American Horror Story Hotel Finale Recap

American Horror Story: Hotel Finale Recap: Checkout Time

Every Hotel stay must come to an end, and American Horror Story delivered a final installment Wednesday that included a poignant death, several not-so-shocking returns and a ghost becoming addicted to social media.

The anthology series’ season finale opened with Iris and Liz calling a spectral summit: Sally and Will’s incessant murdering of guests was doing nothing to help the newly gussied-up hotel’s Yelp score or future reservations. And without customers, March chimed in, there’d be no way for the Cortez to make it to Aug. 23, 2026 — the date the building could be determined a historical landmark, ensuring that the ghosts would have a home forever.

When the heroin addict and the designer balked, Liz and Iris went about securing their support in a different way. Iris bought Sally a phone and introduced her to Twitter, Facebook, etc. And when “being numb to the world finally lost its appeal,” as Liz voiceovered, Sally kicked her drug habit for good. Meanwhile, the bald beauty cajoled Will into creating new sketches for his crumbling fashion empire… of which Liz then became the public face.

THE HEART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS | But Liz’s enduring sadness over Tristan’s death — and puzzling absence from the ghostly goings-on — led Iris to hire Season 1’s Billie Dean Howard to contact his spirit. The young punk didn’t want to talk to Liz… but Billie’s introduction to the hotel had consequences we’ll talk about in a minute.

Soon enough, Liz got more bad news: prostate cancer. In an effort to be around to watch her new granddaughter grow up, she asked the ghosts to take her life on hotel property, making sure she’d haunt the property forever. And that’s when The Countess showed up just in time to slash Liz’s throat. (It was an act of love. Really.) And as the reborn Liz stood over her own corpse, Tristan appeared. “You are to die for,” his shiny-headed love said, and they kissed.

PARTY CRASHER | The action then skipped ahead to Oct. 30, 2022, the night of Billie’s now-annual TV special shot at the hotel. This time, the elusive John actually appeared to her, saying that if she ditched her camera crew, he’d show her the hotel’s real secrets. So he brought her to the yearly serial killer shindig, where Wurnos & Co. warned her never to return to the premises — and Ramona showed up to add a little real world threat of blood-sucking to the festivities.

But where was John’s family? Turns out, after being on the lam for a while, he brought them back to Los Angeles, where he was shot by police just outside of the Cortez. His (still very human) daughter, Scarlett, was sent away to school; we learned that the only time he, Scarlett, Alex and Holden are reunited each year is Oct. 30 — Devil’s Night — at the Cortez.

So how did it end? With The Countess, wearing a barely-there blue number, attracting the attention of a handsome young thing at the hotel bar. “You have a jawline for days,” she purred. Watch out, man!

Grade both the finale and Hotel‘s season on the whole via the polls below, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. AHS says:

    It was an ok season finale, not the best one of the series… The real end actually happened last week.
    The whole season was great though ! I really loved that disturbing feeling I had all along the season ! I’m so sad I’ll have to wait until October to get another season :(

    • Phlarg says:

      Next year, I’d like them to have a clear story from beginning to end. AHS tends to drop storylines in exchange for quick flashes of sex and gore, thinking we’ll not notice.
      I wish we’d caught a glimpse of Queenie haunting the Cortez. What a shame. And I remember they had something HOT planned for Emma Roberts, but she had conflicts, so they didn’t pull it off, which solidifies my belief that they’re really just writing whatever they want for whomever has time for the show, and they’re not really interested in storyline.

      • heather says:

        I agree

      • Jen says:

        I agree!! These scenes come in (like wonton noodle spring role rapist) and it was unnecessary unless was a piece of a character or something. I’m still so lost pver not seeing the whole finale. Please do more like Asylum or House. Coven was good too. I got my whole fam hooked on this. No more disappointments!!

  2. alistaircrane says:

    This was my favourite season since Murder House. The finale, however, was just okay. Not sure why everyone in a horror series got a happy ending.

  3. David says:

    Worst season ever. Ryan Murphy sacrificed psychological thrills so that he could create essentially a slasher movie for TV…and a show for Lady Gaga to play Lady Gaga (and rather stiffly). I loved the first four seasons…but not this one.

