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House, M.D.: Morning After Commentary – “Nobody’s Fault”

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The fundamental question posed by the series House, M.D. since its first year concerns doing the “right” thing. In House’s (Hugh Laurie) world, doing the right thing doesn’t always mean doing the expedient or safe thing. It often requires stomping on the rules, ignoring protocol and taking risks both with the patient’s life and with the careers of all doctors involved in the case.

In the season two episode “Deception,” Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) frames House’s modus operandi as medical anarchy—an approach that will someday lead to someone getting killed. In this week’s episode “Nobody’s Fault,” House is investigated do determine the blame for a incident in which Chase (Jesse Spencer) is nearly killed, and from which his recovery will likely be slow and painful (emotionally as well as physically).

Pursuing Adams’ (Odette Annable) diagnosis—something with which House disagrees, Chase plans to grab a small sample of a rash on the patient’s body.  Prepping the patient for the biopsy scalpel, Adams triggers a psychotic break caused by the medicine given him by House’s team. As Chase tries to handle the quickly escalating situation, the patient grabs a scalpel, stabbing him in the chest.

How could something like this happen, wonders the doctor assigned to investigate and assign blame. Foreman brings in his old mentor Dr. Walter Cofield (Jeffrey Wright), who interviews everyone involved to ascertain whether the chaotic atmosphere created within House’s department has inevitably led to tragedy.

Ultimately, it is not House’s sarcasm, his lack of patient contact, or even his Vicodin use that is the issue; it is the chaos that surrounds his diagnostic process.

There is a season four episode called “97 Seconds” in which the patient dies because of simple human error, but error made a thousand times more likely due to the chaos fed by House’s fellow-hiring games. House would argue that his methods do sometimes lead to bad things happening, but he does the math, and although he may lose an occasional patient, House’s track record for saving patients that other doctors have dismissed as lost causes is pretty astonishing. But does his success make it right? Should House be allowed to continue practicing medicine the way he does? Or does the risk outweigh the possible benefit? And that’s never been directly challenged in eight years of House episodes (except tangentially so in “The Mistake”).

Ultimately, fueled by the knowledge that House has saved a patient’s life, Cofield concludes that although House’s methods are dangerous, they are too effective to simply ignore. The case is decided as “nobody’s fault”; House and his team are absolved of wrongdoing. But in an interesting turnabout, House refuses to embrace this conclusion. Is he just being defiant, or is there something deeper going on as he berates Cofield for being a coward in declining to assign blame—to anyone. It is almost as if House is disappointed that Cofield hasn’t recommended action against him, which would have sent him back to prison. But despite the finding, Chase, Adams and House will all have to live with the emotional fallout created by a tragedy that was “nobody’s fault.”

Had there been no investigation at all things might be easier for all three (and Foreman) moving forward. Chase should never have approached the patient scalpel in hand; he simply wasn’t thinking, feeling the need to react quickly. House would have chalked it up to a no-fault, but potentially tragic, accident. He never would have attributed Chase’s decision to biopsy the patient’s rash not to defiance, but as initiative.

But, the investigation happened, and each of the three main players has to live with the consequences—decision of “nobody’s fault” or not. Adams will lose a lot of sleep wondering if her decision to ignore House in favor of her own and test the patient for invasive strep has indirectly led to Chase’s injuries. I’m sure she’ll be plagued by doubt, and perhaps lose her nerve the next time she thinks she has a better idea than her boss—even if she’s right. For the moment, Chase is dealing with the physical consequences, struggling with walking, but he, too will likely begin to wonder how much of what happened can be linked back to the way House’s team operates.

It is obvious that House is greatly affected by these events, and seeing Chase going through a painful process of learning to walk again must hit him hard. I wonder if House’s nights will be haunted by Chase’s struggle, which has to resonate with House, who (although the circumstances were different) went through a similar process a decade earlier. Several times in the episode, Cofield makes note of House’s indifference both to the patient and to Chase, wondering if anyone could possibly be that cold. But as we all know, House does care and these events will probably weigh on him harder than any of them, though outward appearances would deny it. (Consider the impact of Kutner’s suicide in season five and what it does to House compared to the rest of the team, who all eventually could move on.)

I wonder whether the events of “Nobody’s Fault” will echo through the rest of the season as Kutner’s suicide had, and slowly erode House’s steadfast insistence that his is the right way to a diagnosis.

Up until now, House and his team always had been comforted by the fact that they were “almost always eventually right.” And in the end, the patient is saved. In this case the patient is also saved, but at what personal cost? I can absolutely see the possibility that Chase, Adams, Park (Charlyne Yi) and Taub (Peter Jacobson) will begin to lose their taste for the exhilarating diagnostic pursuit, and that even House will begin to (privately) question his own methods. Is this where they’re leading us—especially if it’s to be the final season? Will we see House and his team slowly unravel until there is nothing left for any of them?

