Spoiler Warning for this week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Hotel”

AMERICAN HORROR STORY -- Matt Bomer as Donovan. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
AMERICAN HORROR STORY — Matt Bomer as Donovan. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

Three episodes in, “American Horror Story: Hotel” finally begins to form a story and develop its characters while maintaining a spooky and frightening tone. Just as I was beginning to lose hope in this season, “Mommy” picked everything back up and delivered the best episode of the season!

This episode gave viewers more backstory for the residents and guests of the Hotel Cortez. In therapy, John Lowe’s wife, Alex, shares the struggles she faced in regards to being a mother and how losing Holden greatly affected her. Her connection to Holden was much greater than her connection to John and their daughter, Scarlett. The tension in the Lowe family is shown very clearly as Alex blames Scarlett for some of the family problems. John and Alex’s marriage is also considerably damaged and Alex files for divorce, but John protests. The relationship between the two is incredibly flawed; however, they clearly still love one another. While at the hotel, a shocked Alex finally discovers Holden standing in the hallway to which he greets her with a chilling “Hello Mommy.” I’m very curious to see where the character of Alex goes as the season progresses. Now that she has found Holden, it will be interesting to see how she interacts with The Countess, who took young Holden. John is also still investigating the murderer who is basing his killings off the Ten Commandments. A group of gossip reporters become his next victims and have their tongues nailed to their desk in reference to “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.” This killer and the investigation surrounding the killings are very interesting, but receive very little screen time, therefore making them unmemorable.

Meanwhile, Tristan begins to feel the effects of the seductress ways of The Countess. Tristan wants to kill Will Drake so that he can feed on his blood, however The Countess has other plans. The vast fortune that she once had was lost to the infamous schemes of Bernie Madoff. Therefore, The Countess plots to marry Will first so that she may inherit his wealth. These scenes are likely to be important in the future, however, in this episode they felt more like time filler. Lady Gaga’s performance so far is exceptional and her character has so much potential though.

Another relatively minor and somewhat out of place storyline revolved around the character of Claudia (Naomi Campbell) who worked with Will. In her hotel room, she begins to experience odd and unnerving visions. Without questioning any of it, she lies down in her bed where a disfigured creature comes out the mattress and attacks her. The creature stabs Claudia to death; however, she reappears later in the episode as Alex wanders the halls. While it doesn’t add much to the plot, the scenes with Claudia were extremely scary to watch. On this show, people tend to not stay dead for long, so it is likely that she will be back more.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY -- Naomi Campbell as Claudia. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
AMERICAN HORROR STORY — Naomi Campbell as Claudia. CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX

This episode also saw the introduction of new character and former B-List Hollywood star Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett). Royale reveals to the now homeless Donovan that she and The Countess used to be lovers and fellow vampires. Her backstory and dynamic with The Countess was by far the most compelling to watch, highlighting the talents of both actresses. The relationship lasted until 1991 when Ramona met rapper, Prophet Moses, who she believed to be the “great love of her life.” The Countess discovered this relationship and quickly put an end to it by killing Moses right in front of Ramona. In the present time, Ramona seeks revenge on The Countess and hopes to use Donovan. Angela Bassett’s character brings a fresh feel to the show much like her characters on previous seasons did.

The final major storyline for this episode revolved around Donovan and his mother Iris, who wishes to repair their strained relationship. Donovan repeatedly tells Iris how awful of a mother she was when he was growing up and links his history of addiction to her. After a tense argument between the two, Donovan flat out tells his mother to kill herself. Believing she has nothing left to live for, Iris listens to his request and seeks the help of Sally who aids in the suicide attempt. Sally tries to make Iris overdose by giving her a copious amount of heroin, however, the attempt is unsuccessful. Sally tries a different approach by placing a plastic bag over Iris’s head. Donovan has a talk with bartender, Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare) who changes his outlook and convinces him to try to fix things with his mother. Just as it seems as though Iris has died, Donovan makes his way into Sally’s room where he is saddened to find his mother on the brink of death and attempts to revive her with his blood. This explains the “vampire virus” slightly, however, there is still a significant amount of confusion and mystery surrounding the mechanics of how the virus works. The dynamic between Sally and Iris was incredibly entertaining to watch and also highlighted the talents of Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates, respectively.

Overall, “Mommy” was a step in the right direction for this season of “American Horror Story.” Hopefully, the story can grow from the seeds that were planted in this episode. With such a high number of characters, some manage to slip through the cracks, such a Liz Taylor, who has barely received any dialogue. The creepy and horrific setting of the Hotel Cortez still remains one of the best aspects of this season and creates an eerie feeling in almost every scene. My interest in this season has definitely been reignited, although the show still has a lot that can be improved. Some general explanation of the mythology regarding the “vampire virus” and the ghosts of the hotel would greatly help. What will be the next shocking mystery that the Hotel Cortez will reveal? Be sure to tune in to “American Horror Story: Hotel” next Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX.


Jeffrey Kopp is the Community Editor of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead."