Monday, July 2, 2012

Everybody Lies

It's one of the first things you learn about Gregory House- he has no faith in anyone's humanity, least of all his own. I finally got around to watching the series finale of House today. I'd been putting it off because I had a feeling that it was going to be emotional (it was) and because I didn't want a series that I enjoyed so thoroughly to be over.


I'd heard rumors that there was talk of killing off the character in the final episode. In fact, Hugh Laurie himself said it in a recent interview I heard on NPR. With the revelation that Wilson was dying too, this seemed even more possible.

Who is Sherlock without Watson? We've never known. It's possible that he doesn't even exist. We know who Watson THINKS Holmes is, but maybe Holmes needs Watson to exist at all. For example, together House and Wilson are a mostly complete person. But separately? House can't exist without Wilson.

Thus, I was not terribly surprised when it did appear, in the final episode, that House was dead. I guessed the twist though, as I often do. In true Holmesian style, he makes a miraculous, Reichenbach Falls return. This was the point at which I began to take issue with the direction of the finale. At the funeral, everyone whose life House has touched speaks of what they've learned from him. Wilson begins to rant, but is interrupted by the ringing of his own phone. Cue House's return, except Wilson is the only one who knows.

The end is a montage of all the characters over the years settling into life without House and they all seem to have exactly what they need. House and Wilson ride off into the wilderness on motorcycles, content to live Wilson's last days to the fullest.

It was, to quote House's final line, the last word spoken in the series, "boring."

A neatly wrapped and tied up happy ending is inappropriate for a show as dark and real as House. I wanted House to be dead. Really, truly dead. Everyone would have ended the same way anyway, getting what they needed with his death. Perhaps not Wilson, but I think it would have been more poignant if House really couldn't have faced a life without his best friend and took the easy way out.  It certainly would have been more in character.

Yes, he proved that he really did care about Wilson and could be a good friend, and yes he did manipulate absolutely everyone one final time, but he didn't NEED to. It was always clear how much he cared, despite him being a selfish sociopath/asshole. And as far as manipulative plots go, this was one of the more shallow ones. There are generally more layers.

And what happens to House? Wilson will die, definitely. Are we supposed to think House rides off alone after that? And does...what? Lives life to the fullest because he's already dead? How boring.

Finally, is it wrong that I want a completely flawed character? Not a tragic hero, which House is too, but an anti-hero. One with no redeeming qualities, but still a hero, not a villain. The equal and opposite character to Atticus Finch. Can you name one?

I'm still thinking.