This American Horror Story: Hotel review contains spoilers.
American Horror Story: Season 5, Episode 12
The one thing I didn’t expect from the last episode of Hotel was a happy ending. After the death of the Countess last week I expected the finale to be a showdown between the Lowes and Sally with Liz and Iris caught in the middle. Instead Sally was too busy with her Instagram and Twitter accounts to even remember that she wanted John Lowe dead. Sally embracing social media to fill the hole in her lonely soul was just one of the sweet n’ cheesy resolutions to otherwise horrifying storylines we were treated to.
With the Countess dead, Liz Taylor and Iris take over the Hotel Cortez and try to turn it into a modern four star hotel but those pesky ghosts just won’t stop killing the guests. Liz and Iris decide to make all of their dreams come true in the hope of quenching (or at least distracting) their bloodlust. To that end Sally gets to become a YouTube star, Will Drake becomes a popular fashionista again (am I using that word right? It’s way too late and I am way too tired to look it up) and the rest of the ghosts get to be his fashion models. Liz and Iris get their successful hotel and and Liz gets to meet her granddaughter. But oh no! Liz has cancer! But it’s okay, she wants everyone to kill her so they can all be one big happy ghostly family. And once she dies, her lost love Tristan comes back for the first time since he was killed. Everyone gets what they wanted and lives happily ever after.
Or at least that’s how the first half of the episode ends. After Liz’s half we get to see what John is up to after we jump to Devil’s Night 2022. Billie Dean Howard from season 1 is back and poking around the Hotel Cortez trying to get an interview with the ghost of John Lowe. Yup, old John bites it on the way home from getting some blood for his vampire wife and child. The police pump him full of lead as he tries his darndest to get inside the hotel before he dies.
Though never explicitly stated, apparently John doesn’t make it because he can only see his family once a year on Devil’s Night when serial killer ghosts can roam freely for 24 hours ( I guess it’s only the the non-serial killers that get to do it on Halloween, but wait what about the school shooter kid from season 1 who could only go out on Halloween? This show contradicts itself more than Doctor Who).
But it’s okay, because they all get together in a big bed one night a year including Scarlett (who honestly should have run away from this family the first chance she got and never looked back). So it’s still kind of a happy ending.
“Be Our Guest” contained more wish fulfillment than I have ever seen crammed into one hour (or slightly more) of television. Seriously, I could go on. James March feels at peace and has no more desire for murder now that the ten commandment murders are finished, Donovan winds up in heaven apparently where he sniffs pancakes everyday. It was even hinted that the Countess is going to have a new lover at the very end.
It’s pretty sad that there was so little conflict in the end that they had to bring in a character from an earlier season just to have a little bit of a confrontation.
It’s not that none of these people deserved a happy ending (although most of them admittedly didn’t); it’s just how false a lot of it felt. Why would Ramona stay at the hotel after the Countess died — wasn’t her plan revenge? Why does she feel a familial bond with all these people all of a sudden? Why would Scarlett of all people suggest that the Lowes go “home” to the Cortez? The whole finale felt forced.
And then there are the questions never answered. Who or what was the Drill Dick demon? James March apparently controlled him but why? Aside from being a ghost does March have some dark magic or something? What was up with Sally sewing people up in mattresses? If John died on the steps of the hotel how come he can only be with his family one night a year? They can step outside and visit him whenever they want. But I digress.
This season of American Horror Story wasn’t very good but there were very good things about it. Denis O’Hare’s performance as Liz Taylor was the best, most sympathetic depiction of a trans character I have ever seen. His acting in general was award worthy. Evan Peters was almost equally good as James March. The general visual tone of the show remains stellar. However…
They really need to replace Lady Gaga, put in more horror and less drama. Jessica Lange and Emma Roberts were sorely missed this season but fingers crossed that maybe they come back next year.
This has been my first regular gig reviewing a show from week to week. It was an interesting ride and I thank the readers that rode shotgun.
Random Thoughts About Tonight’s Episode:
Skype means ghosts can finally interact with people outside the hotel.
Double the Sarah Paulson did not double my enjoyment of the finale. I may be in the minority but she’s kind of hit and miss for me.
The Countess coming back to help Liz “transition” one last time was one of the one truly heartwarming moments of the episode and an actual serviceable performance from Gaga.
The future looks a lot like the present.
Beat lines of the night:
“Doesn’t that just make you wanna take a dump?”
“You’re my family, I want to be with you forever”
“Hack me, bludgeon me, surprise me!”
“Have to make it back to the hotel!”
“You have a jawline for days”