The third episode of the season, “Mommy,” brings along another history-filled installment— though when it is the introduction of Angela Bassett’s fierce Ramona Royale, who may be the one to finally match the Countess, it is welcome.
Though the episode starts off with the men of Hotel Cortez, it doesn’t focus on them for long. It turns out Tristan Duffy (Finn Wittrock) has taken a liking to killing since his first murder, and has even become a self-proclaimed fan of serial killer James March (Evan Peters).
Meanwhile, Alex Lowe (Chloe Sevigny) is dealing with a child patient who contracted measles after his mother wouldn’t vaccinate him. Alex had a troubled childhood, so she devotes herself to children, though none more than her missing son, Holden. Alex says she loved him more than anyone else, even more than her husband, John, or her daughter, Scarlett.
It’s clear Alex’s addiction, as everyone on the show seems to have one, is Holden, and she can’t bear to live without him. In a flashback, we even see her slit her wrists in a bathtub after his disappearance, only to be found by John.
After that comes the next Hotel Cortez victim. Claudia (Naomi Campbell) is killed after a man emerges from her mattress and stabs her to death. We later find out the man was trying to kill Sally, not Claudia.
John is thrown another curveball when Alex stops by to serve him with divorce papers. He becomes hysterical and begs her to stay. She does for a while, but leaves after he suggests they have another baby. And, because no one is really ever dead at the Hotel Cortez, she runs into Claudia, who, even in death, manages to insult her outfit. More significantly though, Alex sees Holden, who doesn’t run when he sees her: He simply greets her with a chilling “Hi, Mommy.”
The episode reaches its peak with the introduction of Ramona. Donovan finds her on the street, and it is presumed she will be his next victim. Ramona, however, turns it around and takes him, with Donovan later waking up in a contraption that drains his blood. Ramona is out for revenge and wants to use Donovan to do it.
Ramona was a past lover of the Countess. A former movie star who struggled to break out of ’70s films because of Hollywood racism, she put her career in the backseat for her relationship with the Countess, who gave her the ancient blood virus. Their relationship lasted for years until Ramona found herself attracted to a rapper who was staying at the Hotel Cortez.
She went on to have an affair with him, saying that he was the “great love of her life,” not the Countess. When the Countess finds out, she’s furious and murders him in cold blood, right in front of Ramona.
The episode ends with Iris taking enough heroine from Sally to “kill a whole marching band.” Donovan finally realizes she is all he has and saves her life by giving her his blood.
Season five is getting better and darker as it progresses through the weeks. If you have not checked into “Hotel,” it’s not too late.