HOUSE Season Finale Recap: Moving On - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE Season Finale Recap: Moving On

May 23, 2011 by  

Since the news broke about Lisa Edelstein’s departure from HOUSE, the stakes of this week’s season finale grew by leaps and bounds. Was the creative team prepared to begin Season 8 with a clean slate, putting Dr. Lisa Cuddy in their rear view mirror? Was the news leaked to prepare viewers for a definitive end for Cuddy’s time at Princeton Plainsboro? What would the consequences be for Gregory House without his former flame and verbal sparring partner?

“Moving On” provided a mixed bag of answers to those questions. In the midst of unraveling a patient puzzle centered around an extraordinary mind cluttered by love, House sought closure in a shocking way. Spoilers follow, so read on at your own risk…

Until the closing minutes of this finale, I was enjoying HOUSE for the first time in weeks. Kath Lingenfelter & Peter Blake wrote a fantastic script, a story that offered Hugh Laurie a chance to fill in the potholes of logical gaps that accompanied the Huddy storyline. Emotions were displayed, concessions were made, and my hopes were raised that Lisa Edelstein’s real-life departure would parallel a satisfying exit for Cuddy from Princeton Plainsboro.

Instead, director Greg Yaitanes indulged his overactive imagination for the umpteenth time, closing the season with a barrage of images that sacrificed story for shock value and emotional impact for sexy camera angles.

Cuddy said it right when she asked House to, “have our fight.” Viewers have been itching to have the Huddy chapter of this show closed, and Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein were capable of telling that story with their own performances. If you believe that Gregory House is incapable of love and loyalty, then you were not watching his interactions with Rachel Cuddy, the precocious child who bonded with House more than any adult. Last week’s episode, when House & Rachel shared their pirate moment in the car, was almost Jerry Maguire-esque in its showcasing of an emotionally unavailable man falling in love with the notion of protecting a child.

Leaping forward, we are supposed to accept that House would ram his car into Cuddy’s house, jeopardizing that same little girl’s life in the process? Nope, I don’t buy it. Not for a second. There is no doubt that the creative team had these closing minutes mapped out for some time. Yaitanes hinted as much on his Twitter feed. However, the producers did a disservice to their talented writers by choosing a Hollywood ending over a cerebral conclusion.

The absurd ending overshadowed two wonderful stories told in the finale. First, Dr. Taub is going to be a daddy…twice! Peter Jacobsen & Jennifer Foley always make the Taubs a fascinating couple to watch, and this twist was genuinely surprising and an invigorating way to jump into Season Eight.

Additionally, guest star Shohreh Aghdashloo added her usual gravitas to a patient storyline that could easily have gone off the rails. Since Greg Yaitanes appears to spend the show’s production budget disproportionately on the episodes he directs, I was concerned that the performance art angle would lead to a CGI-infused gorefest. Thankfully, Ms. Aghdashloo was a worthy adversary for Hugh Laurie, and challenged the entire Diagnostics team to reevaluate their own addiction to “the game” of solving mysterious cases. In their own way, Foreman, Taub, Chase, & Thirteen are all diagnostic junkies, and Afsoun Hamidi was their latest fix.

Back to Dr. House for a few closing thoughts. There is no such thing as a poor Hugh Laurie performance. He is simply too talented to allow an hour of HOUSE to be considered unwatchable. The frustration that I, as well as many others, have experienced during Season Seven is one of expectations. Time and time again, Katie Jacobs & David Shore tease the universe of TV critics and fans alike with promises that the show will go into new and exciting directions. Their instincts to titillate are hiding a deeper truth.

HOUSE is a television franchise on the level of LAW & ORDER. It is a for-profit enterprise, lining the pocketbooks of studios, producers, cast and crew. Each new episode is a bankable asset, destined for Sunday marathons on USA Network, leading into the season premieres of PSYCH or COVERT AFFAIRS.

The folks who like to read between the lines of pithy dialogue and connect dots of continuity from week to week, and I count myself among those ranks, are destined to be disappointed by the trajectory of this show. Great scripts, such as Lingenfelter & Blake’s finale, get our hopes up that the show can and will be more than a procedural. In truth, the powers that be are just as prone to ratings stunts as the producers of WIPEOUT or SURVIVOR.