In my opinion, “Nobody’s Fault” was the strongest House episode since the season six finale “Help Me.” It had everything that makes a House episode great and then some. Fantastic writing from Garrett Lerner, Russel Friend and David Foster, brilliant direction and camera work from Greg Yaitanes (in what will be his final episode on House) and stellar performances all added up to a compelling, classic hour of television.

Although all of the performances were great, special mention has to go to Jesse Spencer, Jeffery Wright and Hugh Laurie. The scenes between Wright and Laurie crackled with tension, as Cofield’s calm, objectivity etches beneath House’s guard and crawls beneath his skin. Spencer has long-deserved a meaty story, and hasn’t had one really since season six. “Nobody’s Fault” sets the stage for more of Chase’s story, and I’m really looking forward to it.

So, what did you all think? Do you agree with my assessment? What do you think the consequences will be moving forward through the second half of season eight? Weigh in and leave a comment!

House airs Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • marykir

    For me, this only becomes a good episode *if* the emotional impact on *House* is shown in future episodes. We can imagine the lack of punishment is eating away at him all we want, but we’ll never know if the writers think the same unless they show it in an episode. If all we ever see on camera is the same old quips & pranks, then the hearing didn’t really mean much.

  • Djesus

    “But does his success make it right? Should House be allowed to continue practicing medicine the way he does?”

    Well if the statistics are in his favor, I would say that yes House is right, even if in the future 2 or 10 patients die, the statistics will always be in his favor, so I don’t really understand why they insist about this during this ep. I was a bit irritated, what happened to Chase could happen to any doctor, the risks of the job.
    I was a little disappointed with this ep, I was expected something more intense, Chase and House “friendship” will be ok again, I’m not worried about that.
    But why Grey Yaitanes and David Shore said that it will change the show forever? I don’t understand, it’s a classic ep.

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    Probably the other characters see HOUSE differently?

  • Joan

    I definitely think it was the best episode of the season. The confrontation between Cofield and House was excellent and yet I thought we’d see House open up to him a bit more about how he feels about his whole proces beyond, mostly good, sometimes bad. With Nolan, with Cuddy, even with certain patients House’ usual is to deflect, deflect, be a jerk and change the discussion, but then give up a little vulnerability. I was waiting for that to happen here and the fact that it didn’t with Cofield was disappointing. House’s outburst at the end struck me as very much in character for him since we know he blames himself for things more than others may and is very concerned re what is the ‘right’ thing to do. In another good ep ‘Dead and Buried’ House was willing to go back to jail in order to save the mother’s living child from a genetic disorder so his willingness to take the consequences of his actions has been somewhat shown. I loved the final scene with Chase, sad as it was, when House took responsibility and apologized. TPTB seem to be saying this is the first time ever he has apologized like this…again, I think it echoes his I’m sorry to Wilson after Amber’s death — another odd string of circumstances that House might have set in motion but were mostly out of his control. The one other key point that struck me was that it seemed odd that they did not take any precautions re a pyschotic fit. As Taub pointed out, that was one of the three diagnostic test outcomes, so why did they not have hiim strapped down or sedated first? When House and the fellows have done this sort of diagnostic test in the past they prepare for worst outcome — if the patient’s heart might stop, there is Kutner standing by with the crash cart, or such. This little loophole that was the immediate cause of Chase’s injury seemed like a pretty glaring change from their SOP, meaning when they do a potentially dangerous/reckless test House always seems to have them ready to deal with the bad outcomes that may result. After all these years w/House I had trouble buying that Chase would just forget to be prepared for that.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    Marykir–I agree with you. The episode has to be in context of the rest of the season, and I’m just speculating based on the episode and a couple of conversations with folks who know stuff (without elaborating further). That’s why I mentioned Kutner’s suicide. House was affected–at first subtly and then not subtly as the season went on. I would hope the impact of this will be shown and reverberate through the season. There’s no one-year time lag like we had in 20 Vicodin, so we see no impact on House from the events of the s7 finale.

    So I do hope things will unfold into the rest of the season (and I believe the will in a very concrete way).

    Interestingly enough, my husband, who hasn’t liked the series for a couple years now, stopped what he was doing to watch the episode, remarking at the end how much he liked it. the last time he did that was “Baggage.”

  • Amy

    It was the best episode this season and one of the best of all time. The acting was involving, the script interesting from start to finish and the camera work great. Especially loved Chase’s explanation of House way of checking to see if he was ok. For anyone who has never seen has this is the perfect episode to show because it really explains the man and his environment.

