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House, M.D.: Season Finale Preview

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And so we come to the end of this season’s House, M.D., airing Monday night at 8:00 (ET) on FOX. (The network has warned that the episode runs one minute long, so make sure to set your DVR or DVD recorder to record that extra minute!) If you are not a spoiler-phobe, enjoy the two clips and be sure to participate in a new poll on the last page.

The season will surely end leaving us hanging, anticipating next season and speculating all summer. So, what do the powers that be have in store for us for the finale? I have no clue. Very few spoilers have emerged about the finale, which I think is a good thing. I like being surprised and sitting on the edge of my seat. Of course, finale preview voice-over guy has assured us the ending will be the “biggest shock of the year!” But how is it possible for the show shock us more than Kutner’s suicide in “A Simple Explanation”? The first question in my mind is whether Amber is really gone, or has simply taken a coffee break from tormenting House.

This year has been full of surprises and turns, and certainly any one of the last several episodes could have easily sufficed as the season five finale. The final scene of “Locked In” with House’s field of vision suddenly blurring while Wilson lectures him about ending up alone would have left viewers wondering why — and why House had secretly started seeing a psychiatrist.

“Simple Explanation” and the stunning blow of Kutner’s suicide and the final shot of House sitting alone in Kutner’s flat would have left us wondering how the team (and House) would recover from such a devastating blow. The final scene of “Saviors” would have likewise made an uneasy cliffhanger as House’s restored self-confidence is chillingly disrupted by the sudden and tormenting appearance of Amber.

The same can be said for “House Divided,” as House, finally able to get a decent night’s sleep, continues to hallucinate the dead Amber. And then there was last week’s “Under My Skin,” which left us wondering about just what did happen after the closing credits began to roll in the middle of that passionate kiss shared by House and Cuddy. That would certainly have kept the fans speculating all summer.

I’ve tried to go back through the season a bit; rewind, as it were to trace the chain of events leading to House’s emotional deterioration. From last year’s finale and his guilt about Amber’s tragic death through the loss of Wilson’s friendship, the death of his father (and the realization that John House isn’t really his father) and beyond. A bombardment of his psyche by a series of physical and emotional traumas has left our (anti) hero standing on the ledge once again, teeter-tottering on its edge and staring into the abyss of his own mental disintegration. Will Kutner’s suicide be enough to push him over the edge?

With neither warning nor apparent cause, Kutner’s tragic death is something no one could have foreseen. Not even House. Yet House, whose philosophy insists that while not everything is known, everything is knowable, is plagued by the perceived failure of his own nearly supernatural observational powers. Why didn’t he observe something “off” in Kutner in time to save his life? Was he subconsciously trying to kill Chase by failing to remembering Chase’s allergy, and Karamel’s strawberry body butter? Was it poor judgment that led to the ballerina’s rare reaction to the antibiotic in “Under My Skin”?

Tormented by guilt for things both in and out of his control, the man who plays mind games with everyone finds his own mind reserving the cruelest game for him. And in the end, he is no longer able to trust himself, his judgment, his intellect or his rationality.

Ultimately, in “Under My Skin,” House’s crisis drives him to seek out Wilson’s and then Cuddy’s help. And by the end of the episode, House seems much better than he had the night before his “dark night of the soul.” But we know all cannot be as it seems. Has House really “gotten clean and sober?” And is Cuddy correct in her assertion that off opiods, House’s pain will decrease? Surely the pain will continue to plague him, even under the best case scenario, and how will he handle it?

Now that House has been seriously freaked out by his hallucinations, will he begin to avoid his often-trod path towards self-destruction? And what if turns out not to be Vicodin causing the hallucinations after all? What if, instead, House is suffering serious mental illness? Serious brain trauma?

So many questions and just one episode to go. But not much longer to wait and ponder. Don’t forget I will be interviewing House co-executive producer/writer Doris Egan (who wrote the finale) on Tuesday to discuss “Both Sides Now” and what is in store for season six. If you have any questions for her after you see the finale, feel free to post them in the comments thread below.

So just for fun, here’s a little poll to tide you over until Monday night.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her debut novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse comes out October 11 from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • You pose some great questions…now just waiting for the answers 🙂

    Had not really thought about the possibility that House would resign, but when he walked into cuddy’s office before asking her for help, he said, “I quit.” If all else has failed and he is still sick, I can certainly see him leaving temporarily.

