NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider

Remembering the Wild, Twisty Series Finale of House

What did you think of the final episode for Hugh Laurie's pill-popping physician?

By Josh Weiss
Dr Gregory House on House Episode 316

Series finales are extremely hard to pull off, especially when the show in question has been running for more than a decade and accrued a sizable fan base. Taste is subjective and most television creators accept the fact that the ending they deliver probably won't please everyone. It could be universally acclaimed, flat-out rejected, or split audience members right down the middle.

RELATED: Adam Driver and Seth Meyers on How to Handle "Nerves" While Acting Live on SNL

Sticking the landing with your series finale is as imprecise a science as they come, and no one would be quicker to point out such a sobering reality than Dr. Gregory House, the pill-popping, sarcasm-churning, rule-skirting, motorcycle-riding (the really list goes on) medical savant expertly played by Hugh Laurie across eight seasons of House between 2004 and 2012.

With all episodes of the iconic medical drama now streaming on Peacock, we decided to take a look back at the somewhat polarizing series finale appropriately titled "Everybody Dies," which aired on May 21, 2012 — and stills ranks among the show's Top 10 episodes on IMDb with a 9.2 score out of 10.

The ending of House explained

Most of House's series finale takes place inside a burning building, where Dr. House wakes up next to a dead patient (James LeGros) after partaking in some heroin (quite a step up from the main character's usual bottle full of Vicodin pills).

Given that he's about to go to prison and most likely be stripped of his medical license for a plumbing prank gone wrong, House isn't in any any rush to leave the blazing structure. Instead, he engages in philosophical discussions about life and death with four ghosts of House past — Lawrence Kutner (Kał Penn), Amber Volakis (Anne Dudek), Stacy Warner (Sela Ward), and Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) — two of whom are dead.

Meanwhile, Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) and James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) rush to find out the location of their missing colleague, going so far as to speak with House's psychiatrist, Dr. Darryl Nolan (the late Andre Braugher). By the time they get to the burning building, however, it's too late. They get a brief glimpse of House near the front door before the place explodes.

A charred body is removed from the wreckage and the coroner confirms through dental records that the corpse belonged to House. A funeral is held for the late physician, with his friends and loved ones offering up the usual platitudes. When it's time for his turn to speak, though, Wilson can't help himself. He berates hisfriend for taking the easy way out.

"House was an ass," he proclaims after trying to go through the motions of a regular speech. "He mocked anyone — patients, coworkers, his dwindling friends. Anyone who didn't measure up to his insane ideals of integrity. He claimed to be on some heroic quest for truth, but the truth is, he was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable and he proved that by dying selfishly, numbed by narcotics without a thought of anyone. A betrayal of everyone who cared about him..." 

His eulogy, which is more tirade than eulogy, is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a cryptic text message on a phone that isn't his: "Shut up, you idiot."

how and why House faked his death in the series finale

Big twist time: House faked his own death by escaping out the back of the building and switching the dental records.

Meeting up with House after the funeral, Wilson asks his friend if he has any idea how much damage he just caused. "You're destroying your entire life," he argues. "You can't go back from this. You'll go to jail for years. You can never be a doctor again." House, completely un-phased, replies: "I'm dead, Wilson. How do you want to spend your last five months?" Wilson, who is dying of cancer, reluctantly smiles and the two friends ride motorcycles off into the sunset.

"Ultimately, it’s House making a sacrifice — and yet not making a sacrifice," creator David Shore told Entertainment Weekly at the time. "It’s House being with the person he should be with, in some ways. It’s not too sweet because it’s Wilson dying and House screwing everything up — and yet it’s Wilson and House riding into the sunset. And it’s House assessing his whole life for 40 minutes before that, which also allowed us to bring back guest cast. It just felt like the right tone and the right story."

All eight seasons of House are now streaming on Peacock.