After eight dark and twisted seasons of House, Fox’s beloved medical drama hangs up its cane tonight with an hour-long retrospective and series finale (8-10 p.m. ET) entitled “Everybody Dies” — a tweak to one of Dr. House’s famous lines, “Everybody lies.”
Creator David Shore and the cast have kept quiet on exactly what will happen in the finale. We know Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), Kutner (Kal Penn), and Masters (Amber Tamblyn) will return, as will Chase (Jesse Spencer), who left Princeton-Plainsboro May 7. As we learned by the end of last week’s penultimate episode, House is heading back to prison for six months after violating parole, and his best/only friend Wilson — having refused further cancer treatment — has five months to live.
“It’s a different kind of episode, but at its core I think it’s still a House episode,” Shore told EW of the series finale. “It’s still about a character looking to figure things out. We still have a medical case, but beyond that — that’s what they all are. The medical case allows us to explore the nature of the characters. It’s an ending.”
So why is the series ending now? Back when the show was looking successful in season 3, the showrunners predicted it would go eight years, “and that just seemed to be the number,” Shore said. “I still believe we’re doing interesting stories, but I really wanted to make sure that we’re doing that at the end and we’re still happy. As Hugh [Laurie] says, Dr. House is the guy who leaves the party before people want him to.”
Omar Epps, who plays Dr. Foreman (now the Dean of Medicine, having replaced Lisa Edelstein’s Dr. Cuddy), agreed that it’s the right time for House to call it quits. “It’s like Jordan hitting the last shot on Bryon Russell — you want to go out at a time when the show is still effective, people are still watching it, the stories are still fresh,” the former Love and Basketball star said. After eight seasons, it’s hard to keep an audience at the edge of its seat. “I think we’ve run our course,” said Epps. “It’s the right time.”
Speaking of Cuddy, Lisa Edelstein is one of the few former stars not slated to return for tonight’s finale — a point of outcry among some fans who want complete closure on the Gregory House Experience. Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. Wilson) encouraged fans to just trust the writers on this one. “If fans feel something’s missing because Cuddy’s not here, well, screw them,” he said (clearly having been prompted about the subject too many times that day). “When did storytelling become interactive? It’s annoying. I don’t think it’s right.”
Hugh Laurie reluctantly agreed while chortling that his costar had just popped off. “That did change at some point,” he commented. “Fans own it more than the people who make the show.”
NEXT PAGE: Is House ultimately a hopeful character?
House has always been a series steeped in cynicism and darkness thanks to its caustic title character — but as longtime viewers know, it’s not that simple. The dual nature of Dr. House — with that good side peeking out just often enough to keep us intrigued — is a big part of what drives the show. After all, House spent last week’s episode trying to convince Wilson to fight for his life. The House-Wilson scenes in the past few episodes have been some of the most stunning of the series and have revealed more of House’s heart than ever before.
“I love House,” Laurie said of his character. “If you don’t, there’s no way in. If you play a judgement of the character, that’s incredibly tedious to watch, except in the sort of broadest, satirical way. I’ve loved him right from the start. He’s immensely funny, imaginative — and some bad things too. Basically he’s on the side of the angels without necessarily being an angel.”
“[House] is very much a hopeful character,” said Shore, who knew Laurie was the right actor the moment he read for the part. “He’s seeking truth and happiness. He doesn’t necessarily succeed, but who truly does? He’s trying to do the right thing — not the right thing society’s telling him to do. That’s what’s truly heroic about him. He has a very deep moral compass, to his own detriment.”
Odette Annable, who plays Dr. Adams (new this season) summed it up: “There’s just so much truth in this show and raw honesty you can take from it,” she said. “House can be vulgar — ‘everybody lies’ — but goddamnit, it’s kind of true.”
Watch below as Leonard and Laurie comment on the Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson nature of the House/Wilson friendship. (This was shot a month and a half before the finale — and well before Wilson got cancer — so the fact that I suggested that the finale be called “Everybody Dies” is just a crazy coincidence.)