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Tear Jerker / House

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  • The season finale for the fourth season is full of them.
    • When House talks to Amber in the Limbo-bus. "I don't want him (Wilson) to hate me." A classic example of petting the dog. "Because...because it doesn't hurt here. I don't want to be in pain. I don't want to be miserable. And I don't want him to hate me."
    • It didn't help that the music selection used as the bed for that scene was Iron & Wine's "Passing Afternoon".
    • Taub clinging to his wife.
    • Wilson finally going back home to try and sleep and finding Amber's last note.
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    • The scene where Amber dies in Wilson's arms, after having him to pull the plug on the machine keeping her alive. And the dialogue, especially, Wilson: "Just a little longer." Amber: "We're always going to want just a little longer." and Wilson: "It's not okay. Why is it okay with you? Why aren't you angry?" Amber: "That's not the last feeling I want to experience." - and Wilson kissing her so that it isn't. If all that won't break you, the scene's usage of Bon Iver's heartbreaking "re: stacks" will.
    • Just the fact that it was Wilson showing such raw emotion when he's usually cast as the straight man.
    • Can't leave out Amber waking up and knowing exactly what's wrong with her after Wilson tells her what happened.
    • House's recovered memory of what happened. The moment when he realizes that by taking the pills Amber has sealed her fate is heartbreaking. And having to explain to Wilson that there is nothing to be done...
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    • All the team comes to say goodbye, the bit where they were clinging to each other and having their last conversation, and the bit where Thirteen's Huntington's test shows positive.
    • The look on Cuddy's face when House wakes up.
    • "What is my necklace made of?"
    • And the beginning of the fifth season when he told House they'd never been friends? Hugh Laurie makes House look like a kicked puppy at times.
  • The second part of season 6 opener "Broken" has a few, when the man who thought he was a super hero gives another patient a music box that makes her say "thank you" the first words she's spoken in over 10 years and near the end of the episode when House's room mate from the mental wards says he wants to take his pills and get better after House leaves.
    • Also in "Broken": House becomes pissed when one of the doctors puts "Freedom Master" in medication-induced catatonia and makes him depressed, believing that he was functional and well, delusions of superheroism aside. Eventually, House sneaks away with him to a carnival, where he helps him regain his good mood by taking him on a ride on a skydiving simulator machine that lets him believe he can fly. His plan to help him works all too well when the patient genuinely believes he can fly and leaps from a second-story parking lot, nearly killing himself in the process. By feeding into the patient's delusion, House realizes how screwed up he is and practically begs Dr. Nolan to help him.
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    • Alvie finally decides to start taking his meds in the wake of House being discharged.
    Alvie: I want to get better.
  • Because House is usually such a jerkass, the moments when he's vulnerable/human are that much more striking. Take, for instance, the scene in "Skin Deep" where he's asking Cuddy for some morphine. He drops his trousers and cane, shows her the ugly scar and says, near tears, "I could swear I remember a thigh muscle being here".
  • The end of "Honeymoon". It's near impossible not to feel a massive wave of sympathy in the scene where he tries to walk properly but instead collapses on a nearby chair in agony.
  • "Half-Wit", with the idiot savant concert pianist who gets half his brain removed. "Are you happy?"
  • The end of "House Training". Foreman has just managed to kill a patient (she died of a fricking bra infection!) and goes home to his mother, who has Alzheimer's, for some reassurance. It's all going along swimmingly as she hugs him and says she forgives him. The next words out of her mouth? "My little boy's name is Eric." His face crumples in despair.
    • "Aren't you ever gonna leave?" "No."
  • The episode "Histories", where a homeless woman sent to the hospital after collapsing. At the end after they find out she has rabies so advanced there's no hope for survival, Foreman and Wilson go to investigate her past using her comics as a guide. They find out this 'James' she kept talking about was her son, who died in a car accident that also killed her husband, and that she felt guilty ever since. After realizing what happened, Foreman, enters her room, claims to be her husband, and tells her he forgives her. She breaks down crying.
  • In the second season episode "Autopsy," House tells a nine-year-old cancer patient that she's going to die if they don't perform a particular procedure. She's brave at first, but when she says she can't let her mom mourn her just because she's tired...OH THE FEELS!
  • The two-parter "Euphoria", especially the second half. For so many reasons.
  • "Three Stories". Especially this piece of heartbreaking conversation in one of the flashbacks:
    Stacy: We've got to let him cut the leg off.
    House: (in massive amounts of pain) It's my leg. It's my life.
    Stacy: Would you give up your leg to save my life?
    House: Of course I would.
    Stacy: Then why do you think your life is worth less than mine? If this were any other patient, what would you tell them to do?
    House: I would say it's their choice.
