American Horror Story: Hotel – I’ve checked in. Have you?

Before we start digging into the current season, let’s get the definitive order of seasons straight. Season 1, “Murder House,” is the best season of American Horror Story (AHS) thus far. Then it’s season 2, “Asylum,” regardless of all the arbitrary and extra plot lines. Then Season 3, “Coven,” because it was so campy. And to be honest, I sometimes forget that Season 4, “Freak Show,” even happened.

So if you are frustrated by my order, that’s okay, but now you know what frame of mind I’m in before we continue.

Season 5, “Hotel,” started gathering interest with hints about the theme, which were primarily generated by fan theories, and surprises that Ryan Murphy, the creative mind and director of “Scream Queens” and “Glee,” had in store for viewers.

And then, BAM, enter Lady Gaga.

Photo Courtesy of ET online
Photo Courtesy of ET online

I won’t lie to you, reader. I was skeptical about her acting in general and acting in one of my favorite shows, specifically. But after watching the first episode, I was drinking the Koolaid. “Checking In,” the first episode of Season 5, felt like a long Lady Gaga music video, and I was more than okay with that.

Right now, I’m not as invested in the plot as I am in the return of my favorite AHS actors. I love Kathy Bates’s character, but we’ve seen her play the overly doting mother before. We are familiar with the disintegration of a family that is primarily blamed on the father. We’ve seen angsty teenagers in Season 1, a trope that is now embodied in the male model character and addict played by Finn Witrock, whose performance in “Freak Show” was impressive and unsettling. However, Witrock’s character this season seems to have the simple purpose of adding angst to the show.

Sarah Paulson, playing an addict named Sally, has added so much depth already to a character that had plenty of opportunities to fall flat. Even though Evan Peters didn’t show up until the second episode, his debut was phenomenal; and with his ’20s inspired character and accent, there were some pretty high odds that he wouldn’t be able to deliver.

Many see a connection between the movie “Se7en“ and this season of AHS. The strongest claim for this is the title sequence of the show, which flashes the Ten Commandments in between images and clips of gore and horror. For the viewers who haven’t seen the movie, this connection may go unnoticed, but if anything, you now have a great rationale for watching “Se7en.”

I may not be overly impressed with the plot or sure of where this season will fit into my ranking, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t still watch every single episode with a level of fascination that I just don’t get with other shows.

WARNING: This season contains sexual assault that could be triggering.

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