  • Hahahaha little late to put out limits with House don’t you think Cuddy? Little late for moral and even more late for all that boss-empoyee thing!


  • KIm

    Yipaaa! I was waiting for some fun here.

    I want to play hard, so I go with the Cuddy fires House. I don’t think she’ll fire him(instead of that I think she’ll take some time off of the hospital. I don’t want her to leave but she really need it). But if it happen it will be a big shock.

    I want to know what the other people think it will happen tomorrow.
    I’m so excited. 😉

  • Orange450

    Masterful summing up, Barbara. Loved your trajectory.

    It was a memorable season, full of unforgettable moments. Can’t wait for the finale, and for your DE interview afterwards. I voted for the psychotic break, but WDIK? Maybe it’ll be “none of the above”, and when it comes to House, I love surprises.

    I’m still wondering how deliberately the writers refer to, or let themselves be influenced by, other works. I don’t mean when they specifically quote from or mention other books, shows or movies. I mean the way Chase’s “It’s Tuesday” reminded many of us of Lord Peter Wimsey’s wooing, and the way Amber’s death bed reminded me so much of Jenny Cavilleri’s very similarly scripted deathbed scene in Erich Segal’s “Love Story”. Do they do this on purpose, and are we, the viewers, intended to pick up on it in the same way that we’re intended to pick up on the explicit references?

    Since DE is a novelist and movie buff, as well as a screenwriter, I think she’s in a good position to answer this question 🙂

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks for playing, guys! i will ask DE that very question. Nice.

  • Donna

    Hi Barbara- Okay. I’ll bite.

    Me thinks House will have a psychotic break/hospitalization that ends season five. Would be interested to see if early next season it’s determined his problem is truly physical and needs dangerous surgery.

  • barbara barnett

    Donna–Wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right. While he’s being treated for mental illness in-patient, the team will figure out some sort of other, organic, cause–with a cure!

  • Pedantic

    Barbara…thanks for yet another pithy, insightful article. I especially liked your assessment that any of the last four episodes was powerful enough to serve as the Season 5 Finale. So true.

    In the poll, I voted for psychotic break, because if central characters on TV don’t change, then what unfolds necessarily has to reveal more about the character, has to peel back the layers, rather than move the character in another direction. (Rehabilitation, resignation or termination would do that.) A physical problem was my second choice, but a psychiatric problem is more likely, more interesting, and makes more sense with a central character who is a misanthropic genius.

    As for questions for Doris Egan:

    1. I wonder how much of what we see in the finale strays from her original conception of the episode. Certainly I understand that rewrites occur, but I wonder if this episode, with all the convolutions, characters and storylines to be addressed from past episodes, needed more refinement than some others she’s written.

    2. Season 5’s theme seemed to center around House’s conclusion in his conversation with Amber on the Purgatory Bus in Wilson’s Heart that he didn’t want to be in pain, he didn’t want to be miserable, and he didn’t want Wilson to hate him. What will the theme of Season 6 be?

    Thanks in advance.

    Another terrific season in my book. I’m already looking forward to Season 6.

  • Bebe

    I think we all assume that it will be house that shuts Cuddy out but the promos and sneak previews makes it look like the opposite happens. Barbara when you do the revisted post I think top secret and humpty dumpty would be good choices because both episodes refer to when Cuddy and House where in college together.

  • Pedantic

    I thought of another question for Doris Egan:

    Did the fact that Hugh Laurie’s favorite movie is Dr Strangelove (revealed during a Monsters vs Aliens interview) have anything to do with writing a POTW with “Alien Hand Syndrome” (aka “Dr Strangelove Syndrome”)?

  • barbara barnett

    Bebe–good choices.

    Pedantic–Could be. Dr. STrangelove is one of my favorite films of all time. I always have felt that it was the evil twin of the fantastic film “Fail Safe,” another favorite film of mine.

  • Orange450

    OT – Fail-Safe was the best novel I’d ever read for quite a while after I first read it around 1970 or so! I can still see the orange and black cover of my paperback edition, although I haven’t had that copy in many years. I could definitely envision a role for an American-accented Hugh Laurie in yet another remake.

