, the Countess responds that, “You have serious abandonment issues.” Ya think? Sally demands that the Countess must bring John back to the hotel and kill him there so that he’ll stay with her forever.

In order to recover, the Countess needs blood from another vampire. She asks Sally to fetch her Donovan, and is shocked to learn that he died. Sally instead brings her the vampire children. The Countess resists because taking their blood will kill them. Nonetheless, the kids volunteer to sacrifice themselves and Sally sets up the transfusion. The Countess regains her strength but is very sad.

Liz cremates Donovan in the hotel’s furnace. A grief-striken Iris pours his ashes all over a bed and rolls around in them, then leaves the room for Miss Evers to clean up.

Liz has a plan to finish off the Countess. He wants to let Ramona out. Iris worries that Ramona will want payback for her betrayal. They open up the sealed-off wing and find the corpses of all the vampire kids John and Alex locked in there. Ramona is mad, and hungry. Liz promises to find her a meal.

As Liz and Iris return to the hotel lobby, they find a new guest waiting to be checked in. It’s Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), one of the witches from Season 3. She says that she’s in town to be on ‘The Price Is Right’. Seeing her reminds me that I never finished watching that season.

Iris and Liz bring her up to a room and lock her in with Ramona, whose attacks backfire due to Queenie’s “human voodoo doll” powers. Every cut and slash Ramona makes on Queenie just show up on her own body. Just as it seems like Queenie has gotten the best of her, James March suddenly shows up and stabs her in the neck. Her power doesn’t work on him since he’s already dead. Queenie falls onto a bed gushing blood, and Ramona quickly leaps on her to feed. She and March then make their introductions, and Ramona announces that she plans to kill the Countess. March has no problem with that, but asks that she do it inside the hotel.

Outside the building, John has kidnapped a guy as dinner for his vampire wife and son. He returns home, but they’re missing. The only clue left behind is a hotel room key. John storms into the hotel with gun drawn and finds Sally waiting for him. She says that March kidnapped his family. (How does that work? He can’t leave the hotel.) John still owes him one last victim to complete his Ten Commandments set: “Thou Shalt Not Murder.”

Ramona confronts the Countess in her suite. With witch blood flowing through her veins, she feels powerful and invulnerable. Rather than fight, the Countess apologizes for everything she did to her, and offers her the hotel. She says she’s leaving and doesn’t want it anymore. Ramona thinks this is a trick. The Countess tells her to go ahead and “Kill me, but screw me first.” Then they have sex.

Afterwards, the Countess packs up her suitcases to leave. As the elevator doors open for her, John is standing inside with a pistol at the ready. He guns her down, this time fatally. Moments later, he places her head in a jar on March’s shrine. March is thrilled with the result. Sally then tries to kill John, but March stops her, saying that he has plans for him.

March and Miss Evers set up the dinner table and wait for the Countess to arrive. March says that she’ll be disoriented by her new state as a ghost, and they’ll have to help her through it. When the Countess does finally arrive, March is ecstatic. He tells her that he even forgives her for turning him into the police back in the day. The Countess responds that she never did that. Miss Evers breaks down and confesses, professing her love for March. She thought if they died together, he’d eventually understand the depth of her devotion to him. An enraged March banishes her from his presence.

The episode ends with March raising a toast to the Countess. Now they’ll have meals like this every night. The Countess looks dejected at that prospect.

Episode Verdict

Although I admittedly never finished the ‘Coven’ season of the show, that had more to do with things going on in my life at the time than any disinterest. This seems like a really poor, unfitting end for the Queenie character to bring her back just to kill her off. I’m disappointed by that.

I’m unsure how I feel about the Countess’ plot twist. Her death also seems like a cheap ploy for shock value, but it’s not like she’s actually been written out of the show. I’m sure we’ll see her again in the season finale.

With that storyline abruptly closed off, what’s left for the finale to do? Is there really anything significant left unresolved with John? I suppose the show, as it often does, may take a wild detour and pull something completely out of left field. I guess we’ll find out shortly.

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