  • 08joanna

    I liked this episode (maybe not as much as I was hoping to), but I think the best thing about it was Chase not doubting that House cared, and knowing that House’s OR DDX was his way of checking up on Chase without admitting to the others that he cared. Chase knows and understands him very well.

    There were two major timeline inconsistencies in this ep which really bothered me, however. A year was supposed to have passed between Seasons 7 and 8, because House fled the country for 3 months after driving into Cuddy’s house, and then spent 10 months in jail. It should therefore now be early 2013 in the House universe rather than early 2012, but Cofield said the investigation was taking place in Feb. of 2012, so where did the extra year go? I guess it has magically disappeared. Also, House told Cofield it’s been “a decade” since he’s been on Vicodin, but we know the infarction had to have been at least 13 or 14 years ago, since 8 years ago when the series started, he’d been broken up with Stacy for 5 years, and we know she didn’t leave until after the infarction. Maybe he was using the word “decade” loosely, but if they were mentioning the time period at all, they could have been more consistent with canon and gotten it correct.

  • Anonymous

    The show has jumped the shark. Last season House was riding around in a monster truck and this season the writers have him going to a turtle race. The latest episode was a nice reprive from such ridiculousness but the story still felt contrived and a bit like a soap opera that it has recently become (evidenced by numerous stories but clearly evidenced by Taub has two daughters with different mothers). I wish the writers would focus on the new team members (more about their backstory, motivations, desires, weaknesses, etc.) and how they interact with the others and not create such a soap opera.

  • barbara barnett

    joanna–I had a problem with the decade since the surgery thing, too. I think the surgery had to have been very late ’90s at the latest, probably 1998.

  • dvbfan

    First of all, I want to apologize because of my poor English.
    I think it was one the best episodes of
    House of all time . For me it had everything.As Barbara said , I want to see how next episodes will continue and can we see any kind of changes in House and other doctors or not .
    I saw a video of Jesse Spencer which he said that he will love to see House death like what happened to Sherlock Holmes if this season is the last season of the series . I understand it is just an idea, but Barbara do you think can this scenario happen for House ? Does this episode can lead the show to that ending ?

  • Koji Attwood

    What a phenomenal episode, and wonderful vehicle to showcase Laurie and Spencer. I knew the second I saw Jeffrey Wright (who is always outstanding), this was going to be a special one.

  • bigHousefan

    I LOVED this episode, one of the series best! Brilliant!

    Regarding the apology, I remember House apologizing to Wilson in Wilson’s Heart, and struggling with the concept of value of an apology with Dr. Nolan.

    I have always thought that House’s aversion to apologies reflects back to Stacy’s apology to House in Three Stories as he was being put into a medically induced coma. Stacy was apologizing for making the decision against his wishes for the surgery that crippled him, even though she thought she was doing what was necessary to save his life.

    I loved the emphasis on House’s manner of caring. I think apart from Wilson and Cuddy, House has always had a strong affection for Chase. Both had fathers they detested for their emotional neglect. Chase has always been so eager to please House and House so eager to mock Chase as his only means of demonstrating his affection for him, and Chase knows it just as Wilson does I think.

    I’m excited to see how this plays out!

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    I liked it a lot. One of the best in a while. Probably will have changes ahead for Chase and others as they realize how dangerous the “Loose-Cannon” practice of House can be. I am eager to see what is ahead.

    Holmes doesn’t die, you know. He overcomes Moriarty and lives out an old age on the South Downs as a beekeeper. (Check out your Canon of Holmes.)

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    I’d like to know if House would be allowed to practice medicine while addicted to Vicodin as shown in the series. My husband, a doctor’s son, thinks not. I wonder.
    Thanks for any info,
    Ladybelle

  • Tammy

    Thank you for this arena for us to voice our opinions. I love the comparison with “97 Seconds” and “Nobody’s Fault.” “PERFECT” As always your article is beautifully expressed and in my eyes it is what I saw last night. Thank you so much for taking your time to do this.

    I have to say, this episode is a “Game Changer.” It stands with episodes such as “Help Me”, Broken, and “Both Sides Now.” I have to say what I see from here is an unraveling, of both the team and House. I completely agree with you.

    I can an opening for Cuddy if we get a season 9. Dr. Colfield was right,House is vital to the field of medicine but he needs boundaries. I recall House approaching Masters, after he dismissed her in “Family Practice” and telling her she wasn’t fired because, she was helping keep the boundaries that Cuddy was having trouble keeping by being in a relationship with House. Even House is aware he needs boundaries.

    Foreman or any member of the team could never really give House boundaries. They know the end results is almost always going to be House figuring it out. Cuddy could give him enough rope without letting him hang himself as long as there was no relationship. As boss and employee, sexually tensioned adults “House and Cuddy” were a perfect team. They played “medically” off each other perfect.

