WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINALE! I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS.
For once, I shall begin at the end rather than the beginning. As we all know, “Everybody Dies” is the series finale.
For the sake of spending Wilson’s last months together, House fakes his own demise. He pretends to burn to death, there is a funeral, Wilson gets a text. He finds House grinning, sitting on a stoop. After being yawped at endlessly about how selfish and self-centered House is, House makes the grand gesture of sacrificing everything for Wilson.
This begs the question: what on earth was the point of the episode? If House has already planned his own death, down to switching dental records with his patient, who lies dead next to him in the warehouse, why is he visited by the Ghosts of Costars Past? I mean, it’s nice to see Anne Dudek, Kal Penn, Sela Ward and Jennifer Morrison again. If only they had something more interesting to do.
So, House wakes up from shooting heroin, and is trapped in a burning warehouse. Why is this warehouse burning? It’s never explained, so it drops into the vast yawning pit of Baffling Events and Disappearing Characters and Plot Holes. Again, if he’s planned to fake his own death, what’s with the ghosts and hallucinations? Why on earth did he shoot heroin? Don’t give me that addict kerfuffle. Surely he’s done it before. He’s taken everything before.
Each “ghost” shows up to lecture House about himself…pardon me for putting it this way, but HOW COME THIS SHOW CAN’T MAKE A POINT WITHOUT HALLUCINATIONS? This fall-back device is annoying. And tired. And ultimately boring, once you get over the pleasure of seeing the old faces again. The same old arguments, written the same old ways. Written and directed by show creator David Shore, it’s not up to the amazing “No Reason” and not as abysmal as “Two Stories.” Pointless mediocrity is what we have after a listless final season. It’s easy to see why the show has been cancelled.
What’s missing from these characters is any sense of humor. Each “ghost” solemnly lectures House about his life, his choices, fill in the blanks. Kutner is first, (Kal Penn), who asks him who the dead guy is.
|“It’s James LeGros. He was the POTW for about, oh, five minutes.”
POTW is a heroin addict who likes being an addict (ANVIL ALERT). He has agreed to help House (although we’re not sure how) get out of jail. Through dialogue with Kutner, the exposition continues: House is trying to avoid jail to stay with Wilson for the remaining time. Kutner talks about a “plan” and asks, “why are you sitting here on the floor with the suicidal guy?”
I’d heard it all before and I knew it was a hallucination and House wasn’t dead. Amber (Anne Dudek) shows up to take over the exposition. She speaks in a spaced-out monotone, which fits the dialogue.
Amber is there the longest, and given the lamest dialogue, mostly standing around solemnly intoning…whatever. Your faithful correspondent doesn’t give a damn. Stacy, House’s great love in Seasons 1 and 2 (Sela Ward) is there to show him the life he never had, handing him a baby with matching big blue eyes. Excuse me? House has never shown more than a faint interest in settling down. Yes, he bonded with Rachel Cuddy, but has she ever been mentioned again? He looks into a suburban living room , where he is canoodling with…Dominika?
Speaking of which, where was Cuddy during the Greatest Hits parade?
Then, finally, drama! House crashes through a collapsing floor! He’s trapped! As he lies on the floor, surrounded by flames, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) appears, urging House to die. That he’s done everything he can, he deserves to end it. It is such a pleasure to see her onscreen again.
However, she joins him in the hospital with the POTW, and in a baffling turnaround, tells him he’s a “coward” for choosing suicide. Meanwhile, Foreman and Wilson have been searching everywhere. They go to—Nolan’s office! WTF? Yes, it’s nice to see Andre Braugher, but–Nolan wouldn’t let House out of Mayfield unless he got clean. And now he’s okay with House being on Vicodin? This makes even less sense than everything else! Oh well, Nolan does fine with his three sentences.
House is alone. “I can change,” he mutters. But he can’t get out! Foreman and Wilson reach the warehouse just in time to see House through the flames. Then a burning beam comes down and the whole place explodes.
|“Oh, fuck me.”
A body bag is removed, the dental records match.Your faithful correspondent was upset but all right with House being dead. If someone was going to die, it is fitting that it should be House.
|Foreman breaks the news to Wilson
A funeral is held. House’s ashes are in an urn. I will forego the obvious joke. Charlene Yi kicks off the festivities, Blythe (House’s mother) gets a line, Chase gets a line, Amber Tamblyn shows up, everybody gets a line. It’s all actually quite poignant.
Then Wilson gets up. He starts a eulogy, but then loses it completely, calling House “an ass” for failing Wilson the one time truly needed him. A cell phone keeps ringing during Wilson’s sort-of eulogy. It’s in his pocket, but it’s not his phone. He opens it and sees a text: SHUT UP YOU IDIOT.
Cut to a car pulling up. Wilson gets out, to find House waiting for him. Turns out, as I said at the top, House faked his own death. He has given up his career, his identity, in short, sacrificed everything to be with Wilson. Now tell me that isn’t true love.
The ending montage shows the cast (Taub has both mothers and both babies, excuse me?) carrying on in the wake of House’s “death.” The best moment is when it is revealed that Chase is the new head of diagnostic medicine. The second best moment is when Foreman finds House’s ID card wedged under a wobbly table, and realizes what has actually happened. So, everybody dies, but they don’t. Just that poor bastard junkie.
At the very end, we see House and Wilson on motorcycles, strapping on their gear. “House, when my cancer gets bad—“
House gives him perhaps the happiest smile we’ve seen in eight years. “Cancer is boring.” With that, they ride off into the sunset, to the strains of Louis Prima singing “Enjoy Yourself,” a truly bittersweet choice. And a perfect ending.
|“Wilson, you look so gay. Thank God.”
Farewell, House. For better or worse, we shall not see your like again.
Your faithful scrivener has not watched “Swan Song” yet, so my opinions will be saved for another time.
It is a shame that this episode followed the “Reichenbach Falls” on “Sherlock”. Bad timing.
Does anyone else find it sad that Chase’s team is now Park and Adams?
Wilson sitting with a blanket over him the morning after the fire broke my heart.
“Enjoy Yourself” was sung by Amber in a great creepy way when she was a hallucination in Season Five.
I love Sela Ward. Stacy was the only one who called him “Greg” and gave as good as she got.
I missed Lisa Edelstein.
Elisa & Fletcher