American Horror Story: Hotel—Finale

You know how there’s that “Viewer Discretion” warning at the opening of every episode of American Horror Story? Wanna know what’s full of “strong language and violence?”

It’s me.

I’ve reached the point where the promised finale isn’t so much a thrill ride, but an adventure in the myriad of ways I experience disappointment. Let’s have a brief recap, shall we?

  • The Hotel Cortez: Ghost-a-palooza and Children of the Corn convention site.
  • The 10 Commandments Killer: the one plot line I wanted to be good, which naturally wasn’t. That one got its own article.
  • Vampires: Why have one undead when you can have more?

Alternate subtitles include Lifestyles of the Rich, Bloodthirsty, and Unfortunately Broke.

We have The Countess (Lady Gaga), a sanguinary immortal who—at one point—married Holmes-esque serial killer James P. March (Evan Peters), inherited the hotel, spent all her money, and decided to marry designer Will Drake (Cheyenne Jackson) and murder him in order to refill her coffins—er, coffers. She also collects blond children.

John Lowe (Wes Bentley) is a detective-but-actually-a-serial-killer who was recruited by Mr. March to carry out his works. John is totally okay being married to a vampire and regaining custody of his vampire son.

Talk about underutilizing Ramona Royale (Angela Bassett), the foxy former love interest of the Countess who now wants revenge. We got a powerful backstory for her, but way too late in the game.

To be honest, Lady Gaga, up until the finale, has been the one cast member to hold it together for me. Her backstory episode, set in the 1920s and the heyday of silent film stardom, was one of the best episodes of the season. I also loved her connection to Murder House and the Dr. Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross).

That’s what you should have been doing all long, American Horror Story.

As great as that moment was, I should have known better than be overly excited.

The second Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) walked in, I was thrilled. I thought, “Yes. Maybe Murphy has a handle on this.”And then they killed her. For nothing!

Then, Billie Dean the Psychic (Sarah Paulson) appeared! She lived, but this weird year 2022 Devil’s Night thing happened, and they lost me.

Listen, American Horror Story. It’s okay; I know you were never meant to be an anthology series. Unfortunate things happen to unique and daring television. If Ryan Murphy had just kept mum on his “secret plan,”things might have turned out differently. The cameos would be cool Easter Eggs. Maybe some of the contrived notions would have seemed less…contrived.

It’s sloppy to have the Countess be married to Mr. March, for John to have been the killer “all along,” to conveniently forget about the hoard of vampire children eating parents and teachers, only to equally conveniently feed them to Ramona several episodes later.

American Horror Story, you missed the train. And the boat. And the connecting flight. But, there’s one ray of sunshine in the mess that was this season, and I do want to make sure I sing these praises highly, accurately, and on-key.

Gaga may have won the Golden Globe (and she deserved it), but can we talk about LIZ TAYLOR (Dennis O’Hare) for a moment? Liz Taylor is

  1. My favorite incarnation of Dennis O’Hare, ever. 
  2. Freakin’ phenomenal.

Hers is the only storyline I’m 100% okay with. Did I want her to die? No! But she got to do it HER way and it was beautiful and fitting. If anyone in that hotel deserves to wear glitter for eternity and regain the love of her (after)life, it’s her.

I understand that this finale was shooting for “The Happy Ending.” I can admire that. The Cortez is one big misfit ghost family—hugs, sunshine, and a limited number of corpses. Liz finds peace. Sally (Sarah Paulson) finds love and acceptance through the internet and frees herself from her addiction to self-loathing. Will Drake becomes a fashion icon again through Liz. John is technically reunited with his family.

What I didn’t get was any sense of resolution. Like Murder House, everyone ends up dead. But while I loved that conclusion for season one, it didn’t fit season five.

So, what—the Cortez is going to wait out the 100-year deadline to become a historical landmark? And then what—Iris (Kathy Bates) and Liz can run the place forever?

What’s the conclusion to the story?

Do the ghosts get riled and start killing again? Does everything just go on like a paranormal fairytale?

The episode ends with the Countess picking out another boy toy—and that’s it. I feel let down, which appears to be a trend, and is not something I’m loving from American Horror Story.

As for season six; guys, I have no ideas. Maybe werewolves? They haven’t done werewolves yet. 1930s gangster werewolves.

At least there were no aliens.


Meghan Harker grew up in a small, awkwardly-named town in Georgia. She attended Brenau University, where she earned her BA in English and a minor in Graphic Design; she also attended the University of Cambridge, England, where she didn't quite master the perfect Oxbridge accent. She's an avid reader, writer, and fire spinner. She's currently working her first novel, a paranormal thriller. Visit her blog at


  1. BSternik

    I’ve watched every season, and I’m a fan! Sadly, this season lost me some weeks ago. Disappointing.

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