'House, M.D.' Fan Theory: House Didn't Actually Survive the Series Finale

When Hugh Laurie mailed in an audition tape that had been shot in his hotel bathroom, he had no idea what it would lead to. Though Laurie by that point had already racked up a lengthy resumé of television and movie appearances, his casting as Dr. Gregory House would come to define his career. House, M.D., which premiered Laurie’s talents in 2004, would keep fans on the edge of their seats until the 2012 series finale. Of course, after eight years of medical mysteries, fans weren’t ready to simply accept the most obvious conclusion. 

House ran for eight captivating seasons

Fox’s House released just one year before NBC debuted Grey’s Anatomy. Both shows offer intense medical drama and rare diagnoses with every episode. But while Grey’s Anatomy follows an extremely wide cast of characters, House primarily focuses on Dr. Gregory House — the partial inspiration for the show’s name. 

House is a doctor at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, where he leads a team of diagnostic experts. His specializes in cases where a patient has previously been misdiagnosed and is desperately searching for answers. His unconventional thinking and relentless commitment to his field frequently results in him saving lives just in the nick of time. 

Outside of his medical dedication, however, House is also heavily dependent on painkillers and alcohol. These vices frequently cause problems for the doctor, who is urged to seek rehabilitation throughout the series and often suffers as a result of his use. The complex main character kept audiences interested, and at one point helped the show become the most-watched in the world, according to Elle. 

The final episode was filled with twists and turns

When fans heard that the final episode of the series was to be dubbed “Everybody Dies,” they immediately grew wary. The play on Dr. House’s mantra — “Everybody lies” — seemed to have large implications for the show’s cast of characters. But, perhaps as further proof that everybody lies, most characters made it through the finale unscathed. 

As Huffpost recaps, House spends most of the episode in a drug-induced state. Although this tragic evidence of the doctor’s return to bad habits can be hard to watch, it also provided an avenue for old, fan-favorite characters to return in hallucinations. Still, viewers are kept on the edge of their seats – the episode opens with the beloved main character waking up in an abandoned building, with his surroundings including smoke and a dead body. 

The finale continues the plot of a previous episode, in which House attempts to help a recovering heroin addict. Unfortunately, when both the doctor and the patient are later missing from the hospital, House’s co-workers fear they may have escaped to indulge in the drug together. Just as his peers figure out where House likely is, the building explodes and they naturally conclude that the doctor has died. In an incredible twist, however, House interrupts his own funeral by texting long-term friend Wilson that his death had been faked. 

Some fans have an alternate explanation for the ending

Although the current ending is undeniably sweet: House switches his records with a patient’s in order to fake his death and support Wilson through the end of his battle with a terminal illness. Still, some fans were a little skeptical — after all, they had just spent eight years observing the show’s twists and misdirections. 

Reddit user u/AwkwardJeweler sparked a debate on r/AskReddit when they posed the question, “What fan theory do you 100% accept as true?” One poster, u/originalchaosinabox, quickly declared that “House died in the fire in the final episode. The last 10 minutes where he rides off into the sunset with his best friend Wilson are his final hallucination.” 

The theory would align with House’s confirmed hallucinations earlier in the episode. Unfortunately, with no confirmation from the show’s writers, we can only hypothesize. Maybe it’s time for a series re-watch to hunt for more clues. 

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