Next season will not be about House opening a new practice in Miami, Tahiti, or whatever tropical paradise he was enjoying in the final moments of Season Seven. He’ll be back at Princeton Plainsboro, free of any criminal culpability, solving cases with his team. Cuddy will be long gone, a victim of budget excesses and expediency. Chase & Thirteen will become a couple, because they’re the only combination left. The season premiere will be great, as they usually are. The finale will be controversial, because Katie & David won’t have it any other way.

And I won’t be around to watch. After three years of dissecting the HOUSE universe, it is time for me to step away. I’ll keep up with the latest show news here at GIVE ME MY REMOTE, but my Monday nights need freshening up. Maybe I’ll try TERRA NOVA, instead.

On a personal note, I am profoundly grateful for the GMMR readers who have read, reacted, and continued the discussion about HOUSE over the past three seasons. This show represented my “foot in the door” to writing for this site, and I look forward to finding new programs to cover with the same enthusiasm. From interacting with so many of you over the past year, I know that I am not alone in leaving Princeton Plainsboro behind.

I’m simply out of words…

Was this an appropriate end to Lisa Edelstein’s tenure on the show? Were the loose ends left in the aftermath of House’s crash frustrating cliffhangers, or an appropriate setup for Season Eight? As a viewer, do you have closure on House & Cuddy’s relationship? Did House’s confessions of “being hurt” and acting out so violently true to his character? I cannot wait to read your feedback, so let’s close out this season with a phenomenal discussion…

Filed under #1 featured, House, House Recap


17 Responses to “HOUSE Season Finale Recap: Moving On”

  1. Jess on May 24th, 2011 11:02 am

    First of all i think the finale of house was terrible and I for one will also be stop watching house all together. Personally I don’t think Lisa Edelstein had deserving send off, I mean she has been with the show for 7 years and this is what she gets?! To be honest this whole show has been a disaster and personally i think that Lisa Edelstein is good to jump ship now before the House totally goes down the drain.

  2. Susan on May 24th, 2011 1:16 pm

    I wish you would retitle this article because it’s not a recap. I missed the first half of the episode and was looking for a recap of what happened, not analysis and opinion. Maybe I’ll come back after tracking down what I was looking for.

  3. Erik Wilkinson on May 24th, 2011 3:01 pm

    Jess: Your views represent a large percentage of HOUSE’s most die-hard followers, including many who comment here and in other online forums. If there is a defense to be offered of the show, it’s that prime time dramas are difficult to infuse with creative sparks as the seasons wear on. As bite-sized episodes to consume, Hugh Laurie is still worth watching over a blank television. Thematically, however, I think the show has fallen short of finding new directions for Dr. House that will hold our attention over an entire season.

    Susan: I apologize for the mixed terminology. posts exhaustive recaps of each episode on their site, more specific than I could ever be with pen and notepad, so you will find everything you’re looking for here: I would love to read your thoughts about the episode after you get the scoop on the opening half of the episode.

  4. Sarah (seels) on May 24th, 2011 8:30 pm

    Good stuff, Erik, as always. Can’t wait to read what you hoose to write about next.

  5. Mildred on May 25th, 2011 12:29 am

    Dr. House, is time to finish. Season 8 is to much season with Liza or without Lisa.

  6. gbbg on May 25th, 2011 10:17 pm

    The patient storyline fell in line for the finale. House needed just that little slap from the patient agreeing to chemo to go berserk enough. Though crashing a car into her house seemed a little too less from House’s standards, the entire premise was setup from his previous self-destructive ways towards the end of the season.

    House was hurt. Period. Unlike normal humans, he didn’t find a way to get over it. Not all do. He’s an addict to pain and self-destruction just like he’s to vicodine, which showed up as his faithful companion. For some reason, I was expecting Amber to show up again..

    Some loose ends, from the time House crashed into Lisa’s house to the time later (shown at the beginning of the episode) :
    1. Night fell
    2. Wilson still was getting treated
    3. Delay in emergency response
    4. House is shown, most likely, the next day at a resort

    It just didn’t feel right, but I guess this was an end expected. I don’t think any amount of sane discussion would help heal House at this point, and this probably was the right way to go.

    Eric, it’s been nice reading your reviews. Thanks for dissecting some of the difficult to read, easy to miss points in this show. Though we kind of differed in our opinions towards the end, I always have enjoyed the conversation.

  7. Rickyboy on May 26th, 2011 2:11 am

    Erik, I too have enjoyed (immensly) reading your recaps/analyses/opinions about the House episodes over these past three years. Thank you for your insight, wisdom and diligence. I have only posted a few times and, when I have, it has been because some aspect of an episode spoke to me personally at a very deep level.