    I do believe that the price of having that “one thing” has slowly chipped away at House’s chance of being happy. When you are consumed with something no matter how much you may love other things, that “one thing” always takes presidency over anything else. Quoting House: I am cursed with the ability to do the math. He is driven by the fact that he almost always can find the answer and the scorched earth that he leaves behind is catching up with him.

    I can see many end scenarios but I am hoping it will be put off for one more season.

  • The Other Barnett

    Last night I did something that I have not done in a while with a House episode….probably since the opening of season 6; I sat through the whole episode and did not take care of home chores off to the side during commercials. It was that good….until,

    I felt that Wright was so well used for this episode until his conclusion. I was so relieved that House spoke up. If the writers had left it at Cofield’s (by now trite) conclusion that House is expendable, the whole episode would have drooped like one of those thanksgiving balloons that rips on a traffic lift and falls into the street. But let be back up….

    Since House has returned, he has been trying to re-connect with people in his life without being too vulnerable. He has tried to help people in his life without being too nice. And, he has succeeded. But, as has also been pointed out, House has also been acting in such a way that his team (half of whom do not have a real bhistory with him) has drifted away from him. At this point, House is fine with it….but this attack on Chase changes things. The one doctor who has been with him through everything and has evolved into (one may say) his pride and joy, has been seriously harmed by an environment that he has created.

    If this season is the end, the revival of Chase could be an incredible way to end it. Chase’ dead eyes looking at House at the end of the episode, after House has become vulnerable and apologized…chilling! If Chase becomes the soul that has to be saved and House is the one who fights his own asinine instincts to do it, what an incredible story-arc we could have!

    I’m curious if the environment that House has created is not so much one of chaos. Imagine that you are Park. You have gone astray from House’s orders before, and he rode in to save the day. Maybe House has created an environment where each member feels like they could (at some times) stray from House’s judgement because they know that House could always come in and make everything right.

    I agree with some who suggest that everyone is thinking of their back-up plan. I might agree with this observation if others could agree that they each seem to believe that there is nothing more viable or valuable that they will do in their professional lives than this. This is their highlight of the resume’.

    And that was what I liked more than any other aspect of the show last night. While the team may be irritated or annoyed by House, they know how lucky they are and how good he is. Now, if Chase (as the previews suggest) does take the route of Cameron and go away….then its the death of the show.

    This is Jesse Spencer’s opportunity to be eligible for an Emmy. I know its kind of a cheap way (like Dr. Carter rehabbing from the attack on ER) to do this, but this could be what would constructively drive the show through the end of this season.

    Chase is the moral center of this show.
    I did not notice Wilson was not in the show, until I woke up today and thought about it. I’ve forgotten about Cuddy and Foreman could have easily been off the episode. “Where’s Chase.” was in my mind as soon as the first 10 seconds of the first scene elapsed.

  • The Other Barnett

    Barb #9
    I caught that reference to the 10 years, thing, too. But, have any of us who are over a certain age, started rounding up or down in years? House probably knows exactly how much time (in days, I bet) its been since he had his leg mangled by surgery. But Cofield did not need to see this, House was trying to communicate to Cofield that “its been a while”.

    I do wish there was a more precise timeline from infarction to today, to give a bit more structure to the story for my mind….but that would then also constrict the story-telling opportunities for the show, too. If this is not the last season (which I am still hoping for a 9th), it would be better for Shore to keep things malleable.

  • Tammy

    I agree with the statement of Chase being the moral center of the show. His character has been more effected by his choices, albeit good or bad, than any character. His conscience nearly drove him bananas after killing the leader in “Tyrant.” Being in the seminary for a year never really left Chase.

    He has always believed in House and his process and in that I imagine he felt the good outweighed the bad. In earlier years you could tell he admired him. I guess it seems as if everyone will be taking a look at who they are and if this process is really worth the price that each one seems to pay at some point.

    That was a great point made by “The Other Barnett”

  • housefriend

    This was one of the best House episodes DRAMATIC! Missed Wilson but he is vital to the character of House and hopefully we see some drama with him in future,This focus on House his team and his methods was great to watch,Unlike the episode Help Me which was just awful this really was good suspense and drama.

  • Reality Check

    @LadyBelle Fiske #14: The answer to your question is “No.” Physicians who are caught using drugs (its called “diversion”) have their licenses suspended for at least one year and are required to undergo rehab. When their license is reinstated, its conditional: AA or NA meetings and/or psychiatric counseling (or both), and always random drug screening for 3 to 5 years, depending on the state’s requirements. However, in ALL of the states, a second strike means permanent revocation of their license. House’s second strike was when he drove his car into Cuddy’s home and assaulted Wilson. In the real world, his license to practice medicine is gone. Even his reciprocity with Michigan is null and void.

