The House, M.D. season finale “Moving On” is without a doubt the most controversial episodes in the series history. Some fans hated it, and others not. To take a character like House (Hugh Laurie), who really skates on the edge of likability and have him crash into the home of ex-girlfriend Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) may have been a long step too far over that edge for some fans. Other fans hate what House (the character) has done, even while understanding what drove him (as it were) to that brink, but are more than curious about how the series writers will redeem his character next season. Others still have felt that the way Season 7 ended was completely in keeping with both the character and the series and quite like where the end of the episode found him—on a beach sipping a cocktail. I’ll have more on that and my own thoughts on the episode later this weekend.
The writers are just now coming back to the studio after a brief hiatus to begin sketching out Season 8, which many believe might be the final season for the series. Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner told me last week that determining whether next season will be the last will be among the first things discussed as the creative team now gets back to work. But also high on that list, and perhaps even more important for the first part of the season, is where to take the character of House from where we last see him at the end of the season finale. Have they painted themselves into a corner, or does the Season 7 finale open new avenues to explore?
This year’s finale was written by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Peter Blake and Writer/Producer Kath Lingenfelter. Blake has been with House, M.D. since the very beginning. His first script “Maternity” (1×04) still stands as one of the series best, presenting a classic Housian ethical dilemma into the hands of the man whose ethics are often questioned. Lingenfelter is new to the House creative team, joining the show only this season. Her episode “You Must Remember This,” proved to a great entry in what has turned out to be a very controversial season. I caught up with the two writers earlier this week to talk about “Moving On,” Season 7 and where Season 8 might be headed.
Where did the idea for the “Moving On” come from?
Blake: We knew that the season had to end with House getting to a different place. We also knew that [House and Cuddy] were going to break up in the middle of the season, and then we knew that the rest of the season was going to be dealing with the after effects of the breakup. So we went back and forth a number of times about in our plotting out of the entire season, where it would end up. At one point, [House’s] car crash was going to be episode 19. Then we were going to show the fallout of that for the next few episodes. I shouldn’t talk about what that fallout was going to be because we might use some of it next year; we’re just not sure yet. But I think the network, the studio, and the writers decided that it would be better to go out on a bang. So it got moved up to the last episode about a couple months before we started filming it.
There are obviously some parallels between House and his patient, and he’s really affected by her. Do you want to talk about that? I know that the writers are always drawing parallels between House and his patients, but this one really seemed to get to him.
Lingenfelter: At the beginning of last season, I pitched [a story] about a performance artist who revels in her treatment rather than suffering through it, preferring to experience the pain publicly—to share it with other people. That pitch kind of fell by the wayside, but a little while later Blake resurrected it with a new spin. We thought that it was just going to be a good way to look at where House is now with his pain—and with the personal walls he continues to put up.