While House's seventh season finale is a little disappointing, it still leaves me anticipating what comes next.
The penultimate episode to the season finale, After Hours, was the best episode of the season yet, offering up plenty of drama with no time for distractions while approaching the season's three main storylines at once. It was going to be hard to top such a revealing and intense episode...and the writers didn't. Not exactly anyway. In its defense, the writers were obviously trying to stir the pot, get things cooking, and eat dinner before the season finale with After Hours, leaving the finale free to focus on the season's main storyline, House and Cuddy's relationship.
This storyline's been an up and down game of cat and mouse since its inception. Will House finally get better? Is he truly happy? Will this thing last? Ultimately, the answers to those questions were "no" because, after all, where's the drama in that? A sober, stable House isn't as intriguing as a disturbed, angry one. He's not Eminem. He can't sober up and make a comeback. So the writer's threw his new found happiness under the bus along with the progress he made from rehab.
Normally, reverting back to old habits isn't a good story option; we want new ideas, we want characters to move forward instead of backward. But this is Greg House we're talking about here. His unwillingness, or just plain inability, to change is what makes the character one of the best on TV. That, and Hugh Laurie's always stellar performance. House is a study on human behavior, and the writers have handled his disintegration well. They realize that House moving forward isn't as good TV as him moving backward, and I guess that's the only kind of "development" with the character that we'll get probably until the series is over.
House has been slowly deteriorating since Cuddy broke up with him. He's taken experimental drugs to heal his leg and the last episode saw him perform surgery on himself. This episode takes the time to finally address the elephant in the room. As Cuddy points out, the two haven't had a real discussion about the break up since it happened. When House finally lets loose his true feelings, Laurie makes us feel his frustration and we become a little more understanding.
House is an ass, and Cuddy probably made the right move breaking up with him, but we're still on his side. We've all faced a harsh break up or loss of someone close to us. We've all felt betrayed, so House's predicament is easy to relate to, and it's easy to understand his spiral downward. It's not the same spiral we saw a couple seasons ago in which he was hallucinating from Vicodin overdose. No, this spiral is more personal, more human. I guess in that regard House HAS changed. But he's still an angry man not in control of his feelings.
While the episode does a good job of addressing House's pain in the aftermath of his break up with Cuddy, the ultimate product of all this built up rage leaves a little to be desired. At the opening of the episode, and at certain points throughout, Cuddy and Wilson are being questioned by police and have apparently been hurt...by House. Cuddy exclaims that she'll file charges against him immediately and that if he comes anywhere near her, she wants him thrown in jail. Even Wilson throws his friend under the bus, so he must have done something pretty bad.
When it's revealed what House did, though, it doesn't seem as serious as what it was made out to be. Sure, driving your car through someone's house is serious business, but I was expecting something a little more...violent, I suppose. However, I love the pay off it allows, as House get out of the car, walks through the rubble, and hands Cuddy a brush she left at his House from when they were dating. To hammer it home, House tells Wilson outside, "you're right, I feel much better." It's this kind of sarcasm and lack of caring that makes House such a fun character, and this was a fun scene...I was just expecting something a little more dark.
This drama between House and Cuddy takes up the bulk of the episode. There's a "patient of the week" sub-story that sort of ties into that, as House is impressed with a woman's refusal to be treated with radiation because it'll effect her brain, and therefore art. When she changes her mind for a man she loves, House is furious. "He left you once, he'll leave you again" he tells her, and he's obviously channeling his rage towards Cuddy onto this woman.
While we witnessed more to do with Thirteen's arrest last episode, the fall out from that is absent here. Like I said, the writer's wanted to get that out of the way before the finale so they could focus on House and Cuddy. Taub's problems show up briefly, however, as if we haven't gotten enough of that. To the writer's credit, the revelation with his ex-wife was, as Taub puts it, "unexpected." It'll be interesting to see how he handles this, but I just hope it doesn't turn too "soap opery."
Overall, Moving On is a good episode, and left me interested to see what'll happen next season, but it wasn't great. Season 8 is supposedly the last season and Cuddy isn't returning. This episode doesn't really give closure to her character or send her off in a way that would give US closure, so she's bound to show up for a few episodes, at least. I think next season will be a good place to end the show as it seems to be running out of steam. Hopefully it offers up plenty of memorable episodes, though.