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Review: American Horror Story Hotel: Mommy

One of the biggest problems with this new season of AHS is a larger cast (i.e. regulars) than ever before. While this in itself is not really an issue, it’s how disconnected they are that is making this season such a slow burn. In previous seasons the cast (particularly the main 5) have been interconnected or at least interacted with each other. There’s a huge lack of connection between the characters in Hotel. Very little seems to be at stake and it feels as though we’re just moving from one narrative to another without a real sense sympathy (or even empathy). It makes it hard to care what happens to the character when there’s not much about them we can latch on to.

The third episode brings us three plots that need a lot more development. First, the family/cop drama of Detective Lowe is continuing on as per usual. The serial killer has struck again, this time killing the entirety of employees at a gossip website (thou shalt not bear false witness…). There are no hints as to who the killer may be. At home, the detective must grapple with the inevitability of divorce, while his wife comes face-to-face with her missing son.

Meanwhile, Donovan, having being cast aside by The Countess, is preparing to leave but has to deal with his mother, Iris, as she tries to tag along. All Iris wants is to save her son and see him well but he cannot stand the sight of her. We do get some backstory that tries to explain how they got here: a no-good father. Donovan has such positive memories of his father that even Iris’s truth can’t change his mind. It’s like the plot to Riding in Cars With Boys except darker and more messed up. This all leads to the climax of Iris trying to take her own life (Donovan’s suggestion) with the help of Hypodermic Sally (who is turning out to be quite the grim reaper).

Lastly, The Countess is scheming. We learn she lost all her wealth decades ago and now that the hotel has a rich new owner (Will Drake) she wants it all back. So she temporarily lets go of new boytoy Tristan while she seduces and eventually marries (then kill) Will. Did someone say bad romance? This gives Tristan time to pursue his newest passion (murder) with James Patrick March. Side note: Evan Peter’s accent still needs work.

Gaga is actually turning out to be one of the better features of the show. Not because of her storyline, which is introductory-level vampire plot, but because she’s just an interesting person to watch. Her costumes are glamorous and elaborate, as always, and she just sticks in your mind more than the others. Whether her story will ultimately pay off is still up in the air but she’s someone to watch.

The best thing in this episode was the introduction of Angela Bassett’s new character, Ramona Royale. An actress in the blacksploitation era of the 1970s turned into a vampire by The Countess then tossed aside, Ramona has a vendetta. She wants to hurt the Countess by taking away her creepy vampire children. As soon as Bassett came on screen the episode lifted in quality. Definitely keep an eye on her.

There’s still time for Hotel to get its act together and maybe once we have all the more charismatic characters on screen things will finally get going like they’re supposed to.

 

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