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Episode Discussion Post 8x22 "Everybody Dies"
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menolly_au wrote in house_rewind
I'm dead, Wilson.How do you want to spend your last five months?

House and Wilson ride off into the sunset sunrise on motorcycles.

The end.


Episode description at House Wiki

Transcript at Clinic Duty


At that brings us to the end of this marathon rewatch. We started in June 2012 so it's been a long journey. Thanks to petitecuriosity for starting the comm and getting us rolling, and thanks to everyone who has contributed over the last three and a half years. It's been fun revisiting the show every week. If you have any final thoughts about this episode, the whole show, the way it ended, or what you think happened afterwards please feel free to share.

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I read the transcript rather than re-watching. I still don't love this episode, but now I am confused as well. I know these are minor issues, especially in comparison to my ongoing puzzlement over the whole Plumbing Crimes saga, but they bug me. I'm hoping there's some obvious answer that I've just forgotten.

First question. After the events of Holding On, how is it that Wilson neither knows nor cares where House is after he's been missing for 2 nights? In HO they reached an understanding and they seemed very close. They were both very upset by House needing to go to prison but I never had the idea that Wilson was angry at House about it. So why hadn't Wilson noticed House was missing? Or is he covering for House?

That brings me to my second question. Foreman says House thought he had Wilson waiting for him when he went to prison. Does that mean that House and Wilson were in touch after Moving On? I've always thought they didn't see or speak to each other from then until Transplant. In 20 Vicodin House said he was "peepless." So what happened and how does Foreman know about it? Or is it that Foreman was in the dark about everything?

I haven't rewatched it yet (I'm steeling myself) but didn't House go missing after the whole drama about asking Wilson to confess to the plumbing thing and they had an argument about that?

Wilson is probably (quite rightly IMO) pissed that House didn't take the easy out (which was like seeing 8 patients or something - hardly a hardship for a doctor with a team of minions at his disposal) so that he could be with Wilson. And then wanted Wilson to take the fall. But yeah - the rift between H & W in this episode after the closeness and resolution of Holding On is one of my (many) issues with this episode.

The second point - I don't remember Foreman saying that but there's no way House & Wilson were in touch while House was in prison. Maybe Foreman just assumed that House would assume that Wilson would come running back to him after he got out of prison?


didn't House go missing after the whole drama about asking Wilson to confess to the plumbing thing and they had an argument about that?
That's how I remember it.
House would assume that Wilson would come running back to him after he got out of prison?
Also seemed to be the case, although I think they're retconning too - though House remarked on Wilson not visiting him in prison, there was never any suggestion in '21 Vicodin' that House ever intended to see Wilson again.
My quibble with this episode, aside from the lack of Cuddy which I know couldn't be helped, was that House asked Wilson how he wanted to spend his last 5 months, then we see them on motorcycles. Since when was Wilson interested in motorcycles? They just couldn't resis showing House riding off into the sunset on a motorcycle. (I also would have preferred Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" as the final song, but do realize not everything is about me!)
Also thanks to everyone who managed and commented in this comm.

Good suggestion about the music. At the time, I had questioned the Louis Prima choice. While I adore anything Prima, I wondered if "Later than You Think" was supposed to tie back to hallucinatory!Amber when she sang the same tune to House, or TPTB forgot or Hugh Laurie forgot. IIRC he was the one who suggested it. Or maybe it would have worked better if they hadn't cut the scene with Wilson visiting Amber's grave. IDK.

As for the motorcycles, you're probably right about the poetic ending, but it worked for me. I could imagine Wilson always secretly admiring House's "Don't give a damn" persona. With five months to live and getting a second chance with House, I think he was prepared to live life to the fullest. Even before the fire, Wilson had dropped his Mr. Perfect act and sported House-type stubble.

I'd sure love to read a fic about the guys discussing what they were going to do. Would Wilson have blurted out a fully formed idea or would he have dithered like he did over the loft furniture and bed?

