May 22nd, 2012
10:03 AM ET
"House" took a long and winding road to get there, but in the end, the final episode of the series showed what was most important: the relationship between Dr. Gregory House and Dr. James Wilson.
One of the first faces we saw on Monday night (after an extraordinary retrospective special, by the way) was a stunner.
There was Kutner, in a house which was slowly burning down, looking right at House. (It was a stunner because Kutner killed himself years ago.) Kutner, who represented House's innermost thoughts, soon determined that House was suicidal.
Kutner wondered why House, with his attraction to puzzles, would ever consider the finality of death.
We flashed back to House's latest case, a fellow drug addict whose only real purpose in the story was to be the reason House found himself in a burning home: the two of them were doing heroin, and the patient was dead by the time House recovered.
Soon, Kutner was replaced by another ghostly visage: Amber, Wilson's ex - and a woman whose death House felt responsible for causing.
It was an extraordinary return performance by Anne Dudek, who was then replaced by - yet another surprise - Stacy, House's ex played by Sela Ward, whom we haven't seen on the show in a long time. She reminded House of the domestic life he didn't have (and we were sadly reminded that Cuddy was not going to appear in this episode).
As House experienced something of his own version of "A Christmas Carol," Wilson and Foreman soon discovered he was missing.
Despite the fact that the cancer-stricken Wilson - with just months left to live - refused to take the fall for a prank which would lead to House returning to prison, House's best friend searched high and low for him. The two even visited Andre Braugher's Dr. Nolan looking for him.
In the meantime, Cameron became the latest figure from House's past to appear to him. This time, she told him to just give up and leave this mortal coil. An unlikely angel of death, to be sure.
Soon, however, Cameron's mind was changed, right as Wilson and Foreman arrived. House, still inside the burning building, took one look at Wilson before the place exploded.
I wondered if it might end this way. The funeral included just about everyone but Cuddy (and Lucas). One by one, the likes of Thirteen, Masters, Park, Chase, Taub, Adams, Dominika and even Foreman sung his praises. (At this point, it's still sinking in for me.)
Then, Wilson spoke. After a few moments of faking it, he said it: "House was an a**." As he continued to tell those gathered exactly what he thought about House, a text message alert kept beeping. Finally, Wilson figured out it was his phone: "Shut up, you idiot," the message read. We all know who wrote that.
Wilson soon met a very-much-alive House, who was at the point of no return. Having faked his death (he ducked out the back and switched out dental records, don't you know), he can certainly never practice medicine again (somehow I have the feeling, after everything he's done, he'll find a way).
House asked Wilson what he wanted to do with the time he had left. House faked his death to be with his friend in his remaining months.
So, one of the darkest series on network TV ended with a hopeful, positive message. Taub found happiness with his family; Cameron - remembering the good times on House's team - had a husband and kid; Chase took his rightful place inheriting House's old job.
And Foreman found House's ID badge, only one of three people who knew House was alive. (New additions Park and Adams, by the way, barely got any screentime, which probably says something about how much of an effect their one season had on the show.)
House and Wilson, meanwhile, were on a bridge on motorcycles. Wilson asked what happens when the cancer gets bad. House responded, "Cancer's boring." The duo rode off into the distance.
That was one gutsy ending, no doubt about it. House's final prank was on Wilson (and just about everyone else). The fact that it cut to the core of the series almost erases the extreme implausibility of how House pulled off such a spectacular stunt, not to mention if the trip into his subconscious even mattered, if he was never really suicidal in the first place. Or did he become suicidal on the way to pranking Wilson?
Let's face it, "House" always flirted with the realm of pure fantasy more than any series since "St. Elsewhere," so dissecting this is kind of beside the point.
What I do know is that both Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard should finally get long-deserved Emmys this year. And that "House," a unique series for broadcast television, despite its ups and downs, had an incredible run.
What did you think of the finale? Share your thoughts on video or comment below.
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