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Flicker Recap

Demolition crews work on the hotel, and Will and Lochlan walk around the hotel. Will says that they're going to stay and he wants to be at the Cortez where he gets inspiration. Lachlan says that he has made some friends, and Will asks his son what he would think if he was with the Countess forever. When his son asks if he still likes men, Will says that adults are complicated and Lachlan approves. A worker comes over and says that they've found a 1" thick steel wall that runs the entire section. Will tells him to cut through it because he's on a schedule.

The workers use an acetylene torch to cut through the wall and find skeletons and more corridors beyond. A stench of death fills the air. The two workers go down the halls and one of them taunts the other into continuing. Two corpse-like figures attack the men and rip out their throats with their teeth.

John meets with a psychologist, Doctor Kaplan, at the West Los Angeles Health Center. While they wait for the lab to run the initial tests, John assures Alex that it's the perfect place with him. He later meets with Dr. Kaplan and talks about how things are closing in on him. He's separated from Alex, his daughter is afraid of him because of a misunderstanding, and John says that he needs professional help. The detective explains that he has been working on the Ten Commandments Killer case.

John is working in his office when Hahn comes in and warns him that he's off the case. As he walks out, John grabs him and demands to know who their suspect is. The other officers are forced to pull John off. Hahn yells at John to get out, and John sees a discarded report about the West Los Angeles Health Center.

John says that he knew it was time to check into the hospital, and tells Kaplan that he's exactly where he needs to be.

Iris takes the Countess to the excavated wall and shows her the workmen's corpses. Neither one of them know what was there or what killed the men. Iris stares at the Countess and realizes that she's scared for the first time. The Countess walks away without a word.

Marcy is in her room unpacking talking to her friend Margaret. Room service knocks at her door, and the two cannibals burst in and rip out Marcy's throat.

Hollywood 1925

Rudolph Valentino concludes his scene on the harem set of Son of the Sheikh, and two actresses watch. One of them, Elizabeth Johnson--the future Countess--reminds her friend Gibby that Valentino is married to Natacha Rambova, one of the most exotic women in the world. Gibby reminds Elizabeth that they're getting a divorce, but Elizabeth admires Natacha for working her way up from nothing. As they prepare to shoot the next scene, an assistant brings a note from Valentino to Elizabeth, asking her to join him that night. She looks over at Valentino, who smiles at her.

That night, Elizabeth arrives at Valentino's manor. He kisses her on the cheeks and ushers her in, and explains that he often must dine alone. Valentino escorts Elizabeth to the dining room and complains about the fame that his face has brought him. He speaks in Italian and Elizabeth explains that her parents spoke Italian when she was growing up. Valentino says that he sees greater things in her than being an actress, and Elizabeth says that she wants the immortality of being in the "flickers." She insists that the flickers are the future, Valentino says that she is a true American art form, and assures her that he's admiring her. A tango plays on the gramophone and Valentino invites Elizabeth to dance.

They tango across the floor until Natacha interrupts them and asks if Elizabeth is the mouse. Valentino introduces her and Natacha says that she is divorcing her husband. When Elizabeth tries to leave, Valentino asks her to stay and explains that the divorce is for show. Elizabeth wonders why she is there, and Natacha leads tangos with her as Valentino watches. Valentino finally joins them and Natacha kisses Elizabeth, and they all end up in bed.

Later that summer, Elizabeth and Gibby go to the Cortez for an opening party and Gibby explains that her new boyfriend hosts parties there. Elizabeth says that she's been around, and Gibby realizes that she's in love. James welcomes everyone and opens a bottle of champagne. A man comes in and announces that Valentino is dead, and Gibby figures that his new movie will do handsomely at the box office. Stunned, Elizabeth staggers out and goes to a window. She climbs out and looks at the alleyway far below, and James pulls her back in. She tells him to let her go, but James says that he won't... ever.

Later, three women go to Valentino's tomb. One notes that they missed the Lady in Black, who has been leaving a single red rose for months. The gossip magazines suggest that the Lady may be Pola Negri, and others suggests she may be a ghost. The Lady comes in and the three visitors quickly leave. A veiled Elizabeth leaves a rose, and Natacha comes in behind her. She tells Elizabeth that Valentino isn't dead, and Valentino comes in behind her. Startled, Elizabeth insists that it can't be true. Valentino explains that his stunt double is in the tomb, and Natacha congratulates Elizabeth on surviving in style. Furious, Elizabeth says that if she had to live in grief then she would be surrounded by beautiful things.

After their wedding at the Cortez, James and Elizabeth go to their bedroom. They have rough sex, alternately choking each other. James admits that Elizabeth is a revelation. Later, Elizabeth finds James cutting up a corpse in a tub. He says that it's just a hobo, and asks if she disapproves. Elizabeth tells him to select a victim with money and jewels, and then they can both benefit. She then whispers in James' ear that the next time she wants to watch.