Thanks for the answers! Apparently it was even harder than I'd thought for me to track what happened when in this one.

I have to agree that there's some retconning going on.

House asked Wilson how he wanted to spend his last 5 months, then we see them on motorcycles. Since when was Wilson interested in motorcycles?
If I understood the end of 'Holding On' correctly, Wilson wanted to go for rather a steep hike. Maybe a motorbike trip is a compromise between Wilson wanting to do something physically challenging out in the wild and House's mobility issues.

Right. I think the final episodes were conveying the idea that Wilson was breaking out of his carefully maintained persona. So I can buy him wanting to do something that seems un-Wilson-like on the surface. Plus, (being Wilson) he'd also make a choice House would enjoy, too.

Wilson is probably (quite rightly IMO) pissed that House didn't take the easy out (which was like seeing 8 patients or something - hardly a hardship for a doctor with a team of minions at his disposal) so that he could be with Wilson.
All things considered, I wouldn't have blamed Wilson if he'd stayed pissed. First that, and then letting Wilson believe that he's dead ...

Maybe Foreman just assumed that House would assume that Wilson would come running back to him
Foreman wasn't all that wrong — at the time House seemed rather surprised that Wilson would hold out at all. (Just like he assumes that either Wilson or Foreman will take the rap for the plumbing fiasco.) But this time it's clear that if House has to return to prison, Wilson will only be around in spirit when he returns.

Foreman says House thought he had Wilson waiting for him when he went to prison.
I think he means that Wilson was physically there, which he won't be this time around. This time House doesn't even have the hope of wooing Wilson back once he gets released.

Thanks. That makes sense. :)

I felt like the finale was crammed into an hour when it could have been longer for resolution. But you can't always get what you want and this show has always been about House and his unorthodox way.

I did wish that some patients came back for the funeral service or even better, Tritter and Volger to make some interesting speeches.

What I like about this community is the interesting discussions about each episode and the characters, what was great about it, what made it frustrating and the overall good and bad.

Thank you petitecuriosity for creating this comm.
Special thanks to Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps and Jesse Spencer for their 8 years invested into the series.

I can't help feeling that this episode was driven more by the desire to have every ex-cast member they could come back (including the dead ones which is always difficult) and the desire to have a cool explosion of some sort rather than a narrative that made sense but eh... whatever, it's pretty hard to wrap up a eight season show in a way that everyone is going to like. Maybe I would have liked it better if I hadn't been spoiled for the 'death' (and hadn't only a few days before seen the Sherlock season 3 finale which did it better IMO)

For the series as a whole I'm glad that they didn't kill Wilson or House on screen although I would have been a lot happier without the finality of the 'five months to live' thing, and House having to give up his whole identity and life as well.

And three years after the series ended I still want to hear more about House & Wilson so I think that says something about the quality of the characters and the show that TPTB created.

I still remember seeing the first ad for the pilot episode of House ('Brain tumour. She's going to die. Boring') and thinking this was a character I would like :) And I was right.

I can't help feeling that this episode was driven more by the desire to have every ex-cast member they could come back (including the dead ones which is always difficult) and the desire to have a cool explosion of some sort rather than a narrative that made sense

I think that's exactly what drove the finale. In a long-running show, I get the desire to bring in old characters and wrap things up for them to a degree. And it was nice to see that Cameron was happy, etc.

But yes, I would've preferred something less final for both House and Wilson ... as long as they still ended up in leather in some way, because I'm like that.

Despite the forced cameo appearances, I remember feeling somewhat satisfied with the finale after viewing it, and hugely relieved that Wilson was still standing (or rather, sitting on a bike). Kudos to TPTB for successfully keeping most of the last arc's plot under wraps.

Like Wilson, I have an extremely hard time letting go. After reading all the wonderful fics written about Wilson's survival (which is completely possible), I still can't quite believe Wilson's cancer wasn't terminal (Damn you, David Shore!). It's put a pall on the series for me. I still can't rewatch earlier episodes.

