American Horror Story: Hotel "Mommy" Review: Enter Ramona Royale

American Horror Story S05E03: "Mommy"

The eternally compassionate Liz Taylor summed up the motherly focus of last night's “Mommy,” with the bar-back wisdom, “You'll never find anyone who loves you as much as she does.” Any relationship with the human who gave you life—and took on the archetypal role of "mother" like a cast member in a production as old as time itself, is bound to be charged, and should at least be appreciated for its uniqueness alone, the elegant baldy proposed. The encouragement came too late as a jilted “Donno” realized the error of his hurtful words and discovered Iris with a bag on her head, smacked out of her mind. From her side of things, the saying might as well have been, "You'll never find anyone who can hurt you as much as your children." The third episode of American Horror Story: Hotel slowed things down as third episodes often do, to spend some time on character monologues—at least three that I could count, and proved once more this show can basically be the best at anything it wants to be.

Whether it was Alex's heartbreaking ode to motherhood, Iris's vicious mother-son fight with Donovan, or The Countess' overall maternal relationship with her “creations”—complete with bloody breastfeeding, the hour made good on the AHS tradition of getting to the guts of mommy issues. Also this happened:

So yeah, no complaints here.

Anyhow, Detective John Lowe went to family therapy to discuss Scarlett's make-em-up stories about ghost Holden (Ghoulden?), and Scarlett mentioned a detail that made Alex uncomfortable: namely that Holden smelled like the same thing Alex thought her boy smelled like, but had never divulged out loud: pepperoni. No just kidding, it was "lavender." This came after Alex withheld “her truth” to the room, an eloquent passage about how much she loved her son.

And how could she not? Every flashback of Holden showed a really chill child who was mainly about smiling angelically on a beach.

The therapist gave Scarlett the stage to discuss what she had seen in terms of the candy and video-game room, before the scent-detail made Alex less skeptical.

Then John Lowe continued his easy day by visiting a crime scene where a bunch of bloggers got their tongues stabbed to desks for “bearing false witness” and I was reminded not to say a bad word against this show. Basically, if you're not keeping track, all these bloggers are getting killed for biblical themes by whoever is picking up where James March left off.


While John Lowe was doing police work Claudia Bankson had a lot of problems not being able to connect with Jess B. Also she underwent a haunting, but to be fair most of her jump scares were about non-supernatural things, just stuff in the hotel room that was out of fashion. Like, monster reflections are SO last season.



Then the bleach blonde mattress prisoner tore his way out of the mattress and used some scissors to make a few "alterations" to the outfit that is her mortality.

Later he would admit he didn't mean to kill her, he just thought Bankson was Hypodermic Sally and simply adhered to the adage, "scramble out of your mattress prison and stab first, ask questions later."

Next: Gaga does her thing and by thing I mean drinks blood

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Oct 25, 2015
"He could care less and advised her to kill herself."

You mean COULDN'T CARE LESS
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Oct 25, 2015
good to see Angela Bassett!
“I Googled you.”
"That sounds obscene!"
"Killing is awesome! high five!"
"Good"
"I had so much fiber in my diet I shit my pants in school."
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Oct 26, 2015
Evan Peters MVP as usual.
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Oct 25, 2015
I got to give it to Murphy - he always knows how to use his performers. Can't wait to see Bassett get busy.
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Oct 23, 2015
I just want to give props to Ryan for doing a great job taking over the recap of AHS on this site. I've been amused and entertained, and that's all I really ask for from AHS recaps. Thanks, Ryan, for not being scared to follow Price.
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Oct 24, 2015
Hey thanks man. Price and I are actually buds, so I'm a fan of his work as well. Appreciate your checking in!
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Oct 23, 2015
"Any relationship with the human who gave you life—and took on the archetypal role of "mother" like a cast member in a production as old as time itself, is bound to be charged, and should at least be appreciated for its uniqueness alone, the elegant baldy proposed."

Why you do this? It took me like five tries to parse that sentence. I come here for television! If I wanted to read better, I'd watch a book!
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Oct 23, 2015
Sweet Jebus, this comment reel reads like an over-caffeinated episode of Fox & Friends.

