American Horror Story: Hotel “Checking In” Photo Recap

“Why am I doing this” I ask myself as I edit the screencaps of American Horror Story: Hotel‘s first episode. But I could probably ask the same question to Ryan Murphy about certain scenes. (Hi, Ryan! WHY, Ryan?)

If we talk about the previous seasons, my personal relationship with AHS has been just me checking every season’s premiere to see if I’m interested in going any further. So far I’ve completed two seasons, one being the beloved first season “Murder House” and the other is “Coven.” (Which was fun for the most part.)

I admit that the season premiere “Checking In” had certain moments that made me ask myself if I wanted to keep watching but I survived AND spent two days working on this recap, so there must be hope. Also the talented and beautiful cast is definitely one of the factors that keep me interested in the show.

Matt Bomer & Kathy Bathes, this one’s for you.


The episode starts with someone gently knocking, knocking at our door.


Oh lookit.


Imagine seeing this outside your hotel room.


So we don’t know what this guy’s deal is but he was having a mental breakdown or something.

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A couple of Swedish ladies show up at the hotel. They talk about wanting to visit Universal Studios and maybe see Vin Diesel but the hotel isn’t really close to anywhere they want to go. So when they step inside and see that “It’s like a tomb” they decide not to stay.

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Yeah, receptionist ( Iris ) says they’ve already paid for one night so they might as well stay.

I also feel like she’s talking to us “Trust me, this place will grow on you.”

We’ll see, adorably creepy Receptionist Iris / Kathy Bates.

Later she looks into the camera with some sort of sadistic anticipation.

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Later one of the girls (Vendela) goes to get some ice and runs into a maid who’s super chill about washing blood and looks kind of ghostly.

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Then this brat comes up with his “Shining” routine.

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Because that’s not creepy at all…

I‘d be throwing holy water at that kid if he just stood and stared at me in the hallway of an old hotel.

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Someone reaches for her hair as she gets ice.

Whose hand is this? That glove rocks. (That’s a glove, right? You never know with monsters)

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She feels something’s off but then returns to the room to find her roomie complaining.

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Uh, hate it when that happens.

Agnetha suspects the smell’s coming from their bed.

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So Vendela decides to check with a knife and it turns out, their room came with a surprise guest. Yay?

I got the best caps during this scene:

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So beautiful.

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The opening credits aren’t nearly as disturbing as the previous seasons. Actually it’s kind of funny.

My favorite monster so far.

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Just something special about this one.

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Back with the girls who are alive and unhappy.

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Iris tells them they’ll get arrested for evasion if they leave so they agree to stay in another room until the police comes.

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They’re EATING her friend. These girls have the worst luck.

Then we see a detective walking to a crime scene somewhere else.

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There isn’t actually music in this scene but you might as well imagine it with that swag.

Our detective John Lowe has a permanent frown which reminds me of this guy:

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Honestly, he kind of seems like a poor man’s Will Graham so far with his insight on the killer’s motives. (#SaveHannibal)

John’s currently working on a case about someone who punishes people for committing adultery and possibly other sins as well.

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He talks about why the killer removed their eyes and tongue. ahs (314)

(How dare you.)

The male victim who had his tongue cut makes pleading noises for them to actually save him from the situation he’s in, instead of just standing there.

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Later John looks at murder photos.

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Surprise: He has a cute daughter.

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He reads her “Little Women”  ( which is really cute and one of my favorite lines is in the same section: “He was as nervous as a witch and as cross as a bear.” ) 


Moving on, a cop comes to tell John he’s got a phone call.ahs (363)

No, it’s Daddy & Daughter time.

Don’t interrupt him.

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Why is he so mad though?

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He receives another call, from a persistent dude who just wants to hear his voice.

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Take a hint, murderer dude on the phone.

In the meantime we were blessed with this cutiepie named Gabriel and I was so surprised to see Max Greenfield.

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He says it’s bullshit to pay so much for the room and Iris’ face is sooo much fun. And by “fun” I mean “murderous”.

She gives him the room 64, which is the number the creep on the phone gave detective John.

Back to Max / Gabriel, I was ridiculously excited to see him. His character seems interesting and entertaining and I loved his interaction with Iris / Kathy Bates. I hope he’s safe for a few more episodes. (ha ha)

Then this lady called Sally shows up and looks like a total predator.

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Hmm, these two don’t really seem to like each other.

Gabriel goes to the room and after he shoots heroin he sees the happy maid.

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And this is when the scene that definitely didn’t need to be that long happens and Gabriel gets raped by this horrible demon guy with some spike dildo and it makes no sense. I wondered why it happened and what was the purpose of the scene and all I could find online was how Ryan wanted to show how horrible Gabriel’s addiction was.

