Everybody Dies (House)
|Episode no.||Season 8
|Directed by||David Shore|
|Written by||David Shore, Peter Blake & Eli Attie|
|Original air date||May 21, 2012|
"Everybody Dies" is the last episode of the eighth season of the American television medical drama series House, and the final episode of the series. It aired on Fox Network in the United States on May 21, 2012. The series finale aired immediately following a retrospective episode, entitled "Swan Song", which made for a two-hour special. The title is a reference to the pilot episode which was called "Everybody Lies".
House wakes up in an abandoned building next to a dead body. When Dr. Lawrence Kutner appears (who had committed suicide some seasons earlier), House concludes that he is hallucinating parts of his subconscious. He mentions to his subconscious that the body next to him is his former patient (James LeGros). The majority of the episode is House describing the case and arguing with his subconscious, who appears in various forms— Dr. Lawrence Kutner, Dr. Amber Volakis, Stacy Warner and finally Dr. Allison Cameron. However, while this is going on, the abandoned building is slowly burning to the ground, and House must decide whether to try to escape or let himself die.
House identifies his patient as a fellow drug addict who was addicted to heroin (although he is scarce on the specific medical details, noting that "nobody cares about the medicine"). House takes an interest in this patient, who describes his life as being so miserable that heroin was the only thing that made him happy.
While discussing the case with his subconscious, House also mentions his attempt to find a way out of going to jail for the felony vandalism he committed in the previous episode. However, both Foreman and Wilson refuse to lie for House. The patient, believing he is about to die, offers to "take the fall" for House. However, as he does this, House notices a symptom that means that the patient would live, and tells him this instead of lying to the patient.
When House has not shown up for work for two days and is not at his house, Wilson fears that he might have committed suicide given his bleak prospects. Foreman and Wilson talk to House's old therapist, Dr. Darryl Nolan, and conclude that he has gone with the drug patient to do heroin. Although the address listed for the patient leads them to a seemingly dead end, Wilson smells smoke coming from the burning building that House is in. At this point, House has finally been convinced by his subconscious (in the form of Cameron) that he is capable of change and that he should live. Foreman and Wilson arrive outside the burning building in time to witness House still trapped inside the building. House catches a glimpse of Foreman and Wilson, but gets caught behind burning wooden beams. The building then explodes. After firefighters carry a body out of the ruins of the building, the coroner concludes that it is House's body.
The camera cuts to House's funeral, in which many of his colleagues share their thoughts about him. They are all positive in retrospect, showing how House might have had his flaws and quirks but that he was a positive force in their lives and in the world. The only exception to this is Wilson's eulogy; while Wilson at first says positive things about House, he goes on to call House arrogant and "an ass", and then explains how he believes House ultimately never cared about his friends or associates. Wilson's speech is then interrupted by a cell phone notification, where a text message reads "SHUT UP YOU IDIOT", a phrase characteristic of House.
Wilson realizes that House sent the text message and must have survived the fire. Wilson is later shown finding House, seated on the doorstep of his home. House explains to Wilson that he faked his death by switching his dental records with those of his former patient. Wilson berates House for destroying his own life and points out that House can never work as a doctor again. House counters that he is officially dead and can now start a new life. House then asks Wilson (who had previously been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer) how he wishes to spend his last five months.
Meanwhile, everyone else assumes House has died. A brief overview of the hospital is shown accompanied by Warren Zevon's "Keep Me in Your Heart for a While". It shows that Chase has taken over House's position as head of diagnostic medicine at the hospital (with a team consisting solely of Park and Adams) and Cameron is happily married with a baby though she reminisces about her time on House's team. Taub is shown having dinner with both Rachel and Ruby, as well as their daughters. Foreman, however, discovers House's hospital identification badge under a wobbly table, which Foreman previously tried to fix while arguing with House at the beginning of the episode. Foreman smiles and then chuckles at the kind deed, suggesting that Foreman knows House's secret.
In the concluding scene, House and a scruffy Wilson are shown on motorcycles, wearing similar leather jackets. Wilson tries to discuss his concerns about when his cancer symptoms will worsen, but House interrupts by saying, "Cancer's boring." They cross a bridge on their motorcycles and ride off into the countryside as "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later than You Think)" plays.
When Taub asks House how he can be in a good mood, since he knows Wilson is dying and House's parole officer is coming to take him back to prison, House responds, "Didn't you ever see Dead Poets Society? Carpe diem!" Robert Sean Leonard, who portrays Wilson, starred in Dead Poets Society as Neil Perry, and his performance in the film has often been considered his breakout role.
In April 2012 it was announced that David Shore would direct and co-write the final episode of the show and also that Olivia Wilde would return as Thirteen for the penultimate episode and the series finale. It was also reported that Lisa Edelstein would not be returning for the series finale while Kal Penn would return as Dr. Kutner and Jennifer Morrison would return to the series in a cameo appearance as Dr. Cameron. In March 2012 Amber Tamblyn was confirmed to reprise her role as Martha Masters for the finale. Anne Dudek, Sela Ward and Andre Braugher also reprised their previous roles as Amber, Stacy Warner and Dr. Nolan respectively.
David Shore told Entertainment Weekly that the series finale is "a different kind of episode, but at its core I think it’s still a House episode.... 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." Shore also 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."
Critical reaction to the episode was generally positive. Lisa Palmer of TV Fanatic gave the finale an excellent rating of 4.8/5 and stated that "I feel satisfaction at this ending... I can move on from this show without hesitation." However Zack Handlen of the AV Club awarded the episode a D+ rating, stating "Everybody Dies is a failure of ambition". Morgan Jeffery of DigitalSpy gave the episode a positive review stating " 'Everybody Dies' probably won't go down in TV history as one of the great series finales, but it does get a hell of a lot right. House gets his happy ending with Wilson and, perhaps more importantly, there's the implication that he'll be okay once his friend is gone." Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "House had, in its final seasons, become a rather sentimental show" and the final episode was a "satisfying" and "fitting ending". In New York Magazine 's blog Vulture, Margaret Lyons wrote, "More than a hospital drama or a character piece or anything else, House is a complex meditation on misery," but there is a line between "enlightened cynicism" and "misery-entropy" and, "As the show wore on, its dramatic flare dimmed while its agony flare burned ever brighter." She concluded that "it's hard not to wish that the show was going out on more of a high note, rather than the middle-range note it's been playing, and playing, and playing, for years." Entertainment Weekly ranked House faking his death at number three for "Single Most Clever Twist" for the 2012 TV Season Finale Awards.
The series finale drew in an audience of 8.72 million in the USA, finishing 1st on its hour and 3rd on the night. Its 18-49 rating was 2.9, which was tied for second place on the night. In the USA, "Everybody Dies" finished 8th in the week for adults 18–49 and finished 11th overall. In Canada the series finale finished 3rd in the weekly viewership with 2.13 million viewers. In the United Kingdom the episode had 688,000 viewers upon airing.
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- "Everybody Dies" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Everybody Dies" at Fox.com
- Medical review of "Everybody Dies"