American Horror Story: Hotel “Chutes and Ladders” Review

Created by Ryan Murphy | Starring Lady Gaga, Cathy Bates, and Evan Peters

American Horror Story created an episode exponentially better than its first.

     By Austin Keller

Warning: This review will contains major spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2.

     American Horror Story: Hotel’s second episode was going to be a deal-breaker for many viewers. The premiere last week was twisted, dark and shocking per normal. However, it did not seem to provide much purpose, nor did it provide enough key questions to lure fans back for a second week. Hotel’s pilot seemed to be a 90 minute shock-fest on TV. So coming into tonight’s episode, “Chutes and Ladders”, I was worried it would be another shock-fest with no purpose. However, American Horror Story proved me wrong and exponentially improved on the first episode, paving the way to a hooking season.

     This episode was an episode of learning. The Countess (played by Lady Gaga) is a hemophiliac, which is essentially a vampire. The virus makes blood pivotal to survive, and it prevents aging. Unlike ghosts from season one’s Murder House, however, you can be killed if you’re reckless. Along with the “rules” of vampirism, the mystery of Holden (Detective Lowe’s kidnapped son) is furthered when Lowe’s daughter Scarlett finds him in the hotel, and notices he hasn’t aged a day. Holden remembers his sister and parents, but refuses to leave Hotel Cortez, and even attempts to suck Scarlett’s blood.

     American Horror Story left more questions than episode one did. What is so significant about 2:25am that makes the alarms go off? Who turned The Countess into a vampire? Why does The Countess seem to seduce anyone she pleases? How is March (played by Evan Peters) along with the maid still alive? Is The Countess his old wife? How many hotel residents are vampires?

     Because of the answers and new mysteries, American Horror Story created an episode exponentially better than its first. There was still morbidity and shocking moments, especially in Mr. March’s back story – killing multiple, claiming he will “kill God”. However, this seemed to have a purpose. Mr. March’s back story connects with the serial killer in 2015. Detective Lowe believes this serial killer is picking up where Mr. March left off (Prediction: Mr. March is this serial killer too).

     Overall the episode was dark and morbid, per usual. It gave us more character development, and storylines are slowly beginning to mold together. The episode again provided genuine scares, jaw-dropping scenes and spectacle that hasn’t been seen on American Horror Story in a few seasons. Using kids as tropes for horror is new territory for the show, and I’m excited to see how it continues. If this pace continues, this could very well be the best season of American Horror Story yet.

Rating: 4.5/5


  • The episode gave us deeper roots with characters, and focused more on plotlines.

  • Plots centered on children is a new, yet welcomed change.

  • The show answered questions, while laying out new questions to answer in future episodes.


  • The focus did seem to shift to Gaga more, with some unneeded scenes.

  • No update on Gabriel (played by Max Greenfield)

  • 10 commandments killer is a concept seen multiple times before.