Everybody Dies

May 21, 2012 marked the very last time I’ll ever be able to watch a new episode of House.  The series wrapped after eight incredible seasons; the sets were disassembled, tearful goodbyes were exchanged, and the cast and crew went their separate ways.  I didn’t hop onto the House bandwagon until the second season; I had heard an interview with Hugh Laurie and thought there was no way this British guy would be convincing as a brooding American doctor.  I gave the series a chance in the early stages of season two and I was hooked as bad as House is hooked on vicodin and puzzles.  My husband and I own every season that is currently on DVD and even having this, I always tune into the CLOO network on Wednesday’s to watch the House marathon.  Or USA when they run theirs.  I can’t get enough, but sadly the story has ended for good.

SPOILERS coming; go away if you have yet to watch the finale or wish to in the future.  I’m not getting too detailed, but it’ll still ruin it for you.

The series finale did keep with the typical format and presented Dr. House with a case for he and his team to tackle, but instead of opening in the usual way on the case subject, we opened to a close up shot of House’s face as he lay on the floor of a burning building next to a dead body.  Through hallucinations of people from his past who has either died or simply moved on from him, House is forced to decide whether to live and go to prison for the remainder of Wilson’s days on Earth, or die and miss the last moments with Wilson anyway.  It seems to be a lose-lose situation; he loses the last of his time with his best friend either way.

House generally acts like a selfish ass who cares little about what people think of him and how he affects them.  He enjoys his job because he gets to solve puzzles; saving lives is icing on the cake that is often ignored by him.  Rarely will he let his true emotion shine through, and when he does it seems that he always ends up getting hurt.  As the episode progresses, we flash back to House’s work on the case, his manipulation of Foreman and Wilson as he tries to delay his prison sentence, and his interactions with the case subject whose dead body is keeping House company in the burning building.  Even with the knowledge that Wilson will likely die from cancer in five short months, House fails to allow emotion to seep through the cracks in his armor.  At first anyway.

Through prodding by the imagined Amber, the audience learns that the case subject has volunteered to take the fall for the vandalism charge that will send House back to prison.  This realization, that a stranger who House failed to save will sacrifice everything in order to help him, awakens something in House’s mind.  Even with the imagined Cameron telling him he deserves to die and rest, House struggles to his feet and heads for the door of the building.  As he reaches the front door, he sees Wilson and Foreman outside, panicked in their search for him.  Eye contact is made as the fire wins the battle against the building; House is lost in a wall of flame and subsequent explosion.  Cue tearfest.

The morgue confirms that the body is indeed House and a funeral service is held; House’s ashes sit in an urn in front of his family, friends, and coworkers who take turns approaching the podium and speaking of their experiences and memories.  As Wilson approaches, his composure breaks and he begins talking about House quite candidly.  As he speaks, his tone becoming more and more heated, a cell phone interrupts his speech.  Eventually he realizes it is coming from his pocket.  He flips open the phone, which does not belong to him, to see a text message saying “Shut up you idiot.”  End tearfest.

The brilliant Gregory House used his last official act on this planet to fake his own death.  The body of his last case subject, which was burnt in the fire, became House with a simple switch of the dental records.  After leaving his badge underneath a leg of Foreman’s wobbly table, House and Wilson ride their motorcycles off to parts unknown, spending Wilson’s last moments on Earth the way best friends ought to.  Together, without distraction of the real world, without care or worry, and without consequences hanging over their heads.  For me, it was a beautiful ending.

I am a bit curious about how House ended up in the building, if he did indeed partake in the heroin with his case subject, and how the fire started.  My theory is that at some point, House agreed to accompany his case subject back to his “home” in the abandoned building he seems to have taken up residence in.  House either used heroin or took too many vicodin and passed out on the filthy floor.  As he slept, his new friend slipped downstairs to start the blaze, then came back up to the room where House slept and shot himself up with enough heroin to overwhelm his system and kill him.  He had to know that House would come to before the fire lost control, or at least have been very confident of that fact.  I feel that in a last act of selflessness, this man gave House everything he needed in order to fake his own death and disappear.

Having a virtual stranger offer to sacrifice himself and then actually going through with it in a way that surpassed the original offer seemed to be a major push for House and somewhat of an eye opener.  In a way, it was still selfish to fake his death and leave the majority of his family and friends in mourning, as Wilson and Foreman are the only two who seem to be in on the secret, but overall it was one of the most selfless things House has ever done.  He sacrificed his entire life in order to give Wilson five more months with his best friend.  He can never be a doctor again; will never solve intricate puzzles and manage a team of brilliant minds.  He can never go back to the life he once knew, not unless he wants to live the rest of his life out in a prison cell.  He had everything to lose in faking his death except for a little more time with Wilson.  I don’t think he would have been able to do this if not for his case subject giving his life for him.

I’m grateful to the writers for giving the audience an open ending.  House didn’t end up in prison, Wilson didn’t end up suffering, Chase received his own team as he wanted and took over House’s former office, Cameron got her chance to finally move on from loving House and is able to enjoy her husband and baby, and overall everyone who was touched in some way by House ended up seeing the good that he has done rather than simply thinking him a bully.  Giving the series finale a title like “Everybody Dies” was definitely a cause for worry, but I thank them all for ending it the right way.  We’ll miss you, Dr. House.


About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on May 22, 2012, in TV/Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. HYFR good job Miami Heat boyz good victory and blowout. 3-2 one more game and yall got Pacers going home oh yea. The kings of the nba D.W LJ

  2. I like a happy ending to Jamie, and I’m glad that they put the two in a situation where they could be happy, at least for 5 months. It seems like you relate to this ending too because just like realizing the importance of Wilson’s friendship to House, just as your son was a similar way of realizing the importance of life. I had a similar realization when I saw how upset my family was that I watched so much TV at night. That’s why I was so thrilled when I realized that I have the opportunity to watch a whole show before I go to work in the morning, at Dish. I can automatically skip 20 minutes of commercials with Auto Hop on my PrimeTime Anytime recordings. It was nice while it lasted, but now they are counting down the days until Wilson is no more.

  3. They should have titled it “Everybody Dies But Not Really We’re Just Kidding”

  4. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

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