I mean, "no parallels, no metaphors, no allusions, and no allegories... no poetry to its narrative, no multilayered characters," ErosMakelaris? Did you stumble down a flight of stairs and smack your head on concrete this morning? I can understand someone criticizing the show's execution of these aspirations, but to pretend they weren't present is what I like to call "hilarious and objectively wrong". And please, where were the "cheap thrills and ineffective scares"?

And Detta: You're sneering at the homoeroticism and sexual nature of this season... of one of the most consistently graphically grotesque shows on all of television? How do you sleep at night knowing that your brain is totes okay with multiple scenes of massacres and brutal torture... but draws the line when sexual themes are taken "too" far? Same goes for you, teyadonna---"too much drugs" is your first reply to an episode that featured not one, but two scenes of grizzly mass murder?

I thought this was the best of the season's three episodes: It's the first with actual character progression for multiple leads; it gave us a much better understanding of the show's larger arcs, anchored by well-balanced flashbacks; and it planted many a seed for future developments that I'm very interested to watch play out (Bassett & Donovan, in particular).

(On an utterly unrelated note, I agree that TV.com should cover South Park.)
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Oct 23, 2015
In which part did I say that the homoerotic scenes were wrong or that's where I draw a line as too far? I just said I would take shots.

I didn't think that I would have to explain this but whenever you take shots during a show it's because that show has formed a pattern that the audience is now able to predict. Meaning this year their go to seems to be filling it with homoerotic moments and more sexually charge than before when we took shots over bare butts. Lots of homoerotic moments and Gaga dressed in white and smeared with blood.

So be a dear and direct your accusations and outrage for other people's opinions and reactions elsewhere.
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Oct 22, 2015
I’ve been such a big fun of AHS. Still, this season…

“Hotel” may be visually indulging, even charming at times, yet story-wise is flat and shallow! There are no parallels, no metaphors, no allusions, and no allegories. There’s no poetry to its narrative, no multilayered characters. Just fancy guests, lots of sex or near sex scenes and Gaga! Thanks goodness Naomi was killed – and hopefully we won’t see her haunting the corridors of the Cortex again!

Bassett’s debut was interesting and fun [period.] I hope Ramona Royale will manage to spice things up – although I doubt it!

They even managed to screw up the tension building between Iris and Donovan. Bommer and Bates gave powerful and emotional performances but the bottom line of Donovan’s hate for his mother was a plain ass… damn, they could have work miracles on that!

AHS: Hotel, is turning AHS into another show that tries to be scary by offering cheap thrills and ineffective scares.

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Oct 25, 2015
There's a gaping hole in AHS that Jessica Lange and Francis Conroy (even Lily Rabe) once occupied and now it's frantically trying to be stuffed with trite, boring sexuality (oh, I'm a mind controlling vampire that can even brainwash a gay man) gimmicks!
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Oct 26, 2015
Oh Francis! Thumbs up my friend for adding her to the unfortunate loses of this season!
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Oct 25, 2015
Unless there's an ulterior motive with Will Drake and there's more to him than meets the eye? He may be pretending to be 'lured?'
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Oct 26, 2015
I'm hoping for a twist; a twist that will make the story mysterious and interesting!
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Oct 22, 2015
This was the slowest episode of AHS yet. I wasn't feeling it at all except the parts with Sally, Alex and of course, RAMONA ROYALE! Love me some Angela Bassett (SHITTTTTTT!)

I really don't know if I like this whole 'virus' story, it seems like everyone is infected with it at this point which is only going to lead to one thing since these people can't die of natural causes: Murder. Also, it's pretty obvious that Ramona is going to try to get Tristan on her side to try to get her revenge on the Countess. I dunno, this plot just bores me big time.

That said, I love everything with Sally and Mr. March and really think that should be more of the focus because it's wayyyy more interesting than Gaga and her stupid vampire cult.

Check out my own review here w/ lots of screencaps and gifs: http://mikeydislikesit.com/american-horror-story-hotel-mommy-review/

GOOODY!

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Oct 22, 2015
I'm getting sick of AHS's obsession with it's own history, it's self indulgent and doesn't require so much time commitment, they could explain things without showing us in a flashback, I'm tired of it happening every other scene.
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Oct 22, 2015
I think I'm going to start taking shots for each homoerotic scene they do this year. I can't recall the other seasons being so sexually charged.

