American Horror Story: Hotel 5×12– ‘Be Our Guest’

If you haven’t recovered from last week’s episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, this season finale will make you want to curl up in a blanket with a bottle of wine like you’ve just listened to Adele’s latest album.  Grab the tissues and the Cabernet, kids.

The episode takes place about a year after the penultimate installment.  The first image we see is a a close-up of Liz Taylor’s face, as she narrates.  She and Iris have taken over the hotel and had it completely renovated, rejuvenated, and revamped.  At the end of the voice-over, we see her throat being cut.

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We jump back to the past.  It’s about a year since the events in the penultimate installment.  Two guests– hotel reviewers– arrive, and are immediately offered a glass of champagne by Iris, who also has them sign a guest book.  Nice touch.  Iris explains that the smell permeating the hotel is sage to “cleanse the spirit”.  More like “to try to cleanse the hotel of spirits.”  Liz takes them up to their room, which has been redone to the nines: 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, fully stocked minibar with complimentary mixers, and a luxury bathroom with a tub, fluffy towels and bathrobes, and a Toto Neorest 700H toilet.  So fancy!  The couple’s awe is interrupted by Hypodermic Sally, who is sitting on their pristine bed in all her grungy glory.  She talks about how Iris and Liz replaced the mattresses she destroyed and the blood-soaked carpets, and of course mentions her favorite topic:

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Sally proceeds to load up a syringe with some heroin.  She stabs the man in the chest and administers the drug.  Presumably, the man has never done opiates and has no tolerance, because he promptly overdoses and dies.

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His girlfriend rushes out to get help and literally runs into Will Drake (whom she recognizes). Will tells her he’s new the whole murder thing and stabs her in the neck.  He likes the thrill.

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Liz tries to clean up the vomit from the OD victim, and Iris walks in, dismayed to find that the dead girl in the hallway isn’t the only murder victim today.  One thing’s for sure: murderous ghosts are bad for business.

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The Dynamic Duo holds a meeting for the ghosts (well, some of them anyway) and tells them that they need to stop killing off the guests.  Turns out, the ghosts have lives of their own: the realtor, Marcy (a crossover from AHS: Murder House), is unhappy with guests checking into her room and disturbing her “me time” with her erotica novels, and the Swedish girls, Vendela and Agnetha are in a polyamorous relationship with some guy named Woo who has voyeuristic proclivities.

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Liz and Iris try to be diplomatic, but Sally very helpfully points out that only she and Will are murdering the guests.  And they have no intention of stopping.  James March comes in and announces that his days of killing are over– now that he’s passed the torch to John, he feels complete.  He points out that hotel keeps everyone safe from the unknown of the afterlife.  Will seems to think that the hotel will be fine, and that his fashion house will continue to pay the bills.  Iris and Liz have to break the news that his line is failing.  March then reads Sally and Will the riot act: they are to cease all murderous activities because it will interfere with the hotel being named a historical landmark.  He makes a thinly veiled threat to unleash the Addiction Demon onto Sally, who doesn’t want to “stop collecting souls until she finds her soulmate.”

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Iris goes upstairs to find Sally.  She’s sulking in her room, for a change.  Iris empathizes with her and tells her she needs to get out of the 90s. So, she gives her an iPhone and teaches her how to use the Internet and social media.  Sally’s into it and becomes extremely popular.  She Facebooks, Tweets, Instagrams, and writes music for Liz to perform, which she puts on Youtube.  Her top song is “Track Marks on My Heart.” Sally gains tons of followers and Internet friends, and finally gets some happiness in her life.  She even tosses her heroin out the window– the same window she was once tossed out of.

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Will Drake on the other hand is miserable.  He never brought anyone in to be the face and creative director of his brand, and so it’s completely falling apart.  He drinks broodingly and thanks Liz for sending his son Lachlan to The Thacher School in Ojai, California; he doesn’t want Lachlan to spend time in the hotel,though, because of…well…everything.  Liz makes a proposes that she become the face of Will’s fashion house and revitalize it with new designs by Will– after all, no one knows he’s dead.

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And so, Liz becomes the face of the fashion house and organizes exclusive shows in the Hotel Cortez with a strict no camera policy.  She even employs the permanent residents as models.

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Still, a bit more closure is needed.  Iris brings acclaimed TV medium Billie Dean Howard (another Murder House character) into the hotel to try to communicate with Liz’s slain lover Tristan.  Billie makes contact, but Tristan declines to speak to Liz.  Billie gets through to another spirit though: Donovan.  He passes an “I love you, mom” to Iris.

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But life moves on, and soon after, Liz is assisting in the birth of her grandson (who is possibly the least convincing newborn in TV history).  Her son is happy they reconnected and his wife adores her new mother-in-law.

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Of course, happiness never lasts forever.  Liz is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  After refusing Ramona Royale’s offer to turn her, she brings the hotel’s ghosts (who are all newly happy and friends with one another) to break the news.

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She lays out various weapons and tells her chosen family to kill her so that her ghost can remain in the hotel.  As she prepares to be murdered, Elizabeth appears.  Liz and Elizabeth missed each other– they were, after all, besties at one point.  Elizabeth is kind and understanding, and slices open Liz’s throat.

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After Liz transitions to a ghost, Tristan appears.  He didn’t contact her when she was alive because he wanted her to move on from him.  But now they’re both dead, so they can be together.

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Who are we leaving out here? Oh, yes: John, Alex, Scarlet, and Holden.  The episode jumps ahead to October 30th, 2022. Billie Dean has been hosting segments of her show in the Cortez and attracting some unsavory guests who want to have sex with one of the ghosts.  John offers to put a stop to the Hotel Cortez segments.  While Billie is taping a show in the hotel, he approaches her and gives her an interview.  Oh yeah: John is now a ghost.

A flashback reveals that the Lowes went on the lam so that John could comfortable provide human blood for his wife and son without detection– the police also somehow figured out that he was the Ten Commandments Killer. After this fails, they check in permanently in the hotel.  They send Scarlet off to Thacher because she still has a chance to grow up relatively normal. One night, when John is out killing someone and collecting their blood, the police find him and gun him down.  He tries to enter the hotel to die there, but he doesn’t make it.  So every year on Devil’s Night, he is able to come back to the hotel for his yearly party with March and the other serial killers.

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He invites Billie Dean to the party (sans camera crew, of course).  There, she is threatened with a very slow and painful death by Dahmer, Gacy, Wuornos, Ramirez, March, Zodiac, and Lowe.  She is able to escape by promising never to film in the Cortez again. John leaves the party to meet up with his family.  Alex and Holden are sleeping.  Scarlet, now an adult, waits up for him before he disappears for another year.

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Meanwhile, Countess Elizabeth sets her eyes on a new hotel guest…

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