  • Quin

    I think Cuddy rejects House and it sends him over the edge. He is very fragile when it comes to personal relationships; he has protected himself from Cuddy for a long time; she has as much power to hurt him as he does to hurt her; and he has finally allowed himself to be vulnerable to her and she is taking advantage of it.I go back to Wilson telling Stacy that House has been pining for her for five years and he was left picking up the pieces. Cuddy represents a whole other level of emotional need and vulnerability for House, and in the preview, it looks like she is cruelly rejecting him.

  • barbara barnett

    Orange–Every time I think of that film (and I also loved the novel, which I read the same summer I read On The Beach–my morbid youth), I can’t help but remember the high pitched squeal of the melting telephone line as first Moscow and the Washington were nuked. Chilling. But I digress.

    Quinn–Yes. but I wouldn’t quite jump to conclusions. Usually the clips we get are from the beginning of the episode and don’t quite figure into the real story behind the story. House has very romantic notions about love and fealty, something he keeps very hidden. I do think C has the power to destroy him without even knowing it. But I’m not sure that’s the way it’s going to play out. Less than 24 hours to go!

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara,
    I can’t wait and yet I am worried that this might be the most devastating season ender yet. (Voice over guy, indeed!)
    If it turns out to be serious physical injury needing surgery, or worse a psychotic break, would House ever be able to practice medicine again? Even in the pretend world of television, the judgement of a doctor who has psychotic episodes would
    be suspect, at best. Not even Cuddy could save him.
    Also, I hope, hope, hope he is not rejected by her. I have not watched the clips, therefore I don’t know what they show. I just think for those of us who love their relationship it would be too cruel to end it that way. We shall see.
    Looking forward to your interview with Doris Egan.

  • sdemar

    My vote is House suffers a psychotic break and is hospitalized. As much as I love/adore Huddy, I think Cuddy will simply provide a vehicle for us to see that House has lost it.

    Barbara, I think we will find out in Season 6 that what is going on with House has to do with his medication and I agree, his team will figure it out and the snarky Doc will be back at the hospital before we know it terrorizing everyone.

    Question for DE-one above is somewhat the same but my question is we read on twitter how she had to rewrite this episode. In what ways was it different from her original?

    It’s been a great season and I am sad to see it come to an end. Everyone-writers, directors, actors all get kudos but of course, Hugh gets the biggest one. Hopefully that is in the form of an Emmy.
    I love the exploration of House and Cuddy and really all the characters on how they affected House this season to give us greater insight into this interesting and complex man but H/C is the relationship that I love the most, as you know.

  • Buds

    I find it odd that on both of Fox’s leading shows (House and Bones), the leading characters (House and Booth) are both suffering from hallucinations. I think the writers on both series need to talk to one another once in a while to make sure they don’t have similar story lines and seasons finales.

  • Sera G

    Hello, back again.
    A friend and I were discussing the finale and I asked her what she thought the “shocking” ending would be. She said, it would be a Bobby Ewing (Dallas). House never left the bus at the end of season 4. This entire year has been an hallucination. Therefore, they could get rid of Rachel, have House go through all the trauma that he experienced, give those who love Huddy a thrill and none of it ever happened. I HOPE she is not prophetic! It was ridiculous when Dallas tried to pull it off…but her idea was good for a laugh!

  • mzMraz

    it’s soooo exciting!!! i really have no questions for Doris Egan. just let the writers know how we all loved season 5! i think it’s the best season so far. good job!

  • Dominique

    I picked the psychotic break as well… as a less “Huddy” orientated viewer, I am hoping that this finale will tackle the cause of Amber’s presence (not the hallucination part but the fact that it’s not the fresh blow, AKA Kutner, but a year old event that got the upper hand and thus spawned Amber) and finally get Wilson a wake-up call on what he caused with his behaviour… House did tell Cuddy he was just hospital property: I just think that House’s feelings that he as a person is completely expendable and he as a brain is not have helped this along. Wilson left with cruel, hurtful words and returned with:

    “We can’t really choose who our friends are.”

    That wouldn’t suffice for anyone! I hope that since it’s Doris Egan (she writes House, Wilson and Cuddy a lot), this will be a side-dish for people not as interested in Huddy to feast on. Obviously things need to be said between them. Preferably sorry from Wilson’s side.

    (you can’t tell that they are my favourites at all, can you?)

    Dangerous surgery has been done before, (last season finale.) can’t be rehab because vicodin induced hallucinations tell of some extent of liver damage and House would be sure to notice, the firing one will make it an overdose of House and Cuddy and since we know it won’t last, how great could the shock value be? Same with House resigning: if it is as bad that House has to resign, he would be institutionalized anyway because it will push him over the edge and these things (Amber) don’t go with time.

