So I was looking through some of the picks today and I was a little shocked to see that people were heavily critcizing the season 4 finale, but more specifically "Wilson's Heart". Now to be fair, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I was a little shocked that anyone could have such negative things to say about such a wonderfully crafted episode. I started off writing a comment to defend the episode when I realized it had gotten too long so lol I decided to post it as an article.
First of all I think Amber couldn't have left the show in a better way. If any of my favorite characters were to leave, that would be the way I would have them leave. Her exit is by far one of the best exits on television, uttering the haunting "You can't always get what you want" personifying House’s subconscious, edging him back to reality as she seems to hang in this sort of limbo between life and death. Their talk on the bus symbolizes a lot of things. For one thing it brings up the question of religion, as
the show often does, was House dead and talking to Amber in a heavenly limbo (note the white lighting and soft textures used on their faces and clothes) or was he merely fighting his system shutting down resulting in an in-depth conversation with his own subconscious?
If you argue that House is indeed in the heavenly limbo, then you may also bring up this question. Is it all part of “the plan”? House MD regularly deals with the controversial issue of religion, never fully supporting it and yet never fully turning it away, it seems to place both arguments on the table in equal lightning and allow it’s viewers to choose. “Because life shouldn't be random. Because lonely, misanthropic drug addicts should die in bus crashes, and young do-gooders in love, who get dragged out of their apartment in the middle of the night, should walk away clean.” House doesn’t want to believe that his rationality rules are the true rules of the universe. It seems he wants to believe that there is a sort of balance. There should be repercussions for your actions that what you do here and now matters. This completely contrasts the normal view House takes, that the world is ruled by chance and a stoic Mother Nature that doesn’t distinguish between people. Amber talks to him and it seems to sooth him in a way, maybe there was a reason that he didn’t die and that he has a purpose. “What now?” Exactly what is House going to do with his second chance, he gets off the bus because he realizes he’s been given it and maybe he is part of “the plan”.
On the other hand you could argue that this episode proves that there is nothing there. That indeed, shitty things happen to good people and that nothing we can do can prevent that. That in fact, life is completely random and no matter how much House and we want to believe that there might be something more to life, “You can’t always get what you want.” Mainly the talk on the bus shows the viewers House’s hesitation, his fears, and his deepest thoughts. That one scene allows us to delve into House’s mind and form a better picture of him. It was literally golden, the acting rock solid, the beautiful cinematography, the chilling writing and the controversial issues that we know and love House MD for. Lol and that was one scene!
The fact she died by her flu medication is complete genius on the writer’s part. Mainly because it not only dabbles in matters of fate but it also uses irony. House MD deals with the strange sicknesses, the unknown, and the rare cases that appear in maybe 0.5% of the population. But Amber died from a simple overdose of flu medication because her kidneys were destroyed from a bus crash. It’s not weird, it’s not out there but completely ordinary, and something you could probably find in a random ER if you chose to look. That’s ironic on one level; the other level is a little deeper. In most of the episodes in House, House can perform practically miracles, pulling out medical diagnoses that no-one, besides him, could ever have thought of. He saves patients suffering from strange ailments not commonly dealt with from the brink of death, but ironically with Amber, with a very simple and perhaps common problem, he can do nothing. He cannot save the simple patient.
Her death also, as mentioned above, deals with the issues of ethics and fate. Amber was doomed from the minute she took out her flu medication, she had sealed her fate. That in fact there was nothing PPTH could have done for her.
[Wide-eyed, House sees Amber takes a bottle of pills out of her bag and tap out a few into her palm.]
[softly] Don't do it.
[She swallows the palmful of pills. House looks desolate. Wilson looks at House questioningly.]
This moment epitomizes the theme of fate. House can’t stop Amber from taking the pills. He can’t stop fate, no matter how much he wants to.
Perhaps this links to the question of religion again, was it all part of “the plan”? I’ll leave that up to you. But who is the blame for Amber’s death? If fate had it that Amber was going to die, can House really be blamed for what happened? Is it House’s fault that she took that flu medication? Is it his fault she followed him onto the bus? As was said before, forgive me I forget the lovely user that said this, “It seems to be beyond the realm of ethics”. Once again the viewers are challenged to think, and to make their own opinions about what, and who is to blame.
The final theme I noticed that ran through “Wilson’s Heart” was the theme of death, well rather how sacred life truly is. Although one might say no shit Sherlock, I’m not just talking about Amber. Death is conversed about throughout the episode. 3 characters receive their sentences in respects to life. Amber is sentenced to death, 13 is sentenced to death and House is sentenced to life. Each character
struggles with their sentence, House included since he almost chose death over life. Not only that but we find out about the murder of Kutner’s parents. The episode serves to remind us how important life is and to be thankful that we are not one of those poor saps that are on the show :)!
I could do a whole section on the character development throughout the episode but frankly most of that is plainly viewable, and really if you missed that there’s no hope for you. I say that with all of the love in world.
So basically this episode rocked my socks, it was absolutely unbelievable. Not just content wise. The acting from Robert Sean Leonard, Hugh Laurie and of course Anne Dudek was fantastic. At no point did it feel like a soap, or melodramatic. Leonard’s fantastic portrayal of a desperate Wilson was heart wrenching to watch, Dudek’s masterful elegance at delivering her lines with a ghostliness that fitted her dying state perfectly and Hugh Laurie with his commanding performance of being torn by guilt and doing what was the right thing filled my television screen with such emotion I physically could not move from the TV. The cinematography was gorgeous; every camera angle shot pre-determined serving the story excellently and allowing a range of emotion, I didn’t think was capable with cameras. Finally of course the perfect writing that harshly portrayed the raw emotions present and elegantly weaved another web of controversial issues for us all to think about.
So yes, best episode of House MD, perhaps, one of the best TV moments in television history, no question.