Lady Gaga picked up a Golden Globe over the weekend for her role in American Horror Story: Hotel—and even though she was part of an ensemble cast, the designation “Best Actress” made perfect sense, since her character’s storyline was the heart of the season. Stunt casting? Maybe. But it worked so damn well.
Last night’s remarkably upbeat finale, “Be Our Guest,” saw Liz Taylor and Iris—the new proprietors of the Hotel Cortez—making peace with their permanent residents, as well as strategizing to bring the hotel into the future. We also got a nifty throwback to AHS season one, with Sarah Paulson reprising her role as cheesy psychic Billie Dean Howard (who is so unlike Paulson’s Hotel character, Sally, that the double-up actually worked great.)
With the Countess’ fate already sealed last week, Lady Gaga only had two brief scenes in the finale, which were mostly concerned with where everyone else was gonna land. But even her brief screen time highlighted exactly those qualities that made her character so indispensable all season.
After she got downgraded from a vampire to a ghost by John Lowe, the Countess has been keeping a low profile—but appears, looking drop-dead fabulous as always, to take charge of Liz’s assisted suicide. These two have had their beefs—what with the Countess killing Liz’s true love, etc.—but all is forgiven in this lovely (if insanely gory) moment between them. The scene is important, because it underlines how crucial the Countess is to the hotel’s eco system, even in her new form. She’s no longer the vampire queen, and she’s no longer the hotel’s feared overlord. But she’s still its indisputable superstar, and once she appears, everyone—even bratty Sally—defers to her leadership.
And, naturally, the Countess gets the very last scene of the finale: a moment that lets us know that eternity spent trapped in the Hotel Cortez might not be so bad after all. The best-dressed ghost who ever walked the Earth is posted up in the hotel bar when she sees him: a dark-haired hunk with a sculpted jawline. Just her type! Oozing just as much charisma as she did when she was vampin’, she makes her move.
Over the course of the season, we’ve seen this character transform from wide-eyed silent-movie flapper, to sultry bloodsucker (along with that: heartbroken ingenue, conniving bride, motherly protector, terrifying monster), to reluctant ghost. But if even the Countess can find a bright side to her dreary fate, it seems Hotel’s happy ending—hard-earned, after all the gore and pain we’ve seen all season—might be genuine.