'American Horror Story: Hotel,' season finale: Checking out
If all good things must come to an end, let them end in style.
The season finale of American Horror Story's fifth season did just that. The inhabitants of the Hotel Cortez found their purposes, their true loves, their place in this world and, ultimately, happiness.
They all died happily ever after.
Since the Countess's demise, the Cortez is under new management: Iris and Liz Taylor. The two enact long-overdue renovations to the hotel using funds from selling some of the Countess's assets.
They want to completely update the hotel and make it a vacation destination. The only problem is the dozen or so ghosts who call the hotel their permanent home.
You can take out the decades-worth of stains, Sally says, but you can't erase the pain.
The ghosts - Sally, Will Drake, the two Swedish girls, the realtor, etc. - are bored, lonely and in pain. Most of them keep to themselves, filling their infinite amount of time with sex, drugs and erotica novels. But Sally and Will continue to feed off the high of murdering guests.
Iris and Liz set out to ease Sally's and Will's pain by showing them that their lives (er, deaths?) can be put to good use even when trapped inside the hotel.
Iris buys Sally a sleek new cellphone and shows her how she can be a part of the modern world without stepping foot outside. With a brand new Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube account, Sally quickly gains a following posting photos of her blood red lipstick and leopard coat, tweeting her miserable thoughts and posting videos of Liz singing her songs.
Liz reaches Will Drake by pushing him to start designing clothes again. Will's fashion house is failing, so Liz convinces him to name her in charge of speaking on Will's behalf.
After becoming his right-hand woman, Liz hands Will a fresh sketch pad and the Will Drake fashion house is reborn.
The two create an entirely new fashion line, bringing Art Deco back in style and hosting exclusive fashion shows with the hotel's ghosts as models.
Though she and Iris greatly helped the ghosts in the hotel, Liz still feels lost because of Tristan's absence.
In comes Billie Dean Howard, beloved psychic from AHS's season one. Iris invites her in hopes of getting her to reach Tristan, who's been noticeably absent since his death.
Billie reaches him quickly, but he doesn't want to talk to Liz. Instead, Billie finds Donovan's spirit outside the hotel's walls, who tells Iris "I love you, Mom."
Even without Tristan, Liz is still riding on a high. The hotel and its inhabitants are thriving, and his son, Douglas, gave her her first grandchild, Isabel.
"I never thought life could be this good," she says, "Or that it could end."
In typical Liz joking, she announces to her family of ghosts that she is the first woman to have prostate cancer. It's spread too far to be treatable.
She doesn't want to go through the slow torture of cancer treatments, so Liz asks the ghosts -- her family -- to kill her to avoid suffering.
Though all the ghosts love Liz and grab weapons to end her life, it is the Countess who delivers the final slice across Liz's throat.
As if watching a cross-dressing man bleed to death on a stained hotel mattress wasn't cute enough, Tristan finally returns. He stayed away from Liz so Liz would keep on living. Now they're both death and can stay together forever inside the Hotel Cortez.
Flash forward to Devil's night in 2022. The Cortez is thriving with people flocking to its haunted rooms and Billie Dean Howard shooting episodes of her psychic show and trying to connect with the hotel's many ghosts.
The one spirit Billie just can't seem to reach is that of John Lowe, the infamous Ten Commandments killer.
She says his spirit can only be felt on Devil's Night at the Cortez, so she ventures back once again to try to connect with him.
He finally lets her talk to him, and he spills all about what happened to him after he, Alex and Holden left the Cortez.
He tried to provide for his family outside the hotel, but he struggled. Scarlet still is not fazed that her father is a murderer and her mother and brother are blood-sucking creatures of the night.
Shortly after they come back to the only place that felt like home -- the Cortez -- John is caught by police who quickly shoot him dead in the street. He was just feet away from being inside the hotel.
He can only come back to the hotel on Devil's Night, the one day of the year where James Patrick March invites the country's most notorious serial killers to wine and dine and murder again.
John introduces Billie to his serial killer friends, and they give her a warning: never come back to the Cortez or face a slow, brutal death.
She heeds their warning, fleeing from the hotel as fast as she can.
John returns to his room to finish his yearly visit with Alex, Holden and a now-grown-up Scarlet. They all go to sleep, and will wake up to another year without John.
The clock strikes 2:25 a.m. and the Countess is in the downstairs lounge wearing a plunging, cutout blue dress and searching for her next play thing.
She finds it in a young man who looks strikingly like Donovan, and gives him her famous line, "You have a jawline for days."
Lines of the night
"I'm not familiar with your military friend and his fondness for poultry." - James Patrick March
"In this world I'm the mother of style, cut me and I bleed Dior." - Liz Taylor
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.