    I agree with others who feel that this was a cheesy and lame way to bid ‘adieu’ to Lisa Edelstein’s character, Dr. Cuddy. I also agree with your point about the relationship between House & Rachel. For him to smash his car into Cuddy’s house and put not only Cuddy and her guests in mortal danger, but Rachel as well is, in my opinion, not only implausible, it is completely insane. It was a criminal act. Period. It doesn’t matter whether House was ‘hurt’ or not. It was moronic and the only ‘logical’ outcome is House winding up in jail and facing an enormous civil lawsuit as well. The ending of this episode/season was a complete insult to the intelligence of the loyal and devoted fans of this show, of which I counted (past tense) myself as one for the past seven years.

    If the ‘walking down the beach into the sunset’ scene was meant to imply that House had ‘skipped the country’ to avoid being held responsible for his actions, then that makes him even more despicable.

    Which is why, despite the potentially interesting story lines of Taub’s double-daddyhood, a relationship between Chase and Thirteen (whatever and who cares?), and Foreman’s continuing ‘sturm und drang’, I am making a prediction that this show is DEAD. If there is a Season Eight (and I firmly believe there won’t be), I will not be watching.

    Good luck in your future endeavors, Erik. Rock on in the free world. Rickyboy.

  8. Erik on May 27th, 2011 8:36 am

    Sarah: I appreciate the feedback. Alan Sepinwall, a favorite TV critic of the entire GMMR team, stopped writing about House two seasons ago. His rationale was that the show’s audience had splintered into two entirely different groups: Huddy-shippers and casual viewers who simply enjoy Hugh Laurie’s abilities. After the ratings for this season’s finale fell 23% from last year, my fear is that both of those groups have decided to tune out.

    I enjoy celebrating the very best in TV, so I’m open to any and all ideas for next season. Stay tuned…:)

  9. Erik Wilkinson on May 27th, 2011 9:21 am

    gbbg: I always look forward to reading your feedback, and appreciate all of your contributions to this discussion over the past three seasons. You made an excellent point regarding the “trigger event” with Afsoun Hamidi, and I agree that House’s manic reaction crystallized his struggle to reconcile intellectual challenges with emotional bonds.

    I simply did not accept the idea that Cuddy, as I have written so often, was someone House could not let go. We were led to believe that House went into a period of temporary insanity, but we have also been hit over the head with the notion that he is never illogical. My personal preference (and that’s all it is, far from a creative criticism or alternative) would have been to continue the hallway interaction with Cuddy, the hour’s best scene, and allow House to seek closure via conversation. That would have been just as out of character as crashing a car, and more cathartic.

  10. Hugh on May 27th, 2011 11:39 pm

    Although often inscrutable, Gregory House is pretty well known to watchers of 7 seasons of the show. I’ll admit to having spent almost 10 days of my life following Hugh Laurie’s every sneer and guffaw as the arc of House’s character was skilfully spun. However here, as with most shows that go past 6 seasons, the original idea has ceased to be a reactor fuelling quality cerebral medical drama.

    You get a sense that people on the show are asking themselves why they are still doing this. Some would say it’s only for the filthy lucre . Certainly, that surreal, cartoonish and absurd twist seemed like an act of desperation on the part of the producers. They, like House in his vindictive homicidal gesture , drove the series with reckless abandon into our living rooms attempting to kill our enjoyment of the show with an illogical season finale. Unlike the ending of episode 155, there were real casualties here, namely, we the viewers. only they’re not going to be able to get up and walk away like House.

    They’d better come up with something pretty impressive in the first episode of season 7 to explain this, and it can’t some version of “oh, it never really happened because House was hallucinating on Vicoden”, and what really happened is he went into the dinner and beat Cuddy’s new boyfriend to a pulp with the hairbrush. I have to admit, the whole thing did seem like a sick revenge fantasy rather than the ‘show reality’. Perhaps that’s the way they’ll go, but either way, I won’t be around to see it.

    I didn’t know that LIsa Edelstein was potentially going to leave the show and that there was a season 7, so I was secretly hoping that this episode would be the end of House, that he would kill himself in some fantastical and hilarious way to show up his patient, who didn’t have the guts and integrity to end it all while the going was good. The producers certainly should’ve, because this shows thinking is getting really ‘fuzzy’.

