American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

"Room Service" is the fifth episode of "American Horror Story: Hotel". It premiered November 4, 2015 on FX.


Alex uses an unconventional treatment to save a dying patient. A Halloween-hating couple test Iris' limits.[1]


Alex's heart beats heavily as she tests her body temperature, finding it 75.5 degrees; a dangerous 23.1 degrees lower than the normal human body temperature. She ambles through the hospital until she reaches Max Ellison's room. He has gone from pneumonia to a staph infection, and Mrs. Ellison asks if she should sign the proffered DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order.)

Alex finds herself in the broom closet gorging on IV bags of blood from the hospital's stores.  She takes a sample of her own, then injects it into Max's IV bag. He immediately begins having a seizure before waking.

Donovan and Iris bang on Ramona's door at 4am. Her butler, Reeves, initially denies them entry. Ramona is enraged, but Donovan explains that Iris should be her new "inside man." Donovan also reminds her that Elizabeth has taken everything from her, and Iris notes that Donovan has turned his mother. They agree that because Iris is beneath Elizabeth's notice, she is a perfect mole.

When Alex returns to Max's room, the bed is empty.  His mother then enters to explain that he was in full respiratory failure, but has made a "miraculous" recovery. They prepare him for discharge.

Liz questions Iris upon her return to the hotel, and offers the pallid woman some "hair of the dog." The astute Liz pours some of Elizabeth's private stash of blood with a drop of triple sec. She reminds her that she will need to feed regularly. She is excited that the old woman has been reborn, but Iris is much more reluctant. She muses on an eternity enduring the social invisibility of an older woman.

Max runs to catch the school bus in a pirate costume, having fed upon his parents in their kitchen. His class is decorating the classroom for Halloween, and his friend Madeline was worried about him. Hiding in a dark closet, he explains nearly dying from the measles.  When they lean in for a kiss, he bites her lip. He offers some of his own to exchange. The teacher comes to check on them and he slices her throat. Maddy is then led to drink from her.  Eventually, they infect all of the other children. The principal is the next meal for the hungry class. He barely escapes to the office, and the staff puts the school on lockdown. A SWAT team finds a trail of bloody and bloodied corpses throughout the hallways, and they escort the infected children out of the school. Max, Maddy and their friend Jimmy tell rehearsed stories about a masked intruder, and the rest of the children follow suit.

John Lowe tells his Lieutenant about the "copycat" serial killers at the hotel on Devil's Night. He is aware that the Lieutenant may suspect that he is insane, but "stakes [his] reputation on it." The Lieutenant states that John's reputation has been in tatters since his breakdown following Holden's abduction, and he fires him for mental instability.

At the Cortez, Justin, a former photographer for Entrez-Vouz magazine, and his girlfriend want a discount for being social media tastemakers. Iris leads them to Room 36, which they balk at. Downstairs, Elizabeth and Tristan head out costumed for the evening. They pass on a message for Will that he's invited to Demi's for a party. Tristan and Elizabeth notice that Iris is nervous and smells different, which she writes off as Halloween stress.

Justin wants a cheeseboard and grilled romaine from room service, which brings Iris to tears. They modify their order to pâté.  Down in the kitchen, Liz is happy to oblige them with cat food on a silver platter. Liz and Iris begin bonding, and she mentions that she's not homophobic. Liz responds that she's not gay.

She recounts her married life as Nick Pryor in 1984 Topeka, and her wife, whom she married for her matching dress size. She was a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly, and she passed up the evening strip clubs with coworkers for solo cross-dressing sessions in her hotel room. Her room service came with an unexpected visit from Elizabeth. Elizabeth notes that her blood smells like a woman, despite her male attire and behavior. This outs Liz as a transgender woman. Liz breaks down in sobs, noting the Countess' beauty in contrast to what Liz perceives as her own "ugliness". Elizabeth says that Liz doesn't lack beauty; she lacks commitment. She offers her a life as a goddess.

Elizabeth makes her over, crafting the image of Liz Taylor. She offers to take her to the Roxy, but the transwoman is afraid to emerge from the room. As a trial run, the Countess sends Liz on a trip to fill the ice bucket, and she slowly settles into the role, breezing through the hallway. She encounters her coworkers, and they are shocked to see her wearing feminine attire in public for the first time. They are cruel to Liz, as they wonder aloud if she is gay and demand to know if she has passed on AIDS to them. Elizabeth cuts their taunts short with slices to the throat and a philosophy lesson for Liz.

Back in the present, she says never returned to Topeka, but continued sending money earned from her new job at the hotel until her children turned 18. She insists that Iris teach the hipster couple some manners. The couple watch the news and continue complaining, except for the "decent" pate. Iris snaps and stabs the man and the woman with the cutlery and corkscrew, respectively, and takes a drink.

John awakes again, this time scratched and in bed with Sally, apparently after having sex. She claims he practically dragged her into his room from the bar. He says she needs to go, and she recoils at his rejection after their evening together. He claims he doesn't remember any of it, and she says he's lying; she also thinks it is their destiny to do it again and again, and that he can't fight it.

Iris thanks Liz for the inspiration in taking accountability,  and they wheel the hipsters to the cadaver chute. The two finish off the wine the couple had ordered. Iris says it's ironic that she never learned how to live until she'd died.

Elizabeth suggests Holden give his mother a kiss, as she is dressed to the nines. Holden muses that his mother is just like him now. The Countess declares that Alex will be the children's new governess, and she will continue to live with them so long as she follows the rules. Alex is concerned about John's presence in the hotel, but after being invited to share Holden's coffin assuages her fears.


  • Continuity Error: In the first episode it is established that the Hotel Cortez is a "dead zone" with no Wi-Fi, mobile data, or Internet connection. However, in this episode when The Countess sends a text to Tristan he has full bars of cell service.
    • It is possible she could be using data and gave Tristan one with that kind of access too.


  • Liz Taylor (to Iris)
    You see everything when the world doesn't see you.
  • Elizabeth (to Liz Taylor)
    We have two selves. One the world needs us to be, compliant, and the shadow. Ignore it and life is forever suffering.
  • Iris (to Liz Taylor)
    It's ironic, but I never knew how to live until I died.