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'American Horror Story: Hotel,' Episode 3: A mother's love

Donovan has some serious mommy issues.


Donovan has some serious mommy issues.



American Horror Story: Hotel's third episode "Mommy" featured a ponzi schemer and plenty of mommy issues.
This is possibly my favorite season yet, but the amount and depth of characters is dizzying. Everyone is so depressingly damaged and utterly fascinating. And there are still more characters to come.

Mommy dearest

This episode showcased the devastating relationships between characters and their mothers and maternal instincts. We get to hear some of the backstory of Alex Lowe and her ties to her lost son, Holden. Holden was her youngest child, but she found true love in him. She thought she loved her husband, John, and her first child, Scarlett, but her love for Holden was pure and unconditional. He was her soulmate. When he went missing, she was destroyed.

Down to her last straw after hearing Scarlett's description of a ghostly Holden sleeping in a glass coffin in the hotel, Alex serves John divorce papers as he sobs in the lobby bar. Alex sees how stress John is over his murder investigations. He just found another Commandment murder -- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. He found a newsroom full of bloody bodies with their tongues nailed to their desks. "He stopped their tongues from wagging," he says, talking about the killer.

She gives him some sleeping pills and the last makeout session they will probably ever have. Alex then gets lost in the hotel's creepy hallways, stumbling upon a bloody Claudia (Naomi Campbell) before seeing her angelic boy at the end of the hall. Stunned, she just stares at him when he says, "Hi, Mommy."

Donovan's relationship with his mother, Iris, is a tad more toxic. We don't know all the details of their backstory just yet, but we do know Donovan loathes his mother. He constantly spews hateful words like "You really don't know how much I hate you," and "death was the only way away from you." Brutal.

Iris is unfazed, still prodding him with options for two bedroom apartments away from the hotel. She may or may not be a terrible mother, but she doesn't know who she is without Donovan. She takes Donovan's "just kill yourself" barb to heart and asks Sally to supply her with a lethal dose of dope to take away her misery. After a heart-to-heart chat with Liz Taylor, Donovan realizes his love for his mother and saves her from death. The catch: he brought her back to life as a fellow vampire.

"I Googled you."

Just as quickly as Tristan was in, he's out. He's too fiery and unruly for Countess' tastes. He grovels to Mr. March's ghost, proclaiming his love for his work. "You're the greatest serial killer who ever lived," he says. "Killing is awesome."
March is flattered, and wants to put Tristan's appreciation for his macabre art to good use. March doesn't want Will Drake to change any room in his hotel, and aims to make Tristan his tool to "take care of" Will Drake.

Tristan takes his task a little too enthusiastically. He immediately tries to seduce Will Drake and slit his throat before Countess stops him. She turns the tables by seducing Will Drake herself (even though he's gay). Again, Tristan ruins the party by walking in on them and throwing a tantrum.

Countess tells Tristan he's done with him -- but for a very good reason. We find out after more than a century of life, Countess use to be filthy rich. Until Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff conned her out of her riches and the Hotel Cortez. She's more than broke, and aims to marry Will Drake, murder him then take "every damn penny."

The ties that bind

It's been a week since Countess kicked out Donovan. No longer living large, he seeks passed out junkies to feed on. He makes the mistake of trying to attack the famous Ramona Royale and ends up strapped to a chair in her home while a machine works to clean out his blood of toxins. She knows Donovan and his ties to the Hotel Cortez and plans to use him. Her story: she was the queen of them all. She used to be a campy, B-movie actress starring in cheesy cop dramas and pictures like "Bride of Blackenstein." She meets Countess when she tries to plead her desires to be a serious actress to a hotshot Hollywood producer. Countess shoos him away and the two begin their deadly love affair.

Ramona is quickly sucked into the glamourous immortal world, but knows Countess will never truly love her. She begins an affair in the 1990's with up and coming rap star Profit Moses. She ends up turning him, and Countess finds out.

Countess tearfully murders the rapper's entire posse before blowing half his head off. She's not jealous of Ramona's affair, more so that Ramona is turning others without permission. 

"She couldn't have her creations creating others," Ramona says. "There can only be one queen."

Ramona's plan: she's going to take out Countess' true loves -- those ghostly children she created.

There's a new queen in town, and she's out for revenge.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at or Twitter @chelseatatham.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2015 1:06pm]


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