We have reached episode 3 of American Horror Story: Hotel titled “Mommy” which provides insight on some of the mothers of the season and their rocky relationships with their offspring. Some you feel for, some you despise, but one thing this episode does do is shed light on harder aspects of parenthood (in a traditional and non-traditional sense.) Just what did we discover on this week’s episode of AHS: Hotel? Time to take things back to the beginning…
After turning into one of the vampire creatures courtesy of the Countess, Tristan has come to appreciate the darkness that accompanies it. With this new-found fondness for murder, he locates Mr. March after conducting his own research to familiarize himself with the sadistic hotel owner. The two seemingly bond with Tristan taking on a protégé type role, and when Will Drake arrives to overlook the floor for renovation, Tristan agrees to take care of this issue for Mr. March personally (the two already have enough tension as it). We next are shown the perspective of Alex Lowe and her constant state of grief after losing her son Holden. She explains that while she has loved before, her bond with Holden triumphed over anything she had ever known – the truest love she had ever experienced. After his loss, we see that she spent each day immersed in depression, until one day she attempted suicide in her bath tub as a means to end her grief. Luckily, John found his wife and ever since she’s been doing her best to cope, even though it feels impossible. (She also admits that her love for her husband and daughter isn’t enough, which was a sad revelation.) We shift back to present time and the family sits down with a therapist trying to probe Scarlet for answers about her brother. There is resentment from the parents in the beginning, but when she tells them that he smelt like lavender – something Alex had always thought as well – a sense of doubt is cast over what they know.
Claudia is found in her room trying to begin preparation for an event, but the bad service disrupts and the vogue editor decides to prepare for bed. Just as she lies down, a pair of hands (Gabriel’s to be specific) burst from the mattress and begin to strangle Claudia. She gets away from him for a second, but Gabriel frees himself and stabs her repeatedly as if he himself was actually terrified. Detective John Lowe investigates a mass murder at an office building for a gossip site with each person inside being brutally killed. One employee’s tongue is nailed to the table which draws John back to the commandment murders, this one being: thou shalt not bear false witness. John returns to the Cortez to take his mind off things and immediately runs into a bloody Gabriel gasping for help. In Will’s room, Tristan finds his way in (startling Will) and he says that the two of them used to be much closer – when Tristan was sober. He begins to seduce Will before preparing to strike and save the hotel from renovations, until the Countess appears in the doorway signaling him to not touch the owner. John gets Gabriel to the hospital and he manages to form enough words to say he didn’t mean to hurt her (being Claudia) and that Sally is responsible for his death. Gabriel dies moments later and John goes back to the Cortez to find information from the troubled addict. Sally claims she doesn’t know who he could be referring to and that he shouldn’t bother with “junkies” who are their own undoing. She makes a passive remark about a commandment to make him pry further – and this results in her getting handcuffed and taken into the elevator. After Sally’s endless tactics to attract John they almost begin to (or momentarily begin to…) get steamy in the middle of the arrest, but she claims he can’t help her. Sally tries to say they are meant for each other, and the elevator begins to malfunction with glimpses of the drill bit demon appearing until both are nowhere to be seen and John stands alone in the empty elevator. This basically adds to John’s belief of his insanity I’d have to assume!
In the lobby of the Cortez, Donovan enters and finds his mother Iris who has begun to look for an apartment for the two of them. Donovan shows no interest in her attempts and states he’d rather return to being homeless than ever live with her again. A familial clash ensues with past issues spewing between the pair, mostly including a disagreement on the perception of his father. He admires him despite the dad abandoning the family (real sweet guy.) and Iris tries to reaffirm that he only ever cared about himself. Donovan then proceeds to tell her how her extreme ways were damaging to his childhood and screams that he chose death over life because of her. Iris becomes emotional at his devastating statement and Donovan begins to leave. She says in tears that she doesn’t know what to do if she isn’t acting as his mother and he returns to her side to tell her one thing… “Honestly, if that is really true you should kill yourself. You should do it even if it isn’t.” Wow, Donovan has solidified himself as one of the most heartless characters this season (okay, there are tons of killers but even they would probably find that cruel!)
