Post Mortem: House Boss Discusses Finale's Controversial Ending, Life After Cuddy

Gregory House has been called many things over the years. Obnoxious. Selfish. Immoral. Demented. Well, after Monday’s House finale, we can add another adjective: Would-be assassin.

To recap: In the final moments of the Season 7 closer, an unhinged House smashed his car into Cuddy’s home, nearly killing his ex-love, her brand-new beau and other houseguests. Not only did the violent attack forever stick a fork in the phenomenon known as “Huddy,” but it upended viewers’ perception of the show’s title character. Yes, it’s fair to say House‘s Season 7 climax will go down as the show’s most controversial to date.

To help make sense of the craziness and to tease what’s ahead, series creator David Shore agreed to sit down for a quickie post mortem.

TVLINE | What was going on inside House’s head when he got behind the wheel of that car last night?
Those are the types of questions I don’t like to answer, and for very different reasons then I usually don’t like to answer questions from you. [Laughs] That’s a question that’s never simple to answer. The “Why” questions addressed to the characters are so complicated, and any answer I could give you would be too simple. And yet I’ll go on to say anger, frustration, love, hatred… all of those things. And a little burst of irrationality from the ultimate rationalist.

TVLINE | Fans are upset because they feel that this changes the very fabric of the show. Now instead of being a drama that revolves around a tortured doctor, it’s a show about someone capable of killing those close to him. Do you understand where they’re coming from?
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.
He saw them stepping out, didn’t he?

TVLINE | I think they were mostly still around the table.
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.

TVLINE | So you don’t view this as anything out of character for him?
Yes and no. We always want to [reveal] little, tiny, different things in House. This is perhaps bigger than most, but I think this was always there. This was always part of him. Certainly we’ve seen anger from him. This was perhaps an irrational lashing out, whereas usually it’s a rational lashing out. But at the same time I don’t see this as a fundamental change in the character. Obviously it could be a fundamental change in the relationship.

TVLINE | Did Hugh Laurie express any concerns about the twist?
No. You’d have to ask Hugh about what his mindset was going in, but this whole thing seemed like a natural culmination of a frustrated man with certain repression issues.

TVLINE | When you were breaking the episode, did you think in the back of your head: “Well, this gives us a way out in case Lisa Edelstein doesn’t return”?
No. Not at all. That was never the plan. It happens to do that, which I have mixed feelings about.

TVLINE | Would you have done anything differently had you known going into the episode that Lisa was leaving?
Had I known going into the final dozen episodes that she wasn’t returning, I’m sure it would’ve unfolded differently. Having said that, it does allow [for Cuddy’s exit]. I don’t really want to talk about where we’re going to go next season until [the writers] start meeting. But we’ll make the most of this. There will be opportunities that come from this. We’re going to get excited about next season.

TVLINE | Regardless of whether Lisa returns or not, is it fair to say the events of the finale spel the end of Huddy?
I think so. It was going to be it. I never want House to be a show that goes back over the same territory over and over again. I’m sure some of the viewers feel we’ve done that. [Laughs] But we really try not to. We wanted to explore that relationship in all the different ways we could. But we didn’t ever want to be a show about a couple that breaks up and gets back together and breaks up again. It was intended to be the end of that personal relationship.

TVLINE | You don’t resume shooting until August. Are you holding out any hope that this situation can be rectified and Lisa will return?

TVLINE | Would you be interested in bringing her back on a guest-star basis?
I would be. Absolutely.

TVLINE | Jesse Spencer (Chase) has yet to sign a new contract. Are you confident that’ll all be worked out and he’ll be back?

TVLINE | Will you spend a few episodes next season following Gregory House: Local Medicine Man?
[Laughs] That’s yet to be determined. That’s a possibility.

TVLINE | Are you approaching Season 8 as the last one?
Not yet. It may become that, but no. We’re not sure what’s going to happen. We’ve been on for a long time, and at a certain point you’ve got to recognize that the end is near and plan for it. But we’re not ready to make any commitments in that regard.