    Ergo, psychotic break it is.

  • barbara barnett

    Buds–although it airs on FOX, House is an NBC/Universal show. Bones is a FOX production (I think).

    Sera–hope your friend is wrong about the “Dallas” thing. i really felt cheated when that happened in Dallas.

    Mzmraz–I will be sure to express our appreciation to the writers! I agree that this has been a phenomenal season.

  • Belle

    If he resigned, we would assume he would be back. If he ends up in a mental hospital, that leaves a lot in the air. My biggest question, which I am sure I already know the answer too is why they couldn’t let them be happy for just the summer. Leaving us with any pain now will be a little harsh, but…why expect anything else?

  • barbara barnett

    Ah, Belle! But this is House! They cannot be happy as you correctly stated. This show is as much about misery and the pain of living as it is about mystery and medicine. Personally, I’m an angst whore, so this season has been a feast for me.

  • Jaim

    I think he’ll be institutionalized for a nervous break down. It is actually very amazing that it is only now that he is suffering a real emotional collapse considering how the last decade of his life has been.
    My questions for Doris Egan is:
    “What was the most difficult scene to write of the finale?”
    “Was there a scene she wrote that didn’t make it into the final script that she wish had?”

  • wackjob

    My question for Doris Egan would be, has she had any real-life experience with people suffering from psychotic breaks and their aftermath? (Assuming House has one, of course.) My guess was that Cuddy would fire him and he does something insanely self-destructive. PPTH is his home, his lifeline, the only place he feels any acceptance at all (and where the only people he associates with are, besides the hookers). It would be, in a sense, the ultimate rejection. Also, if you get the chance, ask DE why the writers kept talking about ECT for psychosis when it isn’t a treatment for psychosis. Better television?

    He could still function with antipsych meds but it would certainly be MUCH more difficult and take him a long time to adjust to, if they took a “real life” approach to a nervous breakdown. That would also leave House seriously in the lurch.

    As always, Barbara, a brilliantly written article. If I seem fixated on mental illness, it’s because I live with it and hate to see it trivialized, although except for the ECT it hasn’t, on this show at any rate. Just trying to “keep it real” in my own tiny way.

  • bluehue

    One thing that I have noticed in the last 3 promos are 2 quick x-ray images of
    “a skull.” While I voted “psychotic break,”
    it is perhaps less due to the pills and more as a result of serious brain trauma. Considering House suffered a major fracture to his noggin at the close of S4, then further zapped the grey matter for Wilson. The recent m-cycle mishap is probably more significant now. He basically “detoxed” the night away with Huddy, explored his scrawled envelope list with Wilson…and still the ctb comes-a-haunting. Those x-rays must belong to dear House…and hold a clue. I just hope Cuddy doesn’t leave us too cold with her administrative-like reproach to House.
    For the Final ep – a tissue AND a shoe
    must be in hand.

  • sandra

    My guess would be the psychotic break – there’s big evidence speaking for that theory: hallucinations. A healthy mind doesn’t hallucinate, no doubt about that. And the House team shooting at an old psychiatric hospital adds up to that. I doubt it has anything to do with Cuddy though. If anything him being stupid enough to sleep with her (his boss for heaven’s sake!) is a symptom of his break-down. Anyway can’t wait to see what’s going to happen tonight!

  • Eve

    Thank you for keeping us entertained while we wait with increasing impatience for tonights finale!

    I think I stared at your poll for 5 minutes before clicking an option.
    I really have no clue whatsoever. You can sum up fitting arguments for every scenario.
    One option that was not included but that is in my mind is the following:

    What if Cuddy will be fired or leave the hospital?
    Maybe she will be reprimanded for sleeping with an employee even if that would make it difficult for her to be re-instated again.
    She needs to come back to the hospital in Season 6 so a door needs to be left open for her to return.

    House will suffer some kind of psychotic break, who knows even kill a patient.
    He will be hospitalized.

    Whatever will happen, I know I’m going to love it..
    This finale is going to leave me staring at the rolling credits with my mouth open in awe !