  • Ladidah

    I thought this was a great episode. I was on the edge of my seat from the moment I realised which team member was missing from differentials. This holds a lot of promise as far as character arc go I think – House’s relationships with the other longstanding characters, Wilson, Foreman, Cuddy have been plumbed pretty thoroughly – but the House-Chase relationship has a lot to be explored, I think. Since this Season seems to have a parenthood theme (and possibly House will be exploring his parental issues later?) it will be an interesting counterpoint to see House explore his relationship with the team member who seems to see him as a father figure. Poor Chase though. This job has cost him his marriage, pushed him into killing someone, now he might be disabled for life – you couldn’t really blame him if he did try to quit.

  • DebbieJ

    I know this was supposed to be an “intense” episode and the season’s best. Well, with a mediocre season at best, that is not saying much.

    My thoughts are is that we didn’t learn anything new with this episode. It just reiterated everything we learned about House in the pilot. They even used the word “misanthropic” last night. It was like reading a synopsis for the pilot :/

    Yes, it was dramatic, and I am devastated for what happened to Chase. And it’s about time Jesse Spencer got something meaty to chew on; his character has been stagnant for some time and has started to become long in the tooth.

    But I just can’t seem to help feeling disappointed that we AGAIN learned nothing new of House and everything is rehashed. Misanthropic, pill popping, non conformist, blah blah blah. Boring!

  • DebbieJ

    I am also glad to hear that this is Greg Yaitanes’ final episode of House.

    He can now takes his kabooms elsewhere.

  • RobF

    Cofield’s interviews with the old team members displayed how they have each found a way to cope without leaning on House. They had trusted House in the past, but then he went and did something unforgivable, which also happened to close the department and throw them out of work.

    Taub plays things straight, doesn’t go out on a limb (“I wouldn’t have been in that room”). He likes to be a part of the exciting House show, but isn’t willing to commit himself to it.

    Chase is more assertive than he used to be, unwilling to defer to House. Also, as we are shown in this episode, Chase is aware of how much House cares about people. House doesn’t avoid the patients because he doesn’t care about them; he avoids them because he knows he would be drawn into taking their side and thus lose his objectivity. Sadly, Chase also knows that House is not to be trusted. When House finally puts aside his gruff, uncaring act, and has an honest moment with Chase, Chase closes the door firmly in House’s face.

    How will House react? Will he again take refuge behind the emotional wall that his offensive behaviour provides? Or will he start making honest connections with the people around him?

  • Reality Check

    Right on, DebbieJ! Kiss Ka-boom Ka-bye-bye.

  • rjw

    This episode was absolutely brilliant! It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story,it was thought-provoking,and the acting and directing was terrific.I was not familiar with Jeffrey Wright’s work until last night,but he was great! Special mentions to him,Hugh Laurie,and Jesse Spencer (who is an incredibly underrated actor).I’m very much looking forward to next week.

  • housemaniac

    I agree with Barbara and many others that this was a fantastic episode. But I also agree with DebbieJ #22 that it did not advance our knowledge of any of the characters, including House. This is disappointing but apparently very difficult to accomplish 8 seasons into a show.

    What I do find hopeful about this episode is that it (finally) leaves us with material for a major new arc (Chase’s injury and House’s continuing reaction to it). This is the first time in ages, even going back to Season 7, that I have felt that an episode gave us the potential for interesting dramtic tension in the future.

    I have to say, though, I hope that tension does *not* revolve around questioning House’s medical process, as Barbara is suggesting it might, and based on an educated guess no less. I don’t think you mess with House’s process, which is THE premise upon which the entire show rests. To use the Sherlock Holmes analogy, would Holmes ever re-examine his basic, intuitive approach to solving criminal cases? He wouldn’t be Holmes if he did and the Holmes’ stories would lose all coherence. I think the same would be true of House, both the character and the series, if suddenly House’s approach to solving medical cases were up-for-grabs.

    Emotional fall-out and new tensions among the team seem to me the way to go. And further character development would be great. But changing House’s approach to medicine–or even seriously questioning it–I sure as heck hope not! Especially given the other, much more problematic premise of the show: people don’t change….

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    Housemaniac–I think the events of this episode will absolutely shake the foundations of the entire team’s belief that House’s process is “not wrong”. It IS the premise of the series, that’s right, but what better way to shake things up than to call the very premise of House’s MO into question.

    If so, it’s brilliant, especially if this is the last season. It produces very fertile territory to explore.

