Right off the cuff it bears repeating that “Hotel” is hands down the darkest season of “American Horror Story” to date. So dark, in fact, that many people – even diehard fans, are a little put off by it. The third episode, aptly titled “Mommy,” aired on Oct. 21 and finds several characters falling deeper into the black abyss of the twisted, pulsating world of the House that Mr. March (Evan Peters) Built aka Hotel Cortez. Among them are Detective Lowes (Wes Bentley), his wife Alex (Chloe Sevigny), Donovan (Matt Bomer) and Tristan (Finn Wittrock).
If buildings were living beings (and the Hotel Cortez arguably is) Hotel Cortez is a much bigger, darker, evil cousin of AHS season one’s “Murder House.” Both of them are haunted by trapped, tortured souls who were sucked into a very violent vortex with no way to escape. It’s easy to draw the conclusion that Hotel Cortez and Murder House are not only architectural structures but facets of another supernatural dimension in the time-space continuum. Hell is the first place that springs to mind or something very close to it.
Merriam-Webster defines “horror” as “a very strong feeling of fear, dread and shock.” “American Horror Story: Hotel” packs plenty of that and more. The complex souls inhabiting the halls of Hotel Cortez have layers upon layers of quirks, motivation and essence that only a cast as skilled as those contractually abiding in Murphy-Falchuk Land can unveil in such a raw, fascinating way. That’s what makes “American Horror Story” such a magnetizing masterpiece.
Like a group of perfectly-synced exotic dancers, the cast peels off character traits like provocative articles of clothing in a painstakingly careful, tantalizing way before getting down to the bare bones of it all. In short, these actors are experts at teasing us. They shock us and maybe even revile us, but somehow manage to leave us desperately wanting more. Most of all, we want to know how these people are related to everyone else in the “American Horror Story” lineage. We know per Ryan Murphy himself that every season is somehow connected; which means the people must be connected too.
Finn Wittrock scared most of us to death as Dandy in “Freak Show.” Dandy bathed in his victims’ blood and now Wittrock’s “Hotel” character Tristan is drinking it. It also appears Tristan is striking a deal with the devil by signing up to carry on Mr. March’s murderous legacy. Dandy also furthered Twisty the Clown’s deadly agenda. Is there a connection?
Angela Bassett’s “Coven” character Marie Laveau gave up her child to Papa Legba and Ramona Royale sold herself out to The Countess. Do all of these strange parallels mean anything? Or, are we merely spinning speculative wheels?
It’s still entirely possible Mr. March built Murder House for Dr. Charles Montgomery. An Eonline AHS theory article revealed Gaga recently filmed at season one’s Murder House and the Countess was sporting a baby bump. The theory suggests Constance Langdon (from season one) is the daughter of the Countess and Mr. March and that Alex from “Hotel” is the Countess’ great-granddaughter. This would also mean Tate (Evan Peters’ character from season one) is March’s grandson. How crazy (but brilliant) would this be?
Let’s not forget Infantata from season one also drank blood. This can’t just be a coincidence, can it? Anything is possible in “American Horror Story’s” dark and devious landscape. It remains a stroke of creative genius that all of these stories are interconnected. But, let’s get back to the season at hand …
Gaga’s Countess is out for blood and money and she won’t stop till she gets exactly what she wants. She’s also jealous and a control freak and a fabulous fashion diva. She’s dark, dangerous and totally untrustworthy. Kidnapping innocent children is simply terrifying. But, are these kids truly innocent? Are they related to her in a deeper way that has yet to be revealed? Did the Countess kidnap Charles and Nora’s baby from season one’s Murder House? What other secrets is she harboring?
Sally (Sarah Paulson) makes a very interesting comment to Iris (Kathy Bates) before carrying out her death wish. She says she hopes Iris doesn’t have any “unfinished business” because she doesn’t want to be haunted by her there. Folklore suggests that ghosts linger in a place because their spirits are tortured by something that won’t allow them to move on to a final resting place. What unfinished business does Sally have? Her spirit is obviously hanging around the Hotel Cortez. But why? Plus, her face is constantly wet with tears. What caused Sally such terrible sorrow?
The addiction demon is a monkey on Sally’s back. What led her down that path? What is the ultimate source of her inner pain? Why did she taunt Detective Lowe about The Ten Commandments? Here’s another wild theory: Is Tate’s offspring (Constance’s grandson) who is also known as “the antichrist child” somehow connected to these grisly Ten Commandments-themed murders?
As for Donovan, he’s nearing a breakdown when he revives the mother he claimed to hate with his anti-aging blood. What fueled Donovan’s hatred of Iris? What secrets is she hiding? Secrets, of course, are perfect grounds for “unfinished business.” Something tells us that it’s going to be hard for Donovan to suddenly transform into a doting son.
Furthermore, Donovan doesn’t like being shunned by the Countess. He’s out for blood, literally and figuratively. Has he put himself in grave danger, though, by “turning” his mother? Something tells us the Countess isn’t going to be happy if and when she finds out what he did. Have we already mentioned that Matt Bomer is slaying his portrayal of Donovan? We didn’t know someone so pretty could be so utterly ruthless … but we love it!
Finally, Chloe Sevigny is also rocking her role as a heartbroken mother. Who else finds her attachment to Holden somewhat creepy? Yes, parental love is all-consuming. But there is something oddly unhealthy about Alex’s relationship to her son. Holden’s “Hi Mommy” when they meet in the hallway is chilling. Constance favored Tate as her “beautiful” child despite the fact that he was a sociopath. Holden is blond like his mother (and the Countess, Constance and Tate). Is Alex’s weirdly-strong bond due to some twisted familial genes?
There are so many questions floating around in “American Horror Story: Hotel’s” blood-soaked halls. Maybe “American Horror Story” as a whole is putting a lens on what happens when evil climbs up through the roots of a family tree, branches off and gets stronger because the cycle of terror is never broken. Just a thought. For now, we’ll keep anxiously waiting (with the lights on) for some answers. Feel free to add your own thoughts and theories in the comments below.
“American Horror Story: Hotel” airs on FX on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.