'American Horror Story: Hotel' S5E12: Be Our Guest

★ ★ ★ ★

Don't pack your bags just yet. We may be checking out of the Hotel Cortez, but American Horror Story seems to be a good idea after all. After two (disappointing?) seasons splitting the fanbase and Lange's departure, AHS needed a makeover… a rebirth Hotel aptly gave. If there's one thing Hotel did right, it was breathe life into a whole world of possibilities that came with the reveal that American Horror Story's anthological universe was actually a shared one. Going back to where it all started, Hotel's use of Murder House characters depended the show's mythology all the while providing nice little wrap-ups to that character's story.

But underneath all of that, Hotel tried outdoing Asylum at what Asylum did best: find layers of sympathy underneath all of the bad. You'd feel something about Pepper, even though she murdered her sister (or so we believed!), because she was one of the many mental patients who suffered after Sister Jude lost her marbles. The same goes for Sister Mary Eunice, who got possessed by the Devil, because she was someone innocent turned badass evil. It's hard feeling anything for any of Hotel's characters. The only characters to make it to the finale were the ones living on the show's peripheral. With so many storylines going on at once and much of our attention being devoted to Gaga's vampiric love triangles, the rest of the Hotel Cortez' staff and inhabitants were left out in the cold for long stretches of time, Sally and Ramona being neglected the most. "Be Our Guest" saw all of the loose ends it still had to take car of and made a last ditch effort to tie them into a knot. Poor Sally though. Rather than giving her an open ending (or maybe even allowing her to the first ghost to ever move on) we watch her get put through an intervention before Iris introduces her to the Internet. Turns out that underneath all of that drug use and desire to sew people up in mattresses was just a façade to Sally's real problem: a desperate need for an Instagram account. (And Tinder.)

Remember kids, your likes keep ghosts from killing people!

Can't even seem to have entertained the idea of ghosts being able to use the Internet before Sally got her hands on it. Can ghosts even be photographed? We know that they can control their appearance at will as well as their ability to be seen by others, so is John's invisibility in Billie Dean's footage a choice he makes? Or if ghosts do appear, do they only show up as wispy shells of their former selves with an arm or face making the occasional appearance? Either way, someone really needs to teach all of these ghosts how to use a computer.


While Sally's conclusion may seem rushed, it pales in comparison to Will Drake's or Ramona's "ending". After 30-something years of loathing the Countess and wanting revenge, Ramona settles for management of the Hotel Cortez and suddenly everyone around her is family. We barely know anything about Ramona given how little we've seen her across the season. You can't not point out how underused Angela Bassett and Cheyenne Jackson were throughout this whole season and it really shows. Will Drake winds up finding a purpose: being everyone's wallet.

With Gaga (pretty much) gone, Liz finally got the attention she's deserved. After remodeling the Cortez with Iris (because Will Drake didn't for some reason?) Liz becomes a fashion mogul (pretty random if you ask me), taking over Drake's dying empire, and formed a relationship with her son's family. Of course, this all happens over the course of several years. Hotel jumps all the way to a 2022 that looks a lot like 2015 and the Hotel Cortez is a big hit. But Liz has terminal cancer and decides to kick the bucket in the only way American Horror Story knows how: a gory, but touchy feely death. It's all very sweet. Hotel even managed to squeeze in some Liz and Tristan time before her side of "Be Our Guest" was finished.

This is where the divide between a sympathetic epilogue and overkill lies. The episode's epilogical structure didn't help it in the end because there wasn't a big "finale" per say. In Asylum you still had Bloodyface to worry about, in Murder House you had some escalated ghost drama, Coven the Seven Wonders, and even Freakshow pleased with all of Dandy's antics. The same can't be said for Hotel that trudges to the end as it wishes a farewell to each and every one of its characters (even the dead-dead ones.)

Next thing we know we're tossed into Lowe's Hotel Cortez, the supernatural side that's been done to death (sorry, not sorry) by Billie Dean's television show. (Remember Billie Dean guys? Yeah, it's awesome.) Like Dr. Montgomery, Billie Dean's arrival is treated in seamless fashion. After having contacted both Tristan and Donovan for Liz and Iris, she gets a little too comfortable covering the Hotel Cortez for her television series and returns every Devil's Night hoping to contact John Lowe in Room 64. In fact, the rest of "Be Our Guest" is spent trying to answer "where are the Lowes now?", just in case you've forgotten about them already. The plan John has for her is actually a smart one: blackmail her into never returning or she'll be killed in the nastiest way a group of acclaimed serial killers can think of. While it's tiring to see the once funny impersonations of serial killers making a return, the look on Billie Dean's face when walking into a room of famous ghosts (and the look on her way out) make it worth it.

If John didn't, in fact, die on the property, where does his ghost reside really? Hotel did mention that he can only come out on Devil's Night, but that doesn't help answer the question. Reminiscent of the feeling you get watching the Harmons find happiness in the afterlife, John and his family get to meet once every year. Scarlett being the only one who ages.

In fact, we're all like Scarlett. Someone living on the edge of things, a spectator more than anything else. We've seen the birth and afterbirth of American Horror Story, something with many great moments beside bad ones, but it was Hotel that made American Horror Story's rebirth worth noticing. "Be Our Guest" wasn't perfect, though. It showed the flaws in Hotel's storytelling capabilities, having to switch back and forth between plots that, in the end, had very little to do with each other. The season couldn't decide if it wanted to focus on the heavy addictions each character had or on its newest cast members and their vampirism. Despite all that, the conclusions (no matter how quickly put together) felt just right.


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