    Stacy: What? Not a chance! You'd browbeat them until they made the choice you knew was right. You'd shove it in their face that it's just a damn leg! You don't think you deserve to live? You don't think you deserve to be happy? Not let them cut off your leg? (They're both near tears.)
    House: I can't, I can't, I'm sorry.
    • It's even more painful in hindsight because he later tells a patient that she should get her leg amputated because he chose not to, and he thinks it made him a worse person, and that he wishes that he hadn't forced them to save his leg.
  • The treadmill scene in "Cane and Able". To see House like that - close to crying because of all the pain he's in but still running anyway - is just excruciating for the viewer.
  • Soon after the beginning of the Season Five episode "Simple Explanation", Kutner is found dead in his apartment, having committed suicide for no known reason. The biggest Tear Jerker comes at the end of the episode, where a montage depicting Kutner's funeral is shown, including a shot of Taub breaking down as he sits alone in one of the hospital corridors. As if that weren't enough, the montage ends with a black screen showing contact details for mental health organisations and an "If you are thinking of suicide..." message.
  • The ending of the season five finale. House goes all episode believing he and Cuddy bonded after she helped him detox and they had sex, only to realize the entire event was just a Vicoden-induced hallucination, making him realize he's actually losing his mind and he has no choice but to check himself into a psychiatric hospital.
  • The speech from Hugo to his sister convincing her to take part of his lung, saving her life at the cost of significantly shortening his own.
    "You do so many great things. I just watch. I get to watch and coach and cheer. That's not me out there - never will be. If you take this piece of me, carry it with you, then I really can share in everything you do. This is the great thing I can do with my life. don't make me live without you."
  • The season 2 finale, "No Reason." Four words: "You're miserable for nothing."
  • "Birthmarks": "Wilson? My dad's dead."
    • House starting to crack when he's speaking at the funeral.
    House: There's a lot of people here today. Including some from the Corps. And I noticed that every one of them, is either my father's rank, or higher. And that doesn't surprise me. Because if the test of a man is how he treats those he has power was a test my father failed. This man you're eager to pay homage to, he was incapable of admitting any point of view but his own. He punished failure, he did not accept anything less than...(pause)...He loved doing what he did, he saw his work as some kind of sacred calling, more important than any personal relationship. Maybe if he'd been a better father, I'd be a better son. But I am what I am because of him, for better or for worse.
  • The scene in "Wilson" where Wilson asks House if he'll be there for his liver surgery:
    Wilson: The operation is in two hours and I'd like you to be there.
    House: No.
    Wilson: ...why?
    House: Because if you die, I'm alone.
    • And then he goes anyway. It shows that in the end, House cared for Wilson's feelings more than his own.
  • The first season episode "Babies and Bathwater" features two successive impossible choices for a pregnant mother and her husband. The team struggle to save the mother and child...and fail. The baby's cries at the end are the epitome of the tearjerker.
    • It gets even worse in "Forever". The mother's cancer caused her to kill her child and the father is so traumatized as well that he doesn't even try to convince her not to let herself die.
      • And then there's Chase tearfully praying over the baby's body and apologizing for having to put him through an autopsy.
  • The episode "Maternity", because it featured the first patient to actually die on the show: a newborn baby. Then there's the scene right afterwards, when Cameron and Wilson go to tell the parents that their baby has died, the sight of them breaking down in each other's arms is only made worse by the lack of audible dialogue.
  • There are a few moments in the episode "One Day, One Room", especially at the end when House says, "It was true."
  • "Lockdown", when House's would-be patient calls his daughter and leaves his message.
    • This episode is an extreme case of Mood Whiplash because in between Taub and Foreman getting high, and Wilson and Thirteen playing Truth or Dare in the cafeteria, you've also got scenes like the one mentioned above and Chase and Cameron finalizing their divorce while locked in a room together. The real low point between the two occurs when Chase asks Cameron if she ever really loved him. When finally pushed, Cameron says she doesn't know..
  • "Joy", when after all the stuff Cuddy went through she still doesn't get the baby.
  • In the season 5 episode, "Emancipation", when the poor girl reunites with her parents. Made worse when she reveals why she’s lied the entire time she’s in the hospital until House drags the truth out of her. When she sees her parents, she breaks down in tears and you can see the grief on her parents' faces upon seeing her in such a condition as well.
    Sophia:I killed my brother. I was supposed to watch him. He was in the bath. I could hear him laughing. Every time they look at me, it’s like I killed him again.
  • "The Dig" in season 7, when 13 confesses she assisted her brother's suicide. The whole episode was a massive tearjerker, what with House hearing 13 crying in the night, and when she lashes out at him in grief for his percieved lack of emotions.
  • "I have cancer."
    • Made even worse by the fact that House had just been abandoned again by a woman he loved, and had come to Wilson seeking comfort, only to hear this.
