House Finale Review: Enjoy Yourself

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Enjoy yourself. This is the very last thing we hear on House

Ultimately, Hugh Laurie was right when he gave an interview at the House wrap party. He was asked about one word to describe the finale and after pondering it for a moment, he suggested that, even with a title like "Everybody Dies," the episode was actually "uplifting". I almost don't recognize this feeling I have right now because it's been a rarity. Satisfaction. I feel satisfaction at this ending. 

Now, that's not to say that this finale was not without its flaws. But in terms of some of the specific character journeys, I'm left feeling like I can move on from this show without hesitation. The episode opens with House lying on the ground next to his dead patient. I still am unclear about how House and this patient arrived at this point, but what difference does it make?

House Series Finale Photo

And that's a fitting metaphor for much of the series. House confronts each character and says, "Here we are. Now what are you going to do?" This finale dealt with so many of the series' philosophies, it is almost as if every mantra from the show was thrown at a wall, and things like "People don't change," "Everybody lies," and "Everybody dies," are what stuck. But the more prevalent themes are sometimes the ones that are unspoken. 

Consider how many times the series has done episodes on making sacrifices for the ones you love. And how many times House has proven time and time again that he can't put anyone else above his needs. As House argued with his subconscious over what would be the easiest and best choice for him - living or dying - I couldn't help but be reminded of this play I read in high school called No Exit by the existentialist Jean -Paul Sartre. In it, three people appear to be stuck with each other and - spoiler alert! - they come to realize that they died and they are in hell.  In other words, hell for them is equivalent to other people.

House, for eight years, has generally chosen himself, and thus chosen to be alone for most of his life. And by the end of the series he gives up everything he knows and loves for one person: Wilson. House may preach about people not changing, but in his final act as a free man, he chooses to live out the next five months with Wilson, selflessly giving up solving puzzles, practicing medicine, and any hope of escaping time in prison. And he does it for Wilson. 

Throughout the episode, I was thrilled to see some former faces guiding House through choosing life, as hokey as it was. Honestly, I was just excited to see Anne Dudek, Kal Penn, Sela Ward and Jennifer Morrison again. Remember (I am positive you don't) my review from the premiere, "Twenty Vicodin"? In it, I lament the loss of past characters. This was a nice, albeit a bit corny, way to get them back. Of course, I couldn't write this review if I didn't at least mention that Lisa Edelstein was nowhere to be found. 

And I wouldn't even mention it except for the fact that she was literally the only former cast member not present for this little reunion! Perhaps because they parted on such bad terms, it would do a disservice to her character to bring her back. But that certainly didn't stop the creators from cursing giving us to a little Dominika/House make-out session on Stacy's imaginary couch right near her hallucinated (?) child. 

Here's what I liked about The Christmas Carol/It's a Wonderful Life/Wizard of Oz/that one episode of Buffy I can't remember: it allowed us into House's psyche one last time, which always makes for an interesting episode. I've always enjoyed the episodes that explored that, including the ones at the end of Season 5 with Amber and of course, "No Reason" where House was shot. 

I enjoyed seeing Stacy pushing House to live. When she said, "Don't be logical. Be desperate," I was reminded how great of a match her and House were for each other. She was just as smart as House, but encouraged House to drop some of his logic and choose happiness. 

I also loved that even as House's subconscious, these characters remained in character. Kutner still seemed like Kutner. Amber was witty, bright, and still a wonderful sparring partner for House. The only one I wasn't sure about was Cameron, who told House he should choose death. That seemed to be more of House's subconscious than the others, even though Amber's probing "whys" definitely reeked of House.

And by the way, Nolan came back! Loved his cameo as well. I'd watch him therapize anytime. 

Onto the funeral and the montage. The last five minutes worked for me. House's funeral seemed ridiculous, especially since there were 10 minutes left to the show after that. But I liked seeing each old team member nostalgically recognizing House's impact. I never really thought about House making Taub a better father, but it makes sense to me. And there's Foreman, lurking alone from his ivory tower of an office, laughing as he sees House's badge on the ground, realizing House faked his own death. 

Cameron holds a place for House and the team on her laptop in her heart and has moved on with a husband and kid. And Chase! My favorite scene of the montage was Chase's... by far. To see Chase take a step forward in House's shoes was the perfect move for his character. And this way he gets to work with Foreman and keep part of the initial team together.

And that leads us to House and Wilson riding off into the sunset Easy Rider style. Ever since I found out the series was ending, I wondered what song the series would end to. I expected some kind of Rolling Stones answer to the pilot's "You Can't Always Get What You Want," but I'm even happier to get the song "Enjoy Yourself," which Amber hauntingly sang in the Season 5 episode, "Under My Skin" when House thought he had gotten rid of his hallucination. House, hand shaking, picks up his phone and calls Wilson to save him from himself.

