‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Finale Recap: ‘Be Our Guest’
This is it. This is the last time we all shall be checking in to the Hotel Cortez.
As a connoisseur of all things Ryan Murphy, I knew way back when this season started that it would be a trainwreck, exactly like every other show he has ever done. There were plotlines dropped, underdeveloped characters and unnecessary sex scenes, but Ryan Murphy is at his best when it comes to finales.
The final episode of American Horror Story: Hotel opens with a faboosh Liz Taylor voiceover, and a shot of her neck being slit with what seems to be the Countess’ finger. Nothing like coming in guns hot.
We go back, way back, back in time to find out that the dynamic, pistol-dueling duo of Liz and Iris now run the hotel, thanks in part to money acquired from liquidating The Countess’ assets. They’ve made it their lot in life to revamp the hotel and make it a real hotel, as opposed to a rotting cesspool of death like it had been all season. So, they redo the rooms with sheets of Egyptian cotton and Japanese toilets, and while the hotel might get a 4 star review on Expedia or Yelp, there is still a huge problem: it’s inhabited by murderous ghosts. And these ghosts keep killing the guests, which is not helping Iris and Liz’s plan of hotel rehabilitation.
Liz decides that she ain’t got no time for that, and gathers all her paranormal pals in order to try and resolve the whole 'killing guests' issue. There are the annoying Swedish girls from the season opener, the gay lumberjack who died after a bad Grindr date, as well as Miss Evers, Sally, and Will Drake, with Sally and Will being the not-so-friendly murderous ghosts. Mr. March comes to the party as a means to round up his ghost devotees, and there is a loose agreement made between the living and the dead that the killings shall stop so that they all may remain in the hotel without being bothered by the media or the cops.
Sally and her tears are bitter because she’s miserable, like she has been all season. She whines and whines and whines about how she has no connection to life and no love and, in typical meta Murphy fashion, AHS decides to turn Sally into a social media junkie. So instead of shooting up with heroin, she gets her fix from Instagram likes and retweets. She finds her connection to the outside world through technology and social media and for the first time in twelve episodes, Sally smiles and her story is resolved.
Since Will is also murdering people, Liz takes it upon herself to fix this little problem. Will is currently the star of the Cortez’s one man rendition of Les Mis and is moping about the hotel, crying about how his empire has skydived into financial ruin. He too, like Sally, yearns for a life outside the walls and Liz has the perfect idea. Since the world thinks Will Drake has disappeared and not died, it provides the perfect story for the media. With Liz as the face of the brand, she and Will relaunch the company from financial ruin into a art deco juggernaut once again. Using the ghosts as models and banning photography and reporters, this bizarre-ass plan works. I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as how this show started out with bodies emerging from a sewn up mattress, but I digress.
While Liz is happy with life, she’s still missing the most important thing: Tristan. Iris has a way to fix all that and brings in some outside help in the form of Billie Dean Howard, Sarah Paulson’s medium character from season one of American Horror Story. No, your eyes are not bugging out: Sally and this new lady are both played by the same actress.
Miss Howard is brought to the hotel in hopes of communicating with Tristan on behalf of Liz. Billie makes contact, but Tristan and says he has nothing to say to Liz breaking her heart once again (HASN’T THIS WOMAN BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH?!). You know who does have something to say, though? Donovan! Yes, Iris’s bitch of a son reaches out to tell his mother that he has happy now and he loves her. Iris gets her happy ending, and it seems as if everyone is meant to find theirs in this finale.
So what about Liz? After trying and failing to connect with her deceased lover, her life trudges on. She becomes a grandmother, and though it doesn’t fill the void Tristan left, it helps Liz believe in the power of love and life again.
Of course, in the next scene we find out that Liz is sick with colon cancer and it’s untreatable, so she’s dying. And now I will ask again: HASN’T THIS WOMAN BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH!? Deciding that she doesn’t want to die by chemo and cancer, she turns to her ghost friends to kill her so that she may remain with her family in the walls of the hotel. They all oblige and pick up their weapons, but before the macabre murder party can commence, The Countess comes to kill Liz (marking Gaga’s first appearance all episode). She slits Liz’s throat and so she dies, only to come back as the most fabulous ghost on the west coast.
Finally, upon her death, Liz is reunited with Tristan and they can finally love each other the way they were meant to. Shut up, I’m not crying, you’re crying!
Now if Ryan Murphy chose to end the finale here, I would have been perfectly content, but he doesn’t, so now I’m angry: We fast forward to October 30th, 2022. Normally, not a special date, but in American Horror Story lore, this is Devil’s Night.
Billie Dean and her medium antics have turned the hotel in a sort of side show attraction, and none of the inhabitants are pleased. Cue John Lowe. Yes, the only character/story line no one has cared about all season has reared its head again.
Through some weird post-death Oprah interview between Billie Dean and John, we learn that he has died, but outside the halls of the hotel so he is not stuck there like everyone else. (This also explains why he only comes back to the hotel on Devil’s Night.)
After absconding with his family for some time, the entire Lowe clan, including dumb wife Alex and creepy child Holden, return to the hotel knowing they cannot run forever. After his completion of the Ten Commandments, John continued to kill, eventually getting caught and gunned down right outside the hotel.
In an effort to scare Billie Dean from the hotel and restore some form of peace, John Lowe takes her as his special guest to the Devil's Night dinner. There, she is acquainted with all the prolific murderers over the years — the same group of degenerates John was introduced to several episodes ago. They threaten to kill her if she doesn’t leave the hotel, so like any sane woman, Billie Dean runs out quicker than Scooby and Shaggy running away from a ghost.
Completing his mission, John goes to bed with his family, Scarlet included, who is the only Lowe with a sound mind and has since lived a normal life. So with his family next to him, John falls asleep and he gets his happy ending as well.
Now since this whole season has been about Lady Gaga, we get one final scene, which I can only imagine was included so that we could collectively go “Yaaaaaaaas Gaga!” one last time.
Clad in a huge diamond necklace and a blue dress that barely covers her nipples, we see The Countess sit in the bar living out her dead days with a drink in hand. A beautiful man walks in (who at first glance I swore was Donovan) and sits at the bar, and The Countess, being the seductive woman of the night, saddles up next to him.
This season can only be described as a scene straight out of Lady Gaga fan-fiction: The Countess taking this handsome man’s face in her hands and utters the words “You have a jawline for days," just like she did in the season premiere.
That’s all folks! We have officially checked out the Hotel Cortez and now we have to say goodbye to all our ghostly friends, never to return again. For those of you who have kept up with my incessant rambling while I wrote these recaps, thank you.
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