The Series Finale event kicked off with a one-hour retrospective special that looked back at this groundbreaking, seminal series and featured interviews with the series' stars and producers, special original content and other surprises.
"Hey." House wakes up on the floor of an abandoned hotel, disheveled and bleary-eyed, surrounded by drug paraphernalia, dust and an unconscious man lying next to him, unresponsive to House's voice. As House leans in to check the man's vital signs, a voice says, "Don't bother. He's dead." It's Kutner. "You're dead, too," House says, blinking to try to clear his mind. "The fire isn't," Kutner tells him, and through the baseboards to the floor below House sees wild flames and smoke rising toward him. "You might want to get up and start heading to the exit signs," Kutner says calmly, as he sticks a wad of gum he's been chewing on the dead man's shoe. But House is more concerned with why he's hallucinating Kutner. "The dead guy," Kutner says. "Who is he? How'd you meet him?"
"I was in a car accident last month." It's a few days earlier, and House is examining the man, now very much alive but sporting an orbital fracture around his left eye, and claiming he ran out of pain medication. Unsurprisingly, House susses him out as a drug-seeker right away, and he's ready to usher him out the door, when he notices the man has bruising around his belly button. "Well, you might get some fun drugs out of this after all."
"Cullen's sign," House announces to the team. "The ultrasound showed air as well as blood. Now, I know what you're thinking: hemorrhagic pancreatitis. But I also know what I'm thinking: it doesn't explain the pneumoperitoneum." House took on a new patient AND he ran tests himself? "I saw the chance to help someone in need and I instinctively . . . oh no, wait, that was someone else's instincts."
Wilson is at death's door and House's parole officer is probably on his way to cart him off to jail. "How are you possibly in a good mood?" Taub asks. "Did you never see 'Dead Poet's Society'? Carpe diem," House says.
"Air in his abdomen could mean blah blah blah," Adams says, followed by "blahs" from the rest of the team. Suddenly, we're back to the hotel, with Kutner wondering what happened to the story House was telling. "Nobody cares about the medicine," House says. Why didn't House answer the team's question about his mood? "Obviously, I had a plan," House says. Kutner thinks he didn't tell the team because he knew from the start that it wouldn't work. "I need a meeting." Back to a few days ago, and House is pestering Foreman to lie to the parole board and tell them he's desperately needed for several life-or-death cases. "That no one else can crack them, and that you need me here for the next five months or eight people will die." House wants him to perjure himself. But his felony vandalism should have added another year to his sentence at least. "It's a miracle the parole board agreed to six months," Foreman says.
House knows that he has to go to jail. "I will pay the price," he says. "I would just rather that Wilson didn't. Come on, be a friend." It's clearly going against his better judgment, but Foreman agrees, with one caveat: "Whatever cases you have, you have to take them all."
"'Be a friend?'" Kutner gives House grief on his plea to Foreman. Though his point wasn't that he said it, but why. "I think it's because part of you knew you were going to need a friend. What if you knew the plan, even when it was working, wouldn't work. And right now I'm curious why you're sitting on the ground instead of heading for the door. Guess we figured out why you're seeing me, your suicidal friend." "He'll call you twice a day. Then his wife will call you twice a day to make sure she understands what he told her you told him. Which he won't, because he didn't." Wilson is handing off his patients to another oncologist. Foreman calls him out to the hallway: no one has seen House since two nights ago.
"I'm sure he's enjoying himself. Last time he went to prison he maxed out his credit cards," Wilson says. But the last time House went to prison he thought he had Wilson waiting for him. "You think he could have done something stupid?" Wilson asks. "I think stupid is our best case scenario," Foreman tells him.
"Why do want to kill yourself?" Kutner asks House. "Here's a reason: I can't even get stoned without some annoying jerk deciding I need to be deeply analyzed," he says. It seems pretty simple: he's going to jail, losing his job, and losing his best friend. Is that all he thinks he is? A doctor and a friend to Wilson? "I'm also a tremendous baritone. Now go away," House says. House is even evasive with his subconscious.
"Death's not interesting," Kutner says. "You exist for what's interesting. Puzzles, ideas, analysis. Death is the opposite of a cool puzzle. It's eternal nothingness. But you don't find life interesting anymore." And that's when another hallucination appears: "Stop being an idiot."
