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|“||I once walked in on a 273D, domestic dispute in progress. It took everything I had not to.. Pound this guy's face, make him swallow his own teeth and blood. If it was up to me? I don't need a judge to tell me whether someone's guilty or not, I know. If they took the leash of me, crime would truly drop in this city.||„|
|~ John Lowe to James Patrick March.|
John Lowe is the villain protagonist of American Horror Story: Hotel. He is a Homicide Detective hell-bent on solving the Ten Commandment Killings, only for him to realize he had been the one doing the killings.
Appearance and Personality
John remains dedicated to both work and family by strictly dividing the two, even if it means reading to his daughter through video chat while at the office. On the job he has a keen eye for detail and a gift for profiling a criminal's motivation. As John begins to go insane, he becomes more vulnerable and confused, however after figuring out that he is the Ten Commandments Killer, he gains a sense of clarity and begins to build his life up back together.
John Lowe was a homicide detective with the LAPD. His wife Alex has borne him two children, Holden and Scarlett. He first visited the Hotel Cortez while being drunk in 2010. Then, James March saw potential in him and started trying to make him his successor to finish his Ten Commandments murders. After five years, he agrees and starts committing murders. In the same year, Holden was abducted from a carnival in Santa Monica, which has caused a strain on his marriage.
John documents a unique crime scene involving a dead woman impaled by a spear and locked in super-glue affixed coitus with a man who has had his eyes and tongue removed but left alive. Upon returning to the department, he reviews a case from a month earlier involving one Martin Gamboa, killed by blunt force trauma to the head with an unknown weapon and sexually assaulted by something (perhaps the weapon) that left traces of gold paint in his rectum. After handing over the old case to be cross-referenced with the new he receives a call from someone claiming responsibility for the murder and directing him to Room 64 at Hotel Cortez. At the hotel, he found nothing in Room 64 but an extremely inviting bed where he quickly fell asleep. Upon waking to a jazz playing clock radio he discovered a young boy in the room resembling his abducted son. He gave chase through the halls but he was successfully evaded. An emergency text from his wife (actually a ruse) leads him to a home where he receives another anonymous call before seeing a mysterious figure and discovering the disemboweled corpses of two men hanging from their respective bedposts. To draw danger away from his family and give his wife time to grieve, John takes up temporary residence at Hotel Cortez.
John Lowe finds another murder case of the Ten Commandments Killer - the editors of a gossip site are killed and their tongues are rather nailed-up or even taken out and thrown randomly around the room. After seeing this gruesome crime scene, he comes back to the hotel where he is "welcomed" by Gabriel who is dying and all covered in blood. He takes him to the hospital where he says that he did not mean to kill her (referring to Claudia) but "the junkie whore" Sally instead. Therefore, he goes back to the hotel to question her but since he does not find out anything new, he decides to arrest her for trying to edit one of the Ten Commandments which he finds disrespectful and suspicious as well. While going down in the elevator, Sally seduces him and disappears. Later, his wife meets him at the hotel and asks for a divorce. After Alex takes him to his room and gives him medicine to have a rest, they make out but she stops and leaves.
Serial killers check into the Cortez, including Aileen Wuornos who meets John at the bar and attempts to kill him, only for him to subdue her and realize that multiple other killers have supposedly checked in. With John refusing to believe this and only accepting that these people are wearing Halloween costumes and playing some cruel trick, Liz informs him about March's annual Devil's Night, a dinner where the most notorious American serial killers, who have previously checked into the hotel before their apprehension or death, come together and celebrate their crimes. At the dinner, John is introduced to John Wayne Gacy, the Zodiac Killer, and Jeffrey Dahmer, and witnesses the guests murdering a man who has been picked up by Sally. After passing out during the dinner, John wakes up in a now empty room where the dinner was held with only Sally in it, who asks him if he knows what is and is not real anymore.
John Lowe tells his lieutenant about the "copycat" serial killers at the hotel on Devil's Night, knowing how insane he sounds. John's reputation has been in tatters since his breakdown following Holden's abduction, and he is fired for instability. John awakes again, this time scratched and in bed with Sally. She claims he practically dragged her into his room from the bar, where they had sex. He says she needs to go, and she recoils after their evening together. He claims he does not remember any of it, and she says that he is lying; she also thinks it is their destiny to do it again and again, and that he cannot fight it.
Although he was sacked, John will not stop looking for answers about the Ten Commandments Killer. He checks into the West Los Angeles Health Center on purpose after finding out that someone related to the murders is kept there. After beating up the guard, he walks into the ward and finds Wren, one of the Countess' blood-sucking children. They have a small talk and she decides to lead him to the killer if he takes her out of this place. They leave the hospital unnoticed but Wren says that the murderer is at the Cortez and commits a suicide.