  • Djesus

    What will this ep change between House and Chase and House and the team? all will be ok in the 3 next eps.

  • Djesus

    But Barbara, House is right about everything he did (on a professional level), his approach even if sometimes is crazy and irresponsible, saves lives, it works.
    As House said to the guy, just facts and statistics count.

  • Djesus

    22-DebbieJ
    “But I just can’t seem to help feeling disappointed that we AGAIN learned nothing new of House and everything is rehashed. Misanthropic, pill popping, non conformist, blah blah blah. Boring!”

    that’s what irritated me also in this episode, this episode would have been perfect in the first 2 seasons but now we know House, the way he’s doing his job is dangerous but it works, he saves lives, so where’s the problem? Chase’s injury is a collateral damage that can happen to any doctor with or without House around.

  • hOuSe

    I miss cuddy- every episode feels like somethings missing…. and where was wilson?

  • De-em

    In my opinion, in the opening sequence when House spashes his face with water and looks up in the mirror it is very obvious that something has affected him deeply; which is also obvious from the manner he walks to the library where the interview is.
    When having a 2nd and 3rd look at the episode, I thought that in the interview you could see on the one hand that House felt guilty and that he should be held responsible, visible throught the (possibly self-destructive) antics during the interview. On the other hand,it seemed that House also thought ‘why should a physician like Coflied judge him on the manner in which he safes patients nobody else can help; someone who hasn’t even got the decency to introduce himself when House sits down’ (so much for showing intercolleagial respect) and who House most probably does not see as his equal. He undoubtedly realises that this whole procedure could send him back to prison, which he definitely wants to avoid (or is that the punishment he must accept?). In that manner the interview was like a wave that came and went between House and Cofield.
    I think we did get a look into House’s inner life through the acting. It it became very obvious that he was deeply affected, upset and in conflict, but also that he is still near-incapable of saying it.
    Hugh Laurie does not need text to convey this, his body language and eyes tell you everything that the script does not mention and what goes on in House’s mind (making him the amazing actor he is).
    I really enjoyed the episode and and could not help but feel for House who, I think, was clearly upset about Chase and struggling with conflicting emotions on how the evaluation should play out. However, whether House still has the ability to change and, if so, to what extent, we will have to see.

  • Margdee

    Great episode from start to finish. I liked the way Cofield immediately called out Foreman for choosing Cofield to investigate the case thinking Cofield would “have his back”. Colfield expreseed his disapointment with Eric with just a few words. It hit Eric hard.

    Jesse Spencer was just amazing. I have followed his character from the beginning. He has truly come a long way. Remarkable acting and writing for this character.

    When House took it upon himself to actually and sincerely tell Chase he was sorry, my jaw dropped.

    This was done without Wilson chirping in his ear telling him the right thing to do.

    I hate to see this series end. There are still many things I want to know about these people.

  • Scarlett

    I LOVED this episode… absolutely fantastic! Thanks for the review.

    Regarding the 9 year comment from House… It has to have been around 14 years since the infarction. However he actually says he’s been treating patients on Vicodin for 9 years… not that it’s been 9 years since the infarction.

    It’s highly possible and likely House did not work for a year or two after the infarction while he recovered (and then found a new job, I assume). Also, he does make reference to trying different pain meds to Wilson in earlier seasons, so he may not have been on Vicodin for the pain right away even after returning to work. House even could have included the time he was off Vicodin in s6 and s7.

    So… that’s my explanation for that (maybe it’s rationalization, LOL) but I think it’s plausible.

  • The Other Barnett

    De-em #33 –
    Don’t forget Shore’s credo “People do not change.” While I don’t believe it, I think the key to the next few episodes in this arc (for House) is whether House can at least open up his head(or heart) to the others a bit for them to get an idea of what is going on within hi, At this point, Chase may be the only one, besides Wilson, that truly understands House. The problem here to be considered is whether Chase goes the way of Cuddy and unuderstands House, but does not care – or whether he goes the way of Wilson and understands House and cares.

    I also liked your reference to House’ attitude throughout the interview. I’ve been a teacher and a college counselor. When I see the most resistant behavior from people who were with me discussing something that may require discipline of some sort, it is either from someone who knows they are at fault in some way but are having a tough time letting down the shield – or they are out and out asses that feel like they are entitled to everything. The question concerning House’s behavior is which one is he?

    Ladida #21 –
    Great observation on the theme of parenting. Whether it was intentional or not, we have seen this subject covered in some POTW’s, Taub, and possibly House. Along with that,as has been referenced by bigHousefan, House and Chase both can reference to a difficult relationship background with their fathers. I keep thinking that the combination of House’s incarceration and his upcoming “drama with the mama (and papa?)” is going to go a long way to heal House (as much as House can be healed).