It's Amber. "Can I have Kutner back please?" House asks her. "How much pathetic wallowing do I have to sit through?" Amber asks. "How are things in hell? Is the humidity the big issue?" House asks. But she, too, wants to hear about the man's medical case. Why? "Exactly," she says. "Why am I, meaning you, still obsessing about this case? Obviously we think it's relevant to why we're still sitting on the floor of a burning building." "There's got to be a clot in his lungs. We need to get him to an O.R." A few days prior, House is called to the man's room when he codes, and finds the team struggling to keep him alive. There's no time to get him to surgery. House calmly looks through a drawer and readies a syringe, then plunges it into the man. "5, 4, 3, 2 ..." House counts down.
Suddenly, not only is the man awake, he's yelling and trying to jump out of bed. "Naloxone," House tells the team. "You should have gotten suspicious when his visiting cousin signed in as Mr. Tar H. Horse." The man was suffering from a heroin overdose. "I'm not going to stop doing drugs! It's reality that sucks!" the man screams, as the team tries to subdue him.
Amber isn't buying it. "He said every one of those things," House insists. "But not then, and not like that," Amber guesses. After the naloxone, he couldn't have been that rational. She's right, of course.
In reality, House is sitting by the man's bedside when he wakes after his injection. He very calmly tells House that he's not going to stop doing drugs. House has done his research: "You're a stock broker. Son of a stock broker. Married, children . . ."
The man says he was miserable, but not anymore. "I had a ski injury, and pain killers weren't enough," he explains. "A friend of mine gave me some heroin. The second it entered my veins, it was like God had taken over my body. It's like there's no more pain, or unhappiness in my life or anybody else's."
House is listening intently. "But then you lost everything?" "Everything wasn't enough," the man says. "Because it's reality that sucks." Amber thinks that House heard what he wanted to hear. "The more interesting question, always, is why you wanted to hear it."
"You passed on all your other cases, reassigned them to other doctors."
Foreman finds House sitting bedside and watching television in the man's room. "They weren't interesting," House says. But that was the only reason he was able to get House's sentence delayed. "Yeah, well, I guess you're going to have to tell the parole board something else," House says. "Maybe that I was in the O.R. the entire day the ceiling collapsed, so I couldn't have caused the plumbing problem."
Foreman knows that he's been set up. "Why are you doing this? Why are you risking destroying yourself?" House doesn't see any risk. "I know you. You'll do the honest thing: you'll lie." But not this time."He's happy," House says, looking at the man on the floor of the drug den. "He's dead," Amber reminds him. And she knows House wasn't worried. "The only thing that ever mattered was the puzzle."
House notices a small twitch on the man's hand and tells him he has ALS. "Lou Gehrig's disease? You're trapped in your body, you can't move or speak? Wait just to die?" "If it makes you feel any better, at this rate it'll be fast," House says, and watches the reaction.
Then suddenly in the story he's telling Amber he's on the other side of the room, something she doesn't let slide. "You just skipped over a chunk of conversation." But House continues on.
"You're not symmetrical," he tells the man. "The veins on your right side are distended. There's a bulge on your supraclavicular notch. There's something in there." House wheels over an ultrasound and looks at the man's neck. "Good news: your case is fascinating. And good news for you: you're going to live."
The man had inhaled a branch, probably while passed out one night outside. "Anyone else would have coughed it up. But because you're a junkie, your cough reflex is suppressed. Set off an autoimmune reaction which, I can't help saying this, is the root of all your problems." Sure enough, Taub and the team pull out a tiny branch from the man's neck. "You're smiling," Amber notes after House recounts the branch story, but the smile quickly disappears. "A moment's fun a few days ago does not trump a friend dying." Of course it does, Amber says. "After he's dead you cry for a while, then you go back to doing what you love."
"Every patient I've had, 70 years from now they'll all be as dead as Wilson. Everybody dies. It's meaningless," House says. But Amber knows the puzzles make him happy, and he'll always have new puzzles to solve. "Why would you need more than that?" House gets up and starts walking to the exit. But when he pries the door open, he sees flames on the other side. He's stuck.
"House would never leave food out here rotting for days." Wilson and Foreman are checking out House's apartment, and it doesn't look good. "His suitcases are in his closet," Foreman says. "If we had handled this differently . . ." Wilson starts. "We did the right thing," Foreman tells him.