He goes back there and tries to make Liz Taylor tell him something. Then Sally appears and asks him to follow her in order to find out who the killer is. She leads him to Room 64 where she shows him a secret room with inwards of all the victims (even some who were killed in the 1920s) and tells him that James March was the one who started it but John himself finished his business unconsciously. It turns out that John has visited the hotel for the first time far back in 2010 while being drunk (see more on Background). He went to the police and confessed to his friend Detective Hahn but he would not believe him and tries to convince him that he is a good person. Then, John says that he knows that Andy and Alex have been dating and stabs him to death. He returns to the Cortez and meets Iris. She tries to act like she sees him for the first time but John tells her that he remembers everything and he goes to Room 64. He puts a part of Andy in one of the tubes left for parts of the victims killed because of the Ten Commandments.
It is revealed that John has been in a mostly sexual relationship with Sally, for five years, and he could not recall most of them until recently.
John attempts to live a normal life with his family, helping to supply Alex and Holden with victims to feed on but eventually they left him. In the episode "Be Our Guest", it is revealed during the time jump to Devil's Night 2022 that John was shot to death by police officers (similar to Tate Langdon's death in Season One) but failed to cross the hotel's threshold in time to remain as a spirit, now only appearing each year for Devil's Night to attend the annual serial killer party hosted by March. John also helps Iris and Ramona rid themselves of Billie Dean Howard who has turned the hotel into a media sensation with her paranormal TV shows with the spirits of John, the other serial killers and Ramona threatening her into never coming back to the hotel or else she will be murdered. John then lays in bed with Alex, Holden and the adult Scarlett who has lived a successful life by their bedside.
Ten Commandment Killings
The first two original crimes that began the ten commandments pattern were committed by James Patrick March starting in 1926. He died before he could complete his collection:
Thou Shalt Not Steal
An infamous thief was the first victim to be killed. The killer took his right hand as a trophy and put it in a hidden chamber in Room 64.
Remember the Sabbath Day
Migrant workers who were working on Sunday were killed. The killer took their teeth for his chamber.
Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
A dead woman was found impaled with a spear with her hands nailed to the headboard while astride her lover below. A man still living with his eyes and tongue removed and his chemically tumescent member was affixed with adhesive inside his partner. It is later revealed that they are lovers that both have families with children. They meet every Thursday afternoon at the Cortez as told by Sally. John got in their room and texted them both to meet at a specific place where he would kill them. The woman first got there and he positioned her dead on the bed. Then the man arrived and he was affixed inside his partner. John took the man's tongue and eyes for the hidden chamber in Room 64.
Honor Thy Mother and Thy Father
Two unidentified male twins were found both disemboweled and hung crucifixion style on their respective bedposts. They killed their parents in order to inherit their family's fortune and so they broke one of the commandments which led to John killing them. It was showed that he saw a man in a suit inside the house before finding the victims. He confessed to Andy that he saw himself manifested as James March. He took their hearts to be kept in the hidden chamber.
Thou Shalt Not Worship False Idols
Martin Gamboa was a movie fan, who was in possession of an old Oscar award. He was also secretly a pedophile. His head was caved in with the Oscar award and his skull was bashed. He was sexually assaulted with it, which left traces of gold paint in his rectum. John took his brain for the hidden chamber.
Thou Shalt Not Bеаr False Witness
The editors of a gossip website were found dead in their office with their tongue taken out and even nailed-up to their desks or to the ground. John ripped out their vocal cords for the chamber.
Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord's Name in Vain
A television priest was found disemboweled in a chapel with his mouth filled with coins which were also spilled randomly around his dead body. John took his spleen for the chamber. A police officer witnessed the act, but was killed by Wren, who was sent by Sally to protect John.
Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife
John killed Hahn by stabbing him with a knife used for autopsy after finding out that he was dating and sleeping with his wife, Alex Lowe. John took his penis and testicles for the chamber.
Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me
John killed a small community of three people worshipping "The Lady of the Shadows" at their small temple and brought their ears as a trophy to the chamber.
Thou Shalt Not Commit Murder
John empties a magazine of bullets from his gun, killing The Countess Elizabeth before she could flee from the Hotel Cortez and brings her head as a trophy to the chamber.
- His death is similar to Tate Langdon's. Both are shot to death by police.
- Both are also murderers with a morally ambiguous viewpoint.