An alternate reading of “Everybody Dies” roiling around the Internet posits that the series finale lived up to his title. The show’s creator says otherwise, but as these things go, the theory is pretty well-considered.
(Spoilers for the finale are below, so bail out now if you’re still waiting to watch.)
In the episode, House appears to die in a fire after spending much of the hour debating with manifestations of his subconscious — played by former cast members and guest stars — about what selfish, arrogant jerk he is. Just as he finally decides to change and sees Wilson and Foreman (Omar Epps) outside the burning building, a piece of the ceiling collapses in front of him. Soon after that, there’s an explosion, and House is pronounced dead.
Except he’s not: In what we took as a last nod to “House’s” literary inspiration, Sherlock Holmes, House sends Wilson a text during the funeral and reveals he faked his death. He and Wilson then ride off to complete Wilson’s bucket list while Louis Prima’s recording of “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” plays over the final scene.
Not everyone is reading it that way, though. Zap2it commenter “Joey,” and others elsewhere, make the case that House really did die, and everything after the text message happens in Wilson’s mind. The evidence: When Wilson leaves the funeral, House is sitting on a stoop without his cane, which is nowhere to be found. (He also looks remarkably good for having fallen through a collapsing floor and narrowly escaped death in a fire.) House also tells Wilson, “I’m dead” — which we took to mean “as far as anyone knows” but could easily be taken literally under this line of thinking.
Furthermore, “Enjoy Yourself” has been used on “House” before. In Season 5’s “Under Your Skin,” House hallucinates Amber (Anne Dudek) — who showed up again in the finale — singing the song, which signaled to some viewers that Wilson was hallucinating as well. Commenters also wonder how House could have switched his dental records with those of the dead guy (guest star James LeGros) before the body was identified.
Alas, “House” creator David Shore pokes a great big hole in the theory by going on record as saying House is, in fact, still alive. In an interview with TVLine, Shore says he and his fellow writers considered having House die, but “the idea of people thinking that House is dead is a weird thing to leave people with. It ultimately felt better to have him out there with Wilson doing who knows what.”
There’s also the issue of Foreman finding House’s ID badge under his wobbly table in the montage after the funeral. The look on Foreman’s face suggests he knows House has pulled one last con on him and everyone else. We’re assuming House didn’t follow his patient to the warehouse with the intention of dying, so there would have been no reason for him to leave Foreman that particular memento beforehand.
Nonetheless, the House-is-dead idea is a fun one to contemplate. How did you read the final scenes of the finale?