The big question going into tonight’s series finale of House was whether or not Dr. Gregory House would die.
Between the rumored returns (Kal Penn, Amber Tamblyn, etc.) and the scary-sounding title of the last episode, spoiler-loving folk knew something afoot. Would House have a pre-death trip through his history? Would everyone meet up for a funeral? Would all of House’s friends gather in a big intervention? At several points during the show’s last episode, I thought I had it all figured out, but true to House form, it had me guessing until the very end. Ultimately, the answer was: All of the above — sort of.
House did die. On paper. And that brought him to life in a way we’ve never seen before on the series. (By the way, read Ken Tucker’s take here.)
The episode found House, as some had predicted, being visited by people from his past. But the circumstances, messages, and outcome were all things we couldn’t have possibly foreseen.
At the start of the episode, House was on the floor of a burning building, making no effort to escape what was quickly becoming his fiery tomb. (Later, we’d learn that House had followed a pain-killer-addicted patient there, and we can assume he did so with the intention of doing harder drugs.) Kutner, his “suicidal friend,” appeared as a hallucination and tried to convince House to save himself. That’s when it became clear: After years of saving people, House’s friends had to save him.
But that sounds cornier than it was. The visits from House past — Penn’s Kutner, Amber, ex-girlfriend Stacy (Sela Ward) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) — were heartfelt, profound, and really added up the pieces of the man we’ve gotten to know for eight years. In the end, I feel, the puzzle was solved.
“You’re too cowardly to admit your taking the cowardly way out,” Cameron told him as the flames licked his ankles. House wasn’t going to leave, I thought. But then House surprised me. “You’re right. But I can change.”
He got up and walked to the entrance. At the same time, Wilson and Foreman approached the burning building and arrived at the entrance just a beam fell down, seemingly killing House. And if that didn’t seem final enough, the building then blew up.
Holy crap, House was dead. Or, was he?
In the moment, I wholeheartedly believed he was. But as things progressed, I became more and more skeptical. (They found the body, the coroner confirmed, etc.) By the time they got to the funeral, something definitely felt…off. Though, I have to say, Wilson’s send off would have been a perfect ending as well. “House was an ass…he was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable,” he said, after an attempt at being sweet.
That’s when the best text in the world came into Wilson’s inbox. “SHUT UP YOU IDIOT,” it said. I cheered.
Wilson pulled up to the stoop, and sure enough, there was House. He’d escaped out the back, swapped some dental records, and, essentially, escaped jail time (for now). “You’ll go to jail for years. You’ll never be a doctor again,” Wilson said, dumbfounded. “I’m dead Wilson. How do you want to spend your last five months?” House replied.
House was right again. He could change. He did change. And at the same time, some things never change.
My take? Perfect from start to finish. (Bonus points for all the fan treats, like the Dead Poets Society reference.)
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