For a season finale, “Moving On” is not an entirely exciting episode. In fact, this episode includes one of the season’s most obvious commitments to a medical case. At various points of the episode, I found myself just slightly bored with the proceedings. But despite all of that, “Moving On” is exactly what House ends as it ends its seventh season. After a somewhat meandering and bumpy season that regularly failed to stick the tonal consistency and struggled down the stretch when it began to show its melodramatic tendencies, a fairly straight-forward, case-heavy episode is exactly the kind of palate cleanser that House needs. This isn’t the best episode of the season or even the series’ best finale, but it’s an important episode that could good things for the series in season eight (which will hopefully be the final season).
Despite its procedural-drenched DNA, House season finales have always been over-the-top and in recent seasons, overly melodramatic. Many of them use the hallucination or “Let’s go inside House’s head!” gimmick and every single one of them has promised a major change in the series’ direction — promises that are never, ever kept. Sometimes the finale episodes are so good that it never matters if the following episodes continue the momentum (the season four finale and the aftermath in season five come to mind), but that’s not usually the case. Histrionics and melodramatics make for good finales, but they don’t really work for a series that is so dedicated avoiding change while pretending that it loves change.
“Moving On” is the first House finale ever that doesn’t pretend to represent a grand, sweeping change in the life of its lead character. In fact, after a season of trying to accomplish that goal, “Moving On” destroys any real chance of growth for its lead character. You might even say that the episode literally runs over and through those chances, right? Get it, HOUSE DROVE HIS CAR THROUGH CUDDY’S DINNING ROOM! That was hilarious and odd and perhaps the most insane thing that a seriously insane, damaged man has ever done, but in the context of this series’ world, it actually makes some sense. Ever since he left the asylum, House has busted his hump to become a better person and just when he thought the reward for all that effort was his relationship with Cuddy, it was all ripped away.
He’s been spiraling ever since, but tonight, House finally figures it out: He’ll never be the “good” person he has tried to be all season, but he can certainly be less miserable than he’s been in recent weeks. Basically, he can revert back to his old self. It’s change, but not really, which is perfect for House as a character and House as a series. Throughout this episode, the final moments of that internal tension are on display. He begins the episode trying to make things right with Cuddy as part of a larger change and his constant insistence that he’s trying to make things right, make changes, etc. are all moments of House trying to convince himself of those possibilities. He’s angry with Cuddy, but not necessarily angry at her. He understands why she broke up with him, but he’s beyond hurt because his relationship with her is the one thing that convinced him there was something else out there for him. But in the end, making a change isn’t House’s bag. Driving his car through Cuddy’s dinning room (when the last he saw, she and three other people are in it) is extremely rash, stupid and dangerous, but it’s what House needs in the moment. He’s tried it other, more “normal” ways, but it’s time to make a clean break with everything and move on to being House — which just happens to me destroying her home.
Now, the series is free to really do whatever it wants for the first time in a long time. There’s no Huddy, hell, there’s no Cuddy thanks to Lisa Edelstein’s (smart) decision to not return for the eighth season. House isn’t undergoing any major surgery or psychological crisis. No one is dead. None of those classic finale tricks were enacted in this episode, leaving the series’ future unknown, but sort of exciting because of that. Of course, this is House, so the lead character won’t spend the entire season on an island, freed from medicine and PPTH.*But even if and when House does return to the hospital, there won’t be as much drama waiting for him there, and that’s really for the best. I’m not sure the writers can really get back to the halcyon days of seasons two, three and four, especially as far as the weekly cases go, but I’d really love to see them try. Returning to the series’ roots would be a really lovely conclusion to one of the best series of the 21st century, all issues aside.
*Surely, you were all thinking that I must be happy with this season’s cliffhanger, since it’s basically exactly what I’ve been calling for the series to do for a few seasons now. House Calls! Make it happen, David Shore!
As I mentioned earlier, I found the case here to be fairly engaging. The actual medicine behind it wasn’t particularly interesting, but it was nice to have a case directly dove-tail with House’s personal state without hammering it home too loudly with capital letters and bold-faced font. This is a woman who, for so long, lived only for her work, which is something that House can obviously understand. A friendly reading of the series’ storytelling could suggest that the reason the series has diverted attention away from the cases in recent seasons is because House has personally done exactly the same. I’m not really sure that’s true in any shape or form, but you might be able to make an argument for it. In any event, that again makes this episode a welcome return to form and a possible bearer of good news. House is especially interested in this case, which he hasn’t really been all year. Hopefully that continues.
I’m probably optimistic about House‘s future after “Moving On,” especially when it wasn’t even a particularly great episode. But sometimes, decent episodes bring bigger and better changes than great ones. I’m hoping that this is one of them.
- The less said about Taub’s TWO BABIES the better. Jesus, the writers just don’t know how to quit the suck for that character, do they?
- I guess Thirteen and Chase’s “arcs” came to a conclusion last week, huh? Absolutely nothing to do for any of the underlings not named Taub.
- I love Lisa Edelstein and she’s been tremendous in recent seasons, but it’s really for the best that she leaves. It’s better for the series that the writers don’t have the temptation of Huddy and better for her that she’s not saddled in a disappointing job with lower pay. She didn’t deserve the pay cut and I’m glad she didn’t take it.