    RobF #24 –
    I think I have to disagree with you a bit on Taub. Taub has said before that his (workng for House)is the most consequentioal thing that he may do in his life (other than being a baby-daddy). I’m not thinking he is not willing to commit. I just think he is more willing to stay out of the drama that one may put themselves into when they stray from the House orders.

    Tammy #15/#18 –

    Thanks for the compliment on the Chase comment. And, I too, want despeartely for their to be a season 9, the new characters and the new dynamics provide an opportunity if the writers don’t screw up the remaining half-season.

    But I must differ with you on the need for Cuddy. While Foreman is not strong enough to provide the boundaries for House, I am not sure if there needs to be any one person to provide those boundaries (moral or legal). House (this season) is more and more troubled on his own by the fact he is going over the line. Part of his evolution, may be that he discovers on his own these boundaries. Cuddy seemed to be almost dysfunctional in the way she limited House. Foreman does not try to appeal to the morality of House, he simply (and sometimes poorly) says “no”. Cuddy’s moral arguments (and Wilson’s) often gave House the opportunity to play philosophical hop-scotch with them – almost creating an enabling environment by doing that – because House always came out looking smarter, even if he did not get his way. Foreman does not play that game, he acknowledges House’ abilities and intellect and just shuts the door. If someone new should come into restrict House, it should be Nolan, but there would be no logical reason behind a Psychiatrist taking over.

    But it does lead to what I think would be a wonderful episode. Why not bring Nolan back for a group “couples” session with House, Foreman, Wilson, and the team. Cut the commercial time, and have 50 minutes of the show done in one room with the seven of them talking this out….call it “One More Room.”

  • lobentti

    Well, so that´s it! Nobody´s fault.
    I´ve only read the recap by Fox, and your comments (very quickly) but as far as I see, nobody mentioned “Euphoria”, when Foreman got sick and House was devastated. So, is the man a cold heart? Irresponsible? I don´t think so. We should also remember Cuddy´s surgery, that got him back to Vicodin, and leaded to the end of their relationship.He ´s a rock, he hides deeply inside his feelings, bad or good, but – cold, insensitive … no way! :)

  • Reality Check

    @lobentti: Cuddy’s surgery was House’s EXCUSE for taking Vicodin again. Its what he wanted all along, and please don’t harken me back to the “my head is in your vagina” episode. When push comes to shove, House is an addict and he never stopped wanting to take drugs. The truth is, he’s NOT such a tough guy; he needs Vicodin to cope. Look how many he tossed down during his interview with Cofield?

  • housemaniac

    Barbara #28: You make a good case. I hope you’re right about the fertile territory! I agree this could work if this were the last season (and probably only if it were the last season), which I expect it is. Still, why not announce it already? I’m beginning to think that not announcing it is some sort of strategy to increase interest in the show. Their prerogative, I guess.

  • tipitinatoo

    Barbara, once again, you’ve nailed it. I pretty much agree with your analysis, and despite the minor flaws (time lines, etc.) cited by some, I was firmly in the “edge of my seat” camp. This was gripping, and if you do a sequel to “Chasing Zebras” (I hope) this definitely rates the designation of “a classic!” There’s no question Jeffrey Wright was good, but this one belongs to Jesse Spencer. He finally got to show us what so many of us have suspected: he’s got terrific acting chops when given the right script. And the camera work was spectacular. The lighting was perfect — dark and hazy, just like the story line. It had everything, and I, too, feel it’s the best since “Baggage.” This week’s number of respondents, along with their enthusiasm, seemed to be the highest of this season. Wherever this arc is going, I’ll be watching– hopefully, once again, on the edge of my seat! This was vintage House, and, for me, nothing compares.

  • The Other Barnett

    Reality Check #38 –
    Either House is looking for an excuse to trip on vicodin or he is someone who needs vicodin to cope with pain (mental or physical)….not both.

    and that “head in vagina” thing…it was liquor-liberated House saying how much he felt for Cuddy; when he(due to Cuddy’s reactions to any normal House-ian antics) had been holding back ever since they hooked up. The vagina comment, it was the childish side that always rears up when things get too stressful…albeit, liquor-induced, so not so eloquent.

  • RobF

    @#36- Of course everyone on the team is there because it is a tremendous opportunity that isn’t available anywhere else. But they aren’t fully committed to it the way they used to be. House’s sexist/racist barbs just roll off their backs (even the new team members aren’t going along with House’s attempts to be the puppetmaster). At one time, House could use Taub’s low self-esteem against him, and trust to Chase’s respect for authority figures to keep him in line. Not any more. Taub just smiles at House’s attempts to put him down, because Taub has come to terms with his own failings. And Chase — who was once so respectful of authority that he even ratted out House to a superior — doesn’t even follow simple orders.

