I don’t know about you, but in the back of my mind, I knew it was John all along. Yes, we finally got the big reveal this episode and it looks Alex was right: John is crazier than we all thought. Not only is he the big bad Ten Commandments Killer, but he’s been taking his instruction from that dead guy James March. And to top it all off, John couldn’t even remember he’d been visiting the Cortez for five years. If that’s not completely and utterly insane, then this show has failed us.
But anyway, let’s talk about how we got here. So, last episode John came upon a little girl named Ren who promised to reveal the killer’s identity if he helped her escape the hospital. Once outside, Ren fled the scene only to get hit by oncoming traffic. Through her death, John is able to connect more deeply with himself. As we saw last week, he could see some of himself and Scarlett in Ren. And this episode, John’s true self is revealed as he struggles to understand Ren’s loss.
We see John return to the Cortez to demand answers about who the killer is and Sally helps him seek answers behind the door of Room 64. What John discovers is a collection of souvenirs; one body part from each of the Ten Commandment murders. He’s appalled and confused, but then Sally helps him remember how they got there.
In a flashback, we see that John’s fate was orchestrated. With Sally, James March, and Ren all working as a team, John is guided for upwards of five years toward this very moment. He’s chosen to continue what James started and groomed to carry out the mission.
But the mission isn’t all about the killings. It’s about the pain of living and shedding it. James has shed his but recognizes in John the inability to let his go. The killings are a way to forget. They’re a way to find release.
As he’s groomed to become the next James March, John finds himself sinking deeper into a daze that keeps him from connecting with his family. So, he requests to be set free from the Cortez’s mysterious hold on him. What John doesn’t know is that this request comes at a price. James March relies on the Countess to wash John’s memory of the Cortez. For this, James promises John’s son Holden as collateral.