This episode was slow, reactions to events where once again really odd. But other than that I actually liked it, I wasn't as bored as before because we finally got something other than the erotic vampire blood orgy thing, we got some direction as to where all of this is trying to go.

The high five line from Tristan made me wince with the awkwardness and his stupidity but his determination to help March out by proclaiming that he'll kill to keep the secret safe made me sigh haplessly, he's like a toddler who insists on putting his cloths on by himself but always gets caught up in his shirt. He gets an A for his enthusiasm.

Gaga was actually better in this episode, well given that she gets to say and do a bit more than in previous episodes. But that 'By the way you're hard' thing brought it down for me, not that this is against her but with stimulation it happens and that was enough stimulus to cause the reaction, not because Tessy is so good that she gets gay men excited (well in that sexual way because I have seen gay men get excited when a Gaga song was on the radio and demand that it be turned up). But for once I'm impressed that she killed people and didn't get blood on herself like she usually does.

But I am so excited for Angela Basset's Ramona, every little thing she did as Desiree last year was great, every single line every little move was just a treat.

Anyhow they've nicely set the stage, what unfinished business does Sally have, what will Iris do? Will Donny boy regret this? Is there any way that the 10 commandments killer to go after a few other bloggers? Did Countess really kill everyone for simply knowing her secret or is there some sort of problem born from these next gen infected 'vampires'? Can vampires be actors given that Scarlett's picture of Holden was blurry? For having lived for so long how could Countress get scammed like that? How will the countess react to Holden's real mommy being there if the kids are so precious to her?
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Oct 23, 2015
I wouldn't necessarily say that The Countess really did soo much more this episode than last.. Last episode there was a HUGE exposition dump in her lil monologue-flashback thing with her discussing her past...
Yeah she's kinda old, but she was only born or turned (I cant remember which at the moment) in 1902... so she's not centuries old or anything, and ANYONE can be swindled or betrayed by the right person, as far as losing her money goes.

The over-the-top sex and gore doesn't really bother me, as I've come to expect such from this show and with vampires being a central theme this season it was bound to have plenty of sex and homo eroticism, as these are commonly associated with vampire lore.

I agree that Angela Bassett's intro was AWESOME and I can't wait to see more of her! I definetely think she, Donovan, and possibly Iris are gunna cause some mf problems for The Countess (or Tristan.)

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Oct 23, 2015
Being a little better doesn't mean I think it's a huge improvement. She does well when it comes to monologues but there's still a hiccup to me when it calls for her to speak and move at the same time. I guess it's because we haven't seen that much of The Countess that I'm left to assume that she should be smarter. If all we have to go by is that she's a hedonist then I can see how she got swindled, especially now that people still don't read even the simplest of TOS while registering online. If it was out of desperation for more money then I could almost believe that but that's too much reading between the lines.

Although that is the norm for modern vampires we have been treated to this type of vampire behavior trope for decades now that it's a bore (at least to me). It's really a bore when I realize that there's often no real plot behind it and the same goal could be achieved with normal people sans messy blood drinking. Each time I see them I think back to the Key and Peele sexy vampire skit. I absolutely loved how it addressed it then subverted the whole sexy vampire trope. But I guess I am excepting too much of AHS to move away from that especially if addiction is this year's theme.
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Oct 22, 2015
I am thinking the Detective and his Doctor Wife are the new Harmons. A couple on the brink of divorce who find themselves literally battling evil while being engulfed with their own worst instincts.

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Oct 22, 2015
omg I thought the same thing and I think they both might end up dying in the Hotel so they can all be together in the afterlife :)
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Oct 24, 2015
I'm sure their family experience some definite ruination - though who knows if Murphy and company will be like "we did THAT story already!" Excited for any surprises.
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Oct 22, 2015
Twisted poetic justice?
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Oct 22, 2015
Because before her son walked in the room Iris had just said, "There is nothing more that I wish for than the eternal peaceful blackness of death." (or close to that quote) And now he have her immortality. Twisted poetic justice.
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Oct 22, 2015
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Oct 22, 2015
This was kind of a slow one, huh? I suppose because it was necessary to actually set up a plot for this season (you know the thing that Freak Show sorely lacked) especially just before the Halloween episodes which can be crazy and have little to nothing to do with the overall story.

