Hugh Laurie's charming performance in the "House" retrospective, "Swan Song," primed viewers for the real series finale. Using humor and sentimentality, it highlighted ambitious storylines from previous seasons and showed a small glimpse of the immense work that happened on the set. After spending an hour behind the fourth wall, it was hard to watch the second hour, "Everybody Dies," without looking through rose-colored glasses.
While trapped in a burning building, House's mental visitors and flashbacks helped him solve the greatest puzzle of all: himself. There were shades of "A Christmas Carol," but it was the perfect way to show his hidden emotional connections. Kutner, Amber, and Stacy challenged House, pushing him to choose life. Surprisingly, Cameron sweetly encouraged him to die because he deserved to rest. Her apparition ultimately inspired him to choose life and change his ways.
Eight seasons of "House" provided the back story to this final realization about self-redemption and being a good friend. No one, namely Wilson, inadvertently stunted his growth by playing the adversarial role of his external conscience. Without the distractions of intriguing medical cases, taunting others, or indulging his illicit appetites, House could no longer hide from himself and had to face the puzzle within.
Wilson and Foreman refused to save House from his impending jail time and undoubtedly felt responsible for his death. His funeral included awkward niceties before Wilson finally called him a bitter jerk who liked to make others miserable. A mysterious text message silenced him and led to an unscathed House. Like Sherlock Holmes, House escaped certain death and offered a vague explanation of his survival.
Those rose-colored glasses worked very well, but there were some rough patches in the finale. Cuddy was noticeably absent. Even if Lisa Edelstein did not want to reprise her role, House could have talked about their relationship since she was such a significant part of the show.
Did House plan to fake his death all along? He left clues that would lead Wilson and Foreman to witness his fiery demise or at least locate the body. He also swapped dental records with the heroin addict. The foggy timeline leaves room for other interpretations, but it seems to contradict the whole life or death dilemma that filled most of the episode and inspired House's emotional growth.
Scenes of Chase's promotion, Taub's children, and Cameron's family showed them each enjoying a happy ending. Foreman found House's ID badge hidden in his office and gave a knowing smile to indicate he knew the truth. House and Wilson relished a motorcycle adventure as Louis Prima sang "Enjoy Yourself." It was almost too sappy, but House's sacrifice and Wilson's terminal cancer tempered it all. Everybody dies. In the meantime, they can choose to live.
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