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The Ten Commandments Killer Recap

After Wren runs out in front of a truck, cars pull over and John goes to the girl's corpse. He remembers Wren telling him that she hates to see it end, and then goes back in as sirens sound in the distance

At the Hotel Cortez, Liv is at the desk trying to compose herself when John comes in and demands to know where the Ten Commandment Killer is. When John says that Wren told him the killer was there, Liz says that the girl is full of lies. John grabs Liz, who pushes him back and promises that he'll kill him when he slips if John touches him again. Sally comes over and asks what's going on, and John insists that the Ten Commandment Killer is in the hotel and he's tired of being lied to. Liz nods to Sally, who says that she'll take John to the killer. As John goes with Sally, Liz offers him a gun in case he finds what he's looking for.

Upstairs, Sally leads John to a room and says that there are answers on the other side of the door. John opens it himself, gun drawn, and Sally says that the room used to be James March's office. He died there on February 25 at 2:25 in the morning. Sally says that they can walk out, go to the bar, and have a couple of drinks. John grabs her and demands to know why she brought him there, and Sally tells him that what he's looking for is behind the armoire. John goes there and finds a vault door. Inside are jars containing human body parts from each of the Killer's victims, appropriate to the Commandment that they broke. When John wonders why the Killer has been inactive for 90 years, Sally explains that he was looking for a successor. One jar has the eyes and tongues of the adulterer James Briggs. John insists that the parts are in the lab, and asks who let the Killer in. Sally says that the Killer had a key, and tells John to take her hand. When he does, she says that it's okay and strokes his face. Sally says that there's just a little more work to do.

John remembers being at the serial killers' dinner, and James talking about how police officers only care about evidence. John starts to remember everything that he did.

Sally says that it will happen again and again, and John can't stop it. He stumbles out, insisting that it's not possible, and remembers Mrs. Evers dressing him as Sally tells him that it's always been him.

At the morgue, Hahn checks Wren's body. An officer confirms that John was at the street but he slipped away in the commotion. Hahn sends her to check on John's family and John comes in behind him. He thanks Hahn for looking after his family, and then says that he came to confess. Hahn says that he can make the assault on the guard go away, but John warns that he can't make the Ten Command Killings go away. He says that he can remember where it all began when he first went into the Cortez... five years ago. It was after they found the family asphyxiated by a faulty heater, and John went in to get a few drinks.

Los Angeles – 2010

John enters the bar and orders a martini from Liz. Sally and Donovan watch as John finishes off the martini and asks for another. Donovan comes over and offers to pay for the next one, but John refuses. Undeterred, Donovan invites him to a party upstairsbut John says that he just wants to drink himself blind and forget. He says that he's married, and Donovan says that it isn't that kind of party. Donovan says that the after-party upstairs has all the alcohol that John could want.

Upstairs, James and the Countess are having their monthly dinner. James asks the Countess to talk about one of her recent kills, but she refuses to indulge him. The doorbell rings and the Countess finds Donovan and John there. Donovan brings John in and James complains that his one night a month with his ex-wife is intrigued by John when Donovan says that John is having a bad day. The magnate asks for details and John explains that a father accidentally killed his family and then blew his brains out. James points out that John talks as if it's meaningless, and John says that he knows that death is the only thing in life that has any meaning. The detective asks for a drink, and James orders the Countess and Donovan out. He admits that something in John has drawn him in, so he's releasing the Countess from her service.

Once she leaves with Donovan, and James offers John absinthe. He explains that he owns the hotel and that he embraces the 1930s because he finds the modern world uncomfortable. They drink and James explains that some time ago, they had a photographer stay named Kirlian. He claimed he could photograph a man's aura, and James learned to see a man's aura unassisted. James was struck by the intensity of John's jet-black aura, and explains that he can either focus on a task without distraction, or he wants to dominate the world. John doesn't believe him, and James warns that it's dangerous for John to keep his rage inside. He can tell John struggles to keep his anger in check, and John admits that sometimes it takes everything that he has to resist beating suspects. The detective admits that if it was up to him, he could eliminate most crimes in Los Angeles.

John and James drink and talk for two straight days, and talk about man's law. John passes out and James calls in the Countess to tell her that John is the one. He needs his ex-wife's help to convince John to unleash his rage and become a true killer. The Countess warns that John won't let go because he still has hope, and James figures that John just needs a little shove. When she wonders why she should help, James shows her a photo of John's son Holden. The Countess agrees and kisses John.

When John wakes up, he finds himself in his parked car in front of his family. He doesn't remember who he was with or what he did. John goes inside and Alex tells him that Hahn covered for him. He insists that he wasn't cheating on her, and Alex says that she knows. She says that John's a terrible husband and she would leave him if she didn't love him. Holden runs in and John suggests that they go to the carnival at the beach. Alex takes Holden to school and John says that he loves them.