    • JJ says:

      Agreed. However I did think Sara Paulson was dynamic to watch, despite her flat metamorphosis to a cliched “numb” (social media) addict–Liz Taylor seemed the only character with an organic storyline

    • Tasha - Token Gray She-Wolf of the Omniverse says:

      Many of the characters were really good individually… but the season as a whole was the perfect depiction of a train wreck: the dismantled mess was too hard to pull away from.

      I feel like Murphy and the gang have just given up on the idea of a well-prepped storyline, and decided to just go with as much gore, nudity, and anything else they can use to toe the line of what’s “proper” for network television. I don’t mean that to sound prudish; it’s just that it seems like it’s becoming their own device.

    • Sarah says:

      I thought Lady Gaga was very good. Not stiff at all–just her character.

  4. JJ says:

    Does the ending imply that somehow the countess has been restored to her former vampire self or that she is just at peace with being a ghost?

    • Daniel says:

      She’s at peace with being a ghost.

    • Phlarg says:

      I gathered that she was just a ghost that kept living the life she’d always lived in the Cortez, finding pretty young things and seducing them. Whether or not she kills them for their blood wasnt clear, but I think The Countess was a seductress before a vampire.

  5. Chris says:

    I’m interested in the connection that John now only appears on Devil’s Night, the same thing he did when he was Mordrake in Freak Show. Also, kinda a little bummed Kathy Bates didn’t lose her head this season (like in an elevator door or something), hoping that was going to be a running gag. Oh well, looking forward to next season. (I know she’s busy with Nashville, but I’d like to see Connie Britton back in some form).

    • Daniel says:

      She’s doing American Crime Story…

    • Josh says:

      I think he only appears on Devils night because he didn’t actually die in the hotel (was shot out front by police). However when all the serial killers have their annual dinner that night he is able/allowed/invited to be there because he is one of them being the 10 commandments killer.

  6. Crishuck says:

    So sad its ended….it was my addiction

  7. Brandon says:

    I feel that if anyone deserved to die in this finale other than Liz in the hotel was John but by the hands of Sally. Like instead of having John shot down by cops. Have it where John and his family are asleep in bed. Sally knocks on the door and She stabs him in the stomach. Then kills his family. Now the two of them are stuck with each other for eternity. Just fit the rest of Johns family else where. That’s why I watched the series was because of their story.

  8. Tisha says:

    I thought it was a great season. I cried my eyes out when Liz died and even more when Tristian finally made his appearance. All in all I really enjoyed the whole season. Wish I didn’t have to wait until October for another season tho.

  9. Kasey says:

    The season was by far better than Season 4 Freak Show, BUT the ending was not very good! There was no real closure. There was a little bit, but it wrapped up to quick. I love this series, but Coven was y favorite. I was not a fan of Lady Gaga at all before this, but I give her props. I am glad Liz got a good ending even though she was dying. Iris’s closure was good too, but I really don’t understand the ending with Gaga. It could have been so much more! I was a little disappointed in this finale this season. More could have been explained and a better wrap up could have happened. I liked season two, but this ending was subpar like this. I’ll still be watching, but it has to get better next season to keep me around. After season 4, I was almost done, but like I said, I do love this series and I gave it another go. I loved Jessica Lang, but it was nice not to see her this season. Gaga was a great replacement this season. Lang’s characters were too similar and it was getting played out. Just my thoughts.

  10. Dave says:

    This was by far the worst season yet all the serial killers acted ridiculous and cheesy lady Gaga is a horrible actor one of the only good things about this season was Liz…if there’s plans of another season like this please don’t

  11. Ron says:

    I thought this finale was the epitome of meh. It had its nice parts, and (most) things seemed to get tied up nicely. But that was also kinda the problem. Really, aside from John not being able to be with his family but for once a year, it seemed like everyone else got some sort of happy ending. I just couldn’t help but feel that the word “horror” in the title really fell by the wayside…a feeling I’ve kinda had all season. In terms of the season, I still think I’m unsure about the actual plot, but maybe that’s just me. In terms of the finale, it was a little too neat. In my opinion, the season MVP was Denis as Liz. Killed it!

  12. Kasey says:

    I also didn’t like the fact that they had actors playing multiple characters. That was weird.

    • sunny says:

      yes, when it came back from commercial on the first look at Billie Dean, I thought it was Sally all cleaned up now that she was off dope.