House's cell phone rings, and Foreman answers it: "House no-showed on a hooker two nights ago." They check his outgoing messages: hooker, Chinese food, Wilson ("I didn't pick up"), and a mysterious number House called four times. House carefully walks around and pokes his cane at different spots on the floor, looking for a possible way out. Suddenly he falls halfway through the floor. He struggles to pull himself up, but he falls through to the floor below. Now he's got flames on all sides, but he just lays down, looking defeated.
"House has been missing for two days and we know he talked to you." Foreman and Wilson bust in on a group session with Dr. Nolan, the mysterious call on House's phone.
"Anything you can tell us about his mental state, where he was headed, anything at all -" Wilson says. "- would be a breach of confidentiality and a violation of the law," Nolan responds. But not if House is a danger to himself or someone else.
Nolan offers some information: House didn't specifically mention suicide, "but there are other ways of reaching oblivion." Foreman is the first to get it, saying, "His last patient was a heroin addict." Nolan nods."What about God? You were leaving and then you stopped. Why?" House's ex-girlfriend Stacy, maybe the love of his life, is the latest hallucination. "Your theory is I'm not leaving because I believe in God? What - he's calling me home?" House asks her. "Maybe falling through the floor was a sign, maybe that the universe hates you, something. You really don't believe? Not even in some deep crack of some remote recess of some dark corner of your mind, no doubts?" she asks.
"No," House says firmly. "Except that some deep crack of some remote recess of some dark corner is here telling me . . ." "It's enough," she says. "In a burning building, facing imminent death, that's more than enough."
"Pascal's Wager is facile," House says. Stacy thinks saying it's facile is facile. "Why is it wrong? Don't be logical. Be desperate. You've got to have something to hold on to." "You can't live your life based on something you don't believe," House says. "But you can end your life based on something you don't believe?" she asks. "What about love? I lived with you for years. I know you believe in love."
"Foreman wouldn't help me, which means I need you to take the fall." It's a couple of days prior, and House is asking Wilson to help him stay out of jail. He doesn't think Wilson would spend a day in jail since he's dying. The story House has concocted is that while his fingerprints are on the tickets that were flushed, that's only because he was giving them to Wilson as an incentive to stay alive. It makes no sense, of course. "All you have to do is create reasonable doubt," House says. "Great, what if I do more than that?" Wilson asks.
"What if I end up in jail? Or spend my final months in endless hearings?" "That is a risk you are willing to take," House tells him. "Wilson, I don't want to lose this time with you."
Wilson agrees, but it's not sitting well with him. As House walks away, he says, "I'm not going to take the fall."
"Don't do this to me, Wilson. This is our only option," House says. "Exactly!" Wilson tells him. "Because you overplayed your hand with Foreman, because you knew you had me as a backstop. Even with me dying, you just assumed I'd be here to bail you out." "Since you're here, and you are bailing me out, it seems like a pretty safe assumption," House says.
"I won't be here soon. If I do this, I'm teaching you that your bad behavior will always be rewarded," Wilson tells him. And after he's gone, he'll just find someone else, and it won't work. "So that's the great wisdom you're imparting? That I'll always be alone?" House asks. "There's only one person you can count on," Wilson says. "I thought there were two," House tells him. "I need to do this," Wilson says. "For you."
"Wilson's right. He's always right. He's always been your good side," Stacy says. "And because he's always played that role, you've never had to develop a conscience of your own." "People don't change. Consciences don't spontaneously develop," House says. "You're wrong, Greg. Which is why you'll be better off without him. You've been looking to him to find what you have got to find within yourself. Something you can find."
Stacy holds out her hand, and House accepts. But as he rises, suddenly he's not in a burning building, but a bright, suburban home and Stacy is handing him a baby. He's moved, but not convinced. "This is a reason to die. It's what my life could have been, not what it can be." "If it could have been, you're capable of it now," she says. But he doesn't believe, so he lays back down on the ground.
"Is this hell? An eternity of people trying to convince me to live?" The newest hallucination: Cameron. "Who says I'm here to convince you to live," she says, sweetly. It's not that she hates him; she loves him. She thinks he deserves to die as a reward. "I think you've suffered enough. You've given enough. I think you deserve a chance to just . . . give up."
Like Wilson did? "Like Wilson did," she says. "And you accepted his choice that ending the pain was better than the pain. Why can't you give yourself that gift?"
"This is the address House's patient gave?" Foreman and Wilson, still searching for House, track down the address man gave - an empty lot. "Everybody lies," Wilson sighs. But then - "Do you smell smoke?" Wilson asks. Down the street they see the burning building and start running, as fire trucks race to the scene.
