This week's instalment of American Horror Story Season 5 was less about blood and more about the blood ties of family. And in Episode 3, Matt Bomer's Donovan showed us who his "Mommy" really is
Less pillory, more plot in this week's Episode 3 of American Horror Story, Hotel. After last week's Episode 2 plunged us into the building with a heart as black as the ace of spades and characters with souls impermeable as polished granite, this week saw a shift in tone, showing us that hearts sometimes bleed as well. After a brief, disjunctive narrative voice-over from Alex Lowe, Detective John Lowe's chagrined wife whom we've so often heard about but rarely from, we dive back deep into the Hotel that houses the shell of her long-lost son Holden, for whom she felt "a once in a lifetime love" before he disappeared. At the building, Detective Lowe himself encounters the ravaged needle monger from the first episode covered in blood that's not his. Before he croaks on a hospital gurney, he tells John Lowe: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to kill her. I thought it was the other one, the junkie whore." That junkie whore has a name, and it's Hypodermic Sally! When Lowe intercepts her later at Cortez, she coyly mentions "that shit-don't-stink fashion editor" played by Naomi Campbell "checked out" before nonchalantly glossing the Ten Commandments. And just like that, we plunge once again into this season's exquisite enterprise of 'killing god' which began with the Hotel's original owner, James Patrick March, the real life serial killer of the Hotel Cortez.
With a brief and inconsistent nod to the Ten Commandments Killer, this time reeking oral justice upon a gossip magazine that bore "false witness" and "trafficked in lies," American Horror Story relaxes into its soap opera mood by exploring the subtextually incestuous relationship between Donovan and his "Mommy" Iris. Rebuffed and homeless from Hotel, Donovan subsists on a diet of junkie blood, the impurest, ickiest blood of them all. As he haunts the derelict LA fare in search of his next fix, he stumbles into Ramona Royale the aspiring ex-actress and the Countess' former lover, who promptly tazes and stows him in her back trunk. In a flashback we learn that Royale, played by Angela Bassett, fell in love with an up-and-coming LA rapper and immediately turned him, to which Lady Gaga's the Countess responded with a slug in the newly-immortal vampire's skull. But now the bitch is back and in search of revenge. But when Donovan tells Ramona he was also just dumped by the Queen of Cortez, depriving Ramona of her "someone on the inside," the lesser drama queen promptly unbuckles Donny from the disconcertingly clinical blood purifying machine she'd strapped him to, telling him: "You can go."
So baby Donny flies back to Hotel Cortez, suddenly cognizant of the job prospects of someone who has an inexplicable 20-year employment gap in his resume and no one in this world but a doting mother to turn to, who's now made good on his advice to go kill and herself. When Donovan bangs on Iris' door at the end of the episode, he finds Hypodermic Sally in her element: helping others ruin their lives. When he sees Iris lifeless on the bed with a plastic bag over her head, he does the only thing he knows how and delivers "some twisted poetic justice" by cutting his own arm and feeding her his blood, not only bringing her back to a life she didn't want to continue living, but obliging her to live it for eternity. Now that's a good son! And not to get lost on the lost mother theme, we pick up the Lowe-Holden thread from the beginning of the episode with Alex showing up at the Hotel Cortez for the first time to find her husband in the throes of insanity. After calming him down for long enough to serve him divorce papers, Alex wanders into the corridors of the Hotel backed by an eerie post-minimalist synth soundtrack (always an ill-advised move.) As she snakes her way through the labyrinthine halls, she catches sight of an impish figure from a distance who, when she approaches, looks sharply up with those crystalline blue eyes and platinum locks, saying: "Hi, Mommy." When will somebody just call the police on the Hotel already?!