American Horror Story: Hotel – Mommy Review

The quality at the Hotel Cortez slips a bit as American Horror Story resorts to soap opera drama and outdated cliches in “ Mommy.”

American Horror Story Season 5 Episode 3

This American Horror Story review contains spoilers…

I hate to say it but the best part of this episode comes in the first couple of minutes when Tristan tells James March that he “Googled” him, to which March replies “That sounds obscene!” That short scene is sadly Evan Peters’ only scene in the episode. After he leaves, the episode becomes nothing but melodrama and bad (some might say offensive) cliches.

If “Mommy” has an underlying message it’s that children will break their mother’s heart. Whether it’s Alex being so in love with Holden that it’s as if half of her disappeared when he did, or Iris being told point blank by Donovan that she should kill herself, kids are nothing but pain. Trust me I have three. And while both Alex and Iris are driven to attempt suicide (unsuccessfully) by the loss of their children, it’s interesting to note that Alex–who arguably has a support system–attempts suicide alone, while Iris–who has nobody–asks Sally to help her die.

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Then of course there is the Countess who is a surrogate mother of sorts to the vampires she makes… which since they are usually also her sexual partners brings up all kinds of Oedipus stuff that I don’t even want to think about. One of the Countess’ children Ramona Royale–Angela Bassett making her season five debut– broke her heart once by attempting to create her own child  vampire, something the Countess didn’t take kindly to (speaking of which,apparently these vampires can be killed by a bullet to the head). One can only imagine how she is going to react when she finds out that Donovan turned his mother to save her life. Speaking of Oedipal, Donovan dripping his blood into his mother’s mouth was unsettling. Of course, I always find Kathy Bates unsettling which happens when your parents let you watch Misery when you’re nine.

American Horror Story has at times in the past felt like a soap opera but tonight was full on All My Children. Aside from all the mother and son stuff, we also got the Countess’ plan to marry Will Drake and then kill him so that she can have his fortune. What? You’re an immortal vampire, go promise Bill Gates eternal life in exchange for a billion dollars or something. I don’t know it just seems kind of silly in 2015 to play the gold digger card. On top of that Will Drake makes it explicitly clear that he’s gay–oh but I forgot–Lady GaGa is woman enough to turn him straight. American Horror Story has always been a very LGBT friendly show, featuring gay characters in every season and that’s why it’s so sad to see them using a tired cliche like this. If either the marrying for money or the gay guy just needing to find the right woman were supposed to be played ironically or satirically, I didn’t catch it. Less offensive, but still a horrible cliche, was when Scarlett called all the video games in the creepy children’s play room “Nintendo.” It sounds nitpicky I know but seriously, if you have ever had your Grandmother buy you a game for a system you don’t even have because she knows “You like playing the Nintendo” then you can understand my frustration.

The episode wasn’t all bad, Ramona Royale’s flashback to her days as a blaxploitation actress was a welcome bit of comic relief, as was the elevator montage of her and the Countess changing outfits to match the changing years. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to redeem what was easily the weakest episode yet this season.

Random thoughts during the episode:

  • I’m still on the fence about Lady GaGa’s acting chops. Last episode was better but in this one she’s back to the lackluster performance she gave in the pilot.

  • “I thought she was the other one, the Junkie Whore” “Sally?” Geez John, didn’t even have to think about it did you. We know that Sally is a junkie sure, but there’s been no indication so far that she’s a prostitute.

  • Vampires can apparently get high if they drink blood with heroin in it…. I wonder if the countess ever feeds on a caffeine addict when she’s feeling sluggish.

  • Sally to Iris before she agrees to kill her, “Don’t haunt my hallways bitch!” Right, because you’re one to talk.

  • The names of the movies that Angela Bassett’s Ramona Royale starred in were:

Slaughter Sister

Silky Fine

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Bride of Blackenstein

  • Speaking of which, what do they call Angela Bassett’s character in France? A Royale with cheese.


2.5 out of 5