    • The following episode, "The C-Word", has Wilson breaking down as he pores over gifts from dead patients who statistically should have made it, and the suffering and insanity he suffers during his chemo.
  • The penultimate episode "Holding On", where Wilson has only five months to live and House is begging him to undergo chemo, which will extend his lifespan to a few years but comes with pain and being mostly hospitalbound. And when House and Wilson finally come to terms and are planning how to spend the last five months of their friendship House is told he violated his parole (with a stupid prank on Foreman that resulted in severe water damage to the hospital and destroyed an MRI machine) and has to go back to jail. His sentence? Six months.
    • Wilson breaking down crying in his car begging House to tell him that he loves him and his life was worth it.
    • House's breakdown in front of Taub where he declares "life is pain" and how many times he's thought of suicide.
  • In "Everybody Dies", House's death and funeral, at least until you realize he's still alive.
  • In "Guardian Angels," when the patient that sees her dead mother accepts that it's a hallucination and says goodbye to her. The music during that scene really doesn't help.
  • House's rant in Season 8, episode 21 about how every waking moment is pain for him due to his leg and that he's considered ending it before.
  • In season four, 97 Seconds, the dying patient requests his assistance dog, gets Thirteen to place his hand on the dog's head, and then with his last breath tells the dog: "Don't get scared."
  • The detox scenes in "Under My Skin." Made much worse when you find out in the next episode that it wasn't real, and House spent the evening popping pills by himself.
  • In "Heavy", an overweight ten year old tearfully confesses to taking diet pills because she "wanted just one person [her] age to be nice to [her]" and because she wanted to be pretty. Anyone who was ever bullied for their weight probably knows exactly how she feels. (It doesn't help that Chase spends the entire episode making fun of her.) Her smile at the end, though it may be a bit of a Broken Aesop, doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
  • The season 6 finale "Help Me". House was fighting so hard to save the girl's leg from being amputated. In the end there was no other way for her leg to be saved from the rubble. House had to amputate her leg with no anesthetic. She beared through the pain and came out alive. On the way to the hospital she died. A fat embolism from the amputation killed her. House did everything right, but she still died. In the end of the episode we actually see House shed tiny tears and almost relapse.
    Foreman: Even if you'd done this in an OR, you couldn't have saved her. [...] You can't blame yourself for her death. This wasn't your fault.
    House: THAT'S THE POINT!!! I did everything right; she died anyway!
    • House admitting that he wishes that his leg hadn't been saved, because the pain from the damage made him a worse person, and has led to him being alone, and that she can live a great life without his leg. It makes her death in the end even more painful.
      House: They cut out a chunk of muscle about the size of my fist, and they left me with this mutilated, useless thing. I'm in pain... every day. It changed me. Made me a harder person, a worse person. And now... now I'm alone. You don't want to be like me. You got a husband who loves you. You have friends. You can start a family. You have a life. And this... This is just a leg.
  • The Self-Surgery scene in "After Hours": House had been taking an experimental medicine that was meant to regrow muscle tissue in legs, but wound up giving him tumors. He tried to excise the tumors himself in his bath tub, but even with a boatload of localized anesthesia, the pain became too much for him to bear. His cries as he tried to bear the pain make it heart-wrenching.
  • In Season 7’s “Unplanned Parenthood”, a mother who has just given birth to her second child finds out that the reason her newborn infant is sick is because she has melanoma and that her child also developed cancer while in utero. Instead of opting for surgery to remove the cancerous tumors, she tries to wait and wants to continue giving her child blood transfusions so that her newborn could have a chance to survive. Instead, she ends up dying instantly from a massive pulmonary embolism, one of the bigger risks for delaying surgery. The mother’s blood is harvested but it cost the mother her life. Her older daughter steps up and decides to raise her newborn sister to honour her mother, whom she has been estranged from for quite some time. The older daughter wants to make sure her sister never forgets her mother, who was simply trying to be the best mother she could be for her daughters, even if her decisions were incredibly risky.
    • It was heartbreaking to see the older daughter trying not to cry while telling her newborn sister all of this, and realizing that her mother tried her best, even if she never seemed to be there.
  • Season 1 episode "Socratic Method", Luke's efforts to take care of his sick mother. Taking notes at every doctor's visit, keeping very detailed records of what she ate and drank, organizing her medicines and clothes, and taking care of the bills. His despondent reaction when the team first diagnoses his mother with cancer, and then when Child Protective Services come to take him away is just heartbreaking.
  • Season 2's episode "Who's Your Daddy?". In the beginning of the episode, House fills a syringe with an emergency supply of his morphine. As he's about to shoot up, a case comes up. In the end of the episode, House is shown lying on a couch, his eyes glazed in obvious relief. Then the camera's focus switches to now-empty syringe...

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