For the season finale of “American Horror Story,” endgame was the name of the day. Over the course of the hour, executive producer Ryan Murphy and the rest of his writing team found themselves very invested in trying to tie up the stories of most everyone who mattered. For the first forty minutes or so, we’d argue that the show was doing a pretty bang-up job at this … but then things started to go a little off the rails.
When the focus was primarily on Iris and Liz Taylor’s journey to making the hotel better, the show was running on all cylinders. There were some fun moments in here as they tried to corral the ghosts and make the Cortez a better place. Who would’ve possibly imagined that the real way to helping Sally would be to get her an iPhone with all of the social-networking apps she needed? Eventually Liz got cancer and had the ghosts, led by the Countess, usher her to the other side. Therefore, life could continue.
Through this part of the episode, the series said quite a few interesting things about death, fear, despair, and how some people are willing to keep themselves going. Donovan was one of the few to experience the show’s true version of Heaven … and there were pancakes there.
Unfortunately, things started to then go completely off the rails once we got to John Lowe, and also spend an incredible amount of time on Billie Dean Howard, a character from the first season who really had nothing to do with anything once she filled her purpose in the Liz plot: Bringing her together with her true love Tristan. We suddenly brought back the murderer’s row, Devil’s Night, and all of the nonsense we didn’t need. A cohesive story suddenly became cohesive and weird again.
In the end, it only seems appropriate for “Hotel” to close its doors on a frustrating note. All season long, this was a show that would give us hope that maybe it was starting to turn things around, only to then go off the rails with something unnecessary. The only real twist is that John didn’t quite make it to the hotel, but do we really care about him enough to want him to see his kids? If “Horror Story” had kept track of who the real heart of the story was this season, maybe we would’ve ended with a touch of magic and a better review. Instead, we’re left feeling as empty as the lone ghost in an empty hotel lobby. Grade: C-.
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