The ''House'' season finale: Unexpected departures
Season finales haven't fared too well this year. The lackluster Idol ender couldn't produce even half the brilliance of Clay's surprise appearance last year; Heroes concluded anticlimactically, without a huge rock 'em, sock 'em rumble; and the Grey's closer seriously made me doubt whether the sun would ever rise again. I was therefore looking forward to the finale of House, especially since it has gathered momentum in recent weeks and has consistently delivered awesome final episodes in seasons past.
Sadly, the show seems to have fallen prey to the prevailing winds of ''meh.'' Clearly, the dissolution of House's team Chase being fired, Cameron resigning, and Foreman following through on his previously announced resignation is a huge, huge deal. But there was something off with the episode as a whole. Honestly, I couldn't care less if Foreman stays or goes, and House's firing of Chase came completely out of the blue. In retrospect, you can rationalize House's decision as a knee-jerk reaction to Wilson's pointing out that he hates change. You could also argue that the blond Aussie actually is ready to fly the coop in the past few episodes, he's really grown as a character and as a doctor: He's making the right diagnoses, he's being mature about Cameron's romantic rejection, and he's no longer the spoiled brat he once was. (He also looks adorable in a hat. But I digress.) There's nothing more House can teach him, and firing him, albeit at a terrible time, was House's way of drastically conveying that message. But it's still hard to believe that House (and Cuddy!) would grovel at Foreman's feet to make him stay, but they'd just wave Chase, the more competent doctor, goodbye. I truly felt for House when Foreman continued with his obnoxious I don't want to be you spiel, saying, ''I don't want so solve cases I want to save lives'' (which House responded to by giving him the tongue-lashing that he deserved). Whether Foreman absorbed any of it is another issue altogether, but the incident just reminded me how unlikable the character has become. Too bad Omar Epps has already confirmed he'll be back next season; I hate when real life becomes a spoiler for fake TV life.
As for the possible departure of Cameron, I would, in her terms, miss her, but I wouldn't break down if she didn't actually come back. Her final realization that she was interested in Chase after all was sweet, and the writers pretty much extinguished any flickers of 'shippy behavior between her and House. When she finally tendered her resignation, House did look brilliantly sad and weary, but his expression seemed to be more a reflection of losing his entire diagnostic team than specifically about Cameron's departure. Besides, he's about to get a résumé from a cute girl in Cuddy's class (foreshadowing new ducklings, possibly?).
Basically, as long as Wilson and Cuddy stay around, I'm good. Their relationships with House are the real heart of the show, and even though he was pretty invisible in this finale, RSL had finally been given decent story lines to play with in recent weeks. I've stopped going on about the genius of Hugh Laurie because I sound like a broken record. The guy can do no wrong even when the script is lame. His delivery of put-downs (''Foreman's not as easy as Cameron but then, who is?'') is always pitch perfect, and he's the only one who could get away with a cheesy air-guitar-with-flame-cane move. Overall, this season was about House accepting change, and when, at the end of the epi, he admitted to the patient of the week's husband that he was okay with all of his ducklings leaving, I bought it.
Speaking of which, a quick mention of the POTW. Is the U.S. government really so generous that a sick Cuban woman and her husband who were airlifted by helicopter from the waters around Florida would get a free ride all the way to New Jersey? (Speaking of which, I was amused by this exchange: ''Is this heaven?'' ''No, it's New Jersey.'' Obvious comedy writing, but entertaining just the same.) Overall, I was not impressed with the woman's case, because it was overshadowed by all the internal drama, but it was nice to see House finally bond with a patient. (Actually, a patient's spouse, albeit with cigars and alcohol in the room of a woman who just had open-heart surgery a move that made me question whether Esteban really loved his wife as much as he claimed. What a boneheaded thing to do!) I wasn't thrilled with the message the writers were trying to convey they've addressed the issue of faith in a much more sophisticated way in episodes past. But there you go season 4, hurry up and get here!
But what say you? Are any of the ducklings really gone, or was this all just an elaborate way of creating a cliff-hanger? If they're all coming back, will they have new jobs? And is House starting to reach a better place?