  13. Pam G says:

    One of the best AHS I’ve see in all the seasons! Throughly enjoyed from beginning to end and Lady Gaga righty deserved the Golden Globe award for her outstanding performance! It’s going to be hard to out do this years theme “The Hotel Cortez”!

  14. sherylg101 says:

    The finale needed more of the Countess’ son, Bartholomew (what happened to him?), Queenie (where was she, didn’t she die in the hotel?), and Ramona (she barely had any screen time). I enjoyed the story and ending for Liz (one of AHS’s best characters). And it was even nice to see Sally finally happy. But there was too much focus on Billie Dean in the last 20 minutes. Instead, there should have been more of John and his family.
    The season overall was just ok, but can’t compare to Asylum or Coven, which I think are the best seasons this far. Denis O’Hare and Sarah Paulson were awesome. I am a fan of Lady Gaga, but I don’t think that she’s a great actress and I don’t think that she deserved the golden globe. I much prefer Jessica Lange and hope that she returns for the next season.

    • abz says:

      “Instead, there should have been more of John and his family.”
      I’ve seen people complain over and over this season about Lady Gaga being on the show, but for me she was the least of the shows problems. Sure, she’s no Meryl Streep, but she wasn’t that bad.
      I personally thought that John/Wes Bentley was the worst part of this season. He was an absolute bore along with Chloe Sevigny’s character. While I did enjoy parts of this season, having so much focus be on John Lowe’s character/family will always be part of what makes this season inferior to the others for me. There are episodes where I just sat there waiting for a different character to pop up on screen, but he just wouldn’t leave.
      I wish all the screen time given to him would have been given to Matt Bomer, Angela Bassett, and Sarah Paulson–three superb actors who were sadly very underused overall this season.

      • Daniel says:

        I actually liked John, when it turned out he was the killer I was probably the most surprised I’ve been since Adelaide’s death in season 1. I found that the worst part of this season was Lily Rabe’s character (or lack thereof) She is one of my favorite AHS actresses, (along with Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Connie Britton) But this season she was so small that I barely even remembered her, she shhould’ve been given a much more prominent role.

        • Dave says:

          Really? I caught on that John was the killer the minute he wasn’t killed at the Devil’s Night Dinner Party.

          I do wish they had more screen time for the other killers, they are interesting. Very smart to have the Zodiac Killer’s head covered, seeming he was never caught.

          John Carroll Lynch in the same scene was interesting too seeming the killer clown, who he also played, in season 4 was based on John Wayne Gacy. Not only that, his character in the “Zodiac” movie was suspected as the killer, but wasn’t confirmed. So much coincidence.

          My favourite season yet. Evan Peters’ best performance. Angela Bassett was annoying with her overacting. So happy seeing Kathy Bates’ Iris killing those hipsters, that was awesome. Never been a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, but her role in the season was perfect for her.

      • The Beach says:

        No, no, no for Angela Bassett. She over-acted every scene she was in. I haven’t seen scenery-chewing that bad in a long time.

  15. abz says:

    Interesting finale. I liked seeing Billie Dean again, although I do kind of wish I watched Murder House before watching this finale because its been a while since I’ve seen it and I forgot what Billie Dean was like.
    As a whole, this season was just okay for me. Definitely inferior to others (many seem to blame Lady Gaga but I think she was the least of the season’s problem. I didn’t think she was that bad and I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing her again).
    There were some great moments and some funny moments as well (I will forever love seeing Matt Bomer dance to Hotline Bling lol). But in the end, this season just feels like lost potential. The writing felt very disjointed at times. Too reliant on blood and gore really. Severe underuse of some of the shows talented cast (Angela Bassett, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson) and OVERUSE of boring characters like John Lowe/Wes Bentley (I wonder if I’d have enjoyed watching the character with another actor perhaps) and Alex/Chloe Sevigny
    The whole kids/measles storyline felt like a waste of time. What happened to The Countess’ baby? Where did the addiction demon come from? Those are some questions off the top of my head.
    One thing’s for sure though, Denis O’Hare and Kathy Bates were some of the best parts of this season. Great work by the both of them.

    • Isaac Gelman says:

      What happened to the baby and the Addiction Demon origin were my only lingering questions, too. In the last one of the last episodes, it sounded like March was in control and would sic it on Sally.

  16. Kat says:

    Definitely the worst season so far. Glad is over. Hoping for better one in October. Loved character of Liz. Please make sure Gaga doesn’t come back for true next season.