  • nc

    Barbara, I voted for psychotic break, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether it’ll be House quitting Princeton-Plainsboro, a la various other “I quits” at seasons’ end–and then something major happening after/because of that. Maybe he’ll wander, shell shocked, into a bar with a piano and start playing, reminiscent of that wonderful scene in the movie Shine, but with bad things happening afterward instead of good. [No, I’m not equating House’s mental state with David Helfgott’s, but if he starts playing the Rach 3, I’ll know we’re in trouble! :-)]

    I feel pretty sure that with both House and Cuddy in a state of emotional fragility, we’re in for some large-scale acting out with potentially painful consequences.When it comes to love, I think House is about as mature as the average teenaged boy, and Cuddy has real approach/avoidance issues. Yikes. Part of me’s not looking forward to tonight.

    My two questions for Doris Egan: The issue of House’s paternity fascinates me WRT its repercussions. Are we likely to find out who his real father is–and will we see more of his family? Likewise, will we ever get a glimpse of Cuddy’s family, and the way her familial relationships have shaped her character? We’ve learned a lot about most other main characters’ families.

    Thank you as always for your insights, your strong sense of these characters, and your encyclopedic House scholarship!

  • nc

    Oh, and one other thing: TPTB at Blogcritics seem to have changed the comment display format again, with ads in medias res and large chunks of white space before the comments begin. This change now totally crashes my usual browser and looks like poo in the others. Waah! Bring back the old format! And the preview button!

  • AreKay

    Thanks so much for your always interesting reviews. I simply have no idea what’s going to happen with House. The writer’s are brilliant; I wouldn’t even try to speculate.
    I agree with the person who said they’ve noticed little bits from other films; books; TV shows. I’ve seen a few that could have been consciously or subconsciously taken from M*A*S*H (Hawkeye/House moments).
    I,too, am on pins and needles waiting for tonight’s finale. But it’s going to be a long wait for Season Six.

  • Kim

    I don’t know what to expect for tonight, but the best.

    About DE questions. I trust you Barbara and I know you will do a great interview. I’m curious as sdemar of why she had to re-write some scripts of the season finale.

    Waiting for the last piece of season five puzzle to be delivered.

  • Chrisden

    The options have disappeared so i couldn’t vote on the actual poll.

    With writers this brilliant it’s too hard to predict so i’m not going to delve into what i think is going to happen during the episode. I’m only going to predict a possible ending.

    Taking a small quote from one of Hugh Laurie’s most recent interviews and using the words as a clue. “We are going out on a limb here”.
    I think House decides to/take/s the drastic decision to have his bad leg amputated and either Wilson and or Cuddy find him before it happens and may have him admitted into a psychiatric hospital or their going to leave it on a cliffhanger until season 6 as to whether he has or hasn’t. This may sound utterly ridiculous and i’m most probably completely wrong but you just never know.

    Happy watching everyone. I probably won’t get to see the episode but am really looking forward to reading your review Barbara and all the feedback:))

  • magz

    Hi, Barbara,

    Like the majority of respondents, I voted for ‘psychotic break’, as the writing seems to have been pointing in this direction over the last few episodes. However, I think they have run the gamut of self-destructive acts, so I think House will instead lash out at someone else this time, really hurting someone, and making this the ‘most shocking’ episode yet. And I think that someone will be Wilson or someone on his team.

    Just my speculation. I can’t wait to see what happens tonight – the sneak peeks are pretty funny.

  • Celaeno

    I can’t imagine Cuddy outrightly rejecting House. She might tell him that they can’t have a conventional relationship, but I don’t think that would count as rejection. I think they both realize that a conventional relationship would fail. What I’m trying to say is that I think he knows that there is a difference between Cuddy loving him and Cuddy wanting a full-blown relationship at this point.

    That might have sounded like a whole lot of nonsense.

    And – hey – Chrisden! I would like to say that the “going out on a limb” idea is probably my favorite piece of speculation ever. That would be just like Hugh, wouldn’t it?

  • Flamingo

    I believe House is truly in love with Cuddy and has been troubled by her lack of response. e.g. “Why do you care if I’m happy?” and so many more, especially in S5. Wanting her has been in the back of his mind for a long time and made the recent tragic events even harded to cope with. Wilson telling him he’ll end up alone was a further reminder of his need for her.

  • Hi, Barbara!

    I think I’d pick a big fat nervous breakdown – mostly because I believe it’s the one option that would give us the best material for the next season.

