TV Recap: AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL Episode 3 – “Mommy”


SHOCK recaps last night’s installment of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL

Tristan is looking for March to tell him what a fan he is. March is excited to be a mentor and wants Tristan to put his hotel’s “neglected” areas to good use. Will and Claudia are touring the floor, planning on turning it into Will’s atelier. Will is mad to see Tristan still there, but is intrigued by how good he looks. March is concerned that they will changed things, and Tristan promises to put a stop to that. 

That night, as Claudia readies for bed, shadows move through her room. She lays down, and hands rip out of the mattress and grab her. She screams, and Gabriel claws his way out of the mattress and stabs her viciously. Then Gabriel runs into John in the lobby and begs for help. John takes him to the hospital, where the doctors suspect he is succumbing to withdrawal. “I didn’t mean to kill her,” he rambles. “That junkie whore lied to me.” He flatlines.

Tristan, meanwhile, sneaks in on Will in his suite. He apologizes for the mess he made at the fashion show and promises he is clean. Will is clearly attracted to him, so he doesn’t throw him out immediately. He is poring over the hotel’s blueprints, or at least the official ones on record with the county. Tristan comes on to him, and Will eventually gives in. The two are making out deeply and Tristan reaches for a hidden blade. Over Will’s shoulder, he sees Elizabeth in the doorway and she motions for him to stop. He pouts, but he obeys, and leaves Will with a wicked case of blue balls.

Elizabeth takes Will out for dinner, and a nightcap back in her room. “You know I’m gay,” he points out. “I’m not stupid,” says Elizabeth. “We are destined for something more… intimate. Will Drake has to die.” He thinks this is metaphorical because he has been creatively dry for a while. Elizabeth takes him by the neck, and Will finally admits that she turns him on. They kiss passionately, but before anything can happen, Tristan stomps in. Elizabeth tells Will she will call him later and follows Tristan out to the bar. For the second time, Will is left with blue balls. Elizabeth finds Tristan moping, thinking she has thrown him aside. She explains: she was once extremely wealthy, but lost it all to Bernie Madoff. She plans to marry Will Drake and take every penny. After that, he can die.


Through reflective inner monologue, we find out that Alex never wanted kids until she had Holden, and she fell in love for real, found a soulmate. She didn’t love John that strongly, never bonded like that with Scarlett. After Holden was kidnapped, things were never the same. A year later, with no end in sight, Alex slit her wrists. She carries on mostly for Scarlett. The Lowes are now in family therapy, and Alex admits that Scarlett’s tales of Holden sound made up, like she is trying to hurt her parents. Scarlett again relays what she saw, that he didn’t have “normal feelings,” and that he smelled like lavender. This strikes Alex – she always thought Holden smelled like lavender.

After dealing with Gabriel, John confronts Sally. She plays dumb, and makes mention of the ten commandments. John flips out and arrests her. She doesn’t fight as they take the elevator downstairs; instead she comes on to him. He does his best to ignore her, but it is difficult when she reaches into his pants. The lights flicker, the elevator dings, the doors open – and suddenly he is alone.

Alex shows up at the hotel, and finds John fidgety. He claims he is preoccupied with the case, so she gives him something to take his mind off it: divorce papers. She insists that this is what they need to move on. John begs her to change his mind, but Alex can’t be swayed. John breaks down, weeping, insisting something is wrong with him, that he is going crazy and seeing things. She helps him back to his room and gives him pills so he can sleep. They end up kissing, and things get hotter when John tells her he wants to have another baby. This snaps Alex out of it and she leaves him – with the divorce papers.

On her way out, Alex turns a corner and sees Claudia, naked and covered in blood, asking if this is hell. Disturbed, Alex turns the other way – and she sees Holden way down at the other end of the hall. She approaches him, shaking, and he opens his eyes. “Hi mommy.”


Donovan returns to the hotel, and is immediately met with a barrage from his mother, who has been looking for apartments they can rent together. Donovan’s anger with his mother reaches epic new heights as they yell at each other: he has worked hard to show her how much he despises her; she kicked out his father because he wasn’t good enough; he loved his father; he wanted to die to get away from her. “A real mother would have let her son die in peace.” When Iris complains that she doesn’t know what to do with herself if she isn’t his mother, he suggests she kill herself.

Returning to the streets, Donovan begins to feast on junkies. He sees someone with a car broken down and approaches with a knife and a good guy attitude. The motorist tasers him, puts him in the trunk, and drives away. When Donovan wakes, he is tied to a chair in a decadent mansion, having his blood drained and cleaned of “junkie blood.” This is Ramona, and she explains what she wants with Donovan through an overly expositional passage.

Ramona came to Hollywood in the 1970s and quickly became a Blaxploitation star in the manner of Pam Grier. (Some of the fake posters even look like Grier movies.) But she was tired of being in grindhouse flicks where she was making a meager wage, and met with a producer at the Hotel Cortez in hopes of getting an audition. She even suggests she will sleep with him. Elizabeth appears and dismisses the producer, much to Ramona’s chagrin. Elizabeth assures her she saved Ramona from making an embarrassing mistake. The women make love, and Elizabeth turns her. Ramona is deeply in love, and thought Elizabeth was the only one for her.


The two remained a couple up through the early 1990s. By then they had grown apart, and were seemingly going through the motions. Prophet Moses, a “vanguard” in the rap movement, was staying at the hotel and Ramona realized that he was the great love of her life, not Elizabeth. She wanted to be with him forever, so after fooling around in the recording studio, Ramona turned him. When they came out of the sound booth, Elizabeth was there. She slaughtered his entire entourage, then killed Mo. As Ramona understood it, Elizabeth could be the only maker, the only queen. Now her goal is to “kill the babies she made,” and wants a man on the inside. Donovan reveals she dumped him last week, and Ramona lets him go.

While this is going on, Iris decides to take her son’s advice and kill herself. She seeks Sally’s help and wants to overdose. Sally worries she might have unfinished business, causing her to haunt the hotel with Sally, but Iris can’t think of a single reason to live. Sally injects her and waits.

Donovan has returned to the hotel and has a pity party with Liz Taylor. He has no money, no friends, and a twenty-year gap in his resume. Liz reminds him he is the luckiest bastard in this hotel, that he should be ashamed of abusing his mother. She might be horrible, but he will never find anyone who loves him more. Inexplicably, this seems to change his thinking entirely and Donovan rushes to Iris’ room. The heroin didn’t kill her, so Sally tied a plastic bag around her head and waited for her to suffocate. Donovan bursts in and rips the bag from her head, but it is too late. She is “finally at peace.” Donovan can’t accept this – “She’s all I’ve got!” – and he forces some blood into her mouth. She’s baaaaaaaack.


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