I know it’s been a while since my last House, M.D article. In the few weeks since I last posted, Hugh Laurie has been nominated for both Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards—and Garrett Lerner, Russel Friend and Peter Blake have been nominated for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for last season’s finale “Help Me.” You may remember that I had the good fortune to interview the three writers the day after “Help Me” aired, and I’m thrilled they’ve been recognized by the Writers Guild for their excellent script. Good luck to all of them.
Where We Stand at the End of Season Seven—Act I: House and Cuddy
In the final scene of “Small Sacrifices,” the closing moments in the “first act” of House, M.D.’s season seven, House (Hugh Laurie) confesses to Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) that he’s lied to Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) while apologizing to her for another lie. But what is the lie? Is the apology itself insincere, or is the lie that he tells her he’ll “never lie to” her again? The answer to that question is a critical piece of the season seven puzzle—and could have a large impact on how the rest of the season (and House and Cuddy’s relationship) will play out once the series returns from its winter hiatus (January 17).
We are now more than a third of the way through season seven, and with the show on hiatus, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to take a closer look to see where these first eight episodes have taken the series, and where the series might head in the coming months.
The biggest change, of course, is the new dynamic between House and Cuddy. Season six ends with Cuddy’s declaration of love, which seems not only to stun him, but brings him, Phoenix-like from the ashes of real despair. We’ve seen House in dire straits before (“No Reason,” “Merry Little Christmas,” “Wilson’s Heart,” “Both Sides Now”), but a patient death in “Help Me” leaves House in a pretty fragile state (something even Foreman notices) by the time Cuddy gets to him in the closing moments of last season. He’s always gotten up an dusted himself off to see a new day and mock another colleague. But we usually see him on the edge of an abyss and have to wait until the following season to see how it all resolves.
But season six didn’t leave House barely hanging; it left us with House and Cuddy together, holding hands. And over the summer, instead of fearing for House’s well being, fans wondered could (or should) this new relationship last more than an episode or two.
House and Cuddy are both pretty relationship-averse; they like what they have (or may have given a chance), but neither is especially adept at nurturing it. If it all goes to hell eventually there will be possibly irreparable hurt on both sides.
House understands this, and it is his greatest fear poised on the brink of something new and ultimately terrifying for him. He is able to articulate this fear to Cuddy honestly and painfully in the season premiere “Now What?” He seems caught where he had been in season two (“Need to Know”) with Stacy.
But Cuddy reassures House that however screwed up he is, he is one incredible man and he needn’t worry about expectations of change. Even though, as House warns, he will likely do “horrible things” to her. It’s who he is. But Cuddy is aware of who House; she has fallen in love with House as he is. Why should she want him to change?