Gregory House MD disappeared beneath a collapsing pillar of flame in last nights episode. For weeks the show had been playing with the emotional foreshadowing of its’ inevitable conclusion. Wilson had cancer and his future was up in the air. House might have to go back to prison for a probation violation and miss his best friends final days on earth. Then in a very House-like spiral downward the psychotic drug-addicted-doctor found himself strung out in a burning building waiting to die while delusions from his passed whispered nostalgic offerings of advice to him. After eight seasons and various awards including a Peabody and five prime-time Emmy’s the hit Fox medical drama came to a close. No final cure for cancer saved the day; Wilson is still going to die. No Newhart style dream ending. It wasn’t all a fiction written by Roseanne. Just a heart-felt ending.
As you would expect cast members from beginning-to-end made an appearance. Surprisingly Kal Penn, who left the show in a dramatic episode about suicide that lead to House relapsing back into psychosis, returned as the first of many delusions. Penn left the show in 2009 to join the Obama Administration. Another surprise was the return of actress Jennifer Morrison who returned in her role as Cameron, Chase’s ex-wife and member of the “team” since season one. Morrison was abruptly written out of the show mid-season during season six. A funeral scene near the end of the episode tries, and I’m sure succeeds in many cases, to pluck the heart strings and bring the tears as an emotional montage of characters from passed and present deliver their goodbyes. Character after character mounts the podium and it becomes clear that this is not just a scene in a show, these are people saying goodbye to a series that has enveloped them for eight years.
Last nights episode wasn’t much for story. It was powerful, but only because it was wrapping up the series. Watching characters you’ve grown to love tear up and say their farewells was touching. How could it not be? I gave up on the show for a season and a half and it was still powerful. I told my wife earlier, I can’t believe they didn’t cure Wilson! This time next Summer Wilson will be dead! to which she replied, This time next Summer Wilson won’t exist. That’s what I’m saying. Take out the emo-heart tugging-sadfest and there wasn’t much to the episode. Not that I fault them. There was enough going on outside of the hospital that you really didn’t need to see the team solve one final puzzle. The episode was played out in three sections that it jumped back and forth between. Wilson and Foreman search for House who has been missing for two days. Each time they reference something that lead up to his disappearance we jump back to the case a few days earlier and the antics that lead to his eventual downward spiral. The third section is House in the present strung out in a dilapidated old building that IS ON FIRE. He stumbles around stoned out of his mind seeing visions and working through his demons; trying to decide if he should even leave the building. It was interesting enough, but like I said, the real episode was about saying goodbye.
I first fell into HOUSE during season four. I didn’t give it a try one night and got hooked. I caught marathon on USA and “half-watched” three or four episodes before I was drawn in. Like, ten hours later I made a mental note to start watching the new episodes. It made its way onto my DVR eventually (I don’t think DVR were in every house and home during the early stages so I doubt I had one in 2007 . I was probably setting my VHS to timed recording and watching it on a seventy pound TV) and part of the regular staple of shows I HAD to watch every week. Peaking as high as number 2 on my “must watch list”. Couldn’t beat ABC’s LOST at the time (LOST still had so much going for it in the early days).
Something about the character of Gregory House MD and his anti-heroism is so captivating. It’s very rare to love a character you dislike. Hugh Laurie is amazing in his portrayal of Dr. House. A brilliant Diagnostician at the fictional Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. Solving a case each week like Sherlock Holmes with a team of Doc Watsons. Only this detective is high on Vicodin, manipulative, and distrusting of humanity. “Everybody Lies”, the title the shows first episode is also the epicenter of the entire show. The stubble on his face and the cold lazy look in his eyes, reminiscent of hard boiled detectives played by Bruce Willis. It was good. He was good. Now it’s over.
I’d been sitting on a comic idea involving HOUSE for a while and it won’t be relevant in a few months when people have moved on. So I sketched it up in a mad fury and am adding it to this send off.