So this demon is drawn to addicts? And was the assault a physical manifestation of what the addiction does to a person’s soul or was it a punishment from the demon’s perspective? Either way it was horrible. So let’s ignore that part and move on for our sanity’s sake.

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She gives him the keys and asks Liz Taylor to take him to the room.


She’s adorable.

Liz starts talking to John and she turns out to be very insightful.

“You’ve lost something and now you’re frozen in time.”

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You got that right, look at those eyebrows.

The eyebrows of anguish.

Speaking of anguish, I really really hate this part with Sally, Gabriel and the monster guy.

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Sally asks Gabriel to tell her he loves her and she’ll do something to end his suffering.

For a moment there I thought she killed him and maybe she was death herself but I have no idea what went on there.

Later John and Liz arrive at the room 64  and I love the moment when Liz opens her palm but John says he doesn’t have any cash on him so Liz says “money isn’t everything,” and leaves.

I really like the emotional depth Denis O’Hare brings to the role even though he had such a small screentime.


John finds nothing in the room so he decides he needs a nap because why not?

I mean where else would you rest if not in the room your murderer bff uses to murder people.

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After he wakes up he sees one of the vampire kids and runs after him as he calls him by his son’s name.ahs (628)-tile

I’ve got no jokes for this part. This kid’s getting on my nerves, what is your deal, boy?

We meet Countess/Lady Gaga and Donovan/Matt Bomer who’re getting ready to go out.

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I like the aesthetics of it all but they seem kind of tense during this scene, I don’t know why.

They join others who’re watching Nosferatu in a cemetery.

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They start seducing a young couple and Countess does this to the girl.ahs (748) vv

She’s up for it.

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So Countess and Donovan bring the cute couple to the hotel and they get it on.


They end up slashing their throats and spilling a lot of blood which is something I don’t get. Why are you wasting all that away just to lick their necks a couple of times? It should be against some vampire law.

By the way, remember when I used to say that the Penny Dreadful vampires were basically Lady Gagas who wanted love love love ? See? I totally KNEW Lady Gaga was the vampire queen.

Later we find Vendela and Agnetha captured somewhere while Iris is getting ready to feed them to make their bodies all tasty and clean for The Countess.

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Then Sally comes.

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They argue and Sally gets to spend time with the girls on her own.ahs (999)ahs (998)

She lets Vendela go, telling her to run.

Agnetha screams, begging her not to leave her alone but Vendela is like:

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But in the end, Lady Gaga/Countess/Elizabeth is there to catch her and slit her throat.

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Can’t get over it.

In the meantime, John has dinner with his daughter and she mentions dreaming about her brother.

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Then John receives a message from his wife Alex but can’t reach her when he call so he takes his daughter with him when he goes to find her.

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Five minutes later:

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Flashback time:

John loses his son.

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Back in present day, he tells Alex he has to leave to keep them safe, she’s happy he’s leaving but she loves him so it’s all confusing.

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She’s ready to move on, John.

Ugh, this guy again. Addiction demon’s still being a little shit and scaring children when he’s not busy assaulting people.ahs (1146)ahs (1145)

This guy owns the hotel now.

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Humans disturb Donovan.

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Later Donovan’s upset with humans and complains about them to Countess Gaga.

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Countess has everything under control.

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Donovan’s got the blues.

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Countess guides the new kid and he’s super chill.

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She then brings him to a secret room full of candy and games.

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Guess who else is there?

That’s right! John’s precious son Holden is a vampire baby now.

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Yeah, that’s what he looks like.

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This kid’s hair is just as chill as he is.

We learn that Iris is Donovan’s mother and she’s slightly clingy.

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He doesn’t seem to like that.

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Then we have another flashback with precious Donovan and his mommy, exploring their backstory.

Iris follows Donovan and Sally but she’s too late.

Donovan is an addict and he dies with a little help from his new friend Sally.


So, yes. Addiction seems to be one of the main issues in this hotel.

Later mommy Iris takes revenge, pushing Sally out of the window.


While Iris returns to the room Countess / Gaga shows up like:


So that’s the story of how vampire meets cute boy.

But FIRST THING FIRST, I don’t know how I feel about the new story yet but I think I’ll show up for the second episode.

One thing I noticed is that a lot of the mystery surrounding certain characters were at least partially resolved in the premiere which is surprising on its own but this tells me we have more mystery coming our way, so no need to worry about the show getting dull just yet.

I’m still not clear on what addiction demon accomplished by sticking a spike in people’s butts and I’d rather not see something like that again BUT we’re on this journey together so we’ll see.

How did you like the premiere?

Which characters did you enjoy watching the most? Also, who’s excited about Evan Peters’ new character?

Most importantly, did you like the recap? Keep in mind that I didn’t sleep for 30 hours so I’m not fully present in my earthly body at the moment, so this is as good as it gets now. Please comment and share if you’ve enjoyed it.

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