Valentino tells Elizabeth that she has suffered too much, and Elizabeth assures him that she feels nothing. He explains that he didn't intend to leave her. During his train tour to promise his new film, he noticed a man at each stop, a man with mesmerizing eyes. Valentino caught other glimpses of him, sometimes feeding on the blood of the passengers. One night the man came to Valentino's cabin and introduces himself as F.W. Marnau, the great German director. Marnau had discovered many secrets while making his movie Nosferatu, and found vampiric creatures infected with an ancient blood virus. They fed Marnau their blood, and he came to Valentino to warn that the silent movies would end. He wanted to preserve Valentino's blood but only if the actor was willing to leave the screen. Valentino accepted his offer and drank of his blood. When he arrived in New York, He was reported ill. Natacha came to the side and he shared his gift with her.

Natacha and Valentino invite Elizabeth to join them. She accepts and they kiss. Nearby, James watches from the shadows.

John is walking through the health center and hears a guard and a nurse discussing the suspect locked up in the restricted ward. That night, John approaches the guard and feigns illness. He collapses and knocks out the guard when he comes close enough. John takes his keys and opens the door, and checks the log to confirm the suspect is in cell 153. He goes to the cell and looks inside, and then unlocks the door with the guard's keys. A woman is inside and says that her name is Wren. There's an uneaten tray of food on the desk, and Wren says that she doesn't want to feed anymore. She explains that they put her there because she wouldn't talk to Hahn. Wren says that she was at the TV station and helped, and John says that she doesn't have to be afraid of the Ten Commandment Killer. She says that she isn't, and nobody forced her to do anything.

At the TV station, a guard finds the killer force-feeding the televangelist money. Wren confronts the guard and cuts his throat as he draws his gun.

Wren insists that she killed the security guard because he was going to shoot the killer. John says that he won't lie to her, and asks her to promise the same to him. Wren says that she was there during the other murders, and provides enough details that John believes her. He says that whatever she thinks she did, the killer is responsible and it's not her fault. Wren says that everything that happened is her fault, and John says that she sounds like his daughter Scarlett. He knows that she blames herself for what's wrong with John, but John says that it's him and the killer's murders are his fault, not Wren's. Wren says that she likes John and he's nothing like her father, and talks about how her father planned to abuse her when she was a little older.

Los Angeles 1986

Wren's father goes drinking at the Cortez and leaves Wren in the closet. Despite the heat, she stays in the car and hoped there was a way she couldn’t grow up. The Countess found her.


Wren now knows that there are better things than immortality. She refuses to tell John who the killer is because he won't believe her. Wren offers to take John to the killer if he helps her escape, figuring that it's time for the killer to be caught.

At the Cortex, the vampiric Rudolph and Natacha finish feeding on Marcy. Natacha says that she feels the life returning to her, and Valentino says that they need a hundred times more blood to appease their thirst. He vows to rip James' head off, and Natacha figures that he's long dead. She says that he was obsessed with Elizabeth and his lust doomed them, their lives stolen. Valentino admits that Natacha is right and apologizes, and promises that they will reclaim all that they have lost.

In the hallway, three Australians come back from hitting the bars and check into their room. Valentino and Natacha watch from across the hall and figure that the three men are a gift from the gods.

Mrs. Evers serves James in his room. He puts a record on the gramophone and waits for his guest to arrive. There's a knock at the door and he tells Mrs. Evers to be elsewhere. The Countess arrives and she apologizes for coming a week early. He's eager to have dinner more than once a month, but the Countess says that she's too busy for anything more. They take their seats and the Countess says that she's going to marry again. James insists that he couldn't be more pleased and offers a toast, and the Countess says that her new husband is Will Drake. When James suggests that she murder Will off the property, the Countess suggests that she may have found true love for the first time. James reminds her that she was married to him, and the Countess says that she never claimed to love him. James gets up and says that he wasn't referring to himself. He admits that he thought he could make the Countess love him by giving her everything she wanted.

James has his men beat Valentino and hold Natacha. He finds their train tickets and says that they're going to miss their train. While Elizabeth waits at the station, Valentino and Natacha wake up in a room within the hotel's depths. The windows are bricked over and the hallway outside is sealed off from the outside world. Screaming, the couple pound on the walls while outside, workers brick over the entire section and James smiles in satisfaction.

The Countess realizes what James did, and he says that Valentino and Natacha are no longer imprisoned.

Natacha and Valentino, restored to health, walk through the lobby and iris watches them go.

John gets Wren out of the center and she says that she needs to go home to the Cortez. She asks if John will kill the Ten Commandment Killer. John says that he will and Wren says that she hates to see it end. She says goodbye and runs out into traffic, and a truck runs her over.

Written by Gadfly on Nov 19, 2015

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