    (I love how reading your articles really help me to understand my own feelings and thoughts on House episodes. thanks for writing!)

  • nc

    It just ended.

    Now I know why the detox was “over” in one night.

    Clever. Yet part of me feels really cheated. We were manipulated the same way House was. I suppose that was just the setup for the premise, and a necessary ruse.

    A brilliantly written episode, but talk about going from light to dark in seconds. Everything flipflopped: Chase and Cameron from off to on, Eugene Schwartz from acid reflux to pancreatic cancer, the POTW from deathly ill to not, and House from clean to committed.

    I guess that leaves one great big question for Doris Egan: how much of what we just saw was supposed to be the reality which has been eluding House, and how much was supposed to be the delusion which got him committed?

  • wackjob

    (Picking up fallen jaw from floor)

    That was a brilliantly written episode, and yes, I’m glad to know why the one-day-wonder-detox was in there. The ending was incredible.

    As someone else wrote (paraphrasing): you want sweetness and light? Then you ain’t watching House!

  • Flamingo

    It was a beautifully crafted and acted episode. But, right now, I’m very disappointed. It was the easy way out and this extremely talented group of writers and producers didn’t need to take this very dark path to keep the show going. I felt sure they had the talent and desire which could overcome the Moonlighting downfall. Perhaps they are tired and ready to move on.

  • barbara barnett

    I think they almost had to do this at some point. House couldn’t stand on the ledge forever, so he jumped off it. And down the rabbit hole. However they handle it next year (and I’m thinking it’s somethign called brief psychotic disorder. It’s a short duration, stress-induced or trauma induced schizophrenia-like mental illness from which there is recovery in several weeks’ time

  • magz

    Wow, what an episode. While I did not see that reality-shift coming, I admit to being disappointed that last week’s sometimes-moving/sometimes-hot scenes between House and Cuddy were not what they seemed – I wanted them to get together, even though I knew it would not last. One moment he tells her they should move in together (and she smiles at him!), the next he’s moving somewhere really quite different and lonely.

    It will be interesting to see how Season 6 begins.

    I will miss my HL fix over the summer, sniff, sniff.

  • Flamingo

    I believe those of us who enjoy House and Cuddy won’t be disappointed next season. TPTB will know how to keep us coming back each week. But, right now, I will enjoy my summer because, truth be told, I’m not going to be spending time thinking about House and the darkness that is to come. Unfortunately, as a new viewer this season, who purchased the S1-S4 videos to catch up after getting hooked by the USA re-runs, I was kind of looking forward to going through the anticipation of S6. I am so disappointed.

  • christine

    when is season 6 starting???

  • Sera G

    Christine: Not soon enough! Usually at the end of September.

    I was worried that the “shocker” would be that the last episode was an hallucination. I was also worried that House would do something stupid and cruel to hurt Cuddy. I guess I am glad it was the former, rather than the latter.
    For those of us who love Huddy and thought the love scene was beautiful and passionate, perhaps TPTB will use some of Season 6 to really develop their feelings and give the relationship a chance. I can dream, can’t I!
    House having to deal with all the emotional and physical trauma that he has experienced is a long time coming. I said on a previous post that he really hasn’t dealt with being shot, having the ketamine fail, as well as the brain trauma from House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart. It will be interesting to see where the writers go with his experience at the hospital.
    I know House (the show) is dark and they don’t do easy or happy, but would it really be so bad to have him confront some of his demons and be able to find some sense of contentment? I loved seeing him at peace after the ‘detox’ and more relaxed at home with Cuddy. The ‘story’ that he tells himself could happen. I would love to see the writers give it a shot. House is complicated and nothing he does will be ordinary or conventional. It would be interesting to see what they would concoct for a House who is pain or Vicodin free and retains his brilliance.
    Although we never saw him pre-infarction, the things that Stacy, Cuddy and Wilson said about him shows that his sarcasm, wit, incredible mind and puzzle solving mania were there before the pain. What would it be like to see a detoxed (for real) House interact with the people who only know him as he is now?
    Okay, I’m rambling. Blame it on unfulfilled hopes and sadness that once again, we send House off in pain and misery.

