Fresh off a holiday break, American Horror Story: Hotel reveals who the main killer is in “The Ten Commandments Killer.” Not only is the killer revealed, but his backstory is explained and it’s pretty good. The kind of backstory that makes you want to re-watch previous episodes to see if you could have figured it out sooner.
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Right after the little girl Ren is killed by a truck when she and John escape the mental hospital, John heads back to the Hotel Cortez demanding answers. He first confronts Liz Taylor, convinced that they are hiding the Ten Commandments Killer in the hotel. Then Sally intervenes and promises to tell him where the killer is hiding.
As they enter Room 64, the room that John has been staying in, he can’t believe it. Sally tells him that there are answers on the other side of the door. Once inside, Sally gives him one last chance to just leave without answers, but he insists. She tells him that behind the armoire is what he’s looking for. Behind it is a door that leads to another secret room. Inside, there are jars with body parts. And on each jar a commandment is written.
John doesn’t believe it, as the first two jars are from many years ago. Sally tells him that the killer is finishing James March’s work. And when he asks how the killer gets into the room, Sally tells him the killer has a key. It’s then he realizes that he’s the killer!
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After realizing that he’s the killer, John goes to the morgue where Ren is to see his police partner. He confesses that he’s the killer. His partner is not hearing it, trying to disprove everything John says.
John explains that it all started when he entered the Cortez, not recently, but five years ago after a brutal case. He was just looking to drink his night away when Donovan convinced him to go upstairs and attend a private party. Donovan brought John to a room where March and the Countess were having their monthly dinner. While at first upset at the interruption, March became very intrigued by John and his philosophies on life and death.
After drinking and talking for two days straight, March told the Countess that John was almost ready to take over for him in the killings. He mentioned that John just needed that extra push, which he needed the Countess to take care of. She obliged when she saw that John had two beautiful children. Later John woke up in front of his home remembering nothing of his time at the Cortez, but later that day Holden went missing. Of course, that’s what slowly set him off. He began to lead two separate lives, one with Alex and Scarlet and the other with March.
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Despite meeting with March for five years, John didn’t kill in that time frame. In 2015, though, March’s words about bringing justice to the world start to ring in John’s ears. On a particularly low day, March finally convinced John to kill. John headed to his victim’s home and bashed his head in. Obviously not pleased with himself, John went back to the hotel and tried to kill himself. March saved him and scolded Sally for letting John take it that far. March told Sally that John was ready to takeover fully for him.
As John carried on a relationship with Sally, he also agreed to help March in his quest in the Ten Commandment killings. He became the lead detective on the case to ensure no one will suspect him. And then he continued to kill, setting up each crime scene to depict one of the commandments.
Finishing the Work
Even after explaining the whole story to his partner, the detective is still not convinced that John is the killer. And as if to prove a point, John stabs the detective. And not just because, but because the detective is sleeping with John’s wife, Alex.
When he brings back his trophy to the hotel, he tells Iris that he remembers everything. She is relieved, as she’s had to play along all these years, since he had no remembrance of his secret life. John brings the trophy to March and tells March that he will complete the wall of commandments with two more crime scenes.
I love how they explained the story of the Ten Commandments killer. And I love that it’s been John all along. All this time we thought he was crazy, but it turns out that he’s on a whole other level of crazy. The level of crazy that drives people to kill other people. It’s almost like John is Dexter, as he works for the police but moonlights as a killer. And he rationalizes it in that he believes he’s doing God’s work by ridding the world of its criminals.
As much as I loved the big reveal in “The Ten Commandment Killer,” I wish we got to see more of the Countess storyline. Or even the Alex and Scarlet storyline. Something to split up the show.
I’m curious though. Now that John knows he’s the killer, how long can the charade last?
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.
(Image courtesy of FX)