Hugh Laurie bowed out of hit medical mystery drama 'House' last night as the series came to an end after eight years.
When he was playing the fool opposite Rowan Atkinson in 'Blackadder' few could have predicted Hugh Laurie would become the world's biggest television star but the role of Dr. Gregory House made that a reality.
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The drug addicted head of a team of diagnosticians, House is in fact based on Sherlock Holmes with friend Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) playing the Watson to his Holmes.
The show was left hanging last week when it was revealed that House would have to serve the remaining six months of his jail sentence (having been paroled), a time frame that doesn't suit the fact that his best friend Wilson only has five months left to live.
'House' was always going to at the very least flirt with the idea of the titular character committing suicide by the time it came to a close and they dealt with that brilliantly here. Laying in a burning building after a drug-fuelled binge with an addicted (and now dead) patient, House begins to hallucinate about people, either living or dead, from his past.
Conversing with them (i.e. mulling it over in his smack-addled brain) he went over his life and decided whether to try and escape the fire or give up and succumb to the flames. It was a great way for House to deal with his own mortality and by extension the mortality of Wilson, his dying friend.
House has been presented on many occasions as a character beyond repair, beyond salvation but there was always a sense that overall there was a sliver of hope that the man would one day find happiness. It was a glimmer of hope shared by the audience who have come to know and love the character.
Dead characters Kutner (Kal Penn) and Amber (Anne Dudek) returned as House's visions, as did living characters who once loved the sarcastic doctor. Former girlfriend Stacy Warner showed him the happiness he could have had and taught him that it was still within his grasp. Former understudy Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) was the last to appear.
As he found his feet and began hobbling towards the exit House said equal parts defiantly and triumphantly, "I can change." Hope for the character faded however when an explosion engulfed the building as Wilson caught a glimpse of House not far from the doorway.
Cut to House's funeral where Wilson receives a mystery text saying, "Shut up, you idiot." The message came after Wilson failed to say anything good about his dead friend, falling back onto his long-time opinion that House was an "ass". Suddenly the realisation crossed Wilson's face as it did our own. They only went and did the Reichenbach Falls!
The Reichenbach Falls is a famous part of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' books in which Sherlock Holmes fakes his own demise. It happened in the last episode of the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring BBC series and it happened in the last Robert Downey Jr-starring movie adaptation of the books as well.
House had indeed escaped and swapped his dental records with those of the dead patient that lay beside him in the burning building. He did this so he could spend those final five months with his best friend, despite the obvious heavy consequences.
He will definitely go to jail and definitely for even longer than the initial six months. He'll never be able to be a doctor again - but he doesn't care.
House wants to change and no matter the mess that will ensue once Wilson dies and he reveals that he's still alive (to more than just Foreman (Omar Epps), to whom he left a cryptic message), he will try to.
At least that's what we like to think.
When a TV series ends, the decision all writers and producers have to make is whether they end the stories of their characters with the show or let them continue beyond it. This was a bittersweet farewell to a character with an ambiguous future still tinged with hope.
The absence of Lisa Edelstein's Cuddy (House's long-time love and one half of their will-they-wont-they couple) was noticeable, and apparently she wasn't interested in a return having bailed on the series after Season 7. There were holes and it was much more like a regular season finale than the big deal a series-ending episode is expected to be, but it was still a satisfying conclusion.
House and Wilson rode off into the sunset as the unexpected but very sweet 'Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)' by Louis Prima played and the credits rolled on a truly great television series.