House's Series Finale: Cancer's Boring
House ended its eight-season run like so many TV shows do: bittersweetly, with a few great nods to past seasons, some inevitable cheesiness, and a comforting sense of closure. Monday's series finale, "Everybody Dies," was basically a variation on the ol' life-flashes-before-a-possibly-dying-character's-eyes story: Our good doctor was seemingly headed for death by smoke inhalation in a burning building, spending his last moments alive chatting with hallucinated people from his past. And even though I think it would have been a cool, ballsy move to end House by also ending its title character, the show seemed destined for a more uplifting send-off. So what happened instead—House decided to save himself, then faked his death with a dental-records switcheroo and ran away with Wilson to make the most of Wilson's last few months—felt appropriate in that cantankerous, Gregory House-y kind of way.
Plus, there's nothing like a funeral to give TV writers a chance to revel in the series they've worked on for the past however many years—to literally eulogize the character or characters they've created. As House's friends, coworkers, and family each stood up to speak about the impact he had on their lives, they listed the character traits that made House such a compelling character in the first place.
"He was my boss, and then my employee. And both times, I learned from him."
"He made me a better parent, whether he meant to or not."
"He wasn't always easy to deal with."
"Somewhere in there, he knew how to love."
And then it was Wilson's turn:
He was my friend. The thing you have to remember, the thing you can't forget, is that Gregory House saved lives. He was a healer. And in the end... House was an ass. He mocked anyone—patients, coworkers, his dwindling friends—anyone who didn't measure up to his insane ideals of integrity. He claimed to be on some heroic quest for truth, but the truth is, he was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable. And he proved that by dying selfishly, numbed by narcotics, without a thought of anyone. A betrayal of everyone who cared about him—
Then came the disruptive ring of a cell phone and the incoming text: "Shut up, you idiot." Okay, so we don't know how the funeral actually ended or how House pulled off the cell-phone-in-Wilson's-pocket thing, but I guess sometimes you have to gloss over the nitpicky stuff in the name of a nice moment. And so after the somewhat obligatory Montage of Poignancy wherein Foreman and Taub and Chase and all the rest went on living their lives with the lessons House had taught them, House and Wilson hit the road in a fitting tribute to the friendship we've watched grow over the last eight years.
Ride, House and Wilson. Ride like the wind.
All told, "Everybody Dies" certainly had its flaws—but so did Dr. House, and a lot of people loved him anyway. Were you satisfied with how things turned out?
– What did you love or hate about the finale?
– Did you believe House died in the fire?
– What were your favorite lines/scenes of the episode?
– Do you wish Cuddy/Lisa Edelstein had come back for the big finish? Which returning-character cameos were your favorite?
– How do you think House and Wilson are spending Wilson's final days?
UPDATE: I should have clarified—when Lisa Edelstein left the show, it was over a contract dispute. Fox wanted her to take a huge pay cut, and she decided she could do better... fair enough! Beyond that, it was in the news a couple months ago that she wouldn't return for the finale; I'm not sure whether it was Edelstein or House's producers who made that call. Basically I didn't expect to see her, but I know a lot of fans wanted to... and I was a teeny bit optimistic that the show would surprise us regardless of what was in the news.
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