  17. katedfw says:

    One of my favorites seasons! Loved every minute. So next season, any guesses? I heard March talking about being out at sea or on a boat so I am thinking Ghost Ship for S7!!

  18. Tony says:

    I thought Coven was bad, but this was the worst of the AHS franchise. Gratuitous sensationalism and over-the-top exploitation, superficial style over substance, stories that went nowhere … all of Murphy and Co’s worst points took centre stage this year. And wasn’t this year supposed to be a linkage to all the seasons, bring them all together in some way? Very disappointing. I tuned in and out all season … next year it will be even less.

  19. Matt says:

    I didn’t like it. First off because the season was only 12 episodes. I left asking more questions than I started with lol. Lastly, I’m not too fond of PANCAKE BREASTS!

  20. Morgan says:

    Don’t you notice how the boarding school is mentioned twice in the finale? The school Lachlan & Scarlett go to. Could that be season 6?

    • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

      Gave the episode a B, the season overall an A. Hands down Liz Taylor was my favorite character( Denis O’Hare killed it!!!!) along w. Ramona Royale, Mr. March aka Gomez Adams LOL and of course Kathy Bates’ as well.

    • Andrew says:

      @ Morgan – I noticed, but I don’t think a school setting is it. They already did that with Coven. To me, it’d be repetitive.

  21. Tabitha says:

    Loved the Hotel season! Devils night party was soul touching! I can’t wait for the next season to start, ugh what shall I do from now until then, t.v just won’t be the same!!

  22. Charlene says:

    Probably won’t watch next season. This season jumped all over the place. The storyline with the kids and measles was really boring. And really did not like Lady Gaga.

  23. BrianR says:

    Still liked Coven best, But bring Gaga back she’s hot and team her with Lilly Rabe as sexy lesbians.

  24. Shelley says:

    I kind of liked this season of AHS Hotel, despite I felt its Premier was OTT w/Bloody sex & gore for shock value vs. story, & did Not expect to like further episodes or characters. Yet I saw the 2nd ep to see if better, & to my surprise (& a bit of dismay) I liked John Lowe, was interested in where the story would go & was compelled to keep watching. I too feel Liz was a great character & O’ Hare’s portrayal outstanding; also Kathy Bate’s Iris & Paulson as Sally were very good. Re Gaga, I’ve heard of but not seen her past antics, & feel she did well as the Countess. It was disjointed at times, & stuff not explained frustrates me; where’d addiction demon come from & who or what was it? And the guy/ghost Sally had sewn in a mattress, Why?Or did I miss that? Hotel’s Not their best season, yet I liked it more than Freakshow, as Finn Wittrock’s Sociopathic Dandy upset me, so I guess he did it well. I feel the finale was good, not great, & I liked seeing alil humanity & happiness: Sally on social media vs. heroin, Liz seeing her grandbaby, doin fashion & even w/dying, having those who love her kill her & reuniting w/Tristan after; & Iris learning that Donovan in after life loves her. I’d’ve liked to see alil more re John’s family in finale & I’m not clear, were his wife & Holden living vamps in 2022, or had they died too? I’m glad he got to see his family including Scarlett 1 nite/Yr & that she was Alive & well.

  25. Dina says:

    Dennis O’Hare should have gotten an award for his performance!!!! Your heart broke for his characters pain and was happy when Liz was happy and in love. Evan Peters as well! His character was soooo animated and refined…loved him! Wow….that is a creepy statement… LOLOLOL

  26. Sabrina says:

    Wasn’t crazy about the finale, not sure why John is only able to come out once a year for devils night. Angela Bassett over acted her roles which made her scenes awkward to watch. Kathy bates was great and so was lizz, I also really like James’ character and Sally did well too. Overall I couldn’t miss an episode and enjoyed the series, waiting until October!

    • Simon L says:

      “not sure why John is only able to come out once a year for devils night” because he didn’t die in the hotel. He was shot by police just before the entrance and despite trying to clamber inside the boundary didn’t make it.

  27. Fancysauceee says:

    Why does John only come back once a year??

    • Simon L says:

      See my comment above…

      Anyone who dies outside the hotel doesn’t get to ‘haunt’ the hotel but ‘Devils Night’ as featured in previous seasons allows the dead to visit – hence March holding his annual dinner for the most famous US serial killers.

