(WARNING: significant spoilers follow!)
Well, here we are. The end of the line. Eight seasons of House has come to an end, and if the end wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it would be, it was perhaps the best ending that we could have expected. Let’s get to it!
We open with House (Hugh Laurie) on the ground in a burning building with a dead guy next to him and another dead guy, Kutner (Kal Penn), talking to him. It seems that our boy House has done some heroin and is now hallucinating. I wasn’t aware that heroin did that, but ok.
From there we go to a whole series of strange events, mostly told through hallucinations and flashbacks. First off, House was treating a patient who was a heroin addict (the dead guy), and he used that, and his other cases, to try and manipulate Foreman (Omar Epps) into talking to the parole board about letting him remain out of prison for a few months. Basically just until Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) dies. This tactic doesn’t work, and in the end, House finds that he can’t deal with the problems he’s facing, and tries out heroin, thus putting him into the place he is now, where he’s trapped in a burning building with a dead guy.
While he’s there, he not only hallucinates Kutner, but also various other dead and missing people from the show, like Cameron, Wilson’s old girlfriend Amber, and House’s old girlfriend, Stacey. The latter is very nice to see, though it would have been good to have seen her earlier, as she’s been gone since season one.
Throughout all of this we also follow Wilson and Foreman as they scour the area trying to find House. They eventually track him to the burning building and arrive just in time to see him nearly make it out as the building explodes, apparently killing House. I say apparently because shortly thereafter we see the funeral and Wilson getting a text from House who, it seems, is still alive. He claims to have swapped dental records with the dead patient and now he and Wilson are free to travel around and enjoy their last few months together. The story, and the series, ends with them riding off on motorcycles.
There was a lot I really enjoyed about this episode. It was nice to see Kutner, Cameron, Amber and Stacey again, as well as a brief appearance by House’s shrink. But while I liked that, it did serve to draw attention to the fact that we didn’t get to see Cuddy return. It also would have been nice to see House’s third season nemesis, Tritter, put in an appearance as a hallucination. I was also pleased to see them do something somewhat risky for the finale.
But overall my reaction to the episode was one of “meh”. I kind of think the show should have ended a couple seasons ago. Overall this whole season has felt sort of like the show was just going through the motions, and while House as a character did indeed experience some growth and change, that wasn’t anything that couldn’t have been done a while back.
I also did rather role my eyes as the “Doctor House is believed to be dead, and must let the world continue to think he is dead, until he can control the raging beast within” sort of thing. I mean, yes, shades of Sherlock Holmes, which was part of the inspiration for the series, but still. I did rather like one person I read who said they think House did die in the explosion and now we’re experiencing Wilson’s hallucinations, which is why House is happier and not using a cane.
I don’t know. I wanted to like this episode a lot, and instead I came away feeling, “well, that was a thing.” It wasn’t bad, and I didn’t hate it, but I felt like it could have been more than it was.
That said, I’ll miss the series, and I’ll certainly miss seeing Hugh Laurie. Perhaps now is the time for the BBC to move on A Fifth of Blackadder?