“Are you asking me to file charges? Just give me the paperwork. If Greg House steps foot in my hospital again, comes anywhere near me, I want him thrown in jail.”
Those opening words to the House season finale uttered by Lisa Cuddy, surely setting the stage for Lisa Edelstein’s exit from the show roughly an hour later. Of course, the decision to show Cuddy’s undisguised disgust with House had us all on the edge of our seats wondering what he’d done that was so bad.
From there we switch to the patient of the week: a passionate performance artist who has cannily tricked House into taking on her case and wants to document her demise as an art piece on how none of us can escape death.
Sometimes House works best when the patient’s private life mirrors one of the team’s situation. And in Moving On, the patient (Shoreh Aghdashloo) essentially has to choose between an effective treatment that might muddle her razor-sharp mind or losing her lover. Running parallel to this, Wilson and Cuddy are trying to get House to open up about why he cut open his leg rather than seek help.
It’s interesting that House’s initial tricks and games on Cuddy feel like they’ve run out of steam. She seems tired of the roundabout game they’ve been playing for years, I think she called it passive aggressive bullshit or something like that. Knowing now that Cuddy would leave, it almost feels like House has been sabotaging every relationship he’s had for years. And while his ascerbic outlook has entertained us for years, you can understand that a person this damaged would become tiresome after a while.
Along the way, Cuddy gets reluctantly pulled into a double date when she hosts a lunch at her house. Unfortunately, this is the moment that House chooses to return Cuddy’s hairbrush. When he sees her having a cosy meal with other people, he flips. What works about this scene is that Wilson instinctively knows that House is devastated by something without knowing what. But House kicks him out of the car and goes roaring off down the road.
And something bad happens – House drives the car straight through Cuddy’s dining room. Luckily (and somewhat mysteriously), the whole dinner party had moved to the kitchen. But that’s not the point. House could have killed or seriously injured them. He had no idea where Cuddy’s daughter was in the house either. He wanders off after giving Wilson a glib “You’re right. I do feel better.” And the next we see of him, House is sipping a drink and taking a walk across a distant beach.
The problem that most viewers are having with that last few moments is that it felt out of character, even for Greg House. Let’s assume that he felt a brief moment of murderous rage. How’d he feel when he got out of the car and everybody was watching him from another room? He didn’t seem to have any signs of remorse or lingering resentment as he handed a shell-chocked Cuddy her hairbrush.
One review suggested that the beach scene was a sign that House had hallucinated the whole experience. That’s certainly possible – the same technique has been used on the show before, and House had been popping vast quantities of Vicodin. But that’s precisely why it’s not a hallucination, it would be the writers repeating themselves. And also, Lisa Edelstein leaving means that House driving through her dining room is definitely how her story ends.
What next for House?
Which leaves us contemplating Season 8 – thought by many to be the final season of House. Presumably he’ll eventually return to Princeton Plainsboro to face the music and Cuddy will be gone. Given that he’s absconded to a remote beach, House knows the police will be wanting a word with him. Is that an attempted murder charge hanging over his head?
I don’t know. Even just writing this, I’m realising that I don’t care as much about House as I used to. This has been a hard season to watch. It felt fragmented and like the structure of the show was falling apart in places. House hasn’t been as sharp as usual, which makes the show less entertaining. The flunkies on his team have played even less of a role than usual, and even Wilson was barely-there this year.
Of course, I’ll continue to watch. I actually do hope that Season 8 is the end though. It’s an opportunity to take House and end his story decisively. Though how they’ll do that is anyone’s guess.