The tone was much darker then, almost taunting House. But this time, we get an aerial shot of House and Wilson riding off together, a shot very reminiscent of House when he first got his motorcycle earlier in the series when he rode off into the sunset. And the singer is much lighter, airy, even.  Here's some of the lyrics courtesy of songlyrics.com:

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
You're gonna take that ocean trip, no matter, come what may
You've got your reservations made, but you just can't get away
Next year for sure, you'll see the world, you'll really get around
But how far can you travel when you're six feet underground?

The "carpe diem-esque" warning of this song is clear and bittersweet; although Wilson and House are taking life head on by the end of the series, Wilson is on the clock (six feet underground lyrics) and House is now on the run (ocean trip reference). But let's just enjoy ourselves and bask in the realization that House isn't lamenting what he can't get, as in the pilot, but choosing to accept what he has and acknowledge that even he has to make sacrifices for the people he loves.

Thanks for the enjoyable ride, House.  I'll miss your endless sarcastic wit, your perfect stubble and your brutal honesty. 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (460 Votes)
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I liked the ending. I missed House so much!

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I loved the series as much s it was possible to love a t.v. show. But I nonetheless disagree with the selflessness of House's determination to spend the last five months of Wilson's life with him.
House needed Wilson more than vice-versa. He cried out that Wilson was going to leave him alone in not accepting the chemo. Wilson answered by saying at this crisis in his life he should've been allowed to go in peace. He tells Foreman "House is not my child. I shouldn't be pressured into feeling I must look after him at this time in my life."
I don't understand why fans thought House'd go to prison for the vandalism in the mri room. His last patient tells him he'll take the rap for it since he's going to die anyway. House accepted this. Or if he didn't we weren't told he'd refused it. Next seen the heroin addict's dead in the burning building.
Or . . .did I miss something? I couldn't catch all the lines so I might've.
All House had to do was take leave from the hospital to be with Wilson, since the heroin addict took the rap.
Would love to hear any comments about a possible misunderstanding on my part. I wanted so badly to believe House'd changed, had become capable of selflessness. Because I thought he and the seres were great and I'm sorry it's over. Susan (susanedgecliff@gmail.com)

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I LOVED house so much....so sad its ending it could have goner on forever..I loved the medical puzzles..I'm a nurse so I love trying to figure things out...Hugh Laurie what an amazing actor!!!!!! the part was made for him I'm just glad they found Hugh for this character..no one else could have done it!!!!

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House obviously went with POTW to use heroin,POTW smoked and started the fire,House got out the back and easy enough for him to replace his dental records for the POTW,He did not plan any of this -just took advantage of opportunity,
His hallucinatins all ocurred while high on heroin .He left ID badge for Foreman to find.He gave up everything for the one and only person he ever truely loved-Wilson!

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House did not plan any of this He obviously met up with POTW to get high and fire started because the guy smoked! House too stoned on heroin to notice Then hallucinations etc,He escaped out back door then just placed his dental records for the unknown(POTW) body,Easy enough for someone like House to do In disguise or bribery whatever,Left his ID for Foreman.Great ending He sacrificed himself for the one person he only ever truly loved!

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The finale of House was great yet so sad and happy all at once. It saddens me that I won't be seeing all of them together again. I've enjoyed this show more that any other. It's like when you finish reading a wonderful book, you don't want to get to the end because you have to say goodbye to all the characters you've come to love and enjoy. That's what I feel. I wasn't ready to close the book. But, life is like that. Maybe its a good thing we don't know what is around the corner. One step at a time. I will miss Hugh Laurie most of all. I so enjoyed trying to figure out what was really going on in his head and heart. I believe he had a wonderful heart but was too wounded to show it. Goodbye House! Thank you for 8 wonderful years of enjoyment, laughter and tears.

Watchestoomuch

Episode summary: House finally realizes he must pay for his wildly irresponsible, dangerous, illegal, immoral, and unethical stunts. Hah, hah! Just kidding.

Eludium-q36

Late to the party because I DVR'ed it, but I'll take the contrarian view. The happy ride-off-into-the-sunset cliche ending was logically inconsistent with the episode's setup so David Shore (creator; writer & director for this ep) intentionally mislead us and that pisses me off. 75% of the episode had us agonize through ghosts-from-the-past scenes attempting to convince House of the merit of living, but then in the end we're led to believe he staged his death, including the falsification of records ?! Sorry, those two plotlines don't sync up and that's a flaw no one is holding Shore accountable for - except me. But whatever, the series has ended, and at least it wasn't the travesty that "LOST"'s was.

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Loved House, flaws and all. Will miss him!!! ( It has been on Monday nights and I am out then, can only record two programs, and sometimes others took precidence. So, I mostly missed the whole Wilson cancer thing...would someone kindly brief me on that. )Anyone care to predict House's life AW...After Wilson? Perhaps this last year Hugh will get the Emmy!!!!!

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The last scene between House & Wilson made the finale worthwhile-nothing else mattered.