And three years after the series ended I still want to hear more about House & Wilson so I think that says something about the quality of the characters and the show that TPTB created.--Seconding Menolly's comment!

I understand the desire to give all the extra actors another credit, but I think the story suffered for it. Or maybe I've just lost patience with all the hallucination episodes.

I never viewed the finale as all that final. The story just moved from the hospital to the road. I found it incredibly hopeful to have Wilson alive at the end. How many times have we seen a potw saved at the last minute...or even after they've been pronounced dead. Why not assume the same will happen to Wilson? It's just as likely. That theory makes me happy, so that's what I stick with.

The series wasn't perfect, particularly in areas of continuity and its use of women, but nothing is perfect. I still enjoy the show and, as Menolly and Srsly said, the characters live on in my head.

Edited at 2016-01-12 11:21 am (UTC)

I understand the desire to give all the extra actors another credit, but I think the story suffered for it.
At the time I enjoyed seeing them again, but it was the enjoyment of a curtain call, so I agree with you and my desire to re-watch the episode is limited.

I'm just curious--if you could, how would you have ended the show?

Pardon me for sticking my nose in, but I want to say again how much I love your idea of House writing notes to the other characters as an alternative to the funeral scenario.

I hope you (along with every other reader) will always feel free to say anything. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

And thanks!

Sorry for taking so long to reply. I started to type a reply to this yesterday, and then realised that the answer isn't all that easy. I'll get back to you as soon as I've got it sorted in my head.

The final episodes of S8 look like a tragedy: there’s a climax (Wilson has cancer) which forces the hero to choose between two evils (bullying Wilson into treatment against his will, or accepting Wilson’s decision and losing him). The hero’s attempts to resolve the issue fail because of his fatal flaw: House makes the ‘right’ choice but messes it up by breaking his parole conditions. His fatal flaw also leads him to seek refuge in drugs. So, this tragedy should have ended with a classical ‘catastrophe’ in the denouement: House burning in the tenement block.

It doesn’t. Ergo, it isn’t a classical tragedy. And Wikipedia tells me that modern plays often have a ‘negative’ climax after the first one, in which the protagonist has an epiphany and encounters the greatest fear possible or loses something important, giving the protagonist the courage to take on another obstacle. The epiphany would be House in the burning house saying that he can change and deciding not to die.

So far, so good. This ‘epiphany’ thing five minutes before the end works if it is, say, a correct diagnosis for a dying patient. We’d see the patient get better and the conflict would be resolved. Change, however, is a long-term thing, and this is the series that perpetually tells and shows us that 'almost dying changes nothing'. We don’t get to see that change — unless House’s idea of ‘change’ is dying with Wilson five months further on rather than now. ‘Change’ is a journey, and that’s what I want to see at the end of the series.

House’s crash into despondency and resulting epiphany should have followed hard on the cancer diagnosis and Wilson’s refusal to get treated, and then we could have had a few episodes where House is tempted to fall back into old patterns, but decides not to because he wants to live that change. I want Wilson to consent to further treatment, not because House needs him, but because House doesn’t need him any longer. That makes living about himself, not about House, Danny or anyone else. I’d like ‘want’ to replace ‘need’ in their vocabulary and attitudes.

I’d have liked the finale to end with two pairs of legs and a cane walking down a hospital corridor, like in the pilot, to show that we’ve come the full circle.

Wow, RR! Thank you so much for your fascinating and in-depth response.

I agree, it does look like a tragedy, and with House's issues and the the of the show that's not out of place

House's choice to live was a tipping point in the series, I think, and that's definitely not tragic. I like what you say about modern plays having a negative climax. I'd never heard that before but it fits. Facing death in a fire is certainly a fear, and if you add in that choosing to live means choosing to lose Wilson, that's two great fears (if I understood you correctly).

