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News for House, MD Fans: The Season Finale and More

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After what seems to have been a century (but was only, in fact, two months) we finally have solid information on the four remaining episodes of House’s fourth season. The series will be settling into its Monday night post-Bones time slot at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on April 21, with a re-airing of the season three episode “Son of Coma Guy,” a powerful and emotional episode guest-starring John Larroquette (Night Court). The highlight of that episode, worth a re-watch any time, is House (Hugh Laurie, in a brilliant performance) revealing why he became a doctor.

Then. (Insert fanfare-ta-da-da-da!) Then the new episodes begin April 28 with “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” featuring a “too nice” emergency room patient with a potentially much more serious problem than has been diagnosed. Of course, House thinks the guy’s “niceness” is a symptom.

courtesy FOX flashIn the meantime, as Amber and House continue their competition for Wilson’s attention, chaos is certain to ensue. Since most House episode titles convey a multitude of meanings, one can only guess who is no longer going to be playing “nice” (along with the patient, that is). Is it Wilson? Amber? Or is it House himself, who seemed to have given his blessing to Amber and Wilson’s relationship when last we saw them in February? Let the speculation begin!

In the May 5 episode, “Living the Dream,” House’s obsession with soap operas comes into play as he notices something is not quite right with an actor on his favorite show Prescription Passion. Neither House’s team, nor the actor himself, believe anything is awry, as they dismiss House’s assessment that the soap star (Jason Lewis) has a serious medical condition.

The fourth season finale, a two-parter called “House’s Head,” will air on consecutive Monday nights, May 12 and May 17. In part one (May 12), House is a passenger on a bus when it is involved in a serious accident. With a head injury causing him short-term memory loss, he begins to piece together recalled fragments about a fellow passenger who was exhibiting signs of a “deadly illness.” Unable to recall who the person was, or even how he came to be riding on the bus, House desperately tries to process the information from “fleeting flashes” to save the life of someone who may not even know he or she could be dying. As part two, "Wilson's Heart" (May 19) unfolds, and House continues to pieces together his murky memories of the accident and the night before, his friendship with Wilson is pushed to the limit.

I have not seen any of the episodes, so this is all I know from the latest FOX press release. Sorry. If you've seen the previews shown following recent reruns on FOX, you can see flashes of the accident, and House inside the bus as it happens.

One more bit of news for readers of this column. I will be interviewing House executive producers/writers Garrett Lerner and Russell Friend after part one of the season finale airs on May 12. I'm very excited to have the rare opportunity of a one-on-one (I guess it's technically one-on-two) converstation with Friend and Lerner, who are the writing team behind several particularly character-driven episodes, including "Skin Deep," "Meaning," "Cane and Able," and "97 Seconds." Oh, and I almost forgot to say — they are also two of the season finale writers. So stay tuned!

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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.
  • Barbara Barnett

    Apologies for misspelling Russel Friend’s name. It will be fixed. (Thought I’d say that before any of my eagle-eyed readers brought my attention to it ;)

  • Mary Dagmar Davies

    I look forward to reading the interviews. Thank you so much for this informative and interesting series of articles on House MD.

  • Grace

    CAN’T WAIT!!
    I’ve missed HOUSE and HUGH sooooooo much!!!

  • Grace

    In your 5th paragraph, you mean May 19th, not 17th, right?
    Thanks, Grace

  • hl_lover

    Excellent, Barbara!
    Can’t wait to read what I know will be a most excellent and informative interview. :) And, of course cannot wait to view the final four episodes of this season’s “House”!

  • Barbara Barnett

    Consective Mondays. May 19th is the finale. See what happens when you get your hands on information and want to pass it along as quickly as possible? The fingers fly too fast. Multiple mea culpas.

    Thanks for your kind comments Grace, Mary and HL_L

  • Mary

    Congratulations, Barbara. I’m looking forward to reading the interview. I’d be curious as to what accomodations the “House M.D.” writers had to make to the drastically shortened season. Were there stories that we might have seen this year that we won’t get to see until the fifth season?

