What Happened, Basically: The show did its semi-annual break with the formula in order to indulge in some pretty interesting "House solves a case based on his own fractured memories/hallucinations." Eventually, it's revealed that the mystery victim is Amber (formerly fellowship candidate "Cut-throat Bitch" and currently Wilson's girlfriend/walking external spine). Who then DIES, forcing Robert Sean Leonard to pull on his puffy thespian pants and do some hardcore Acting. I tease – he did a hell of a job with one of the saddest scenes in the series.
How Good Was It?: The potential crapness of going back into House's brain for a finale after it was already done to finish Season Two was offset by the emotional resonance and genuine shock of Amber's accident/death. And the gaping implausibility of House being up and around after suffering a skull fracture and a heart attack was eased by Hugh Laurie's intrinsic awesomeness (actually, the entire cast was just acting the hell out of this two-parter).
This is par for the course with "House," as it has slowly but surely given up on pretensions of plausibility while remaining a solidly entertaining hour of TV.
Did the Strike Hurt the Season: Hoo-boy, did it. The only benefit – breaking right after choosing the three new cast members gave it a kind of "intermission" feeling – was lost by not having nearly enough episodes to properly balance the newbies with the older cast (even though they seemed to have fun finding different ways to cram Jesse Spencer into an episode – he's House's bowling buddy! He knows surgical hypnosis! – or, alternatively, having him bolt out of the main plot at the earliest convenience).
What I Hope Happens Next Year: 1) They come up with a half-plausible reason for putting an intensive care physician in charge of the surgery department, and an immunologist in charge of the ER (while leaving Foreman, an actual neurosurgeon, in Diagnostic Medicine)…I mean, really, show; 2) They strike a better balance between the Dangerous Drug Addict House of Season 3 and the Wacky Uncle Misanthrope House of Season 4. This was hinted at by the last episode, where House was able to admit to Amber in dream how deeply unhappy he really is. And coupled with his guilt over his perceived complicity in Amber's death, an interesting character arc may have been set up for Season 5. (Then again, they jettisoned three main characters at the end of last season without a good plan for getting out of that one, so…)