  • I just recently finished watching the last two weeks in a two hour setting, and what a complete shock and roller coaster ride. After the end of the season finale, I honestly didn’t know what to think and after reading all of your blogs, I REALLY DON’T know what to say. I’m so in shock. I’m not sure what I had hoped for. I’m such a “happily ever after” person, and I guess I jumped on the band wagon and had hoped Cuddy and House would finally get a chance. I was all about him keeping her lipstick in his pocket, like a middle school love potion we all go under. HIGHLY disappointed when I found out it was all the pills talking – that none of that happiness was real. Just once, why can’t he be happy?

    Definitely a little anxious and afraid for Season 6. I’ve known too many shows to get great, and then the writers make a big change, and everything screws up. I know change is needed, but please take in consideration of screwing with a good thing. House wouldn’t be House without Hugh Laurie, so I pray the writers and producers aren’t even considering such an impossible change to come. If so, they need to end the show now. It’ll never work without House.

  • Sam


    I have to say, these last few episodes have gotten progressively darker…darker than usual…and the season finale only continued this downward spiral. House and Cuddy finally sleeping together seemed too good to be true when it happened, but during my first viewing of the finale, it seemed plausible. The lipstick on his face and in his hand, Cuddy’s first interaction with him, and the like. I tried to ignore the clues that were there…the lack of lipstick on the cup, the lack of reaction of the team of him twirling the lipstick in the conference room, Cuddy’s overwhelming coldness towards him throughout the episode, etc. I first thought Cuddy was avoiding the elephant in the room, but there was no elephant. It was all a ruse to get the audience sucked into the happy possibility that House and Cuddy will finally become Huddy, and that House will finally stop using vicodin, only to dash us with a cruel 6 minute examination of House’s hallucinations and his visit to the pyschotic hospital.


    1. HL’s and RSL’s acting, especially in the final scenes, was absolutely brilliant. The look on their faces as HL walked towards the hospital was absolutely heartwrenching, especially with the background music.

    2. Cameron and Chase finally tie the knot. Finally. There whole story line was driving me crazy. I believe they both took a step back in their importance to the show…their story arc seemed forced and was tiresome. Honestly, you could’ve cut them both out of the show this season and I wouldn’t really care. I hope they actually have a story arc that interacts with the rest of the show, rather than completely independent of it.

    3. The reappearance of Kutner was pretty fitting because his only relevance to the series arc has seemed to come since his death. But, beyond that, I found it a bit superfluous.

    4. Amber is creeping me out. The look on House’s face when she reappeared, which wasn’t a look of horror but rather a look of devestation, was memorable, to say the least.

    5. Where does this show go from here? I’m not sure. I can see House being stuck in a psych ward, with the team coming to him to ask him for medical advice. I can see his desire to solve medical mysteries driving him back towards pyschological sanity. My only fear is that the writers will try to create a semblance of normalcy around the show, with House playing a minor role. I don’t give a shit about Hameron, Fourteen, Taub, or the like at this point. I want the focus to be placed squarely on House. The show cannot continue without him, and trying to do so would only be foolish.

  • Meena

    Barbara, thank you for this article. Even in your comments, I loved it when you described yourself as an “angst whore” (I work at the same brothel), I just love the way you put things.

    I have resisted commenting until after viewing the season finale…definitely wow (they’ve reduced me to monosyllabism).

    (Spoilers Below)

    While I think of something else to say regarding the season finale, I am greatly looking forward to your interview with Doris Egan. If I were ever so lucky, here is what I would want to know (to start):

    1. So, is Cuddy’s faux lipstick shade named “Red Herring?” Seriously, it seems the concept of a ‘red herring’ has reappeared a lot over this entire season – especially in the later end. How was this planned by the writers? Was it intentional? Even the promos led to the delusion, fantastic.

    2. And, as such, there is still little known about what House has, or even which reality he exists in (and now, as viewers, which one we are supposed to trust). Will we ever get an answer, or will it be another Kutner situation? Will we, as the viewer, get to experience his emotional trauma, if that is what is wrong? Or will he come back after the summer with a nice tan and haircut again?

    3. I really loved that the final two episodes of this season were named after two great songs, and yet the songs weren’t actually played during the episode but certainly ‘appeared’ in other ways. In addition, I loved the use of the Rolling Stones’ As Tears Go By, one of my favorite songs by them and so absolutely, appropriately detached and sad. As these songs are so integral to the plot, particularly the end, was this something within your control as a writer? More generally, how did you collaborate with the music dept, or the director, etc, to pull off such a great script?