  • jena

    i look forward to reading your interview! i always enjoy your articles – i’ve been reading since you first started linking your review lj at house_md.

    i would love to know, from the writers, why house stopped being obsessed with what is right. in the earlier seasons he operated on a stringent moral code; in “honeymoon”, season 1, he was angry and disappointed in himself, and in fact had to leave the hospital, when he realized that he really didn’t want mark to get well. solving the puzzle was a compulsion, yes, but so was figuring out and doing what was ultimately right. but they’ve allowed him to devolve into someone who does things for selfish or trivial reasons. in “insensitive” in season 3, he does something he’d have never done in the earlier shows: he pushes to biopsy one of hannah’s spinal nerves, risking paralysis. this is not doing “what’s right” or “advocating for [his] patient”, which was always at least half of his MO earlier in the show; it’s pure selfishness and really rings false, and it’s been the status quo since the tritter arc last season.

    house doesn’t have a heart of gold, TPTB keep telling us that, but in the beginning he was undeniably a decent human being who lived by a set of morals so well developed that few people’s could compare. that didn’t make him a cuddly bunny, but it did make him a worthwhile, sympathetic, and compelling character. he wasn’t nice, but he was good. with every episode, i feel as though that basic quality has been more and more obscured by writers more interested in ‘ships and quips and snark than in the characters they’re supposed to be developing.

  • ann uk

    I think I at least partly agree with Jena,House does have a heart but it is a dark heart ( I think I am repeating myself here ) and as you,Barbara, have said he is basically a romantic and an idealist.Perhaps it is a univeral truth that all cynics are disappointed idealists ? He has a personal code which is far more demanding than most peoples’and much of his game playing is a diversion from his real suffering.
    It his fundamental seriousness that keeps us enthralled and though we enjoy the wit and outrageous behaviour, House without his gravity is a lesser figure.
    Perhaps you could raise this question in your interview if you agree ? In any case I look forward to reading it.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Jena–thanks for stopping by.

    he operated on a stringent moral code; in “honeymoon”, season 1, he was angry and disappointed in himself, and in fact had to leave the hospital, when he realized that he really didn’t want mark to get well. solving the puzzle was a compulsion, yes, but so was figuring out and doing what was ultimately right. but they’ve allowed him to devolve into someone who does things for selfish or trivial reasons. in “insensitive” in season 3, he does something he’d have never done in the earlier shows: he pushes to biopsy one of hannah’s spinal nerves, risking paralysis.

    I remember that scene in Honeymoon as being pivotal to the character, and it was also the pivot of the episode (House was able to overcome his resentment of Stacy and Mark. It set him back on his correct moral path). But I think that’s what happened in Insensitive. He clearly had been researching nerve regrowth, and here came into his sphere a person (a rare person) who could have helped him. All last season, House was making attempts to recapture what he lost (again) after Meaning–trying all sorts of things. (In Half-Wit too.) But as soon as he realized (Wilson, being a good and compassionate friend finally)asked him (not lectured him)if he thought that he was doing the biopsy for the right reasons. House immediately realized that he was not and took himself out of the picture, turning it over to the team. Later, when he could have asked the girl, as Wilson suggested, House (having been placed firmly back on his moral ground) shyly told Wilson that she would have no reason to assist him in that way, and declined the opportunity rather than ask. To me, that almost parallels Honeymoon.

    As you say, Jena, he doesn’t have a heart of gold and (as all of us flawed folks can)he can veer away from his decent underpinnings, but then be (easily) pulled back when he realizes.

    I agree with your distinctino between “good” and “nice.” House isn’t “nice.” But he is a “good” person. Decent and non-judgmental; and willing to risk alot for a patient.

    interested in ‘ships and quips and snark than in the characters they’re supposed to be developing. I agree that sometimes they overdo the snark for its own sake, and prefer the darker, more serious episodes. There’s been a bit more levity this season–and more silliness, but there’s been seriousness as well. Last year it was the other way around. Maybe the remaining four will be serious with humor. But I think the season has had some very serious and thoughful episodes–The Right Stuff; 97 Seconds; Ugly, Frozen, Don’t Ever Change all come immediately to mind. But I will ask about the humor/seriousness balance–because I do think Lerner and Friend get it.

    Ann–I agree. Despite House’s humor and feigned indifference, he is essentially a very serious man. More serious than anyone else on the staff fundamentally. It is his gravitas in conflict with his demeanor that is the stuff of brillance.

  • ann uk

    Trivial pleasures: have you noticed that we sometimes catch House wearing reading glasses, but not consistently. I think they suit him also he is the only man I know who looks good in a flat cap.Over here these tend to be rather ridiculed as the badge of a “Hooray Henry”- but not on H.L. of course!
    And doesn’t the camera love him ,it can’t get close enough……..

