The season finale of AHS: Hotel brings us to tears and gives the season a good close.
After another very long and taxing season of American Horror Story, we are yet again left slightly pleased and greatly disappointed. After a roller coaster of good and absolutely bad episodes, we have finally (and hopefully) put Hotel Cortez in the past.
As for the finale, it can only be described in one word: emotional. So many things went on that made us a little not OK. But, regardless of a decent finale, if it wasn’t for the fabulosity that is Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare), the episode and the whole season for that matter, would have been a complete bust. The emotional and physical complexity of her made the show complete, while the rest of cast were just static killers.
Now for the recap:
In “Be Our Guest,” Liz, now running the hotel with the help of Iris (Kathy Bates), is reminiscing on the transformation of the hotel from a murder paradise to the family friendly, posh hotel it is now. Their first guests as a reborn hotel are two prestigious travel bloggers who are impressed by the change the hotel has gone through. After taking them to their new room and giving them champagne, Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson) materializes in their room and talks about the restoration of the hotel. She pulls out one of her grosky needles, and one of the bloggers tells her to get out. She then stabs him in the heart with the syringe in true Sally style, and the other blogger runs down the hallway away from her.
She encounters Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson), and who is just getting used to the murder thing, stabs her with a knife. When Iris and Liz find out, they are pissed and appalled at the continuing murders of the ghosts because it’s ruining their business. They decide that their best plan of action is to have a meeting with the ghosts and to tell them to stop killing. Cause, you know, after 60 plus years of murder they would just stop if someone told them to.
Liz and Iris host a meeting at the lavish bar and beg them to stop killing, which receives harsh criticism. It mostly comes from Sally, who says that killing is the only thing that gives her life. Will is also hesitant because he is so new at the “sport.” Just as a large argument ensues, James March (Evan Peters) comes out and tells the ghosts they really need to stop killing. Sally freaks out on March, and he quickly shuts her up by referring to what happened last time she didn’t listen to him (an evening with the boiled cabbage drill-wielding guy).
They talk about how they need to make it a real business, or new owners will come and take over the hotel or worse. March also states that if they wait until 2026, the Cortez will become a historical site and cannot be torn down. Sally, still as bitchy as usual, storms off in a tussy.
Iris goes to Sally’s room with a bottle of champagne to make her feel better. She observes that Sally hasn’t been the same since John Lowe (Wes Bentley) left and that she truly loved him. Sally bitchily tells Iris that Iris doesn’t understand her pain, and the only way she can feel good is if she brings others to where she is (i.e. killing them). Iris decides that her best plan of action is to introduce Sally to the world of the Internet and social media with a strategically placed iPhone. Almost overnight, she becomes a total IG and Twitter celebrity, with her pictures of needles and sad faces. Angsty teenagers love nothing more than the heroin addicted ghost version of Courtney Love.
After about a year, Will is pissed about the state of his empire. After dying, he had no one to leave his business to and had no prodigies to teach his designs to. He has no heir to take over, (Lachlan is like 8 years old). Will asks people what they think happened to him, and there are ridiculous rumors going around about him. Liz has a fantastic idea to restart the line with her at the head of the company, but still has Will sketch the designs. Liz goes to the couture house’s headquarters and tells all the crotchety old businessmen that Will has left her in charge and fires all the haters in true Liz fashion. She helps build the company into an art-deco remake, with exclusive shows held at the Cortez by invitation only. She is more fabulous than ever.
With all of Liz’s fabulous success, she still misses Tristan after his unfortunate death. Iris decides to invite Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson), the psychic from Murder House, to help Liz talk to Tristan. She comes and sifts through a sea of voices to finally get to Tristan, where he tells Liz “no” when she wants to talk to him. Liz is heartbroken and thinks that he still blames her for his death. While talking, Donovan (Matt Bomer) gets through to Iris and tells her how he is in the afterlife, and every morning is Saturday morning with blueberry pancakes and that he loves her. Liz, although devastated at the fact that Tristan won’t talk to her, decides to take her life head-on and keep going. She rekindles a relationship with her son Douglas and his family and is even present for the birth of her granddaughter.
After spending time with her family, who help her forget Tristan for the time being, she discovers that she is terminally ill with prostate cancer that has spread to her spine. Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett) says she can turn her, and Will offers to pay for treatment, but Liz says she wants to die in the hotel with her real family. Liz, who completely turned the hotel around after the reign of Gaga, has become a mother for the all of the ghosts and has completely turned most of their afterlives around. Liz decides that she wants them to all murder her at once, in true Cortez fashion, so she can live with them as a ghost forever.
Right before the festivities are about to take place, Gaga walks in and calls Liz her finest and favorite creation. It is the first time Liz has seen her since her death, along with most of the ghosts. Gaga wants to be there for her spirit to arise and slices her throat open. Liz is reborn again as the most fabulous spirit in history. When she rises as a ghost, her first visitor is her beloved Tristan. He tells her that the reason he wouldn’t talk to her is because she had so much more life to live, and he didn’t want to interfere. He just wanted her to live a complete, happy life. And they lived happily ever after, giving one of the best endings ever to a great character. We applaud you for once, Ryan Murphy, for doing something right.
Many years later, on Oct. 30, 2022 (Devil’s Night), a guest checks into the hotel after numerous Lifetime specials on the ghosts in the hotel by Billie Dean. While Iris is at the front desk, John Lowe walks in for the annual Devil’s Night dinner with the various other serial killers. With the consultation of Ramona and Iris, John decides to talk to the psychic after her attempt to contact the Ten Commandments Killer many times. She asks various questions, especially if his family knew if he was a serial killer. He flashes back to when he was alive, and when he attempted to provide for his kids and Alex (Chloë Sevigny). He wasn’t able to, so they left him. Scarlett (Shree Crooks) tells him that the best thing would be for all of them to move back to the Cortez, except for her. She goes off to a boarding school, and the family is left at the Cortez. John was able to provide for them for a while until he was caught by police on the steps to the hotel. He was unable to be reborn into a spirit because of that and now can only return to see his family on Devil’s Night. Billie Dean asks why that night is so special for him, and he says he can show her if she leaves the cameras behind.
John takes Billie to the party and introduces her to the various serial killers in the room. She slowly realizes who they all are and is completely shocked, but has the “white light” spirit to protect her. John gives her absinthe to drink and becomes ill from the dark energy coming at her. All of that is very confusing and isn’t given a clear explanation — like we’re all supposed to be psychic experts or something. The white light is not able to defend her anymore and turns into the ghosts plaything. They tell her if she never mentions the hotel again they will let her go and not kill her, but she doesn’t believe them because they cannot leave the hotel. When she rushes out of the place, Ramona comes up and tells her that she can still kill her if they can’t. Billie Dean leaves as soon as she is threatened by Ramona, never to return again.
John leaves the party and goes to his old room, where he is greeted by Scarlett, now much older. Every year she comes for a while to visit her family. They all lay in bed together (except for grown Scarlett on a chair) and spend time as a family. Even though the majority of the family is practically dead, they can still all spend time together one last time.
Fast forward to the future, and Gaga is sitting at the bar with a hot hunk by her. She talks to him and notices his jaw. The season ends with the typical Elizabeth quote, “You have a jawline for days.” And that is AHS: Hotel.
I have to say, after the majority of the season being mediocre, the ending was good. Maybe it was because Liz was the star of the show, or the fact that no (important) ends were left open. Bringing back Billie Dean still doesn’t make much sense, and neither did the double characters as one actor thing, but overall, the season wasn’t as much as a disappointment as Freak Show. Hopefully next season will reflect our love for Murder House. Until then, stay tuned.