Recaps

American Horror Story: Hotel “Be Our Guest”

Was that really the season finale of American Horror Story: Hotel? I ask because it sure didn’t feel like one. Instead of a powerhouse ending, we were given an episode that focused too much on a character from another season, giving the majority of the characters happy endings, and leaving us with so many questions that it’s hard to know what truly mattered this season. The only upside to this mediocre finale, titled “Be Our Guest,” was the stunning performance by Denis O’Hare.

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

O’Hare delivered a consistent performance full of love, empathy, and some fabulous outfits. Liz Taylor truly became the heart and soul of the season. As much as I’ve loved watching this character, I was a bit surprised to see so much of the finale focused on her. As Liz and Iris took control of the hotel and renovated it, they still needed to deal with the ghosts still killing the guests. In a weird character twist, March couldn’t have agreed more. In 2026, the Hotel Cortez could become a historical landmark, meaning the souls stuck there could continue to have a place to call home. If the hotel were to be shut down and be demolished, what would become of them?

To give Sally purpose, other than killing, Iris connected Sally to the outside world via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. While I think it’s entirely possible someone like Sally could find some fulfillment through social media, I don’t buy that this would completely cure her of her loneliness and bloodlust. Where was the follow-through with this character? What would have happened had March sent the strap-on, drill-bit demon after her? Why didn’t she make good on her promise to kill John once he returned to the hotel?

Liz managed to stop Will from killing by giving him purpose through his clothing line again. Since Will couldn’t leave the hotel, Liz became the face of the company. Even though time passed, and Liz found new side to herself, she still couldn’t help but miss Tristan. Here’s where I rolled my eyes for the remainder of the episode: Billie Dean Howard (from AHS: Murder House) was hired by Iris to come to the hotel to help Liz connect to Tristan. While I found Liz’s sadness and Iris’ spiritual connection to Donovan okay to touch upon, I didn’t like how the show used the Billie character after that scene.

After Liz got the news she had prostate cancer, she decided she wanted to die with dignity at the hands of her ghostly family in the hotel, so she could be with them forever. As Liz’s friends were about to kill her, in walked the Countess, who had decided to hide herself. With a slice to the throat, Liz became another Hotel Cortez ghost. Thankfully, Liz was able to finally reunite with Tristan. In the most touching scene of the finale, Tristan admitted that he only kept his distance because Liz still had more life to lead. Let’s all give a collective AWE!

Now here’s where I have to give an UGH! The rest of the finale played out in such a bizarre, underwhelming way. We skipped ahead to October 30, 2022 where the Hotel Cortez had become a hotspot for the supernatural obsessed. Billie Dean Howard conducted a television special every year on this night to try to connect to John, aka The Ten Commandments Killer. As we saw play out, John and his family went on the run for a while before returning to the Cortez. One night, John was heading back to the hotel with blood bags for Alex and Holden when the police shot and killed him outside.

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

When Billie finally made contact with John, he told her his tale and invited her to see why he returns to the hotel every October 30th. Billie quickly learned what Devil’s Night was when she became the guest of honor at March’s annual serial killers dinner party. The group of notorious psychopaths threatened Billie that if she ever returned to the hotel, they would kill her. If she ever mentioned the hotel to anyone on the outside ever again, they would send Ramona after her. This is all well and good, but why did we spend a major part of the season finale focused on a character who didn’t even belong in this storyline? Billie was from Season 1. The episode would have been better served had we focused more on the characters we were supposed to be caring about.

The remainder of the episode played out quietly as John met up with his now grown daughter, Scarlet, who had stayed awake waiting for him as her un-aged mother and brother slept in bed. Devil’s Night is the one night a year that the entire family can be reunited. Downstairs in the hotel bar, the Countess was flirting with a new handsome gentleman. Then…. that was it. Seriously, that was it?

I have to ask myself the question because nothing about this episode felt like a finale other than Liz earning her well-deserved happy ending. I’m not saying everything needed to be tied in a neat bow, but there could have been so much more follow-through on plot points that were thrown to the waste side. Here’s a run down of some of the questions I still have:

  • What happened between the Countess and March? Does March make her have dinner with him every day, year after year?
  • What happened with the Countess’ monster son?
  • Why did the Countess hide herself way for so many years?
  • Did March and Ms. Evers make up?
  • How did Will explain his absence to his son?
  • What the hell happened to Iris during the last part of the episode? Did she leave the hotel or kill herself too?
  • Do Alex and Holden live at the hotel full time or are they still on the run?
  • How does Scarlet live on her own? How does she take care of herself?
  • Why would Ramona care about protecting the hotel? Was she still in love with the Countess and wanted her soul protected inside the hotel?
  • What would happen to Sally once her electronic items got too old and she could not longer properly communicate? Did she ever find a soul mate?
  • Why did the writers choose not to kill any of the bad guys, or at least give them some consequences for their actions?
  • What the hell was up with the strap-on, drill-bit demon?!?!?!

I love it when a finale has an air of ambiguity to it, but this was too much. The entire season felt adrift and incoherent. The themes were all over the place (addiction, religion, desire, loneliness, etc.). There were far too many characters and plot lines that weren’t really needed, especially the ones brought in from other seasons. Also, having the same actor play two different roles within one season was too much. While I understand that Billie Dean Howard and Sally are two different characters, they are both embodied by Sarah Paulson which plays out weirdly when she portrays both characters in the same episode. Overall, this was one of the most disappointing season finales I’ve seen on this show.

A pattern has emerged over the last few seasons: I have high hopes as the season begins, I start to lose faith somewhere in the middle, and I am left completely disappointed by the end. It’s a vicious, perpetual cycle I can’t seem to escape. This series is like an ex-boyfriend I keep running back to. What can I say? I wish I knew how to quit you!

American Horror Story will return in late 2016 on FX.

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One Comment

  1. Anne moore says:

    I feel exactly the same way…so unsatisfied. The theme of this season was too strong and so many unanswered questions and unnecessary scenes. Too many characters and it seems like the writer didn’t know how to end it anymore. I’m not ok with the season and I felt a little the same about freakshow.

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