I love your idea of what to do with the show. I'm guessing that you'd add in an episode or two to show that change taking place? I'd hate to lose any of the cancer arc up until that point.

I would adore the symmetry of ending the show as it began, with the two of them walking down a corridor, different and yet the same.

What wonderful ideas!

that's two great fears (if I understood you correctly)
Wikipedia, not me, but essentially I agree.

I'm guessing that you'd add in an episode or two to show that change taking place?
I'd probably put the burning house earlier in the cancer arc and have the road trip as part of House changing. But yes, one or two more episodes in that arc wouldn't have hurt. And let's be honest about it, one could easily have done without a few of the earlier episodes, so the cancer arc could have been extended without extending the season. (I could have done without 'Duncan' and I'm told that the 'Egg' episode is not a series highlight ...)

I like your ideas! Yeah, the whole 'I can change' thing was too late for me and taken with the very strong implication that House was going to suicide when Wilson died, it just didn't seem to have any real meaning. Taking a bit more time for the cancer arc would have been good in general - it needed a bit more room to breathe I think.

Actually it would have been good if the whole of season 8 would have been showing House trying to change - they tried a bit in season 6 I know, but with the impetus of prison, and what he did to Cuddy and Wilson it would have been great to revisit that.

he whole 'I can change' thing was too late for me
When Cuddy dumped House, he said, "I can do better," and we know how that ended. That doesn't exactly increase the plausability of his 'I can change!'. So, I'd really, really need to see that to believe it. The change needs to stick even if Wilson should say that he has no intention whatsoever of going on a road trip with him — heck, even if Wilson were to turn him in. Otherwise it isn't change.

it would have been good if the whole of season 8 would have been showing House trying to change
You won't find me arguing with that: you'd think that two years in prison would be enough of a 'negative climax' to give House an epiphany about his life choices, but no. I lost all interest in S8 when it became clear that House was regressing instead of progressing.

Thanks so much for organising House_Rewind. It's been a pleasure lurking and participating.

Thanks so much for organising House_Rewind. It's been a pleasure lurking and participating.

Thanks, it's been interesting :) I just can't believe how long it's been going - where has the time gone??

Oh, and I meant to say - that cute little blue eyed baby that Stacy was waving around in Everybody Dies - that was totally Joel ;)

that cute little blue eyed baby that Stacy was waving around in Everybody Dies - that was totally Joel ;)
Was he screaming? Socking some other kid on the nose? Generally being obstreperous?
No? Then it wasn't Joel :)

But 'waving around' totally describes it. "Hey, have a baby and live!" I dunno. I'm not surprised House said, "Thanks, but no!"

I don't see Wilson choosing treatment as necessary unless they changed his illness so it wasn't 100% fatal, but otherwise I completely agree. So much wasted story potential, the way they did it!

Exactly. In this arc, Wilson didn't choose death over life -- The show gave him a terminal diagnosis. He was choosing how he wanted to live out the rest of his life. So his diagnosis would have to be different (which, hey, is fine with me!). But with a non-terminal diagnosis, I couldn't really see 1. Wilson refusing treatment, or 2. House accepting that decision.

don't see Wilson choosing treatment as necessary unless they changed his illness so it wasn't 100% fatal, but
'Non-fatal' was my primary thought here, but I think I'd like Wilson to feel that two or three years with House might be worth it, and IMO that might be the case if he didn't feel responsible for House's well-being. The way House expects Wilson to mop up his mess after violating his deal with Foreman regarding the 8 patients he's supposed to see ... well, I can see why Wilson might consider it unattractive to have to deal with that sort of thing in addition to chemo.

I can't say I loved this episode, but I was relieved by it. I'd worried that they'd end the series with House dead or (even worse, to me) completely alone. So despite the circumstances, I found the ending somewhat hopeful.

