Numbers have long been a source of symbolism in television series, and it seems that Ryan Murphy and the other writers of American Horror Story are trading in their musical numbers for the traditional "numerical" kind of number. In the premiere episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, three numbers popped up in significant ways: 64, 2:25, and 33. American Horror Story is a show built on creating mysteries and allowing its fans to theorize and predict what can be expected on the show. Murphy is already dropping some pretty obvious hints into his series, so what do the numbers on AHS: Hotel mean?
Featuring numbers in a story as a form of symbolism is nothing new, especially not to television. The most famous example is the television series LOST, which had major plotlines surrounding a mysterious collection of numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42). However, it seems that AHS: Hotel is giving LOST a run for its money, introducing three numbers of significance in its premiere episode. Considering that the hotel the series takes place in is filled with horrible creatures and terrors behind every numbered door, it wouldn't be surprising if a few more numbers came into play by the end of the series. I believe the numbers have some significance, and here are some clues we can pull from studying the history of these numericals.
64 is the room number that Iris says the workers of the hotel "never rent out," and yet it seems that multiple characters have visited room 64 to meet a terrible fate during the first episode. 64 may prove to be the most significant number in the series, and 64 is a pretty important number in the world as well.
- Chess boards have 64 tiles on them, half white and half black. Perhaps there is a great battle of good vs evil approaching the hotel?
- The number of sexual positions in the Kama Sutra. AHS: Hotel has already feature a variety of sexual terrors, and if this 64 connection is any indication, they're not done making sex seem unappealing anytime soon.
- 64 is the first number in math to be both a perfect square (8 x 8) and a perfect cube (4 x 4 x 4). Perhaps its association for "perfection" could be used ironically, as the Cortez is anything but perfect.
2:25 seems to be the time in the hotel where the vampire children come out to play. 2:25, along with being a very odd time of night for an alarm clock to go off, also corresponds to some pretty interesting bible verses that might play into the themes of AHS: Hotel.
- Joel 2:25 "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you." - Many of the residents of the hotel seem to be some form of dead, and this verse about restoration is probably pretty appealing to its residents.
- Genesis 2:25 "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." - The Cortez hotel seems to pride itself on nudity and shameful events, perhaps the hotel seeks to strip people down, making them emotionally naked and vulnerable.
- John 2:25 "And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." - Lady Gaga's Countess seems to know what is in man: Blood.
The number 33 only gets a passing mention in the premiere episode of AHS: Hotel, but the number corresponds to a room holding something that "needs to be fed," according to Iris. Considering the only other eating done in the episode happened during a vampiric blood orgy, it's probably not a puppy waiting for Kibbles N' Bits.
- The number 33 is heavily connected to conspiracies about Masons and Occultists.
- Jesus was crucified at age 33, and was resurrected after. Perhaps whatever is in room 33 has been resurrecting the dead residents of the Cortez.
- Record players play LPs at 33 1/3 rotations per minute. Considering the importance of music to American Horror Story , this may just be an easter egg from the writing team.
We'll just have to keep watching to find out the significance, but I'm already intrigued, so the numbers and the mystery that surrounds them have done their job — and I'm hooked.
Image: Frank Ockenfels/FX; Screenshot/FX (3)