After Holden disappeared, John can only find peace at the Cortez. He lives one life at home with Alex, and another at the Cortez with James. When John was at the hotel, time passes faster for him and James' ideas burrow into his head.

James tells John that the difference between them is that he has shed his load of pain, but John carries it with him. He suggests that John is constrained by the laws he swore to uphold. John admits that real criminals never pay, and James says that he's ready for a new lesson. Je takes John to a darkened trophy room and shows him the severed head of his account Henry. Henry was embezzling from him and James gave him justice. When John threatens to report James, James says that it won't relieve him of his moral code. He tells John to climb out of his moral morass, and John walks away.

Los Angeles - 2015

Later, John loses a case on a technicality. He goes back to James and talks about Holden. James figures that Holden's disappearance worked out for John, giving him the chance to reborn. John figures there is no such thing as justice, and James talks about a guest--Gamboa-- who brought his supposed nephew with him to tour the theme parks. Mrs. Eves found photos of the naked boy between the sheets, and James says that the guest checked out that morning.


Hahn says that Gamboa wasn't a pedophile, and John says that it wasn't John's only sin.

Los Angeles - 2015

John visits Gamboa, claiming that he saw his ad on Craigslist. Gamboa lets him in and shows him the award that he won. He's willing to sell it for $5,000, and John tosses the photos on the table. Gamboa tells him to leave, but John demands to know where the boy is. He demands justice for the boy's family and for himself, and flashes his badge. He then beats Gamboa to death with his own award, screaming Holden's name. Once he's done, a guilt-ridden John goes into the bathroom and hangs himself.

John and Sally were lovers after Holden disappeared, and John didn't know where she came from and didn't want to. They watch the televangelist on the TV, and then John says that he has to go and he shouldn't be there. However, Sally doesn't do anything when John hangs himself. James cuts him down, furious that Sally didn't do anything. He reminds her of their arrangement, and that the Addiction Demon she and her kind conjured must feed on others if not her. Sally agrees to do whatever James says, but worries that if John dies outside the hotel then she will love John forever. James tells her to find someone outside the hotel who can act as her accomplice.


Hahn shows John a photo of Sally from 1984 and says that she jumped out a window at the Cortez. He figures that John is confused, but John insists that he's not.

Los Angeles - 2015

Sally bathes John, who says that he can't remember Sally when he leaves the Cortez. She says that the hotel is possessive and will never let him take anything with him. John says that he killed a man and it felt like he was punishing the man who took Holden. He tried to kill himself because he loved it more than anything else in his life. James appears and says that John loves it because he found his true purpose. He assures John that he let go but he didn't lose control, and John used the pain to make the world a cleaner place.

James takes John to the vault holding the ten jars. He is unhappy he was never able to complete his grand project, and asks John to make the work his won and finish it. John worries that he'll be caught, and James says that he won't because he'll make himself lead detective on the case.

Hahn meets John at the Gamboa crime scene and warns that he's not at a hundred percent. He tells his partner that he met Alex for coffee, and she's worried about John. Later, John and sally have sex and John figures that Hahn and Alex are cheating on him. He wants to kill them as adulterers, but Sally warns him that he has to kill someone that can't be traced to him. They go to the lobby and Sally points out a pair of adulterers and explains that they check in once a week. She gives John the key to their room, and John goes in and finds them having sex in the shower. John couldn't kill them at the Cortez, so he took them to the Belair and got their photos from the Internet. He positioned the bodies and took the man's eyes and tongue.


Hahn points out that John saw the suspect at the Rylance house, the man with the bowler hat. John insists that it was him, manifested as James March. Hahn doesn't believe it and figures that John feels responsible for failing to find the Killer. He assures John that he's no killer, and John picks up a knife and stabs him in the stomach. As he twists the night, John tells Hahn to admit that he cheated with Alex and he'll show him some mercy. Hahn says that he doesn't deserve Alex, and John finishes the job.

Later, John returns to the Cortez carrying a bloody bag. He tells Iris that he knows who he is and he's been coming back to the hotel for the last five years. Iris is relieved that he finally knows and she doesn't have to hide the truth from him. John admits that he wasn't ready for the truth until now, and says that he has no regrets except Wren. Iris assures him that Sally was the one who got Iris died.

Iris watches as Sally tells Wren to follow John and do anything to keep him alive.

Iris tells John that he should walk out and leave it all behind that he knows the truth. John merely asks for the key to room 64. He goes there and puts Hahn's severed genitalia in the jar as a satisfied James looks on. The magnate realizes that there's something different about John, who says that he has clarity. Satisfied, James says that now John can appreciate his artistry. He asks what John will do with his talent now that he understands, and John says that he has two more jars to fill. Smiling, James tells John that he's home and they embrace.

Written by Gadfly on Dec 3, 2015

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