One of the highlights of American Horror Story: Hotel is Lady Gaga as the murderous Countess Elizabeth. Sure, she should definitely not be left alone with any children — but she has a killer wardrobe and one of the most intriguing backstories of the season. Based on last week's episode, it seems highly likely that she's the wife of James Patrick March, the
serial killer who built the hotel back in the 1930s. Although the
flashbacks didn't show her face, the timeline matches up (she reveals
that she was born in 1904) and the platinum blonde hair seems like a
giveaway. Either way, she has a long history with the Hotel Cortez and it's seeming more and more likely that everyone who checks in there ends up dead. So naturally I'm wondering if the Countess is alive or dead on American Horror Story?
According to Ryan Murphy the Countess is not a vampire, despite sharing many qualities with the beings. And, as we learned in the Oct. 14 episode, she has a blood virus which allows her to remain ageless — as long as she cuts humans for their blood. So, although she can no longer be described as human, I think the Countess is technically alive and here's why:
She Names Specific Rules To Survival
The biggest clue that she's not dead is the Countess's acute awareness that she needs to take steps and precautions to ensure her survival. In the Oct. 14 episode "Chutes and Ladders", she explained to Tristan that there are very specific rules to surviving, namely: "You're only immortal if you're smart... The only thing that can undo you is your own recklessness."
Unlike vampires, who can only be killed in specific ways, those with the virus can die from all the same causes as humans — which is why they must avoid reckless risks and stay away from the diseased. Additionally, they can't drink blood from the sick or the dead. The use of the word immortal certainly indicates that she's alive (albeit in a very, very strange way).
And, Those Rules Clearly Separate Her Kind From The Living Dead
Characters like Sally appear to be members of the living dead and therefore they seemingly can't be killed by anything. Although the Countess shares their quality of agelessness, we saw that Sally "survived" a horrific fall in 1994. Based on the rules the Countess laid out, she and those of her kind would be goners after an incident like that — because they can die from anything that would kill a living human. The living dead are invincible; but those with the virus are not.
One thing is for certain — there are a whole lot of dangerous, creepy people inhabiting the Hotel Cortez and things are only going to get weirder as the season progresses. As Iris told John: "If you want to solve this, you're gonna have to expand your thinking a bit." Iris is a little unhinged, but he'd be wise to listen to her on this point — because the living dead and creatures like the Countess hold many clues that will be essential to solving this season's mystery.