Season finale: House (season five)

Everything has consequences

House finale

Wow. Okay, one obviously saccharine moment, but when Hugh Laurie does upset, he really moves you, doesn’t he?

The fifth season’s been a slightly odd one, hasn’t it? With so many series regulars, it’s been hard to find them all things to do. So we’ve had new arrival ’13’ getting busy with Forman, getting Huntingdon’s and then forgetting she has it. We’ve had Chase and Cameron getting closer and closer, while simultaneously getting further and further apart. Cutner just ended up killing himself for no good reason. Wilson has become the voice of humour and practical jokes. House and Cuddy have been dancing around each other all season. And there’s the bald one who doesn’t like his job. It’s all just been iterations around that, without touching on issues the way previous seasons managed to. Indeed, on the few occasions where the show has touched serious issues – such as the deaf teenagers episode a few weeks ago – it’s been more than a bit embarrassing.

But not a huge amount has changed. House is still an arse that needs a stick to walk and pops pills all the time. He doesn’t really care about anything or anyone, so nothing really gets to him. It seems.

Yet, the producers over the last few episodes have been doing something relatively different and unsettling. Despite being overladen with regulars, the producers re-introduced everyone’s favourite irregular – Amber – to shake things up.

Specifically, House.

Because House’s addiction to Vicadin, once a given element of the plot transferred over from Sherlock Holmes’ 7% solution, has finally started to have ramifications. If he can’t be sure of what’s real, he can’t help his patients or solve their puzzles, the only thing he does care about.

So the finale, while apparently just a nice stab at the late House-wannabe 3Lbs, which had a similar storyline involving a man with two personalities thanks to a severed corpus callosum, had something of a master twist at the end. While we’d been led to believe that House and Cuddy had got it on last episode after she’d helped him detox himself, it turns out that House had hallucinated the whole thing – and much of the finale – and was still addicted to pills.

It was actually quite a touching scene, with Laurie showing us a genuinely upset and frightened House as he realises reality has gotten away from him and just what a serious problem he has – and that there’s the real possibility that he might not be able to practise medicine any more. We also got confirmation that Kal Penn and the producers hadn’t had a falling out, despite his face not being shown in the Cutner death scene. And it’s also at least the second or third season ending which has required House to hallucinate a lot.

A good end to a relatively average season then for House, even if we did have to endure the Chase/Cameron antics and wedding – here’s to their getting more to do next season but fewer weddings.

But will there be any big changes? The thing about House is there have been very few big changes in the format, beyond the mass departure at the end of season three (and none of the characters actually left the show, even then). Even when there was the threat of House’s limp disappearing after his being shot by Moriarty, they still brought it back.

So is House going to come out of rehab a better person? Probably not. Cured, possibly. But a better person? Probably not. That would almost certainly spell the end of the series. But as a surprisingly unsettling way to end a season, I think it’s the best so far – even better than last season’s.

  • Phoenix

    “House had hallucinated the whole thing – and much of the finale”
    Other than the lipstick-vicodin, what was he hallucinating?
    “We also got confirmation that Kal Penn and the producers hadn’t had a falling out”
    Obama murdered Cutner. Think about it. 😉

  • MediumRob

    Spoiler tags dude – these things show up in the sidebar.
    “”House had hallucinated the whole thing – and much of the finale”
    Other than the lipstick-vicodin, what was he hallucinating?”

    Lovely wife has the theory that the split-brain guy was supposed to be a clue from his subconscious, but at the very least his whole encounter with Cuddy, maybe even the stripogram.

  • Phoenix

    Argh, forgot about the sidebar. :-/ I wish the spoiler how-to was on the comment page.
    Spoilers ahoy: Split-brain guy can’t be a hallucination, as he interacted with EVERYONE, even when House was not around. If he wasn’t real, nothing was real. Split-brain guy was a clue for the audience.
    Which encounter with Cuddy? In his office, she’s talking about what he said last night, he’s talking about what he _thought_ happened last night.
    2nd encounter, in her office, he takes thermal pictures of her. Wilson says it’s love or rage. (She’s still upset over what he said.)
    The other encounters happened while other people were around.
    Stripogram wasn’t a hallucination; Wilson saw him which is why he moved away from the railing. He even mentions it again in a later conversation.
    Seriously, nothing was a hallucination except the lipstick-vicodin (until the end).

    It was a brilliantly done episode, worthy of a second viewing to catch all the things you think happened vs what really happened. It’s like the 6th Sense; once you know the secret you can see what’s really going on.

  • Phoenix

    Argh again, the spoiler tag doesn’t span line breaks!

  • MediumRob

    “Argh again, the spoiler tag doesn’t span line breaks!”
    Doesn’t matter after the first 15 words… If you want to (as per your implicit request) you can use div tags instead.
    Lovely wife was of the opinion that yes, that’s happening in his mind, too.

  • SPOILER: House never slept with Cutty and she never helped him Detox. He hallucinated everything, not just the vicoden and lipstick.

  • Crap, the spoiler showed up correctly in the preview. Sorry.

  • MediumRob

    I’ll fix them in a moment. The spoiler-cloaking instructions are in the “Please read the comment guidelines, first” link at the bottom, but I can see that’s not working out, so I’ll migrate some of them back to the comments form tomorrow.