Hey, I read a theory somewhere. Is it possible that Alex is the unseen kid from Murder House? I never caught what that kid's gender or age or anything, just that Tate had a third sibling. That theory is also based on this other idea that what if the Countess was pregnant with March's kid when he died (there are screen shots of Gaga being pregnant), which I forget when that was, but that kid was maybe Constance (doesn't really explain the accent and I'm not sure that Constance's age makes sense) which would then in turn make Holden the Countess' great grandson.
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Oct 24, 2015
You know, Pepper WAS in Freak Show and Asylum. And in Alex's opening monologue she did mention her childhood wasn't ideal in a kind of sarcastic, tossed off way. Wouldn't mind if this were the case.
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Oct 22, 2015
Not enough Evan Peters!
Too much drugs.
Sarah Paulsons character is just so gross I can't even look at the screen when she's on lol. Mind you I have a weak stomach.
This episode was pretty lame compared to the first two.
I wonder what Mama is going to do now that she has found Holden. She's probably going to turn into a vampire just to be with him for eternity. Since he is all she seems to care about .
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Oct 24, 2015
I would LOVE to see Alex turn vampire. Right now she's just a worry wart and could definitely stand to be more actualized. Heck, if any of the previous seasons are an indication the problems in motion here at the outset will be miles away from where we all end up. I see that as a good thing!
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Oct 22, 2015
"Mommy, where are you?" :P
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Oct 22, 2015
Surprised to see Gaga move on so quickly after just having left a longtime lover for Tristan.
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Oct 23, 2015
The Countess didn't really "move on," she had lured the designer there way before she laid eyes on Tristan. The designer buying the hotel so The Countess could get her claws in him and take his money was a plan already in motion, she just turned Tristan on a whim because she saw something she wanted in him and was bored with Donovan. This whole seduction of the designer is just a charade.
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Oct 24, 2015
Fair enough, either way though Tristan's headed for a shelf life of his own, considering how The Countess has played Donovan and Ramona. Who wouldn't get bored with the same thing if they lived forever?
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Oct 25, 2015
Oh I absolutely agree. I actually think Tristan will probably last a shorter amount of time than most of her lovers lol, cuz he's such a tool and will undoubtedly make a rash or jealous decision that will cost them sooner or later.
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Oct 25, 2015
For sure. I'm loving how he oozes "dumb hunk" at every action. He's a baby-man through and through. Who knows, maybe he'll end up becoming The Count of a Motel Six in San Luis Obispo or something.
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Oct 23, 2015
Your definition of "longtime lover" differs dramatically from the definition of "longtime lover" for an immortal. I found this to be quality character work---your surprise should give you an insight into her character, not imply a flaw in the writing.
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Oct 22, 2015
I think she said it last episode. It was an advise she gave to Tristan or Donovan... "Never fall in love."

Based on that, from her point of view, they were just fruck buddies!
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Oct 22, 2015
She wants his money
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Oct 22, 2015
I wasn't surprised.
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Oct 22, 2015
The text recap is up, as soon as it clears the cache.
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Oct 22, 2015
This episode was definitely my least favorite of the three episodes thus far. But still a good episode. I'm liking this season :)
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Oct 24, 2015
I'm enjoying the season too. Third episodes are notoriously slow, I'm not sure why that is. Could have something to do with the novelty of the first episode burning off, then the second episode getting to stand on the shoulders of all the homework-type table setting first episodes usually undertake.
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Oct 22, 2015
Totally unrelated, but TV.com should do recaps of South Park. This season, they've been tackling political correctness and how overly sensitive our society has become with overarching episodes. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are truly unsung heroes.
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Oct 22, 2015
Trey Parker and Matt Stone ate on my Wall of Legends, (Right next to Jessica Lange and Ryan Murphy).
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Oct 22, 2015
I so miss Jessica! Even her pauses have more character and substanse than Gaga's bottox-acting!
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Oct 22, 2015
are* not ate
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Oct 22, 2015
Agreed. South Park has been both epic and fierce this season. Great to see them take on the narcissistic millennial phonies. Enjoyed seeing Cartman and Randy sing about hiding in their safe space away from the evil "Reality".
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Oct 22, 2015
Lot of people getting Hot Cosby-ed on AHS so far.
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Oct 22, 2015
and their privileges checked...
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