We’ve made it through the season, AHS fans! As we saw during the finale, our favorite spooky hotel is under new management and this means big changes for everyone who stays (and lives) there. This episode was all about turning a new leaf, for both the hotel and each precious character we became familiar with this season.
With Liz and Iris now in charge of the Hotel Cortez, it’s solely up to them to turn the hotel’s reputation around. They’ve already gone through the trouble of liquidating The Countess’ assets and pouring all those funds into renovations, but they’ve still got a huge problem: the ghosts of years past. Not only are Sally, Will Drake, and friends killing every single guest that steps through the hotel’s doors, they’re also keeping the Hotel Cortez from earning customer reviews which have become an essential business component for the hotel to thrive.
Frustrated by their lack of internet reviews and fearful of the fall of their beloved hotel, Iris and Liz call a Cortez Family meeting. And at this meeting, we come face-to-face with every soul that has passed at this hotel throughout the season–the beautiful Swedes, The Countess’ lovers and exploits, Will Drake’s real estate agent, and many more. Much to the chagrin of these ghosts, Iris and Liz call for the killing to stop and, surprisingly, James March backs them up. But even still, the ghosts vow to continue the killing. Sally, as expected, is the loudest protester.
So, what to do to appease these ghoulish vultures? Not to worry–Iris and Liz develop an ingenious plan. It’s this plan that helps us viewers develop a more rounded understanding of these characters. Sally is granted a cell phone with which she can Tweet, Instagram, and generally share her entire existence with anyone who’ll listen. This newfangled device gives her the opportunity to experience true understanding and companionship, which is what she’s been craving all along.
Will Drake, who is completely unfulfilled by his ghostly existence, is given a chance to relive his former fashion industry glory and he does so vicariously through Liz Taylor. While Will creates new designs, Liz acts as his representative and leads his company into a successful future. Meanwhile, each Will Drake fashion show is held at the Cortez, giving each ghost the chance to model Will’s latest designs.
And for Liz, Iris plans a huge surprise that unfortunately goes awry. She hires Billie Dean Howard–yes, the medium from Murder House who helped Constance finally express her love for Adelaide. Tasked with contacting Liz’s lost love Tristan, Billie Dean is only able to relay to Liz that he does not want any contact whatsoever. But Billie Dean does come through for Iris and is able to tell her that Donovan does love and appreciate all that she tried to do for him (finally!).
For the most part, everyone finds their own sense of purpose and happiness through the hard work and compassion Liz and Iris offer. But that happiness is short-lived. Liz Taylor soon learns that she is ill with cancer. Faced with death, Liz Taylor asks that the Hotel Cortez ghosts kill her so she can be reborn and live the rest of eternity with the souls that have become her family. At the last second, The Countess swoops in and does the honor. And it’s only at this point that Tristan comes through and reunites with Liz.
Everything has finally come full circle for our characters, but there’s still one last tiny issue that needs a resolution: Billie Dean Howard. She’s spent years exploiting the Hotel Cortez and trying to contact John Lowe (who we now learn is dead), even holding television specials that air all across the country. Now that the hotel is getting its bearings, Iris realizes this strange kind of publicity cannot go on. So, what does she do? She asks John to give her a little scare.
And on Devil’s Night, he certainly does. Equipped with his team of notorious serial killers, John does to Billie what was once done to him on the same night some years ago. Through flashbacks and conversations with Billie Dean, John reveals to us that Scarlett has been sent away to school and that Alex and Holden live with him at the hotel. In the end, Billie Dean promises to never exploit the hotel again.
Tara Martinez is a New York-based writer with a passion for pop culture and a penchant for analysis. She frequently covers film, television, and representations of women in the media.