[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Mommy” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Mommy Alex is pushed to her breaking point after Scarlet stirs up memories of Holden.
The episode opens as Tristan, the douche, returns to the James March suite with a snakeskin blazer and new attitude. He’s consulted Google and is thus now a James March groupie. Tristan tells March he’s “the greatest serial killer who’s ever lived,” and appears to seek a mentor in Mr. March. Tristan now realizes killing is awesome. James then advises Tristan to put his murder palace to good use so Tristan the douche settles into the suite, making himself comfortable like douches do, but then Claudia and Will Drake enter in a flurry of beautiful and say it’s time for him to go.
In the next scene we hear Alex, John’s wife, in voiceover saying she always wanted to be an amazing pediatrician. Like many women today, Alex wanted to have a career saving kids but (perhaps ironically) she didn’t necessarily want them for herself. Then her baby Holden roused a teutonic shift inside her and Alex finally found her soulmate in her son. But then he disappeared at the carnival and the love of her life was gone. It wrecked Alex. Over the next year she attempted suicide and barely survived. Next we see a family therapy session with Alex, Scarlet, and John discussing Scarlet’s Hotel Cortez Holden story. Alex is angry that Scarlet keeps telling this story and it’s completely creeping her out.
At the Hotel Cortez Claudia (Naomi Campbell) prances around her room in lingerie, bodaciously British one minute and getting stabbed repeatedly by Gabriel in her bed the next. Then Detective John Lowe is checking out yet another Ten Commandments Killer crime scene. This one’s a gossip blog where employees have tongues nail-gunned to their desks and other such symbolic stabbyness. John gets it right away, quoting appropriate scripture and then heading “home” to the hotel. But just as he enters the Cortez the post-murdering Gabriel falls into his arms, bloodied and gasping toward death. On the way to recovery at the hospital Gabriel confesses to killing Claudia and says it was because he thought she was Sally. But when John comes back to the hotel Claudia has “checked out.” John puts the cuffs on a tearful, predatory Sally, falls under her sexual spell, and then just as he’s about to succumb and bang her POOF she disappears. Boner killer.
Next we see Tristan apologize to Will Drake for the runway debacle. The douche claims he’s clean now, pointing out that he even somehow managed to fix that pesky facial scar he’d made with a knife at the runway show. Then Tristan mounts Will and it’s make-out-city, he pulls out a switchblade for some stabby time but The Countess stops him just as he’s about to stick it to Drake.
Meanwhile The Countess’s last loverboy, Donovan, returns to the Cortez as well, apparently to bitch out Iris for being terrible mother she was and tell her how much he hates her. He’s leaving for good and tells her to kill herself as a final adieu. Then Donovan’s off to suck street junkie blood and even makes it pretty far down the pier. But his escape is quickly curtailed by Ramona Royale, the stunning Angela Bassett, who deposits him in her car trunk. As seems to be a lifelong pattern for Donovan, he’s helpless and back in the clutches of a powerful woman.
Next Alex shows up at the Cortez bar and tells John he needs to give up his obsession with control. Might as well have a drink, she suggests. Then Alex hands him divorce papers and says it’s time to move on. John drops to the floor and says he’s not OK and there’s something wrong with him. She has to stay. The scene shifts to Will Drake and The Countess talking in sensual riddles and then kissing until he’s hard beneath her, even though he’s allegedly gay. Of course, Tristan then takes that opportunity to interrupt -jealous as can be. The Countess leaves a mystified Drake on his own to manage the tentpole in his pants and powwows with her douche loverboy in another room. She shares her diabolical plan with him. Having lost all her money to Madoff, she’s gotta marry Drake and get all his money before she can kill him. Tristan will go along with this plan as long as The Countess includes him. Meanwhile, in a parallel scene Alex tries to relax the distraught John and he manages to entice her with some smooching but then ruins it and turns her cold when he wants to “make another baby,” so she leaves. Out in the Cortez hallways Alex sees Holden, who looks up at her and says, “Hi, Mommy,” but it’s eerie and terrible instead of sweet.
Ramona gives Donovan a blood transfusion to get the junkie blood out of his system. So, while he’s hooked up to the blood boosting machinery Ramona relates her glamorous backstory. A whirlwind career as a blaxploitation actress in the 70s and The Countess’s longtime girlfriend paints Ramona as an intriguing sex maven. The Countess and Ramona paired up in the 70s and stayed a duo all the way through the 90s. But then Ramona met and fell in love with Mo – a hip hop/rap star that Ramona turned into that special Countess brand of vampire all on her own. So, The Countess had to destroy Mo. She’s gotta be the only Queen Vampire creator in town. Now, Ramona’s found her perfect time for revenge and she’s back in the Queen’s town and hellbent on destroying those child vampires at the Cortez. She enlists Donovan’s help. He then admits The Countess dumped him and rips a snag into her plan. Thus, Ramona’s not interested in Donovan anymore. Sayonara, pretty boy.
Meanwhile Sally’s helping out Iris with a lethal dose of drugs after making her promise not to, “haunt my hallways, bitch.” Donovan then returns to the hotel and sobs his sad story at the bar, no job, no home, no girl, etc. Elizabeth Taylor, the remarkable Denis O’Hare, serves him moonshine and reminds Donovan that nobody will ever love him as much as his mother, Iris. Back in Sally’s room, Iris isn’t dead yet because the drugs aren’t working. So, desperately seeking Iris’s demise, Sally puts a plastic bag on her head and ties it tight then sits across the room to put her legs up and smoke with her back facing the dying Iris. Then Donovan knocks on the door but it’s too late… his mother’s dead. He can’t have that now that he realizes he needs love. He saves Iris with the vampire virus. Now the mother Donovan hates will live forever. But at least somebody will love him.
The episode title “Mommy” really cuts straight to the theme of this episode. It’s all about mothering and the love therein with all the potential nightmares that can entail. Alex represents the worst thing in the world, the death of a child. And Iris symbolizes the next worst thing, a child who hates you for bringing them into the world. But the Countess and Ramona also stand strong as archetypal mother figures – just in a much more complicated and messy way, the American Horror Story way.