American Horror Story: Hotel Review – “Be Our Guest”
Liz and Iris try to make a living at the Hotel Cortez while the dead block them at every move.
January 13, 2014
John J. Gray
Lady Gaga as The Countess
Kathy Bates as Iris
Sarah Paulson as Sally
Evan Peters as James Patrick March
Wes Bently as John Lowe
Matt Bomer as Donovan
Chloe Sevigny as Alex Lowe
Denis O'Hare as Liz Taylor
Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake
Angela Bassett as Ramona Royale
Special Guest Stars:
Mare Winningham as Hazel Evers
Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie
Finn Wittrock as Tristan Duffy
Lily Rabe as Aileen Wuornos
Christine Estabrook as Marcy
John Carroll Lynch as John Wayne Gacy
Seth Gabel as Jeffrey Dahmer
Anthony Ruivivar as Richard Ramirez
Liz and Iris have taken full ownership of the Hotel Cortez. They’ve invested all their money into remodeling and the good news is, the walls are no longer dripping blood. The bad news, it’s dripping with gallons of artificial sweetener as each individual spirit in the hotel is given their ridiculous happy endings tied up with a pretty little bow.
Before the happy endings, Liz and Iris have to struggle a bit more as they try to pull their Yelp reviews out of one-star territory. Everyone would give them zero stars for being killed by the spirits in the hotel, but Yelp forces you to give at least one. FINE, the remodel was nice.
Liz and Iris call a town hall meeting with the spooks, it’s all very Casper the Friendly Ghost and the show has gone from serious horror/drama to campfest 2016 in fifteen minutes flat. “You have got to stop killing the guests!” Liz begs them.
Apparently it’s only Sally and Will Drake who are too miserable to do anything but kill people. The dead hipsters just complain about kale, the Lumberjack that Tristan killed is just sulking around, the Swedish twins have a polyamorous relationship with someone I vaguely remember them killing. Sally is not changing the spots on her leopard print coat any time soon and Will’s company is collapsing after his disappearance.
Liz and Iris decide to exorcise the spirits on their own by finding them ways to be happy and reconnect with the world outside the hotel. Sally and Will are upset because they both crave fame. In a twist that seems like it was pulled from a cancelled Goosebumps or Are you Afraid of the Dark? plotline, Iris presents Sally with the three things she needs to become famous and reconnect with the world: an iPhone, wi-fi, and social media.
Sally quickly gains multiple followers, presenting herself as a depressed artist. She writes songs for Liz Taylor to perform and posts them on Youtube under the name ThisGirlSally. I’ll give Sally a pass on this one because she died in 1993 and doesn’t realize she’s starring in the gritty too-soon-remake of Coyote Ugly.
Liz convinces will Drake to let her go full-on Devil Wears Prada and becomes Will’s spokesperson. She brings the Will Drake name back from the brink of TJ Maxx and uses Will’s new Howard Hughes hotel hideaway to make the brand mysterious. They hold private fashion shows in the Cortez’s lobby with dead models and don’t allow cellphones or cameras. It’s all working out perfectly.
Liz also becomes a grandmother and as a present for their success, Iris brings in another fan service character from American Horror Story: Murder House, medium Billie Dean Howard. Billie attempts to contact Tristan to see if he has something to say to Liz, but he passes on the chance.
Donovan, however, does show up. He tells his mother he loves her and that heaven smells like her blueberry pancakes and every day is Saturday morning.
Then Liz becomes the only woman in the world to get prostate cancer. Instead of dying in a hospital bed alone and full of chemicals she hands out weapons to her ghost friends and tells them to kill her violently. Sally doesn’t bother to tell him that Iris had a nice and quiet close call earlier that season they could replicate, and everyone picks up the knives and guns and noose and axes and daggers and heroin and probably even a corkscrew, but The Countess shows up instead.
The Countess wants to be there for her second rebirth like she was for her first. She slits Liz’s throat and Liz wakes up as a ghost while Tristan stands at the door, waiting for her. They can now spend all of eternity together.
Jump ahead to 2022 and Billie Dean Howard has turned the Hotel Cortez into a ghost tourism hotel. All the freaks and weirdos decide to show up and mess up the rooms. Every night on Devil’s Night she holds a televised séance to speak with John Lowe, The Ten Commandments Killer, but he never shows up.
John overhears Iris and Ramona discussing their annoyance with Billie Dean and decides to speak to her on camera. Of course, he doesn’t show up on camera. For some reason no one can see the ghosts if they don’t want to be seen.
John tells Billie Dean about how he got caught. He was on the lamb as providing food for Alex and Holden had gotten him caught. He and his family returned to the Cortez, sending Scarlet away to the same boarding school as Lachlan Drake (remember him?). During a police shootout, John tried to make it back to the hotel but was killed in the street, right where Donovan died.
Now, he can only return to the Cortez on Devil’s Night for JPM’s annual party of serial killers. They all handcuff Billie Dean to a chair and tell her that she isn’t to talk about the Cortez anymore, and if she does Ramona Royale will suck her dry. Billie flees the Cortez, presumably never to return.
John then goes up to his room to find a grown up Scarlet waiting for him. Every night on October 30th she returns to the Cortez to see her father, Alex, and Holden. They fall asleep as a family, knowing the next time they see each other will be a year away.
Everyone has their happy ending… Until we see The Countess sitting alone at the hotel bar. A handsome young man comes in and she sits down to talk with him. She touches his chin, turning his head so she can see him better, smiles, and says “You have a jawline for days.”
American Horror Story has always attempted to wrap up multiple storylines in the final episode, but this time around it just didn’t seem like any of these stories needed the closure they were given. In Murder House, The Harmons had their happy ending but there were still some issues that were left unresolved. This wasn’t a bad thing, Tate didn’t deserve redemption, he was a mass murdering rapist. Constance was stuck with her demon grandson.
In Asylum all of the main story was wrapped up by an aged Lana Winters during a televised interview. With Coven it was an interview with Cordelia, the new Supreme. In Freak Show it was Elsa Mars performing on television during Halloween to be taken by Edward Mordrake with all of her freak family. The fast summarizing of events is nothing new, but usually it’s for more than one character we care about.
Why do we need a quarter of the episode devoted to just John Lowe? Why should we care that Sally is no longer a heroin addict, addicted instead to her smartphone? Will Drake was probably by and large the worst character on the show. The gay man who married a woman only to be killed by her so he can mope around and be a mysterious fashion designer? Not everyone needed a happy ending. Not everyone deserves a happy ending.
While Murder House was the most surprising, Asylum was the most interesting, this iteration of the finale formula was probably their most saccharine.
Liz Taylor gets her happy ending
Next season is another chance at redemption
Cheesy endings for almost every character.
No one notices that Billie Dean Howard looks exactly like Sally? Not even John?
Just once, I would like it for dead people to stay dead in this show.