  11. Adam on May 30th, 2011 10:44 pm

    Well, I’ll admit the crashing of a car… since when does House own a car? Stretched things quite a bit… however in direct answer to the idea that he was putting Rachel at risk, I don’t think he ever was, and I am sure the character knew for a fact that he wasn’t.

    1. He goes up to deliver the brush, looks int he window, and sees a set of adults having a meal / get together / whatever. Rachel is not present.

    2. The key that sets off the house character is that there is a new man sharing a moment with Cuddy. This after specifically he asks and is answered that there is no other. Thus the lie/betrayal impulse that until now really isn’t ever seen from Cuddy. Thus completely destabilizing upon the guy that in all reality (as evidenced by the reactions he seeks from cuddy via the relationship with rachel, and the moving on steps again to seem to aquiesce to cuddy while he is in fact still thinking it will be fixed.

    So I guess I am answering two questions, 2. is it completely out of character? Not in the sense that this moment, this new male combined with he betrayal ‘moment’, is the definitive end in House’s mind to the ‘Huddy’ relationship. Previous events were just another delay to the ‘inevitable’ in his mind, of them coming back together.

    And 1. How would he ever endanger Rachel, she wasn’t in the room, nor most likely there, he confirmed this when he approached and took in the scene.

    As to how they might explain this away in season 8? How does Wilson reconcile with him? How does the team react to this? I honestly hope it is impressively done. I also woshed they would have done something better to send off cuddy…

    And deep in my heart, I was hoping they’d have gotten back together, even if it meant the end of “House the damaged savant”, and the series.

  12. Mary on June 2nd, 2011 7:06 pm

    oh.. i’m speechless since last Monday night =( i’m terribly dissapointed and I agree with you .. we expected more from this season.. too much maybe.

    I’m a big huddy fan, so.. what can i say?, we had some cute and memorable moments ,like the one you quoted, with Rach Cuddy in the car, my eyes filled up with tears when he confessed “I’M HURT”, I can’t forget that moment

    I keep seeing the season finale once again. I didn’t get it.. I didn’t understand what the beach scene was about.. HOUSE LOVES CUDDY it’s nuts to believe he could hurt her and her daughter (for a moment i was to say HIS daughter.. I would like to say that).. it wasn’t worthy.. That reaction was not from House.. was something I can’t put a name.
    I understand ,this “show must go on”.. but it’s hard, without doubt.

    I WILL MISS YOU!!.. ALL OF US. .BEST LUCK FOR U IN YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS!!.. I’ll keep and eye on the sitee, i expect some new recaps from you 😉 please!! a new serie .. I need it..

    I will say “I won’t see House next season”.. but i’m totally loyal to that character who trapped me years ago. BUT I deeply know that won’t be possible, I WILL go on watching House.. but NEVER in the same way..

    Mary // from Argentina ^^

  13. Ryan on June 4th, 2011 7:36 pm

    The finale of series seven, for me, controversially it would seem, was dead on perfect. Okay, so crashing into the side of a house is perhaps a little far-fetched, but then, in the state in which House’s character was at the end of that series, I don’t think that actually it’s too hard to believe that he would do something of that ilk.

    House is atypical of the brilliant but crazed genius, in fact the very essence of being a genius is that you ride the line between what is acceptable to society and what is not. House, with his body full of vicodin and the knowledge that his ‘one true love’ has slipped away would have to have done something as controversial as what was witnessed in the finale; the man had just chopped pieces of his leg out for goodness sake.

    Series 8 will most likely be the end of House, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing, not because I believe it’s had its time but because there is only one way that a man on a path of self-destruction can go: death. Series 8 has to end with the death of House as that is the only logical conclusion to the journey so far.

  14. vivi on January 6th, 2012 1:13 pm

    The problem with HOUSE is not the actors or writers. The problem is direction
    Greg Y. is a megalomaniac. He has directed some of the best episodes, but the
    notoriety has gotten to his head. They use some huge bugets to produce the shows he directs. That’s why Lisa E’s contract was not renewed. The season finale was fimed before any contract negotiations were dealt with. I think Lisa E’s
    Chracter would have had a better send-off if they had know her contract would be terminated. Greg Y. is “over-the-top”. The show needs to get back to basics
    (it may be too late). The cerebral-ness of the show is lost, thanks to some people’s love of money and egotism.

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