I never doubted that House and Cuddy would break up—and this season. It was inevitable from the start, especially given Cuddy’s deep ambivalence about the whole enterprise. But should it have come when it did, when House seemed to have come to a new understanding about their relationship (“Recession Proof”)? It seems somewhat arbitrary, but from a narrative point of view, it does seem to jibe with Cuddy’s mercurial take on relationships in general.
House’s reaction to the breakup also seems consistent with what I believe might have happened after Stacy leaves him (long before we’d ever met House). We know that, deeply hurt and feeling betrayed, House basically fell apart. Wilson reminds us of that a few times during the early seasons of the series, so House’s insane overreaction to the breakup with Cuddy, as abrupt and arbitrary as it seems, makes narrative sense.
The one thing I do wish is that the exploration of the House-Cuddy relationship might have dug a little deeper into the psyche of each character—not making them at all more “lovey-dovey” or happy, but digging into the emotion of House’s struggle with happiness, and with being involved in a serious relationship. But that is a creative choice, and I cannot fault the creative team for not taking a path I would have wanted. The brain trust of any television series has to follow its own vision. The House viewership is too diverse—and watches for too many varied reasons—to please one faction of fans or another.
So where has Season 7's controversial ending left us as a lead in to Season 8? “Now what?” we may ask, echoing the title for last season’s premiere episode. Where do they go from here? How do they go from here? That is the question reverberating through much of the fan community. A portion of the fan community believes that the ending to "Moving On" has undermined the character of House to a point where he cannot be redeemed at all.
Most seasons leave the fan community with lingering questions both about the narrative if not the series itself. “How will House come back from a stay in a psych hospital?” “How will the series hold up with Chase, Cameron and Foreman gone?”
But here, seven seasons in, many die-hard fans are beginning to wonder about this version of House who thinks nothing of crashing his car into someone’s occupied home. Clearly out of his mind, even if just for that moment, the action is reprehensible. It’s a side of House many (but not all) fans never anticipated. Or like.
Ever dancing on the edge of likability, House has never become wholly unsympathetic. Yet, crashing his car into an occupied home, understandable or not, seems to me possibly pushing him over that edge into the realm of being unsympathetic. And will fans continue to care about him if that’s where he remains?