Last night’s season finale of “House MD,” titled, “Moving On,” outraged me so that I feel compelled to write in my blog-thing.
Over seven seasons, Dr. Gregory House has done a lot of reckless, illegal and ethically questionable acts. But one thing he has never been is a domestic abuser and potential murderer. Until now.
The season finale, “Moving On,” besides being shabbily written—one could say that about most of the episodes—twisted the once brilliant, misanthropic genius into a brutal, abusive maniac. There is no kinder word for his behavior.
And his creator, David Shore, is defending that behavior.
House has certainly been verbally offensive over the years, acting out all of our fantasies of telling the people we hate to f-k off. However, incidents of physical violence have been few and far between. He punched Chase because House was detoxing from withdrawal. He had a fistfight with Alvie, his roommate, in “Broken,” the Season Six premiere. House provoked a patient’s father into punching him, giving him an excuse to push his cane against the man’s neck and thereby diagnose both the man and his dying son. Each act was considered extreme, to say the least, but NOTHING compared to the hideousness of last night.
A bit of background: House and Cuddy have had one of the most joyless romances in the history of television this season. When they finally broke up fans gave a universal sigh of relief. Most of the season played like an imitation of the once-brilliant “House, MD”. Shameless recycling of plots, patients of the week that one could not care less about, Masters, a spud-gun competition…the list goes on. However, the cast soldiered forth, trying to bring a spark of life to the ordure they were asked to shovel week after week.
But last night’s episode was simply unacceptable. Cuddy repeatedly asks House to tell her how he feels, that they need to have a conversation about their break-up. This might not be the smartest thing to do, and he refuses to talk to her.
Finally they sit down in the cafeteria, and when she tries to get him to open up, he walks out. She follows him, demanding he talk to her. He turns and pushes her violently against the wall, yelling, “You want to know how I FEEL?”
Bear in mind that House is approximately 6’3” and Lisa Cuddy is a slender 5’4”. She looks frightened, and rightfully so, but calms him enough to admit that he’s hurting. Like any abused wife, Cuddy forgives him.
Somehow isn’t this a tad reminiscent of a man beating his wife and then telling her, “Honey, I’m so sorry I did that, I love you so much”?
“Don’t worry, darling, it’s all my fault.”
Cuddy assures him she’s not dating anyone—why is it any of his business?
Then, in one of those turnarounds that only happen on television, she is set up with another man by her sister. House, in the meantime, is doing his best to numb his feelings with copious amounts of Vicodin. He remembers that Cuddy wants her hairbrush back. With his faithful sidekick Wilson, he drives to Cuddy’s house. He walks to the doorway. Only to see through the window that she is enjoying wine and cheese with her sister and two men, one of whom her sister set Cuddy up with.
Barging in and yelling would have been bad enough. Throwing things would have been bad enough. Threatening her life would have been bad enough.
But not enough for David Shore.
House gets into his car, pushes Wilson out of it, speeds away, and then a light bulb goes off in his head. With a squeal of tires, he turns and drives straight into her house, destroying much of it.
Creator David Shore said in an interview with Michael Ausiello early today:
DS: I’ve always thought House was capable of killing people close to him. [Laughs] That’s not to say he was ever going to do it, and I don’t think he would. And even in that moment, I don’t think he wanted to kill anybody. But who knows? Probably part of his mind did. It was a lashing out — a very extreme lashing out. I don’t think it was a murderous lashing out.
TVLINE But he could not have known that the dining room had cleared out.
DS: He saw them stepping out, didn’t he?
TVLINE I think they were mostly still around the table.
DS: They were standing up and she put his hand on [the new boyfriend's] arm, which was part of the whole thing that set him off. The car was aimed at the house, not at the individuals inside.
If that isn’t the most cowardly, disingenuous explanation of House’s horrific behavior, I don’t know what is.
Cuddy’s three-year-old daughter Rachel might have been in there. He wouldn’t have seen her from the car. He could have killed or injured all four of them. House could have hit a retaining wall and brought a sizeable section of the house down onto the occupants. Cuddy and her guests could have been hurt by flying debris. The list goes on.
When an incident such as this happens in real life, it makes headlines on the local news. Do a web search for “vehicular manslaughter.”
Afterwards, House announces to his best friend, Wilson, that he feels much better, and is next seen sipping an umbrella drink on a tropical beach. David Shore has assured everyone that these events are not a hallucination, but real.
ETA: In the wake of universally bad reviews for this episode, the phrases "would-be assassin" and "attempted vehicular manslaughter" have come up repeatedly.
In another interview, this time with ew.com, Shore was asked:
I have to start off by asking, did House want to run over Cuddy and Co.?
DAVID SHORE: No. I think he was aiming at the house — not at the people. Obviously, he was taking a huge risk, but I don’t think he was trying to kill anyone off, but I think he was risking killing some people.
But this is David Shore’s world. It is a shame that such a brilliant mind would stoop to showing actions that will give defense lawyers ammunition for years to come. “Your honor, my client was aiming the frying pan at her collar, not her head.”
SHAME, for revealing just how misogynistic you are.
SHAME, for destroying a fascinating character by making him into a one-dimensional puppet.
SHAME, for reducing Cuddy to alternately a tear-stricken doormat or the Demanding Girlfriend from Hell.
And most of all:
SHAME, for implying that violence and destructive behavior are acceptable acts.
If you think I’m overreacting, your faithful correspondence doesn’t care.
Any more than David Shore does.