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‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Recap ‘Mommy’

It’s all about the children this season. And unfortunately, all of the children we’re meeting on this show have been neglected in some way. What comes of neglected children? Whether they are grown children like Donovan or mere babies like Holden, AHS is making it perfectly clear that neglect breeds tragedy.

This episode, we hear Alex give a heart wrenching account of how much her love for Holden grew with each passing moment of his short life. But her love is no ordinary mother’s love for her child; it goes way beyond the norm. She is wholly consumed by her love for Holden. Alex paints herself as an attentive mother who is positively overwhelmed by motherhood. She is obsessed, addicted.

Yet, despite all of that, Holden is counted among the neglected. In fact, isn’t that why he’s at the Cortez? Isn’t it a place for the lost, the lonely, and the neglected? If it is, then how and why was Holden being neglected prior to his disappearance? And if neglect is a parenting pattern for the Lowes, then Scarlett may not be far behind.

In Alex’s recounting of the birth and life of Holden, she is sure to let us know that her love for Scarlett is entirely different. The mother’s love she feels for Scarlett is barely there; it pales in comparison to her love for Holden. Unfortunately for Scarlett, her dad is too caught up in his own grief and depression to really see her.

In Donovan’s case, neglect was a different animal altogether. Iris, who perceives herself to be a loving and doting mother, struggled to find herself after her husband hightailed it out of their lives. In the years following, Donovan struggled to be seen, coming in second to cult-like practices and vegan eating habits. In times of emotional ease, Iris stifled Donovan’s growth by being something of a helicopter parent.

All in all, what resulted in the Iris/Donovan situation was a junkie kid whose overcompensating mom went to great lengths to protect him. But Donovan was always too far gone to see that his mom really did care. It’s only when he’s faced with her impending death that he comes to this realization, which inspires him to infect Iris. It’s a snap decision that, perhaps, he doesn’t realize the repercussions of…but in that moment, his love for his mother trumps any consequences he might face later.

Now that we’ve got the mother-child stuff out of the way, let’s have a go at Ramona. First, let me just say that I’m uber excited to see Angela Basset once again this season. And I’m even more excited that her character will be rivaling that of Lady Gaga’s. The sequence that detailed Ramona’s and the Countess’ long history was a very nicely done piece of work. The Pam Grier and Blaxploitation references throughout that sequence were top notch. The love affair between the two characters was unexpected but perfectly fitting, and I found this to be another great reference to that 1983 film The Hunger. I’m not sure who to root for in this situation but whatever happens, I’m down for the ride.

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Tara Martinez

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Tara Martinez is a New York-based writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.