"Just let go," Cameron tells House. "Just go to sleep." "I had a chance to avoid this," House says, drifting off. "You had many chances, and you blew them all up," Cameron reminds him. "You're arrogant. You're self-destructive. And you only care about yourself."
But House is thinking about the talk he had with the patient, the chunk of conversation he omitted when he told the story to Amber. After House tells him he's going to die from ALS, the man volunteers to take the fall for the prank. House is confused. "You don't owe me anything." The man says House at least tried to save his life. "Just fake the records. You say I came into the clinic last week. I'll tell the cops you treated me like crap. And I stole your tickets and flushed them." House thinks for a minute. "Thank you."
It's as he's leaving that he notices the strange bulge in the man's neck, and realizes he isn't going to die. "And you're doing this because you're dying" House checks. "I'm doing this because I've got nothing left to lose," he says.
"So when you were living, you did nothing for anyone, and you didn't care. Now that you're dying, you're willing to help a virtual stranger. Which means you're a better person dying than you ever were living. And the world is a better place because I didn't save you. Which makes me wonder why I'm about to tell you: you're not symmetrical."
"What's the point?" Cameron asks. "That you cared about him more than you cared about yourself? You cared about the puzzle more than you cared about yourself." "If I had kept it to myself, then it would just be a puzzle. But I opened my mouth because I thought it was more," House says.
"You know it's the same or you wouldn't be bickering with me while the flames lick at your feet," she says, angrily. "You're afraid of this decision, and you're trying to argue until fate takes it out of your hands. You're taking the cowardly way out. And worse: you're too cowardly to even admit you're taking the cowardly way out."
"You're right," House says, alone again in the burning building. "But I can change." And he gets up to try to find an exit.
Just as Wilson and Foreman reach the building, they see House inside, surrounded by flames. Suddenly a beam crashes down on top of House, then the building explodes in flames. All Wilson and Foreman can do is watch.
"He could have gotten out," Adams says the next day, as the team and Wilson watch firemen put out the last smoldering embers of the now-charred building. "People are found sometimes, even in collapsed . . ." Park begins hopefully, but then they see the firemen bring a dead body from the building. "Coroner confirms it's him," Foreman tells Wilson, waiting outside the morgue later. Everyone is gathered at the funeral service: House's mom, Dominika, the current team, plus Cameron, Thirteen, Masters, Chase, Dr. Nolan, Stacy, and Wilson.
"House hired me when no one else would," Park told the audience, the beginning of a stream of people to reminisce about House. "He gave me the guts to get fired," Adams says. "He gave me the courage to quit," Masters tells them. Stacy says that she never stopped loving him.
"He was my boss and employee. And both times, I learned from him," Foreman says. Taub thinks House made him a better parent, "whether he meant to or not." "He was willing to kill me," Thirteen says. "And I'll always be grateful." "Somewhere in there, he knew how to love," a tearful Cameron tells the gathering.
"He was my friend," Wilson begins, reading from a prepared statement. "The thing you have to remember, the thing you can't forget, is that Gregory House saved lives. He was a healer."
Wilson knows he's not really touching on the essence of House, and he's finding it hard to continue. "House was an ass," he says. "He mocked anyone - patients, coworkers, his dwindling friends - anyone who didn't measure up to his insane ideals of integrity."
As the audience starts to shift nervously at the change in tone, Wilson's cell phone rings - only, "This isn't my phone." He looks down at the mysterious phone and sees a text: "SHUT UP YOU IDIOT." That could only have come from one person. "Hi." House is sitting on the front steps of an apartment building, right as rain. Wilson is understandably confused. "I got out through the back of the building," House explains. He switched the dental records.
"You're destroying your entire life," Wilson says. You can't go back from this. You'll go to jail for years. You can never be a doctor again." But House knows that. "I'm dead, Wilson. How do you wanna spend the next five months?" Wilson laughs. Chase is now head of diagnostic medicine at the hospital, while Cameron has a new man and a new baby. Foreman, true to form, sits in his office as hospital administrator looking very serious - until he spots something strange. Underneath the leg of a table he finds House's hospital ID card. Hmmm, how did that get there? Foreman smiles. "When the cancer starts getting really bad . . ." Wilson and House are on a break during a motorcycle road trip on some long highway surrounded by green trees and vegetation.
"Cancer is boring," House says. And they set off on their adventure.