The episode felt very rushed, and as others have said, a bit gimmicky in its goal of bringing back most of the cast. I guess the point was to show House making a grand sacrifice in the end. But for me, he'd already made a greater sacrifice in the previous episode -- honoring what Wilson wanted, even though it hurt him, and agreeing to be with him to the end. In this episode, the sacrifice was more questionable, since House's other option was to go to prison.

BUT, I have to agree with what others have said: If I'm still reading and writing about these characters, TPTB sure did something right.

Thanks, Petite and Menolly, for creating and maintaining this comm!


I guess the point was to show House making a grand sacrifice in the end. But for me, he'd already made a greater sacrifice in the previous episode -- honoring what Wilson wanted, even though it hurt him, and agreeing to be with him to the end. In this episode, the sacrifice was more questionable, since House's other option was to go to prison.

Yes, that's exactly how I feel about that. The grand sacrifice didn't work because they'd already done it better in the episode before.

Yes, Holding On was all about the grand sacrifice. Both of them were willing to give up what they wanted for the other.

The finale was a great lead in to the motorcycle trip, though. If they'd been going back to work in the morning they'd never have dressed up in leather and driven off on the bikes. So there's that.

One thing I did like about the final, or rather Wilson's terminal diagnosis, is that things CAN'T go back to the way they were for House. Every time he messed something up, someone fixed it for him and everyone got amnesia and things went back to the way they were. Pressing the big red reset button. House never changed because he never had to. Now he does.

The problem I have with that is that he's literally left with nothing. No identity, he can't contact anyone in his old life, he can't do the work that has meant so much to him, and in five months time he won't have Wilson either. I'm not sure that I can see him carving out a new life for himself instead of taking the option of going out in five months time as well.

I agree. It's awful that House loses everything. It's totally unfair, which seems to be the way his life works. On the other hand the idea of a totally fresh start for House appeals to me. He's resourceful and he likes a challenge. If he could avoid ever being fingerprinted I think he could be fine.

I guess it depends how easy or possible it is to acquire a new identity in the States, of which I have no idea. He has the advantage that the police won't be looking for him because he's 'dead' but he'd have to be forever being careful. And I honestly don't know if he'd have the energy or the drive to start again like that. He was pretty far gone in Holding On (what with the trying to strangle a patient thing) and then in Everybody Dies he was suicidal. I can't see him improving mentally when Wilson dies.

I mean, I like to think he'd carve out a new life for himself, get a new career and make friends etc etc but...

I guess it depends how easy or possible it is to acquire a new identity in the States, of which I have no idea.

I don't know either.

I'd like to think House would go on to create a new life for himself. I mean, I hate to think of him without Wilson, but I hate more to think of him ending his life. Maybe he would someplace without an extradition treaty. Alternatively he might get a lawyer and turn himself in after Wilson either died or got better. House could resolve the issue and resume his identity. If PPTH took him back after a felony conviction they won't fire him over this.

I think his biggest problem legally would be the fact that someone died in that fire even if it wasn't him.

Although who knows - apparently in Houseland parole boards can, in a few days, try, convict and sentence someone of a new crime without the parolee, or any witnesses, appearing before them so it's entirely possible that their legal system works differently from ours :)

House could resolve the issue and resume his identity. If PPTH took him back after a felony conviction they won't fire him over this.
That's what I liked, though, that he CAN'T go back to PPTH. That his actions finally have consequences, that he can't just go back to normal pretending nothing ever happened.
Does it suck that he has nothing now? Of course. But I prefer to think he'd enjoy the challenge of starting over. To me it's that he's willing to try, more than whether or not he'll succeed. That he didn't give up.

That's a really appealing idea, Taiga.

In an interview, HL said the ending implied that both Wilson and House were "not long for this world," for all the reasons you point out. And I hate that.

Luckily, canon ended where it did, so we're as free as HL to speculate and have them live happily ever after in a tiny house, la-la-la-can't hear-you-PTB

Didja know there's a tiny house model for people with disabilities? It's called Magnolia. I thought of your 'verse when I saw that.

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