Donovan finds strung out drug users to feed from – in essence, this is like a contact high for him – and he spots a woman on her own whom he approaches to possibly attack. Before he can do anything, the woman (Angela Bassett!) makes her move first and renders him unconscious, tossing him into her trunk. I sense a power player just moved into town? Alex meets John at the hotel (because of course, no cell phone service) and the two share a drink at the Cortez bar, or at least she has a drink. She claims he doesn’t even have an addiction with alcohol but it’s his need for control that drives him to make that choice. “You’re going to need one in a minute” she says before pulling out divorce paperwork to complicate things further. He breaks down and admits he thinks he’s losing his mind and needs her more than ever, so she takes him back to his room to calm his nerves. Upstairs, the Countess pours a drink for Will after a night out between them and he asks what her angle is with him clearly being gay. The Countess says that what’s in store for them is much more intimate and proceeds to give him advice on “killing” Will Drake as the world knows him, and reinventing himself. The talk boosts his ego slightly, and they begin to kiss with him becoming very much aroused after all. Tristan stops anything further from happening and the two leave with her making it clear she needs to marry Will Drake for his money (but he claims to be broke). She’s having a hard time keeping all of these eager men at bay!
In a matter of moments, John and Alex make amends long enough to begin getting intimate until John asks for another baby – big mistake when you guys can’t keep track of either child you have! She doesn’t like the idea too much either and leaves him with the divorce papers in a rush. While trying to find an exit she discovers a bloody lingerie clad Claudia at the end of the hallway asking (and stating) “Is this hell? No. If this were hell I’d be the one in that awful Zara knockoff you’re wearing.” So damn creepy, major kudos to Naomi Campbell for her spooky presence. Alex is taken aback by the sight and quickly goes down another hall the opposite direction – where she finds her son Holden waiting. It’s safe to say someone finally knows Scarlet wasn’t lying after all! After taking Donovan’s word into consideration, Iris actually decides t end her life (Noo!) and asks for Sally’s assistance. She tells Sally the one person she cared for hates her and she feels like a joke and has made up her mind. Sally seems reluctant despite their turbulent past and tells her that she wants to know Iris is certain of her decision – and confirms she is, so Sally gives her enough drugs to overdose.
Donovan awakens to a stark white room, and his body tied tightly to a chair in utter confusion. The woman who took him introduces herself as Ramona Royale; a former actress from the 70’s who started to make a name for herself in B-movies. Her acting and beauty caught the eye of the Countess in 1977, where she interrupted a business meeting with a pervy director to speak with the actress. Ramona tells Donovan that she had the ability to cause fear in anyone’s eyes, but she looked at her with something more enticing. The two quickly bonded over a mutual love for art, fashion, and each other, so the Countess ultimately turned her into a vampire as well. They spent decades together (and many different wardrobes) until Ramona found a young rapper she fell in love with. The two became enamored by each other, and she ended up turning him as well. When they returned to the other studio, they found a group of people murdered and the Countess in tears (yeah, she is definitely one to watch out for!) He pulled a gun on her in fear, and she tells him “she must have really loved you” and turned his gun on him, killing Ramona’s significant other. Now years later, Ramona hopes to take something she loves from the Countess – the children, and Donovan tells her he no longer is in a position to provide assistance. She frees his shackles and tells him he can leave, as if nothing had happened.
Donovan later wallows in self pity at the bar, and Liz Taylor gives him a harsh does of reality by saying he hasn’t seen how awful things could have been, chastising him for the way he has treated his mother. Liz reminds Donovan that he will never meet someone else who could love him as much as his own mom and this causes him to think about the disturbing things he had said to her. Sally checks on Iris and notices that the drugs weren’t enough, so she then ties a bag around her head to make the process move quicker. Moments after Iris appears to suffocate, Donovan arrives to the room to talk to his mother – finding her on the brink of death. He refuses to let things end on bad terms, and makes the choice to turn his mother by providing her with his own blood. Will this bring them closer together, or is Iris just going to be really pissed off? I can’t wait to see that in addition to all of the storylines American Horror Story: Hotel has introduced us to.
Overall Grade: This episode slowed things down and gave more time to discover more about the characters surrounding the Hotel Cortez while still giving new information to digest with eerie horror like the Naomi Campbell scene. I’d give the third episode of AHS Hotel an ‘A-’ already surpassing last season by far!
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-I love Finn Wittrock! His portrayal of the edgy and stuck up model is fun to watch, and in some strange way there seems to be major chemistry between him and Mr. March. Is this a new evil power couple in the making?
-Evan Peters delivery as Mr. March remains a standout, and his interactions with Tristan and Ms. Evers shows his twisted love for only specific people.
-John’s family seems to be on a downward spiral and I don’t foresee things going well at this point in time.
-Sally is one of the biggest wildcards in AHS Hotel, making it very hard to figure out what her true agenda entails aside from her search for love.