For its final episode of 2015 (the season still has three more to go in all), ‘American Horror Story’ stretches its legs a little by adding an extra 15 minutes to the running time. That doesn’t serve much purpose, unfortunately, as not much gets accomplished in the added length that couldn’t have been squeezed into a standard hour.
The episode opens with an elderly couple checking into the Hotel Cortez to commit mutual suicide. Despite the bloody mess (they simultaneously shoot each other in the heads), Liz thinks this is beautiful and contemplates for a moment killing herself as well. Iris reminds her that she’ll be stuck in the hotel forever if she dies there with any unfinished business in her life. Iris and Liz make a pact to each settle their affairs and then go out together.
Liz’s greatest regret in life is her estrangement from her son, Douglas. Too cowardly to call him herself, she asks Miss Evers to invite him to the hotel for a reunion. In exchange for her help, Liz gives Evers some brand new laundry detergent, over which Evers is unreasonably excited. However, Evers also warns Liz that the boy may not be so accepting of his father’s new life as a woman.
Having fully embraced his identity as the Ten Commandments Killer, John murders the members of a small pagan cult for worshipping false idols.
The Countess invites Natacha to the hotel without Valentino and shoots her in the head. Simultaneously, but without the Countess’ knowledge, Donovan breaks into Valentino’s motel room and shoots him in the head as well. That’s Finn Wittrock’s second death scene this season.
John demands to see his wife Alex. She’s tells him about the mess she made with the vampire kids and asks for his help cleaning it up. They find the kids back at the house where Alex last saw them. The children swarm and threaten the two adults, but when one sick little vampire girl named Kimmy dies, the rest finally agree to go to the hotel. John and Alex trick them and seal them in the hidden wing with Ramona.
Liz’s son, now an adult with a family of his own, comes to the hotel and has a drink at the bar. Liz has a long conversation with him but doesn’t reveal that she’s his father. He returns the next day and Liz works up the courage to tell him, but the boy already figured it out. He understands and accepts her, and offers to let her be a part of his life. This makes Liz rethink her suicide plans. Iris is disappointed. After all, she’d just finished making a lovely inspirational goodbye video for her three Instagram followers. Liz convinces her that perhaps they need to rethink their goals. If they joined forces, they could take over the hotel.
Dressed up as Kim Novak in ‘Vertigo’ for some reason, the Countess is interviewed by a couple of police officers and lays out her story about how her husband went missing on their wedding night. Just then, Drake walks in and announces that he’s fine. The police consider the matter resolved and leave, obviously unaware that he’s a ghost. Drake reminds the Countess that she’s not in his will. She in turn reminds him that his son Laughlin will inherit everything, and she’s now his legal guardian. She threatens to turn the boy into a vampire if Drake doesn’t leave her be.
With the matter of the vampire kids taken care of, John and Alex complete their reconciliation by having sex. Sally is jealous and furious about this. John pushes her away. She threatens to tell Alex that he’s a serial killer. He says he doesn’t care. After Alex brings John to reunite with his son Holden, the three of them leave the hotel to return home as a family. On their way out, Sally screams death threats at John.
Donovan serves the Countess dinner and gloats that he murdered Valentino. The Countess leaves to see for herself. When she returns to the hotel, Donovan is still in her suite. He didn’t run. He says that he’s willing to die for her if that’s what it takes to prove his love.
Just then, Liz and Iris barge into the room, each carrying two pistols, and blast away shooting up the place. What or whom they hit isn’t shown as the episode ends. I suspect that they aren’t very good shots.
The show will return on January 6th to finish off the season’s final three episodes. In the meantime, we leave off with a merely adequate episode, neither one of the best nor worst of the season, which closes on a fairly tepid cliffhanger.
If nothing else, I must admit that I was pleased by Valentino’s death. I haven’t liked that character since his introduction and will be glad to be rid of him – assuming that he doesn’t somehow come back.