  28. Jillette Razer says:

    Two episodes in I thought it was shaping up to be the best season yet, but it fizzled out halfway through like every season.

  29. Manny says:

    Would’ve loved a clearer story line. Would’ve loved a “deeper ” story line for gaga. Dennis was amazing ! He was the the jessica Lange (the best ) of the season

  30. Henrietta W. says:

    Always been a fan of AHS watched every season!! Thought the hotel theme was very interesting I loved LadyGaga! Loved the storyline! Keep us on the edge of our seats&thanks for the enjoyment!!

  31. Nolan says:

    Absolutely loved the first four seasons of American horror story,unfortunately the fifth series Hotel failed a bit on the story side of things,there are to many confusing sub plots that never get addressed or when answered really don’t make sense.Having said that when they got it right it really worked and I thought the Art deco look of the Hotel lent it self brilliantly to the gory horror genre. I think the show missed Jessica Lange at times but the introduction of Lady Gaga as the counttess definitely was a success. once again Evan Peters who gets better and better with every season was fantastic playing the wonderfully eccentric sycotic, strangely likeable massmurdering character James Patrick March the designer of the Hotel Peters is brilliant. All in all it was OK brilliant at times but lacked the general fear factor of the first four..
    Can’t wait for the next one

  32. Samantha says:

    I thought the series was awesome.I seriously could not wait for my take me from reality Wednesday 9:00pm show.
    So thank you to a great cast.

  33. Zubaidah says:

    I loved Hotel so much!!!The final wasn’t the best,but it was OK.I missed Mr March from the last episode,I expected some kind of ‘last big action’ of him or something.He was the best.And Sally. And Liz.They absolutely ruled the show.

  34. Jen Williams says:

    Was it just my recordings but was it cut short 3-4 min ahead of taping it? All I saw at the end was what appeared to be GaGa sitting on a couch at the hotel and man walking towards her. Then it went blank and asked for me to keep or delete my episode! 😡 I never saw what happened!! And who was the guy wrapped in a wonton doodle? The rapist? Ugh. I’m so mad!!!

  35. desley says:

    I think we need Jessica Lang back it’s not American horror stories without it

  36. Tom says:

    I think my only complaint was that the season did not have a Ryan Murphy musical number like I am used to seeing once a season.

  37. Gemma says:

    We wanted to see the hotel in 2026? Don’t mention things we are not going to see.. and why end with gaga and that new guy.. clearly something was gonna happen.. and Iris? Did she end up turning the hotel around by 2026. I dunno very disappointed in this finale guys.. freak show wrapped the whole thing up mad.. was a true ending.. hotel just left me confused as to why it wasn’t finished..

  38. jbubs says:

    I loved this season maybe it is because Gaga always made my hair stand up when she’s on screen. It didn’t matter for me whether she was a good actress or not, but every time the boss lady showed up, I was excited because I always knew something exotic will occur. I was so sick of John’s voice the entire season. Some parts, AHS did not need to waste running time like the Billie Dean interview and when she got an intro of each ghost at Devil’s Night. Since it was a finale they did not need to go in depth for those events whereas the important things should be touched upon. I just feel for the last episode it needed more of a wow factor instead of a subtle ending where Gaga is back to her own self. Sally also needed closure with John. I thought it was a 13 episode series as it says on fx. The ‘finale’ was only episode 12 eh?

    Murphy if you bring Gaga back, I will watch. She got me hooked. Just leave John’s Batman voice behind. Thank you :)

  39. Andrijana says:

    But if John died outside the hotel, how is he stuck in a hotel for eternity…. I thought if you die outside of the hotel you go to heaven or smth

  40. Jennifer says:

    I’m so confused!!! I had five min left of DVR time and it stopped with assuming Gaga on a sofa and an unseen man coming towards her and “poof!!!!” It was over no credits nada. Just asked me if I wanted to delete the viewing. Uhm NOOOOOO!!! I don’t tho k it was over!!! 😡

  41. Shannie says:

    I’m so confused this AHS was not wat I expected ! It ended so quick that I’m lost! but I think lady gaga was great in the show

  42. Ami says:

    So, I was confused at the once a year family reunion at first, but I realized that John can only return for Devil’s Night, as the other killers do, since he did not actually die in the Cortez. That’s sad, he just wanted to be with his family.

  43. One question I have is why Queenie isn’t a spirit in the hotel?