    They respect House’s medical genius, and they accept that the department only exists as long as he is there. But they have little relationship with him beyond that. His pranks do not move them to great displays of emotion; House’s pranks are simply tolerated the way people in an office tolerate the CEO’s idiot nephew.

    Chase knows that House cares about him, but he also knows House’s friendship does people more harm than good. House is perceptive enough to know that Chase is going through something important in his personal life, maybe even depressed enough that he is drinking all night and coming straight to work instead of going home. Does this perception cause House to give Chase the support and friendship he likely needs? No, instead House plays a silly prank on Chase to embarrass him. Because it’s “fun”. But of course to Chase, none of it is fun. Not the depression. Not the pranks and counter-pranks. And certainly not the dangerously dysfunctional team dynamic that nearly got him killed or paralysed.

  • housemaniac

    WOW. So it’s official: no more House after May 2012. Very sad. (Source: TVLine, Twitter, etc.)

  • Reality Check

    #41 The Other Barnett: Sorry, but you’re wrong.

    In any event, it hardly matters anymore, since “House” is leaving the building. Now we all have to go out there and get a life. Bummer.

  • Kaliera

    Hmmm, It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I have the episode in my DVR – but will likely delete it. Why? Becuase just like Foreman’s near death experience, or his prison experience or Mental breakdown, or losing Wilson there is no long lasting effect on House.

    We’re supposed to believe that House may now be questioning himself and his process, but at the same time believe – per next week’s previews, that House starts a prank war with Taub? In the NEXT EPISODE.

    Sadly, just like with Foreman, I expect Chase’s near death experience to be forgotten after next week’s “Chase” and everything right back to the status quo.

    Also – I am not sure House understands what Chase is going through in terms of Rehab. We learened in episode 1 that House gave up on that midway through his first session. It’s always bugged me that 10 years (ha!) after his injury House has tried NO conventional treatments for his leg. There are more effective drugs than Vicodin. My brother has an small electronic nerve blocker in his spine. When pulgged in it blocks pain signals coming from his back – for 20 hours. Yes it hums a little, but that’s way better then the pain. But House? Nope – it’s Experimental Rat Drugs or nothing… I am not sorry to see it go (and I blame David Shore)

  • BrokenLeg

    The only good notice regarding [H] end is the departure of Mr.Ka-Boom. Days before the Fox press release announced the series end,he’d announced his new projects.Still half a season to produce, he’s on his own bussiness yet. After all,he seems the first rat jumping the ship.Sad.Lack of sensibility until the end.

  • Paulac54

    Great episode with sterling performances by HL and JW and JS, the scenes between HL and JW positively crackled. Like everyone, I found the timeline errors irritating but other than that, terrific and look forward to the ongoing arc next week. Loved Cofield calling out Foreman on trying to use him to Foreman’s own advantage, and the final scene when House apologised and Chase brushed him off was heartbreaking (like the news that this is the last season – more or less expected but still heartbreaking and left me near to tears). Was right for Wilson to not be in this episode, since he wasn’t in any way involved in the case or the consequences in the patient room. It would have detracted from the drama of the ‘courtroom’ scenes if he had been in it.

  • http://quarryhillcreativecenter.blogspot.com Ladybelle Fiske

    Dear Reality Check,
    Thanks for the info. I’ve always wondered about this… finally I get to find out. Seems a bit unfair though. What happens if you have a serious injury like House’s leg and need to use painkillers in order to function? If the painkillers are prescribed? What are doctors who are in serious pain supposed to do?
    I assume that these rules are for doctors who are found to be using pain meds because of addiction, not pain. Or are they not allowed to use any pain relief whatever while practicing medicine?
    This is a very strange world. It seems to me that if a medication would help someone suffer less and thereby be able to practice their profession– and one at which a person is as good as House is at diagnostics– they ought to be able to use pain meds (under a doctor’s serious observation, I mean) in order to overcome the pain they feel.
    Is there any way they can use pain medication and still practice? Or do they just have to tough it out with ibuprofen?
    Thanks…

  • Diane

    I know I am very late in commenting but I loved the episode. Did anyone else notice the picture behind Cofield during the interview process? It was a sinking ship, wasn’t it? My husband and I both noticed it and wondered its relevance. It was very prominent throughout the episode.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    Good catch Diane. Interesting harbinger for House’s fate, no?

  • Diane

    Indeed! I’m getting nervous!! And this is the part that I will miss the most. This show always has me sitting on the edge of my seat and it never disappoints. I will really miss it.

  • Tim

    This episode moved me like no House show in recent memory. I will be sorry to see House disappear into reruns.