    4. Just a comment…What a hard episode this must have been to write – to tie up so many loose ends over the season, as well as set up the plot, dialogue, and even patients to have multiple meanings and interpretations (more than the usual double entendres). I have to say, the first half felt like an authentic Housian reaction to detoxing and sleeping with Cuddy somehow – you got me. But the end has left me breathless, not for what happened as much as how it enfolded. I love that this show deigns to be intelligent and convoluted.

    Thanks again, Barbara, for allowing me (us) this outlet. In keeping with the finale, I can now delude myself that I am conducting the interview;)

  • Hi, Barbara!
    Just wanna know if you’re writing “Both sides now” a review anytime soon… your text is delightful and I just can’t wait to read it! Thanks,

  • JL

    Barbara, I need to detox from this episode. It is burning up my brain. Discussion is HIGHLY NECESSARY.

    That, plus all of ‘Under My Skin’ now needs review.

    Please help.

    My basic reaction to this episode is, “I NEED Barbara’s review NOW. Someone needs to make sense of this madness.”

    Having said that, I know that you will not want to be rushing this review. There’s a LOT to consider.

    I respect that.

    I can wait.

    *jigs around…*

    Really. I can.


    (In all seriousness, I have thoughts on this episode, but I’m not sure whether I ought to get into them here, or whether to wait to post them in a Proper forum. The former might allow me a little more sleep.)

  • Dee

    I’m SO confused!! I’m not sure what was real and what wasn’t. If everything from last week when he was standing in her office to when he was standing in her office last night was a delusion, what happened during that time? I am just so, so, so confused!! Can we get some clarification from Doris Egan on that? thanks!

  • Quin

    Question for Doris Eagan:
    Ever since “One Day, One Room,” we’ve seen House move glacially toward the notion that there is a qualitative aspect to life as well as the quantitative, that even though our lives can be objectively described as a series of electrical impulses that drive our thoughts and movements, that possibly there is something more that is unknowable and undefinable. Will his journey into the unknown at the psychiatric hospital result in him becoming more rigidly logical?

  • Kim

    All I can say after watching BSN is that the writers are pure genius, in this case Doris Egan.

    I’ll wait for the review..

    Thanks, Barbara

  • Houseaddict

    Awesome job as ever, Barbara…Can’t wait for your interview with Doris Egan….That finale was the best I ever saw….So looking forward to season 6…Hope you can get some information …
    Thanks a lot for your wonderful work

  • barbara barnett

    Just finished my commentary on the finale, and it will be up soon. There is too much to say in one article, so it isn’t as long as it might have otherwise been, but clearly there will be much more to say after my interview.

  • Eve K

    Wish-list for Doris Eagan & Co:
    It would have been wonderful to se House work with Cate the psychiatrist, they had such a great chemistry. He already trusts her. He saved her, now she could return the favour.

    I do hope that they choose to let him spend some time in therapy. That they dare to step out of the procedural formula for some episodes anyway.

  • mary

    I have never been so disgusted with an ending in my life. House and Cuddy. All season very evident there are deep feelings. Then nothing!! Whats up with that. It really seems like many of us viewers got cruely punked. I might not stick around for season 6.

  • Liz

    I am particularly curious as to whether House and Wilson’s brother are now committed to the same hospital?

    In this episode was House continuing to use Vicodin or did he up his medication to oxycodone?

  • mary


    It looks like the psychotic breakdown on last article’s list was much needed to lead us to this awesome season finale!

    It broke my heart to realize how badly House wanted his share of happiness. The smiles, the memories, the lipstick… the desperation of realizing what did not happened. But I must say I feel relieved aswell it solved my own questions about the stupid 12 hours detox and the false redempting relationship hopes. It stayed loyal to the whole concept of the show, no matter how it’d hurt the fans (like myself). Acid House. Can’t wait for the next season.

  • Miri

    As for house “practicing medicine” again, I think House’s hallucinations are going to be linked to a disease and once he is cured of this disease, he can practice medicine again. It could be a tumor and if the hallucinations were caused by that and not the vicodin, than he can practice medicine again.

  • david

    SPOILER ALERT (Stop reading now if you don’t want to see spoils)
    So apparently 3 of the choices for the poll are correct: Cuddy “fires” house, House “quits”, and House goes to a psychiatric hospital. 🙂

  • ilovehugh

    is there gonna be a 6th season since house is in a psyciatric hospital and all :S