  • Heidi G.

    WOW! Those are wonderful news you got there! How do you do it? *huge grin*

    I’m looking forward for the interview. After knowing what episodes they wrote, I’m curious to what this season finale might turn out. I like Skin Deep and Cane and Abel, but not so much 97 Sec.

    I thought David Shore was going to write the finale, but I suppose that those episodes weren’t going to be the actual finale, another consequence of the strike. :S I wonder what the finale was going to be, and how much changes they had to make.

  • Michelle

    “he operated on a stringent moral code; in “honeymoon”, season 1, he was angry and disappointed in himself, and in fact had to leave the hospital, when he realized that he really didn’t want mark to get well. solving the puzzle was a compulsion, yes, but so was figuring out and doing what was ultimately right. but they’ve allowed him to devolve into someone who does things for selfish or trivial reasons”

    This is something that has bothered me about House all season long, so I’m really excited that somebody is going to ask about it. Perhaps we’ll get an answer as to why House seems so off lately.

    I loved Skin Deep and Cane and Able. 97 Seconds- not so much, largely due to House allowing a game to take priority over patient care, however, I’d be interested to hear the writers take on what’s been going through House’s mind lately.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Ann UK–agree totally with your trivial pleasures ;) Love HL in reading glasses. they add to his vulnerability just a tad.

    I’m really looking forward tot he interview. It’s possible that David Shore is also a writer on the episode. I only know that Lerner and Friend are two of the writers (it may be a larger team given that it’s two parts and the finale)

  • Mary

    I find the titles of the final two episodes interesting – “House’s Head,” and “Wilson’s Heart.” We have been told from the beginning that Gregory House is “all about the puzzle,” but we (though not his colleagues) see him in the private moments when he is the puzzled one. It’s “House’s Head” which is the engine of most storylines, but it’s House’s heart, in those moments we are granted to see it, that keeps many of us coming back.

    And, as we have learned, Wilson is not necessarily the “good guy” he is portrayed to be; becoming sexually involved with one of his patients (to cite only one example) is a major breach of medical ethics. Wilson is not the saint we’ve been led to think he is; Cait in “Frozen” was able to figure that out from Antartica.

    I can hardly wait for these new episodes to be aired. And I’m looking forward to reading your interview with the writers, Barbara.

  • Sam

    House is back which is really good news. The two part episode sounds really interesting and I can hardly wait for it to be aired. It should be really interesting!

  • http://sweetiethesmartestdog.com sue

    Barbara, I have some questions for you to ask the writers. They are:

    Wilson said that House would pick three people he didn’t like so he wouldn’t get attached. Is that what happened?

    Why did they make House so crude in the CIA episode? Why has House changed character so much this season? Was this meant to be a reaction to the team leaving?

    Why do they start and stop themes without following them to their natural conclusions? Examples would be in season 3 when House was courting Cuddy, and Cuddy’s attempt to get pregnant.

    Why do they not feel it is important to be consistent with time lines? This drives a lot of fans crazy. An example would be how long Wilson and House have been friends. On the House website, it says that House and Wilson met when House came to the hospital. That is around 8 years prior. Yet, Wilson’s wife said she named Hector 17 years prior when Hector was a puppy on their honeymoon. Wilson is about 40, so he would have been 23 and in medical school and married to his second wife 17 years earlier. House is at least 8 years older than Wilson, and House went to Hopkins and then Michigan?, so when did they really meet? When was House in Michigan?

    Cuddy hired House at PPTH. House said he was through a few regime changes there, but Cuddy hired him, and she is the only regime he has been through there.

    Another example was the time line surrounding Chase’s dad. He appeared in Cursed in the middle of season one, and he told House he had THREE months to live. In The Mistake, in the middle of season 2, which is six months after the prior episode, Chase’s father died after telling House he had TWO months to live. Now, I know this happened well before the “The Mistake” episode happened, but it was almost a whole season later.

    When fans follow the series very closely, they naturally want to figure out when things happen in the time lines of each character. If the writers are going to give us details, they should make sense. I don’t know how they can rectify these inconsistencies, but let them know that fans do pay attention to details. The show is smartly written, and they connect the A, B and C stories quite well, yet they drop the ball with a resounding thud sometimes.