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I subscribe to the philosophy of lowered expectations: don’t hope for much so that pleasant surprises are more frequent than bitter disappointments. It works, mostly because I don’t expect great things to come my way; when I have to force those expectations down, I’m just kidding myself.

So the fact that I’m really, really looking forward to the House two-part finale worries me a little. (The first part airs tomorrow night at 9 pm on Global or FOX, or 6 pm Pacific on those time-shifted channels I won’t let Jim or Denis take away from me.)

The snippets I’ve seen and heard so far don’t dip into advanced spoiler territory but make it seem like the kind of episode I geek out over, breaking out of the usual template while exploring Housian philosophies. (I could take serious lessons from him in lowered expectations of humanity.) Plus, I always like this show’s subtly but not overly cliffhangery game-changing finales, which means I can’t help but hope for satisfaction.

There’s also the law of averages for this above-average show: I wasn’t enamoured with the last two episodes since the strike, so it’s due to rise to the level of the last couple before that. Though how much did I love the line “pretty girls are fungible” from “Living The Dream”? Not only did it give its audience the intellectual benefit of the doubt and risk throwing away a very Housian joke by using an uncommon word, but it seemed to poke fun at those who believe 13 is a Cameron clone.

This finale was going to be the post-Superbowl episode until that pesky writers strike got in the way. That isn’t necessarily a sign of quality but is a sign that they were shooting big, and to me they rarely miss when they go big.

And then there’s the cynical reason I think it’s going to be an episode full of juicy goodness, which I wish hadn’t even entered my mind: I think they’re overdue for an Emmy-bait episode for Hugh Laurie, one of their brilliant showcases for his range of talents. (And again, how much did I love the scene where House “accepts” an Emmy award in that last episode?)

But given the reasons for my excitement, what’s funny is watching the videos on the FOX site (see the video player at the right of that page) and seeing how much the emphasis is on the big stunt: check out the Director’s Take video. It does look extremely cool to shoot, but I can guarantee the big stunt onscreen isn’t what I’ll remember from the episode, any more than last season’s finale was cool because of the helicopter stunt Larry Kaplow was enthused about, instead of the fact that House was left duckling-less and pretty OK with that. It’s all about character. The things that make noise are supplementary.

In any case, I’m with House on this one: