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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Both Sides Now”

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Dr. Gregory House wakes up in bed after making love to Dr. Lisa Cuddy after the “cut” in last week’s House episode “Under My Skin.” Cuddy is gone, but not the memory, as House finds her lipstick sitting on his bathroom sink. He smiles, noting the lipstick smear on his face, the happy recollection of their ardent lovemaking. He pockets the lipstick, noting its color, with clearly a fondness for it: a talisman and a symbol of what lies ahead for the clean and sober House and love finally kindled after seasons of sparring and sparking.


House’s cruel mocking of Cuddy’s motherhood last week transformed into a cry for help, stopping her in her tracks as she stalks angrily from his presence. His tearful confession that he is hallucinating stuns her as much as his plea — that desperate plea that he needs her. Ever House’s guardian angel, Cuddy ignores House’s hurtful words and, anger forgotten, she takes him home, sits with him as he goes through the unrelenting agony of Vicodin detox, holds his hand, caresses his sweaty brow and calms his nerves and stomach with ginger tea. And in the morning she gives him an even greater gift. A 20-year-old secret — an inkling that she’s loved him for all these years; that he’s not simply the Buraku of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Not just a hospital asset. She has always liked that “interesting lunatic — for who he is, not for what he does for the hospital. And then asks him: do you want to kiss me? And in his heart of hearts, he is honest: “I always want to kiss you.” A gentle brushing of the lips deepens into passion for them.

Singing as he enters his office the next day, still holding onto Cuddy’s lipstick, House is in a spectacular mood. Not just for having sex, but for having won Cuddy. “Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings… the moment I saw her, I fell.” The sappy lyrics of a 1940s Irving Berlin tune tells us that he’s in love, much as in season two, House’s night with Stacy in “Need to Know,” inspired him to sing a sappily romantic aria from the Romberg operetta The Student Prince.

It’s a nice story, filled with the promise of love and redemption. Hope and happiness. “This is the story you made up about who you are. It’s a nice story,” House hears Amber say in his ear. But as Kutner’s grave image tells House at the end of last night’s season finale “Both Sides Now,” “too bad it isn’t real.”

What will stay with me the entire summer will be House’s horrified and then shell-shocked face with the dawning recognition that the entire experience with Cuddy has been a delusion. Everybody lies, goes House’s mantra. But the lie his own brain constructed is the cruelest of all.

No longer able to distinguish reality from illusion, House confabulates a fantasy that did not render him isolated and alone in his apartment, his life falling apart. What line was crossed in House’s mind that caused it to snap? Had he reached the same level of despair that Kutner had weeks before? That moment where the line between living and dying in misery blur? House’s mind made a choice, and he could just as easily have committed suicide, as Kutner had in “Simple Explanation.” But, instead, his mind chose the comfort of Cuddy’s healing sensuality; the warmth of her body, and the belief that he could be happy.

The heartbreaking revelation that it was all a delusional fantasy is as heartbreaking as it gets. No, Cuddy never went home with him, instead stalking angrily from the room after he mocks her cruelly. He never confesses that he’s hallucinating; she never turns back into the room to comfort him.

Instead he goes home, spending the night alone, in despair still hallucinating and unable to stop himself from the continued downward spiral. His support systems gone, House sinks further, his mind creating the fantasy that he is both loved and redeemable, two things that have always been beyond his belief. The final scene between House and Cuddy nearly parallels his imagined night of detox as Cuddy forgets her anger, replacing it with concern, support, and love as House begins to realize that he is no longer simply suffering hallucinations, but full-blown delusions.

“Are you alright?” she inquires, worried as House, who is visibly shaken, nearly collapses into the wall. But House barely hears her as his mind tries to sort reality from illusion. House’s halting “No, I’m not okay,” finally realizing the cruel trick played on him by his own mind, has been months coming. House has been headed for emotional collapse since the end of last season. As guarded as House is, neither Cuddy nor Wilson saw it coming. Were there clues they might have picked up on? Things they might have done to mitigate House’s deteriorating mental state? Was it drugs, or something else? What did they miss? I’m reminded of House’s words to the patient’s husband in season two’s “Forever.” He tells that no one can go so far off the deep end without someone noticing.

What a way to end the season. The man who has stood on a ledge for five years has suddenly, tragically (and metaphorically), finally jumped and right down into the rabbit hole. “Both Sides Now” takes the year of unrelenting emotional and physical trauma endured by its central character to its logical conclusion. A very, very bleak ending to an intense, downbeat season. Hugh Laurie gave yet another raw, brave, and gut-wrenching performance. If he does not win the Emmy this year (and I mean it!) there is no justice. At all. Really.

Doris Egan’s complex script (more about that later in the week) plays with the concept of self-perception. Who we are? What makes us… us? How much of it is wishful thinking, a slightly deluded perception of who we might be; and how much is the reality? Our emotional well-being relies on us being able to tell the difference between the two.

This week’s patient, Scott, has undergone surgery on his corpus callosum that stopped his seizures, but destroyed communication between the left (rational) and right (aesthetic) parts of his brain. In his case his left brain doesn’t like what his right brain is doing. And the miscommunication between them leads to something called alien hand syndrome, causing his left hand to do what it wants, when it wants, consequences be damned.

House calls the right brain the brain irrelevant, yet (as Foreman points out) House’s insights and intuition likely stem from that half of his brain (not to mention at least half of his musical gift). The left brain does the math, analyzes the parts. It’s the logician: rational, analytical. It is the most obvious part of House’s personality. The right brain is intuitive, holistic, random and subjective. And without it, House would never be able to synthesize or imagine. He dismisses it because it’s his most fragile part: his creativity, his romanticism, his love of music and art. It reveals him, therefore it must be suppressed.

And in the midst of all this sadness, Cameron and Chase marry in a beautiful ceremony intercut with House’s journey toward his own uncertain future. It is poignantly ironic that House, understanding Cameron’s fears and advising her to take a chance on happiness, saves her relationship with Chase, as his own possibility for happiness evaporates like a mirage in the desert. The beautiful and haunting melody of the Rolling Stones “As Tears Go By” (and probably my favorite Stones song ever) gives the illusion of a love song. But the lyrics are starkly evocative of where House’s life now stands as he travels the long road to the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital: “My riches can’t buy everything/I want to hear the children sing/All I hear is the sound/Of rain falling on the ground/I sit and watch as tears go by.” No wonder I wept at the end of this stunning finale to a great season.

What does the future hold for House? We’ll have to wait till September to find out.

And I cannot finish this review without saying something about Carl Reiner. He’s 86 years old and still brilliant and funny as hell. I will have much more to say about the episode and all of its complexities later in the week after I’ve had the opportunity to talk about it with writer Doris Egan.

Thanks David Shore, Katie Jacobs, all the writers and directors, cast, and especially the magnificent Hugh Laurie for making this season as powerful as it gets. Thank you to all my loyal readers who have made this column such an enjoyable experience and a great success. I will continue writing through the summer and as promised, later in the week, please look for my exclusive one-on-one interview with the finale’s writer, House co-executive producer Doris Egan.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • I’d love for them to get together, but as much as Cuddy clearly enjoys watching House act out her repressed id, I can’t really believe she’d be irresponsible enough to bring him into her daughter’s life.

    FYI, the Trolley Song is by Martin and Blane, not Irving Berlin.

  • cooba

    “he is no longer simply suffering hallucinations, but full-blown delusions”

    A full-blown psychosis, more like…

  • ladydyna

    Barbara–as always, great review,& delightful comments by all the House diehard fans. I realize I’m way behind the times. I just watched this episode online yesterday. (I gave up House for Lent b/c I was not doing well with all the darkness & frustrations of season 5). I totally agree w/blacktop (post #39-40) who said that it’s finally clear that, to House at least, his personal peace & happiness is bound up w/Cuddy; but also that the series lost some real potential & a lot of credibility by faking us out AGAIN with a ‘faux’ House/Cuddy ‘relationship.’ I have to agree that they really can’t try pitching us that one again—a real shame b/c the chemistry between Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein has been one of the show’s tremendous assets even since Cuddy’s somewhat unconvincing answer when Vogler asked her, “You sleeping with House?…Oh,but you used to…?”
    Whatever psycho-analysis House will undergo next season will hopefully give us the long awaited Huddy back-story. The big question is, even with House at rock-bottom–i.e. insanity, will he still resist change? The question was raised in the South Pole episode, where House is strongly attracted to the young woman-doctor-psychiatrist who is the POTW b/c she tells House he doesn’t necessarily need ‘fixing.’ Wouldn’t it be interesting if she is back from the S. Pole & becomes House’s therapist at the psych hospital? On the other hand, we have some strong hints that House’s insanity may stem from syphillis. The POTW in this season finale had the two hemispheres of his brain severed–which was the very procedure that House suggested as the ‘cure’ for the idiot savant piano player (guest star Dave Matthews). In that same episode, House faked a patient chart for himself to get into a brain cancer drug trial. The team does their own diagnosis & determines from the fake file that House is suffering from neurosyphillus. 2 seasons later, Kutner concludes for a short time in ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ that House has neurosyphillis & House says he’s wrong, that House left a fake blood sample for Kutner to find.
    One thing is certain–there must be a deep, dark, harrowing secret lurking in House’s subconscious that will take all of season 6 to reveal. If season 5 is any foreshadowing, it’s something to do with death, loss, Cuddy, and babies/childhood. I hope House doesn’t end up a bitter old woman-hater, but it does seem that his spiral downward really started way back w/the reappearance of Stacy & the loss of her all over again. And, House has always demonized Cuddy, tending to blame her for his leg more than he does Stacy, & perhaps he feels she is an emasculating figure b/c of her involvement in his leg tragedy as well as her authority as his employer.
    P.S.: I’m still waiting for older, smarter brother Mycroft House to make an appearance.

  • Patrick

    One of the many things I love about House is the attention to design and architecture shown by the choice of set design and furniture. The extremely apt choice of the building to represent the psychiatric hospital which Dr. House is admitted to is a case in point. The building though currently vacant was the main building of the Greystone State Psychiatric Hospital located in Morris Plains New Jersey. Interestingly this was the very hospital at which Woody Guthrie lived out the last years of his life while dying of huntington’s disease. I have always thought that the building looked forbiding which is quite apropriate for the episode. Currently all patients of the hospital are in a new and much smaller building. The road leading to the old main hospital does have something like the feel of a road to the gates of hell. The brilliance of this choice is amazing.

    I hope the comming season allows for House’s hoped for recovery to play out on stage rather than being presented as a fait accompli as in the case of House’s recovery from being shot.

  • Dorian

    Love the foreshadowing {First with Kutner, House not understanding why Kutner did it, not with the POTW, and House making the heartbreaking connection as to why he did it – and as Wilson said ‘what he will do when he realizes this connection’ amazing!!}

    For Me, the Patient was the key, Like House, The two halves have begun sending messages again, but it’s too early for both The Patient/House to fully pick up on it [they’re both in pain, but are kept appeased so to not pick up on it and stop it] —- But, [like Foreman says while diagnosing with Talb and thirteen] there [were] ways to test for it.

    1) House never talked to Cuddy – All this could have been averted if he would have just sat down and talked to Cuddy about what he thought happened like a rational adult. [Half of his patents could be spared the needless pain and torment of tests and prodding if he himself would stop hiding and see them. Shown With Kutner – If he would have stopped hiding and confronted himself.]

    2) Cuddy would have asked him what he thought happened and House could have noticed and taken it from there – seen where he’s hallucinating – end of season. But, House always assumes things will go wrong [‘everybody lies’] and instead uses cunning instead of honesty. If House would have just approached the problem directly – he would have gotten answers. Just as he does when diagnosing his patients, he theorizes indirectly first, then when his theories are wrong, then and only then he feels the need to directly see them. House works like he lives and lives like he works and cannot separate the two – couple that with an addiction – and dealing with knowing you have a problem becomes enormously complex to solve. Even for House!!!

    3.) It’s this [delusional] assumption and inability to think and experience outside of his constructed reasoning/reality that has cause him much suffering and isolation. It’s imprisoned him in his (a) addiction to Vicodin – an easy/lazy out, rather than working and sweating and laboring to better manage his pain (b) its consequences.

    I find it better to think the hallucinations are an unconscious attempt at self education/edification/self-preservation, realizing that he will implode if he himself does not realize his need to stop himself from going over the edge. It’s tragic, but think of how absolutely horrifying it would be if house didn’t have Cuddy, or Wilson to help him.

    Fantastic episode, fantastic writing, phenomenal acting.
    Bring on Season 6!!!!

  • Ingrid

    Finally I was able to read this review. And as usual its just excellent. I couldn’t get to it since the season finale left me with mix feelings sliding from happyness to unbearable pain. House’s emotional pain scaped from TV to get to our heads and hearts. I hope these months off help get ready for Season 6. I can’t help wanting more House, more Cuddy, more Wilson, more of the show.

  • Donna

    Amora (#s106/107:

    The ending song was “As Tears Go By” by The Rolling Stones.

  • Amora

    please help me

  • Amora

    What song was in the end of this chapter????

  • wackjob

    Barbara, maybe I’m being paranoid, but why do you never comment on my comments? I’m a normal person, not some nut on a tower with a weapon. Just happened to journey to some places most people haven’t had the misfortune to experience.

  • Amie

    OK, never mind my question.
    It was answered in the next article (the Doris Egan interview)!

  • Amie

    JL – (#102) : “your description of the story ‘acts’ is *exactly*, *precisely* what I had been thinking! ”

    Cool !! 😉

    “PROVIDED that they do indeed show how it plays out rather than letting things stall”

    Yes to that!!!!

    I do wonder if David Shore knows where he wants to take things in the end (has he written the last chapter yet, like JK Rowlings had with Harry Potter?) knowing they signed till season 8. That would give him the opportunity to build something coherent and strong. Or does he imagine everything along the way, season by season (should I even say half-season, as the writers apparently planned the end of season 5 in january)?

  • JL

    Amie (#101) – your description of the story ‘acts’ is *exactly*, *precisely* what I had been thinking! The story really has reached a vital point – hence my great concern for the writers to have a clear picture of how this great story will ultimately be resolved.
    I also agree with your comment about the power of a TV show that can cause so much conflict and debate in its viewers. I’d say David Shore et al could take that as confirmation that they’re on the right path – PROVIDED (I know, I’m harping on this) that they do indeed show how it plays out rather than letting things stall.

    Accordingly to your Star Wars analogy, this would put us right where Luke has discovered that Darth Vader is his father. How people got through those intervening years between movies, I can’t imagine – I’m struggling to face getting through this short hiatus… (ARGH!)

  • Amie

    Past the first deception of the “oh, no, they didn’t dare do the hallucination routine??!!”, I can only applaud.

    This episode could have totally been a serie’s finale (and not just a season finale).
    But since they signed up for more seasons, one can only hope that they will explore House’s redemption. He’s gone so low, he can only go up now.
    It feels like the end of the second act of a 3 act drama. A kind of “Empire strikes back” (sorry, I can’t find a better analogy at the moment). The three first season where the first act, describing the setting and characters. The fourth and fifth was the second act, where the exploration of the characters is deepened. They become very much real, they are wounded, they suffer, they have doubts. I’m eagerly waiting for the 3rd act and how it will all slowly play out.

    Thanks Barbara for putting up your wonderful review so fast for everyone to share their thoughts. I enjoyed everyone’s input as I had trouble figuring out myself how I felt about the episode. So many different emotions, opposite emotions at the same time. It’s great that a TV show can give us all that.


    I’m French and i live in Paris.House MD is my favorite tv-show.
    I loved the finale season but it enormously shocked me! I cried!!!
    Since i saw these two last episodes, i’m sad and depressed because of the sudden transition from the happiness (the love story between House and Cuddy) toward the misfortune(the illusions,
    loneliness,illness,madness,dependency on drug. . .).
    The scenario is excellent with actors of genius ( i love Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein).
    In that dark finale season, i’m comforted by the fact that it seems that the relationship between House and Cuddy took a step forward;House admits to his feelings and Cuddy shows him
    her feelings in the finale scene by her presence,look and movements (when she puts her hand on his shoulder or when her hands caress his face). They seem closer !
    I have a question.I’d like to know what are there in the Cuddy’s hands when she was in tears in her office .(keys?).I think that it’s a clue on the future of her relationship with House in the season 6.
    Thank you for your answer!

  • capetown

    With all of the mesmerizing moments between House and Wilson in this episode, you mentioned him once in a line about what he may have missed. It’s not all about Cuddy; it really isn’t. House has at least two guardian angels, and one of them is named Wilson. Robert Sean Leonard deserves an Emmy as well as Hugh.

  • Andree

    hello everyone,

    as they abruptly stopped showing season 5 here in the Netherlands to come up with the Tritter arc again, I just have the recaps and this blog to follow whatever happens to and in House.

    Last week, while reading about this very short detox, I thought that can’t be true, House’s first detox took much longer. So that was somehow a clue for me that it was all an illusion or hallucination or however you want to call it. So, honestly, I hoped that Huddy was a delusion, too… and apparently it was. I am glad about that somehow, because I am really afraid that if House and Cuddy had a real relationship, it would take off the edge of a big part of the show. See other series where this happened. I don’t mind them trying to have a relationship, but that’s it. I wouldn’t mind on the other hand that House could know some happiness.

    I am already on the amazon.uk list to be notified when they will have season 5 on DVD. From experience it will just come out when the Netherlands might have shown the whole season – finally.

    Just a little comment to the new layout of this site… I don’t like it, at all. The old one was much nicer and user friendlier.

    Barbara, I am looking forward to whatever reviews you might write during summer.

  • JL

    Once again, I wrote a perfectly wonderful piece that I find hasn’t posted!

    Anyway, the summary version:

    1. Thankyou, Barbara. It’s so good to read your thoughts. I love the idea that House’s mind created the ultimate soppy Huddy fanfic.

    2. I thought the finale was brilliantly clever, although I’m a bit over hallucinations.

    3. I think this is a make-or-break point for both House and for ‘House, M.D.’ If this is used as an impetus for actual change in House, I think it’s terrific. But I don’t think ‘House never changes’ will wash after this one. It’s too big. The story is too important. This needs to go somewhere.

    I hope to goodness the writers have worked out where this story is going to go in future – I think the time for playing around with it has passed.

    Looking forward with GREAT interest to the Doris Egan interview.

  • Sera G

    Hello to all,
    Grace, sorry to be the bearer of bad news; I just went to Amazon…House Season 5 is scheduled to be released on August 25!!!!
    I can’t wait, but I think I might need a while to clear my head before I watch it all again.

    Looking forward to the Doris E. interview.

  • Grace

    P.S. Forgot to say that Season 5 comes out on May 12th.
    Secondly, I’d like to suggest that Doris Egan writes every HOUSE episode from now on.
    And last but not least, Barbara’s recaps become the official recaps of HOUSE/FOX.
    Ok, here’s the clue that had me thinking that maybe what we were seeing wasn’t true.
    Way back in the preview for Both Sides Now, it said that Cuddy was going to find a way to make House do clinic duty. Well, I got to thinking. Since Cuddy knew that House was in a bad way, WHY would she try to give him more work to do in a place that she knew he hated?
    The short detox was my second clue.

  • Grace

    So much to say but for now I just want to say that Wilson driving House to the hospital and watching House walk in and look back was one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in any tv show or movie.

  • Kit Sum

    Wonderful review Barbara.
    I don’t have anything to add except one question.

    Before House came into Cuddy’s office, the camera was first on Cuddy’s hand, then Cuddy’s face. Some people and I noticed that there were something that looked like keys on Cuddy’s hand. I wonder is there any meaning to it, because keys are very important to House. He solved his case mostly by symptoms, which were the keys to the case. Keys could also mean so many more things for House too. Anyone has any thoughts on that?

  • 60 plus

    #90. I agree with you about the significance of the team’s diagnosing the last few patients instead of House, including this episode. In Under My Skin, I found it interesting that Chase seemed to be functioning as a team member at the end. There were glimpses of a different level of confidence and determination in the four, especially after Taub insisted they continue without House and Chase said, in so many words, that if they couldn’t come up with the answer, she would die because they weren’t smart enough to solve the case without House. In the end, of course, they did. (Interestingly, Foreman was the one who wanted to call it quits…)

    I recall that some time back, one of the TPTB (maybe Katie J.) said that the season’s end would bring a shock that would reverberate throughout the hospital.

    As you said, this might be TPTB deliberately setting the stage for what we’ll see at the beginning of Season 6 if House is unable to head the Diagnostic Department.

  • marjohn

    I just began my second viewing and made my first ‘aha’ :: House has no lipstick smudge at all when he wakes up, walks to the bathroom… Only in his reflection! Ahhh, this is going to be a painful re-viewing!

    I’ll offer a bit of comic relief for you all too :: my son (10) and daughter (11) are watching with me, as they share my affliction, and my daughter is explaining to my son what “Huddy” means ~ House + Cuddy. Clever as he is, my son says, “why not Greg + Lisa… *Grease-a*!!”.


  • magz


    Lovely review, as usual. Thanks to you and to all the posters for their insight and analysis of this wonderful and very addictive TV show!

    I thought the episode was great, but unlike the previous ones, I was in no rush to watch this one again. It was too heartbreaking. To see House go from feeling happy and somewhat smug after his night with Cuddy, only to see him slowly unravel to the point of experiencing something Wilson called “worse than death” (the loss of his rational mind) was really really sad. I was completely with House when he told Cuddy, “No, that’s not what happened” because I did not want that night to be a delusion. When he reached for the lipstick talisman in his pocket and found that pill bottle instead, I felt his devastation and her confusion. What great actors (HL rocks!), and kudos to Doris Egan for taking us on such a wild ride.

    I admit, I was sorely disappointed that the “Huddy” hookup was a delusion. It was really nice to see House finally acknowledge his feelings for Cuddy. They would be so great together! I know TV characters are not supposed to evolve, and so House is doomed to remain unhappy lest the show be seen to ‘jump the shark’, but I would so like to see them try to be together – it would certainly be a big challenge to DS, KJ, and the writers to make this work. (I dare you, guys!) I hope the next season starts with visits to the hospital by Cuddy, Wilson and even House’s mother, or with House diagnosing a fellow patient there, but I trust the writers to bring him back to PPTH on their own terms. I can’t wait.

    Has anyone else noticed that the last three patients were diagnosed by the team, not by House? I think this is deliberate, and will probably help introduce the next season, where House is unavailable but the team will still diagnose patients.

    All in all, I really enjoyed Season 5. As someone who discovered House rather late (this season!), I am glad I have old episodes to keep me from suffering from the DTs too harshly until Season 6 begins….

  • Kudos to TPTB for leaving Kal Penn and Anne Dudek off opening credits. It made the scene with them towards the end that much better.
    Carl Reiner was great, and the handclasp with PJ sweet, House gave them both something to hold onto.

  • XJK

    Barbara – I agree with you that ‘Huddy’ lives on, and I don’t at all feel cheated by the outcome!

    I don’t have much to add, except for the fact that everytime I come to this site I end up with the song ‘both sides now’ by Joni Mitchell in my head, and can’t help but think the lyrics are very apt:

    ‘Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
    The dizzy dancing way you feel
    As ev’ry fairy tale comes true
    I’ve looked at love that way

    But now it’s just another show
    You leave ’em laughing when you go
    And if you care, don’t let them know
    Don’t give yourself away’

    The other lines I found quite fitting were ‘tears and fears and feeling proud, to say I love you right out loud… but now old friends are acting strange’

    Just thought someone else would like to share my current internal jukebox torment!

  • Veresna

    #74 I was thinking that “The Trolley Song” was not a Berlin number, thanks for confirming that for me. It’s just rather strange in a way…Last week, on another forum,I had commented about the fact that in the previews, there were shots of House reaching out for a Vicodin on the bathroom floor. I was prompted to remember a scene from “Me and My Shadows”, where Hugh played Vincente Minnelli. Showing how Judy Garland’s addictions were multiplying, there was a scene where he was going through her dressing room and finding pills all over the place, even sewn into the seams of her costumes. And something about the desperation of House in the episode had reminded me of it. This week-what song do they choose to have Hugh sing? “The Trolley Song”, which is also shown in the movie with Vincente directing as Judy flawlessly performs the song in one take. Of course, I guess it is a marvelous echo of the fact that House believes he has rung Cuddy’s “metaphorical bell”.
    I have to add my voice to the others complaining that I would like a preview available for posting comments and the comments back on one page, and if there is somewhere else we should be making these suggestions, please let us know!

  • Jen

    As Wilson said, “WOW!”, “WOW!”, one for each! One for HL and Barbara one for you! I believe he also said, “WOW!” again,
    That one is for this great blog site and all the fun I have had reading and re-watching each episode after reading your great review! I look forward to spending the summer with all of you and of course our blue eyed hero! As someone also wrote, HL is my vicodin!

  • barbara barnett

    Blacktop–Thank you for your commentary, which is always so wonderfully drawn both here and other places we encounter each other. I agree that we’ve known (or deeply suspected) House’s innmost feelings about Cuddy, but I think this is the first time it’s been made really explicit in the foreground of House’s mind to the point he could even articulate it to Wilson (who has also strongly suspsected it). I guess that’s what I meant.

    I agree Taryn who suggests it’s just the beginning. I very much enjoyed my conversation with Ms. Egan. And am sitting at my desk transcribing my our lengthy conversation. It was interesting getting a bit inside her head regarding the episode, House, Wilson, Cuddy and the rest of the crew.

  • blacktop

    Barbara, Thank you for another excellent report on this stunning episode.

    You wrote: “I do not feel cheated by the finale in the least. We got a very strong picture, perhaps for the first time, of how House would be transformed by a relationship with Cuddy. And how much he does not want to screw it up. This is different from the lust and innuencdo that have characterized their relationship. Cuddy isn’t a conquest for him, just as stacy had not been.”

    I would agree with you except that I don’t think that we have ever been allowed to believe that House’s feelings for Cuddy are simply about lust, innuendo or conquest.

    The contrast between his shallow comments and his inner feelings about Cuddy has been at the heart of our understanding of House for the past five years. This is by no means the first time that we have been made aware of House’s deep feelings for Cuddy. We have known of his deeper feelings through a variety of interactions including the complex emotions of respects, love, faith and vulnerability revealed in his dreams, his coma, and his fantasies in the past four seasons. House trusts Cuddy, relies on her to save him in his professional life and in his personal life, and treats her as one of the two pillars of his emotional existence.

    Cuddy has carefully been presented as House’s life giver from the beginning when she resusitated him in “Three Stories.” She gave him a job, she saved him from Vogler, from Tritter, she gave him renewed life with the ketamine treatments, she breathed life into him at the end of Season four.

    We have known all this for some time and the season five finale did not elaborate or develop our understanding of House’s inner life in any significant new way. I dearly wish it had.

    I am looking forward to your interview of Doris Egan whose writing in this finale was outstanding.

  • pomme

    “I do not feel cheated by the finale in the least. We got a very strong picture, perhaps for the first time, of how House would be transformed by a relationship with Cuddy. And how much he does not want to screw it up. This is different from the lust and innuencdo that have characterized their relationship. Cuddy isn’t a conquest for him, just as stacy had not been.”

    I agree with this 100%. I don’t feel cheated. I feel the Huddies got a great gift and whether some of us see it or not, we got a major development in this story as to House’s feelings for Cuddy. Thanks for this, Barbara. And when you talk to Egan, will you tell her thanks from some of us H/C/W fans for writing all three of them instead of mainly just Wilson. I love her Wilson characterizations, and I’m so glad we got some in this episode as well as some great Cuddy.

  • Taryn

    Before reading yet another one of your amazing reviews, Barbara, thinking about what happend in this episode sent chills of rage up my spine. After 5 (probably more)years of dancing around each other, House and Cuddy FINALLY had their huge moment only to find out that none of it was real. The cruelty of it all–I mean, seriously! That Fox “Huddy Promo” is now like a giant slap in the face.

    I’m sure I’m not saying anything new here, but, after calming down a bit and reading your insights as well as those of your commentors, all this has done is open up new possibillites into what the House/Cuddy relationship could be. Of course, it is not over…really, it’s just beginning.

    Kudos to the House team for yet another brilliant work of art! I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next. The wait will be nearly unbearable!

  • marjohn


    Since you brought it up, how likely do you think it is that Cate will reappear next season? I believe that Mira S did indicate that she would be eager to return if asked.

    I’m also curious as to how the course of House’s mental deterioration will be revealed. Unlike many others, I don’t share the notion that the breakdown and hallucinations are caused exclusively by narcotics abuse. Aside from neurochemical mental illnesses, there are other physiological causes for hallucination [e.g., Andie’s blood clot-induced hallucination during the ‘Autopsy’ cold open; the girl from ‘Guardian Angels’ from ergot poisoning]. For this reason, I suspect that House’s delusions/hallucinations will not respond to traditional therapies for psychiatric maladies or drug abuse treatment.

    Take, for one, the severe trauma caused by the bus accident in HH, and the subsequent deep brain stimulation, followed by a brief coma in WH. Then second, he has a motorcycle accident [‘Locked In’]. Looking back to that ep — when House deduces from the PoTW’s unscabbed hands that the brain injury caused bike accident rather than the other way around — this may foreshadow the beginning of his own mental issues. It is also discovered in LI that he’s sought psychiatric help. Now, I’ve seen my share of shrinks, and even in my darkest days, none has ever called me repeatedly as House’s did. This leads me to think that Wilson’s assumption – that House wants to be better adjusted to allow room in his life for a relationship – is way off base. I think that it may have been the shrink-averse House trying to rule out any mental illness in self-diagnosing the beginnings of his breakdown.

    LI’s ending with the cloudy visual effect as House looks at Wilson as he says “you’ll be all alone” is chilling, as in retrospect it may be the first indications of House’s visual hallucinations to follow.

    And to all of these physical insults to House’s brain, add the guilt over Amber, the prospect of losing Wilson’s friendship, the loss of his father, failure to scratch his Cuddy ‘Itch’, and then the shocking betrayal of his own sense of observation when Kutner [arguably the most endearing of the new ducklings with his spark of Housian creative, unorthodox diagnosis] offs himself. Even without any brain injury, the cumulative effect of these crises would be enough within the space of a year to make anyone lose it. There was no doubt that TPTB were going to bring down the House. ((lamest pun *ever*, but there it is))

    I’m so swept up by this madHouse arc, that I have never wanted so much for a summer to pass quickly.

    Thanks to the peanut gallery for your colorful commentary. Barbara, you’ve got your work cut out for you this summer ~ thanks, as always.

    p.s. pleasepleaseplease ask TPTB at BC to bring back the preview function!!

  • Tourmaline

    Lovely article Barbara! I particularly liked the final scenes, the montage of Chase & Cameron and House & Wilson. I loved the contrast in the cinematography, but also the similarities – essentially we were watching two married couples – notice how in both cases they couldn’t take their eyes off the other?

  • *off topic*
    something should definitely be done with the comments and the new layout.

    a/ preview option back, please

    b/ no ads in between comments please PLEASE

    c/ and if possible, all the comments in the same page (i know that sometimes it’s harder to upload the page when there are too many comments, so it might even be better for some that way. i personally prefer them all gathered in one page tho).

    –for now, i will overlook the fact that there is regularly something wrong with the comment page: either it doesnt post them immediately, either double- or triple- posting of the same comment, and the page is generally down quite frequently.
    However patience is a virtue, and i undertand that the new layout thing can be tricky.
    Please, though, BC people work it out soon!!

  • What a great, GREAT season finale. This show never fails to surprise me.
    Probably along with Wilson’s Heart, my favorite so far. And although the hallucination/dream thing has played before –well, to be more exact, in this case it was a delusion- in No Reason in particular (in very much the same way), in this episode it worked simply perfectly. I was in shock, in awe. Brilliant.

    Am i the only one who remembered the unbelievable ending of the ‘Usual Suspects’? The bottle of Vicodin falling from his shocked hands (just like the Kobayashi Porcelain cup) and then the revelations/contrast of House alone/House with Cuddy -it felt like i was watching the revelations of the final collage and the puzzling board at the end of the brilliant Bryan Singer film. I was led to believe one thing, and then twist –it all makes sense, but in the other way round.

    And, ditto, what a great song for the finale. This show has made me a retrospective fan of the Stones ? (and i thank TPTB for that).

    I am looking forward to Season Six with PASSION (the summer detox will be long). However i feel that this unfortunate turn of events is much more poignant than we have realized. I mean, it shows that House’s brilliant mind, the only thing that he cherishes, the only think that he believes in himself, is “proved” somehow damaged. I wonder what that will do to him, how it will affect his psyche. I am worried for the beloved doctor, but always trust Shore and co. (who, by the way, have earned my eternal respect).
    I wonder if we will see some interaction with House and Wilson’s brother in the psychiatric Hospital. Could it be? I always hope (it’s an arbitrary and reasonless hope) that Wilson’s brother will be played by Ethan Hawke ?

    Thanks again Barbara for your fantastic review. Looking forward to all your summer goodies.

  • barbara barnett

    I want to comment on some of the things I’m picking up on here. As much as I like House and Cuddy together (I really do believe it would be awesome for real–not just fantasy), I do not feel cheated by the finale in the least. We got a very strong picture, perhaps for the first time, of how House would be transformed by a relationship with Cuddy. And how much he does not want to screw it up. This is different from the lust and innuencdo that have characterized their relationship. Cuddy isn’t a conquest for him, just as stacy had not been.

    Cuddy was reacting to House’s bitter cry for help (which she didn’t hear because of the cruelty of his words). He never stopped her, listening to his inner voice (Amber) who had told him “don’t do this.” And he didn’t.

    House is now being evaluated in a psych hospital. He is very ill. Had they had sex for real with House in this state, we (and House would always have wondered how much of it was pity).

    When House returns in the Fall House will need every bit of support from those who love him and who he trusts in order to make it through that time. I don’t see where a future relationship with Cuddy is off the table.

    As far as Cameron, I like where House and Cameron are going. Cameron is a supporting player. Like everyone else on the show. I tihnk Cameron has always had a fear of letting go of things (like House has) and the sperm sample is an avatar for that. something that has to be reconciled before she can move on. That she was able to do that, and Chase is mature enough to understand (he wouldn’t have been in season one)is a counter balance to House and Cuddy.

    Chase and Cameron have had more screentime (if that’s how you’re assessing it) in the last several episodes than any of the other doctors outside House’s innmost circle of Wilson and Cuddy.

    I don’t know where the show is going narrative-wise. I’m willing to go with the flow. I guess that doesn’t make me a “true Huddy” (because I really loved House with Stacy and I loved what happened long-distance with Cate Milton in Frozen), but the show is about House. I watch it for him and his interactions with himself, his patients and his colleagues. Wherever it takes us, as long as the stories remain interesting, desnse, intense and well-written.

  • A

    i liked the ep. and the review, too!

    but it really hurts to see that they won’t let him be happy, not even for a little while… my mother always says House would deserve that somebody heals him as well and she’s right. i feel so sorry for this character, i really think he’s a great man with deep feelings, not an evil as* like so many people think.
    i love this show but sometimes i wish the series would be over so House had a chance to find some peace…

  • nc

    Barbara, thank you for your insights and perspective, both of which those of us who follow this show need in abundance right now, I’m afraid.

    When the episode first ended, I was stunned and sad. Like many here and elsewhere who think House and Cuddy fit together, I was disheartened to think their openness and intimacy had been a delusion.

    But the more I thought about it, and the more I’ve replayed House and Cuddy’s last conversation and its stunning revelations, the more I believe it reaffirms their connection rather than destroys it.

    Sadly, some of House’s wackier attempts to discern how Cuddy feels remind me of some of the odd ideas an old friend used to come up with at times–an old friend who, I later found out, was a paranoid schizophrenic. Smart, funny, personable, attractive–and way out on a limb. I’ve heard it said that the smarter you are, the deeper the trouble you can get yourself in. Sure seems to apply to House.

    The intricate sets of parallels in this episode, from plot lines to wardrobe and scenic color treatment, are masterful. The whole episode is beautifully done. I just wish it had offered something less grim to occupy the mind till season 6 begins.

    Looking forward to your interview with Doris Egan!

  • Melanie

    What a sad, cruel ending, Barbara. I didn’t see it coming at all (I had dismissed every explanation saying « it’s a hallucination ») and I found the twist very cleverly written and, indeed, shocking to the extreme.

    The way the writers gave us all at once romanticism and tragedy, light and darkness, is fiendishly intelligent. Thanks to the power of fiction, these last two episodes allowed us to experience different hypothesis, different scenarios, one comforting and consoling, one disillusional and agonizing. I enjoyed the emotional ride.

    This was a beautiful ending, which provided me with a sense of closure (House plunging the depths of his journey) while remaining open-ended. It reminds me of Mad Men’s first season finale. Donald Draper experiences two different scenarios as he’s coming home to his wife and children. The first one is a fantasy (but the viewer doesn’t know it at this point) : he comes home right on time to take his loving family out on a week-end. The second one is reality : his wife and children have already left, he’s too late to come with them on a vacation. He’s sad and alone, listening to the bittersweet Bob Dylan song « Don’t think twice it’s alright ». Another intelligent and cruel ending.

    Your review is clever, dense and beautifully-written. I hope we’ll hear more from you on this fantastic episode and season. I’m really looking forward to reading your interview of Doris Egan.

    I’m worried for House, for Cuddy, for House and Cuddy, but very curious and confident at the same time : this ending leaves doors wide open for exciting storylines to come.

  • daniel

    to #76:

    that was the point, i think. that “punch to the gut” is what house felt too.

  • Nicole.O

    I also have a feeling this is their way of ending the huddy romance. I’d be surprized if they kept it going into another season. They tend to cut off those relationships fast and abruptly. There will always be tension between them but the attention given to it will probably fade. I seriously hope not, but after this last sucker punch I’m not holding my breath. Hopefully I will be proven wrong. Please Doris, prove me wrong! =)

  • Nicole.O

    Last week’s episode was my favorite of all time and now that all the beautiful interaction between House and Cuddy never happened it ruins it for me. Those scenes at House’s apartment where they finally let the walls down were so powerful and something I’d waited on for 5 years. To have that taken away feels like a punch to the gut. For those moments of tenderness and deep emotional intimacy to be replaced by an angry Cuddy declaring they could never have anything between them leaves me so dissapointed. The way she touches his face at the end is with compassion and pitty, not the same deep love he obviously feels for her. Heartbreaking that it was all fake. Kinda upset if you can’t tell. Feels like a cheap shot after all the build up, but I’ll wait a few days and watch it again. I respect the writing and think it was very well done, but I still feel like it was one step forwad and right into a brick wall. Why doris? Why?

  • jdc

    Thank you soooooooooo much House writers!!!!!!!!
    This is the only TV show that I watch, but I was devastated last week to find out that my favorite TV show was actually a soap opera in disguise. You have my adoration again now after that brilliant plot move last night.
    You “Huddy” fans must be livid.
    Well, at least you got to see the act happen, and for a week you believed it happened. Now let it go. House and Cuddy will/must never happen. Huddy = Grey’s Anatomy, Days of Our Lives et al.
    You should be so proud of our show. TPTB had every opportunity to jump the shark and please the masses momentarily with a predictable plot line. They pissed off a lot of fans but TPTB know they have to stay true to the root of the story of House(Holmes) & Wilson(Watson).
    Keep at it …..can’t wait til September!

  • alias

    Oh, and forgot to mention earlier, ‘The Trolley Song’ was written by Martin and Blaine, not Berlin. Still a beautiful piece. I always love your episode insights and your views on Huddy. As long as you write them, I’ll be reading your reviews. Take care.

  • DebbieJ

    Re #72: The show *is* called House, MD and the whole crux of the show is about the main character, House and his pain. It always was and it always will be. The secondary characters are there as a springboard for him, his thoughts, his orbit.

    And I feel that those who ship any pair and can’t see beyond their own ship are selling themselves short. I feel they are unable to see the show as a whole and that’s too bad.

  • Pat

    I knew Jennifer Morrison was a good actress but I didn’t know she was that good to act happy in interviews to sell this incredibly lame story line. It’s noteworthy that the writers had to turn the strong, relationship-savvy Cameron into a scatter-brained, commitment-phobic ditz who has to be told by every man on the show what she’s feeling in order to cut her down to fit in the marriage to Chase. What happened to the Cameron who took the lead in relationships and went after what she wanted? Gone, to prop House and Chase. How very General Hospital of the show.

    House needs to go back to basic psychology classes if the things the right brain doesn’t matter. Even as a metaphor, there is no excuse for that level of sloppiness.

    It was a great episode for Huddy shippers. It was a great one for House/Wilson fans. It was also good Chameron fans. Sadly, I fall into none of those categories and so I’m left wondering why we are going through the same thing all over again with House being hurt while everyone flaps around him, and whether the show will ever get back to being about medicine rather than soap opera and House’s pain.

  • barbara barnett

    Could not agree with you more, Phillip. Pretty sneaky of them with that short detox. and because they mess with stuff like that periodically, we were just as confused as poor House.

  • Just finished watching the episode.


    All of the criticisms we had of last week’s episode, especially that the detox didn’t take nearly long enough, suddenly make sense. It wasn’t just TV compression at work after all.


  • Debby

    By the way, enjoyed your insightful article. Hit the nail on the head!!!

  • Debby

    I must admit, I was very disappointed at the turn of events regarding House and Cuddy but after i wastched the show again, I have a different perspective.

    As for the performances of Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein and Robert Sean Leonard, all I can say is give them the Emmys! They were beyond stupendous! BRAVO!!

    The haunting “As Tears Go By” pretty much said it all.

  • Sera G

    Barbara, you continue to amaze and inspire me. Thank you for another perfect review.

    Fair warning, I am going to go on and on…
    This finale was probably the only realistic outcome after 10 years of severe drug abuse as well a the “rat’s nest” that is House’s mind. However, I was devastated by the final minutes. As so many people have stated, we suspended disbelief in epi. 23 that detox could happen in a day, because we wanted it to be so. That is the
    beauty and the pain for House, he too wanted it to be easy and over and he could move forward. To me that is what season 5 has been building toward. When he (and we) realize that it was all a delusion, our world is rocked.
    This episode left me quite depressed and I, too cried. I cried that House’s belief that happiness was finally attainable was a delusion and I cried watching him make that long walk to the hospital.

    After tossing and turning, I had to write some positives (granted, there aren’t many):

    1. I hope TPTB will show us House serious about detoxing and getting better. Will he have the strength to confront his demons (his father’s abuse, the loss of his leg, the loss of Stacy, although I think that is behind him, his fear of losing his “one thing.”)? I think it would be a fascinating exploration. Whatever bedevils him, it will have to be resolved or he can never practice medicine. Since there will be a season 6 (and 7 and 8, I hope) some version of success will have to be achieved.

    2. I still contend that House wants to get better and have a life. He said it on the bus to Amber, he has tried options other than Vicodin (although not seriously or long enough to make a difference), and he can actually imagine (literally) himself happy and in love. In my little world, that is where he will go, perhaps it will take 2-3 more seasons, but I refuse to believe that this amazing, brilliant, infuriating, beautiful man is doomed to misery and loneliness. Season 5 was all about that journey. I guess the trip will take a little longer than I had hoped.

    3. House loves Cuddy and she loves him. No questions, no debate. Thank you to #30, the rules need to be rewritten. “House” has already broken so many rules about what a ‘hero’ has to be, look like and do, that why can’t it break more about relationships?
    IMHO, the writers are smart enough to do it, and there is a huge fan base that wants to see it happen. I agree with all of those who commented on the poignancy that House’s delusion included her healing and loving to make him whole, clean and happy. This is not the first time that House has dreamed/imagined/needed Cuddy to help him.
    I, too, believe that this is not the end of their relationship. If a ‘healed’ House returns in season 6, I hope that the writers examine his relationship with Cuddy and Wilson in light of his mental change, whatever that might be.

    Two last points and I will stop:
    Isn’t ironic that the man who lives so much in his mind, was betrayed by his mind? The delusion had it all: the illness, the comfort he craves, the irritations (Cuddy breathing too loudly), the words that they might say to each other. It was so vivid.
    I smiled when he smiled at the ‘lipstick’ on his face. What a heartbreakingly sad detail.

    House mocks Cuddy’s search for unconditional love, and yet, that is what he yearns for in his hear and mind.

    Can’t wait for your interview with DE. Please express to her how much we love the show, the writing, the smartness of it all!

  • barbara barnett

    Donna–award winning? Not sure ’bout that, but thanks so much.

    It’s been a great season, devastating sometimes, poignant always. Like most of you, I’m speechless after last night’s episode and blown away by HL’s stunning performance.

  • alias

    Beautiful article, Barbara. It freshened my sadness over the finale. I want some happy next year! LOL Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to your DE interview.

  • barbara barnett

    Brian–thank you so much for your very kind words. I am truly blushing. Nope. Not David Shore in disguise, just a writer fascinated by one of the most intriguing characters written for any medium.

  • Donna

    Barbara- as usual your review of this episode was filled with great insights. Just what I needed.

    I’ve watched this episode twice now and the final act at least four times. There’s no getting through that last act for me without tears. As House emotionally deconstructed in Cuddy’s office it was stunning, heartbreaking and painful to watch. I was happy that she and Wilson were there for him and I anticipate they will be important in his comeback from his breakdown.

    Congratulations to all at House for a great season 5. And also, to you, Barbara for your award winning episode reviews and fun extras you’ve given us throughout this season. So appreciate you for it!

  • oxytocin rehab

    Nice dovetail at the end huh? Well written article!

  • DebbieJ


    The above is me being speechless. I can’t even begin to gather adjectives that describes last night’s episode.

    How sad. How devastating. How heartbreaking. That doesn’t even seem to adequately describe it.

    I first thought something was a little odd when House was twirling the lipstick in his hand in front of the team during the DDX and no one questioned his behavior. But never in my wildest imagination did I guess the end. Sure, I had a sneaking suspicion that House had hallucinated having sex with Cuddy (even tho I soo wanted it to be real!). But to have hallucinated the detox with Cuddy’s help just left me gob smacked!

    The look of realization when House said in Cuddy’s office, “no, I’m not okay”, just broke my heart.

    I’ll never forget sitting glued in front of the tv last night, with As Tears Go By in the background and tears streaming down my face. I’ve never reacted this way to a television show. What amazing story telling. How incredible were all the actors, especially Hugh.

    Doris Egan? You rock! Hugh Laurie? You rock harder!

    I’m wondering how they will pick up Season 6. Will we see House in the psych hospital getting treatment? Or will he be back at PPTH, his therapy and treatment completed?

    God, I hope it’s the former. What amazing storytelling they can do with that whole arc.

    ~who just pre-ordered Season 5 from Amazon

  • KC

    I wonder if we will get to see house as he recovers or if season 6 starts after house has recovered?

  • Brian in Colorado

    Barbara, you are a TREASURE of the Internet. I love your take on House, and I’ve now been through your entire archives. I confess at times I’m blown away at some of your insights.

    Or maybe you’re really D.S. in disguise!?

    Thanks for your work on these. Its no wonder the newspaper business is failing… the brilliant writers are all on teh ‘net.

  • Ella

    Is it just me, or do a disturbingly large amount of people seem to think that the House/Cuddy storyline is over? Of course it isn’t! The fact that House hallucinated the sex does not negate anything that we knew about their relationship. We can be sure that he loves and needs Cuddy because she is the one his broken mind conjured up to help him through his darkest hour. We can also be sure that Cuddy cares deeply about House; she instantly forgave him for his cruel words about Rachel, and his rabble-rousing in the hospital, when she saw him coming apart in the office scene. I imagine that she will play a huge role in his recovery next season. THE HUDDY SHIP SAILS ON, MY FRIENDS!!

    Yeah. Just had to get that out of my system.

    A side note: XJK (50), I think you must be right about Wilson. If Wilson had actually picked House up from the restaraunt in UMS, I doubt he’d have let House out of his sight until he knew House was really heading for help. Perhaps, during that scene, House was imagining what it would be like to pack his bags for rehab, and the reason he left to find Cuddy is because his mind was shying away from that possibility.

  • barbara barnett

    Sorry I’ve been so absent all day. Thank you all for your lovely commentaries and kind words. Looking forward to sharing with you my conversation with Doris Egan.

  • shortonthecobb

    What an absolutely devastating episode. I too was stunned silent by the last five minutes, feeling that it was almost unfair. After watching House suffer under such emotional baggage all season, I guess I was hoping for some sort of reprieve for him – but the end of the episode proved that House’s suffering might have only begun.
    Is there hope for him, in the form of Cuddy or otherwise? It was fascinating that his mind seemed to equate happiness and redemption with her. Like simplethings, I think that House was preparing to move in a serious direction with Cuddy, and to have it all be a delusion is hard to take. I feel like my puppy died too!

  • Christina

    A beautiful review again Barbara. I am still crying over last night’s episode. I feel betrayed as a Huddy fan, mostly because David Shore was promising that there would be a very cool way to have House and Cuddy sleep together, when in fact nothing ever happened… It’s sad and unfair and makes me cry again all over the place. And the worst part is that I cannot watch “Under My Skin” ever again because of it. I can’t watch the episode I loved the most because it simply never happened!

    I feel so sad for House. He is in love and now he knows it. But the woman he loves, the woman that his mind and subconcious chose to use as a way to feel some happiness, that made him replace those f*****g pills with her lipstick, that made his pain go away only by feeling her and kissing her and being with her, THAT woman does not have a clue about those feelings, those feelings that a misanthrop like House would be rare to have. If that’s not cruel for both of them then I don’t know what is…

    I am still shaken and in depression over the episode… I hope that our favourite couple will get some redemption next year. They both need it, especially House. He deserves some happiness and now it’s obvious that with Cuddy, he can have it! I am waiting for the DE interview in hope that at least she (even though she could care less about House and Cuddy) can give us some hope again…

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi Barbara and fellow commenters,

    I second Barbara’s plight for an Emmy for Hugh Laurie, long overdue and over deserved.

    And I also second Dee on praising Lisa Edelstein, she did a superb job and has done so throughout the run of the show. I love Cuddy on her own right and for what she brings out in House.

    This season has been a great journey within. We got to see so much of the characters and what makes them the people they are. I love psychological journeys and Season 5 is the best season ever for me (and a tough call to make since I truly adore all of House’s seasons).

    After last night’s episode ended I was in tears and wowed out of my wits. I kept reminding myself that I had to sleep (early day today) but I just couldn’t do it. The whole parallel reality thing had me doing double takes in my mind, looking for clues and for answers and feeling a bit like House himself.

    I look forward to reading the upcoming Doris Egan interview as I’m sure it’ll be one for the records.

    No answers though, just questions came up, so I thought to share a few (selected among my many):
    – What did House tell his shrink (and got the overload of follow up phone calls for)?
    – Was his love scene with Cuddy and that talk about the past a complete creation of his mind or had that happened for real once (their “first time”?)?
    – Why did Wilson edge him on and never talked to Cuddy about it (apart from showing up on the triple coffee cup scene)?
    – Cameron is always so keen to pick up changes in House, why did she miss something was up?
    – And for that matter, why did the team?

    I have more things to say but I’ll wait a bit more, I do need to watch it a couple more times and savour it in all its glory like a fine wine.

    All the best to everyone!

  • Jackie

    I’ll comment more later, but this morning while I was driving and listening to WCBS FM 101.1 oldies station, guess what song was played? Yep, “As Tears Go By”. At the end of the song even the disk jockey commented that the producers/writers of “House” chose a fabulous song to end the season on.

    Back to basics. Barbara, as always, your reviews are always true to the heart of the show. Last night’s episode had me shaking at the end. I watched it twice last night and the last ten minutes again to realize what was what and when. When House walked into Cuddy’s office and realized what state he was actually in, between the voice, the haunted facial expression and those eyes. OMG. The full impact of the detox but not detox, House embracing Cuddy, House walking through his apartment alone, the bathroom scene and the twirl of the lipstick when it’s actual the pill bottle. I don’t know if another program could have ever projected and tied in all the sequences so cleverly.

    Wilson’s expression when Cuddy walked into his office followed by the terrified House was absolutely great. He did himself one better by the look standing outside his car as House walked towards the Mayfield Psychiatric Facility.

    It will be a long May to September to wait and anticipate what the next chapter in House’s life will be as well as those at PPTH. The only thing more pleasant in September than the season premiere of “House” will be Hugh on that stage accepting his long deserved but yet to be awarded Emmy.

  • wackjob

    And yet ANOTHER random thought: that corny line, “I always want to kiss you,” makes perfect sense because House himself is a soap opera addict!

  • wackjob

    I forgot to mention how amazing Carl Reiner was in this episode–the gamut from hilarious to heartbreaking. When he introduced himself to Taub, the way he subtly broke down was pure genius. At first the viewer thinks he’s just comic relief, and then it’s like everything else on “House”–dark, dark, dark.

    Thank God for the wedding, and thank God it wasn’t Foreman and Thirteen! 🙂

  • XJK

    Wackjob – about Cameron walking up the aisle alone, I think it was simply an artistic choice. When intercut with the Wilson and House scenes: Cameron walks up the aisle alone while House and Wilson drive together. Cameron and Chase exchange rings as House hands his watch and other valuables to Wilson, then Chase and Cameron walk away together while House walks on alone.

    Second watching – as good as the first. I understand how people feel cheated by the delusion reveal, but I don’t think this is the end of House and Cuddy!

    The one thing I would like answered though is about Wilson. I assumed at the end of Under my skin that he was checking in with Cuddy, but now we’re to think that after House walked out to see Cuddy he just forgot about it and went home? Or did House hallucinate Wilson coming to get him from the bar in the first place, and Wilson thought Amber was gone following the insulin shock? Because that would answer why Wilson didn’t mention the hallucinations at all during Both Sides Now, and make more sense, especially as we never actually saw him dial Wilsons number. Anyone have any thoughts? Or have I missed something in the episode that explains that?

  • simplethings

    I feel like I was not only punched, but that my puppy died, someone let the air out of my metaphorical tires, and that I’ve been dumped.

    I was angry last night. To the point of tears at last night’s show. I knew it was well done. I knew it was smart, like it always is, and I knew it was true to House’s character.

    However, I felt so betrayed by the writers that not only was the love scene that truthfully has been being built up for the last 5 years in my opinion was fake, but my favorite truthful scene from the two of them, Cuddy’s reveal about the endocrinology class was completely in his head.

    I realize I should probably take solace in the fact that we get insight into just how deeply House does care for her, but I’m so deeply disappointed and depressed that after season 5, we’re still stuck. And I know, I know, this is House, it’s not happy, it’s depressing, he’s damaged.

    But so is she. And I wouldn’t have put it past her to choose House over Rachel and stay with him while he detoxed.

    I realize that all the viewers had to suspend their disbelief over the shortened detox scene, but I so wanted to believe that these two characters after a night of honesty and vulnerability could come together and be with each other.

    I need to watch again, I realize. And I know this show isn’t about House’s relationship with Cuddy. It’s about House, singular, but I think one of the reasons I was so drawn to the show was his relationships and I felt their strong pull to each other.

    I know I’ll never get a happy ending, but I want them to have a candid conversation at some point. I feel like since it wasn’t it the cards this season, the season where the two of them were really on their way to each other, it won’t ever happen.

    Also, I think House was dead serious when he suggested they move in together. He was done playing around. He might have said it in a playful way, but he knew he was ready to jump in, and to me that’s the most depressing part at all.

    I knew Cuddy wasn’t serious when she told him they probably couldn’t ever have anything more personal. I wonder what happened between the scene where House says he’s not okay and she brings him to Wilson. How filled in is she as to what his delusions were?

    I was further angered by the end of the episode when I expected Cuddy in the backseat to accompany House to the Psychiatric Hospital.

    The comfort there is that she was probably at the wedding to not alert anyone else to House’s whereabouts. I’m curious if House will take his delusions to heart and attempt a real relationship with her next year or if this is the end of House and Cuddy (one of the most compelling relationships on television if you ask me).

    After writing this, I realize that I need to rewatch both episodes back to back one more time, but they’re so depressing, I might have to wait awhile to view more objectively.

    I’m still angry, but I think DE probably wanted that emotion from her viewers because we’re probably supposed to feel some of the same things House felt after he realized his delusions were in fact, his delusions.

    I need a House break truthfully. This one hit hard.

  • Kim

    Thank you so much Barbara, not only for a great review but for writting and uploading it as soon as you could.

    I totally, totally loved Both Sides Now and the entire season five. The best season so far.

  • Michelle

    This episode had my head spinning with emotions from happiness to freaked-out to depression. Unbelievable writing, incredible acting, and powerful delivery. My heart’s pounding just thinking of what’s in store fore season six.
    Don’t have much to say because most of it was already mentioned in previous comments, but to start off: Hugh Laurie.
    Amazing. I agree that if he doesn’t win an Emmy, there will be some strong-worded hate mail leaving my mailbox.
    Second: the previous night. I was absolutely crushed that the whole night before was not just a hallucination, but a complete delusion. Everything from Cuddy’s hand-holding comfort, to the immediate detox. However, the fact that it was the scenario House imagined, told me that the magic of a one night detox, the love of Lisa Cuddy, and feeling no mental or physical pain are his innermost desires, and I can’t complain with his choices. But just for once, I’d love to see him happy (for something that REALLY happened!) in season six.
    Third: the very end.
    I cried. I don’t deny it, but I practically bawled when House turned back to exchange a glance with Wilson just before the door closed. It was a look that said more than a thousand words. There was a petrified look that screamed to be taken as far away as possible, yet he knew what had to be done, and said a silent thank-you. Wilson’s been there for House when he was in trouble and helped cover for him, but he stood beside his best friend in his darkest hour, and can’t do anything more to defend him. He can only watch as the doors shut. (Anybody got a tissue?)

    I can watch that episode over a dozen times a day for 3 weeks and still not be satisfied. Good Lord, this summer’s going to be a very long one…
    Beautiful review Barbara. Thank you.

  • wackjob

    Phenomenal review, Barbara, of a simply SOARING season finale. I was tempted to run around NYC spray-painting “DORIS EGAN IS GOD” everywhere, but look what happened to Eric Clapton when that happened. (Of course, now I have to eat all of my ranting words about the one-night-wonder-detox!)

    Lisa Edelstein was amazing, especially in that final scene; she conveys an amazing amount in her expressions. And Robert Sean Leonard…his rapport with Hugh Laurie makes their scenes together play like a brilliant but dangerous dance. I was absolutely astounded by the ending, and when “As Tears Go By” came up, I bawled like a baby. I even rolled back the last 15 minutes to watch them again. Now I want to rewatch the entire episode.

    Did anyone notice that HL was dressed in bright clothes throughout the episode, and then when it all fell crashing apart, he was back in dark clothes? Nice subtle bit there.

    The wedding was beautiful. We know Chase has no parents, but yes, I was curious about Cameron walking down the aisle by herself, and who the flower girl belonged to. Although Cameron has always seemed so alone, and unlike Chase and Foreman, we’ve had no insight into her personal background except Dead Husband.

    My only cavil is with the hospital he went into; did it have to look like a haunted house? Today’s psychiatric hospitals are as bright and up to date as other hospitals; or they are units of other, larger hospitals. Of course he couldn’t go to PPTH, but it’s so old-fashioned to make the hospital look like that. (“Fringe” did the same thing, I believe.) Believe me, mental hospitals are frightening enough no matter how nice the artwork in the commmon areas are.

    Come to think of it, they look even nicer than the rehab facility in the Tritter arc. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a connosieur (sp).

    Emmy’s all round, I say!

    I just ordered Season Four…except for the finale episode, I actually haven’t seen any of it, and I can’t get through the entire summer with no House!!!!

  • XJK

    Apologies for the incoherence – literally just finished watching the episode! #40 Becky – Yes, I feel like I’ve been punched!

    Wow. I loved this! One minute I was watching, thinking it was a fairly mediocre episode, and the next I was blown out the water. It was similar to Kutners death, suddenly cut the rug from under you. One minute you know whats happening, the next you don’t. Then Amber reappears, then, to make things worse, there’s Kutner!! Fantastic writing from Doris Egan to make both worlds (real and fantasy) play out so neatly.

    Emmy’s all round for Hugh, Robert and Lisa. Even without speaking, the three of them played out the last scene so beautifully; you just know what each character is thinking.

    Barbara – blog writer’s emmy to you for putting together such a brilliant review in such a short time, pulling all the right themes forward and presenting them without losing the poetry of the episode. Thank you.

  • blacktop

    Kudos to Doris Egan for a brilliantly ambiguous script for this finale. Her strength as a writer for House/Wilson shone through in this episode: every nuance of Wilson’s cautious optimism for House during the first two-thirds of the episode and his final wistful look of sorrow and hope as House entered the mental institution were vintage Egan and splendidly portrayed by Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard.

    Combining this episode with the reality as we now understand it of the previous episode certainly strengthens the relationship between House and Wilson: almost everything after House leaves Wilson while packing to go to the institution in “Under my skin” was a delusion concocted by House’s broken mind. The only true thing was his insult to Cuddy about her baby. The ending montage of Chase with Cameron, Cuddy with her baby, and House with Wilson was clear-cut, if disheartening.

    I was quite disappointed that the powers that be chose to end this excellent season on this note. I believe that season five has been a coherant and complex examination of House’s efforts to take down the immense barriers he has erected against emotional commitment and intimate exploration.

    In particular, this season has focussed on the interwoven efforts of House and Cuddy to grapple with their own blocked emotions, to strike out in a new direction for their long-standing and complicated relationship. The interplay of highs and lows in that relationship this year was outstandingly portrayed by Laurie and the incomparable Lisa Edelstein. The slow and subtle movements of Cuddy and House toward an understanding of each other’s needs and limitations was carefully and meaningfully unspooled throughout the season.

    Sadly, the fact that House was suffering from a massive delusion as revealed in the finale served to severely undercut the impact and import of the House/Cuddy rapprochement. I do not refer to the faux sex. I am actually glad to have that lovemaking not be real.

    But I would have preferred that the intimacy and candor, the sheer vulnerability and trust of the night-long exchange between House and Cuddy be real. This intimacy and genuine sharing is the real ledge we had hoped to see House jump off in his quest for healing and peace with himself. Instead, he only took that jump in his troubled mind.

    Now, sadly the trajectory of the entire season is seriously undermined and much of the integrity of the show is called into question I think. I agree with those who argue that in his delusion, House revealed to himself (and viewers) that his heart’s desire is for an abiding happiness with Cuddy. I actually think House came to that conclusion in “The Itch” earlier in this season, so I question the importance of underlining this insight in the finale. Only the die-hard Cuddy haters in the fandom could continue to believe after the first half of season five that House did not care for, even love Cuddy with his heart, body, and intellect.

    It is certainly nice to have that depth of emotion confirmed in the finale, but it would have been such a significant step for House to be able to share his insight with Cuddy herself.

    An equally serious consideration for me is that I fear that now the showrunners cannot credibly return to another ramping up of the delicious tension and attraction between House and Cuddy. As viewers we have been there, done that, been denied even the t-shirt. Another tease of the magnitude and delicacy of this season’s efforts just won’t fly, I fear.

    I remain as addicted to this show as House is to Cuddy, so I am looking forward to season six and the adventures it holds for House and for us.

    And yes, an Emmy for Hugh Laurie, please!

  • blacktop

    Kudos to Doris Egan for a brilliantly ambiguous script for this finale. Her strength as a writer for House/Wilson shone through in this episode: every nuance of Wilson’s cautious optimism for House during the first two-thirds of the episode and his final wistful look of sorrow and hope as House entered the mental institution were vintage Egan and splendidly portrayed by Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard.

    Combining this episode with the reality as we now understand it of the previous episode certainly strengthens the relationship between House and Wilson: almost everything after House leaves Wilson while packing to go to the institution in “Under my skin” was a delusion concocted by House’s broken mind. The only true thing was his insult to Cuddy about her baby. The ending montage of Chase with Cameron, Cuddy with her baby, and House with Wilson was clear-cut, if disheartening.

    I was quite disappointed that the powers that be chose to end this excellent season on this note. I believe that season five has been a coherant and complex examination of House’s efforts to take down the immense barriers he has erected against emotional commitment and intimate exploration.

    In particular, this season has focussed on the interwoven efforts of House and Cuddy to grapple with their own blocked emotions, to strike out in a new direction for their long-standing and complicated relationship. The interplay of highs and lows in that relationship this year was outstandingly portrayed by Laurie and the incomparable Lisa Edelstein. The slow and subtle movements of Cuddy and House toward an understanding of each other’s needs and limitations was carefully and meaningfully unspooled throughout the season.

    Sadly, the fact that House was suffering from a massive delusion as revealed in the finale served to severely undercut the impact and import of the House/Cuddy rapprochement. I do not refer to the faux sex. I am actually glad to have that lovemaking not be real.

    But I would have preferred that the intimacy and candor, the sheer vulnerability and trust of the night-long exchange between House and Cuddy be real. This intimacy and genuine sharing is the real ledge we had hoped to see House jump off in his quest for healing and peace with himself. Instead, he only took that jump in his troubled mind.

    Now, sadly the trajectory of the entire season is seriously undermined and much of the integrity of the show is called into question I think. I agree with those who argue that in his delusion, House revealed to himself (and viewers) that his heart’s desire is for an abiding happiness with Cuddy. I actually think House came to that conclusion in “The Itch” earlier in this season, so I question the importance of underlining this insight in the finale. Only the die-hard Cuddy haters in the fandom could continue to believe after the first half of season five that House did not care for, even love Cuddy with his heart, body, and intellect.

    It is certainly nice to have that depth of emotion confirmed in the finale, but it would have been such a significant step for House to be able to share his insight with Cuddy herself.

    An equally serious consideration for me is that I fear that now the showrunners cannot credibly return to another ramping up of the delicious tension and attraction between House and Cuddy. As viewers we have been there, done that, been denied even the t-shirt. Another tease of the magnitude and delicacy of this season’s efforts just won’t fly, I fear.

    I remain as addicted to this show as House is to Cuddy, so I am looking forward to season six and the adventures it holds for House and for us.

    And yes, an Emmy for Hugh Laurie, please!

  • Celaeno

    I don’t even know where to start. “Both Sides Now” was powerful and heartbreaking – the most exquisitely executed TV episode I’ve ever seen. I’m more in awe of House’s writers (and Hugh Laurie, of course… for God’s sake, he’s amazing) than ever before.

    I know that tons of people are disappointed (or should I say outraged) by the fact that House hallucinated the lovemaking. While I’m as disappointed as any self-respecting Huddy, I feel like the writers made a realistic decision. The emotional blows House has suffered all season are too numerous and too traumatic to be resolved as quickly as “Under My Skin” made it seem they would be. We should have known that last week was too good to be true! Anyway, all is not lost. Progress has still been made on the Huddy front. The scene in her office made it obvious how much she cares.

    Here’s hoping that, as Season 5 was all about House’s downward spiral, Season 6 may be about his slow and steady climb back up.

  • Jess

    I really feel for Wilson, here. He was really happy to hear about House’s detox and relationship with Cuddy. He saw how happy House was, too. Now he finds out it was all wrong and he was just further fortifying House’s delusion.
    AND he has to drive him to the hospital and watch him go. 🙁
    Wilson is an amazing character.

  • Becky

    Does anyone else feel like they just got punched?! I do! My emotions have taken a serious beating….Poor House! Poor Huddy! It’s gonna take some time to really look at this episode objectively.

  • AreKay

    Wow, let’s see. We had a love affair that wasn’t, a wedding that was (I think) and House, who cherishes his intellect above all else, losing his mind. No wonder my brain exploded!

    From one side of my brain came the realization that the twists and turns of the last few episodes were brilliantly conceived and that, given both their personalities, House and Cuddy will never be a “happily ever after” scenerio.

    From the other side of my brain came “Can’t we give the guy a break? Can’t we give House, the guy we all love, the tiniest bit of happiness without it being just a hallucination”. Maybe a few Emmys will help take away some of the sting. (Powers that be, are you listening out there?)

    And so now we all wait for September.

    Barbara, thanks for the insight and beautifully written article. Anxiously awaiting your interview with Doris Egan.

  • Souker

    Dear Barbara
    When it was over my first thought was that it wasn’t as mind blowing as the 2 final episodes from season 4. But as tears, i mean time goes by, I am becoming all the more convinced that this is another great finale. There are so many details that come to mind:
    How much every character has evolved in the last few seasons. And yet House is the only one that seems to be staying the same, as if refusing to change, but the consequences are devastating.
    Last year it was known we had a two part finale. This year i think they tricked us, so as not to spoil the surprise, because to me the last two episodes are very much linked same as last year. But then again, weren’t they also linked to the previous episodes? This is a season that i found a little slow at the beginning, having had great expectations from last season’s finale. But after the first 4-5 episodes i have to be really picky to find an episode that wasn’t great.
    I really admire the people that work in this show for the unity of the storyline. Even Kal Pen’s leaving the show didn’t affect it, instead it was used superbly to fit the story.
    God, so many things spring to mind, as i write this post. As someone else mentioned in another post, I also asked myself the same question in the marriage scene, where Cameron was walking alone to the altar: Doesn’t that woman have a family? I guess we ‘ll never know…
    And on another note, isn’t it cruel for Spencer and Morrison to relive their personal story? I too thought the same at times and claiming the actors are professionals doesn’t seam to justify it completely. But it is their business and nobody elses’, isn’t it? And they don’t seem to have to struggle through the scenes, probably because they managed to get on with their lives and still respect each other without any bitterness. After all, “in this world there is something that fades even more than beauty: sorrow”.
    I could go on writing random thoughts and this could take all night. The bottom line is that I am thankful that there is at least one thought provoking tv show that doesn’t insult my intelligence. I really don’t care anymore if Hugh Laurie or House win the Emmy s. I don’t think the Emmys deserve either of them.
    Thank you for your wonderful reviews.

  • Dr. Juliann Mitchell, PhD


    You always do a fantastic job reviewing the House episodes but you have outdone yourself with this one. Thank you so much for the clarity and characterizations you have shared with us your readers.

    Best wishes,

  • Docz

    Thank you Barbara for sharing your wonderful analysis of this episode with your readers. I’m a doctor turned scientist, have always cared for my patients a lot and would always go all out to help them. I am doing research now to help in understanding heart diseases. But in my perosnal life I have never been able to connect emotionally with people much and I realized I’m much like House in that aspect. As years go by I’m sub-conciously distancing myself from the people who love me and becoming engrossed in my science. It’s painful for others but someone’s got to do it, you can’t have everything in life can you? I feel the wretched condition of House helps people live and is the driving force for his relentless quest towards the truth. Someone’s gotta pay the price and House is that someone.

  • Lisa G

    Barbara Thanks for a wonderful review. I have to say that this episode broke my huddy heart but I can not deny how well written and powerful it was. Simply amazing script and acting on all parts. It left me stuned.

  • Veresna

    I thought it was a brilliant but devastating episode. Yes, I know that House and Cuddy would not go off dewy-eyed into the sunset, but to learn it was all an hallucination was gut-wrenching. I have appreciated my subsequent viewings of the episode more, marveling at hos seamlessly they miscomunicate about ‘last night’, and in the end I manage to derive a slight bit of comfort from the thought that it at least proves there is a part of House that dares to hope that Cuddy loves him and that he might one day find the courage to approach her honestly (though I must also confess that Rachel would seem an addition, insurmountable object at the moment).
    I suppose you have already talked to Doris Egan, but there is a bit of controversy arising over whether or not the hospital is supposed to be the one mentioned by Wilson in “Under My Skin”, with the accompanying question of whether or not this is a voluntary admission in order to detox/rehab or is he really admitting a mental breakdown and realizing that this could potentially be a place he never leaves? The fact that he gives up his personal items voluntarily and strides in alone gives me some hope that it is still a voluntary process, but after the way my hopes were dashed previously, perhaps I am looking at it too optimistically?

  • Peachie

    I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. I knew something was wrong with the 2nd to the last episode. However, i loved loved loved the finale. I was sooooo happy that House did not act like an idiot and do something stupid (just in case the hallucination wasn’t a hallucination and they really did do the deed).

    Lisa and Hugh deserve to get an award for their acting… Lisa was great and Hugh was marvelous to say the least. It was their acting that sold everyone on the con of the hallucination.


  • Orange450

    Thanks for the great review, Barbara. The episode left me in a strange state – veering between awed speechlessness and the inability to stop talking about it.

    I know there’ll be more discussion later in the week, but I wanted to mention something that occured to me specifically about the “Both Sides Now” theme. About Amber representing the coldly rational, dispassionate side of House’s nature, and Kutner representing the side that tries to cope with emotional turmoil by burying his problems under a veneer of “everything’s OK”, perhaps also his caring side – the side that would do anything for those closest to him.

    Interestingly, given House’s dependence on his rational, unemotional analytics – this time around, the solutions to both the PoTW’s, and Chase and Cameron’s issues required love. It was the PoTW’s girlfriend, who came back out of love, to shed light on the left hand’s anger against the spray. And even though House may have given Cameron good advice, it was Chase’s understanding that Cameron couldn’t give up the last part of someone she loved that really got them through their impasse.

    Have a great time talking to Ms. Egan. Please tell her how many adoring fans she has! Can’t wait for your write-up of the interview.

  • Holly

    Thank you for this beautifully written, insightful review. Honestly, I felt a bit at sea after watching last night. I also seriously disliked the episode. However, after reading your review, I’m feeling a bit less shell-shocked, and a little more forgiving. 🙂 I can’t wait for that interview with Doris Egan!

  • byzantine

    I was weeping uncontrollably by the time they paralleled the wedding and House’s going into the psych hospital. My perception of Cameron’s and Chase’s nuptials was entirely marred by the image of House being driven through a dreary gray landscape to a prison like structure. I cannot imagine listening to the song played at the end without bursting in tears. For now.

    I thought that the episode was brilliantly written and executed. As a person who studies visual narratology and style, I was intrigued to see that it was divided stylistically into two uneven portions—a longer one, not particularly Housian, with House under the spell of romantic endorphins and a shorter and more powerful one that was initiated by the very believable anger of Lisa Cuddy and his realization that he’s been imagining it all along. In the first part we were given a glimpse of a happy House, of House in love, and in love with Cuddy at that. By the end all of this was gone and we saw him at his most miserable and alone. I was heartbroken, still am. I am sure that this was the effect the writers were after. Do we want House who is distracted by his romantic interest or a House who is cynical and unhappy but who continuously has epiphanies that heal people? Tough one. Can the two coexist? I thought they could, but this does not seem to be the rule for successful television. In my opinion these rules have to be ‘re-written’ ?.

    As an incurable romantic I loved that House thought of Cuddy as his cure. Or am I wrong here? I loved how at the end she was caressing his face which was both comforting and sensual, a meager substitute for their imagined passionate encounter.

    I thought that Lisa Edelstein was not only mesmerizingly beautiful in this episode, but also her performance was beyond outstanding. I have seen Cuddy fight with House but never have I witnessed her being so exasperated and tired of the whole game. Cuddy’s nervous laugh at the end of the exchange in the corridor left me convinced that she had had it. I wonder—was he joking when he offered to move in together? Why was he smiling? Was he trying to distract her from her anger?

    One way or another—it is unbelievable that the fifth season is over. I am grateful for it, as I am for your thought provoking articles Barbara. I am especially thankful for sensing our eagerness to put our thoughts in writing (which I find very cathartic) and for providing the forum to share them with the wonderfully perceptive group of people who read your blog. Thanks again.

  • Coconut-Ice

    A beautiful review, Barbra, as always. Reading your reviews has become as much a part of watching House this season for me as watching the episodes, and my, what an episode the finale was. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every episode this season, but the last three especially have been on a level of their own in terms of just everything that goes into them being at its best.

    I did wonder what you thought of House’s pursuits of Cuddy? I know some fans are angry that it was a hallucination, but to me that he hallucinated all of that, and that he asked her to move in, seemed in a way a bigger step then the one night stand would have been. It obviously goes beyond the physical for him, and there could have been no better way to show that than how it played out.

    Re-watching the episode made me cry, because suddenly everything became so much more poignant, every conversation House has that day, every scene with the “lipstick” an object of art that deserves full analysis. His happiness was bittersweet in a way that really choked me up inside. And to me, there is a definite parallel between this episode and the finale of season 4. House metaphorically driving Wilson away, without meaning to, and then here Wilson driving House away, and their facial expressions in both finales were rather similar I thought.

  • freya ozyman

    this is the best review of last nite episode by far. great review on the house’s right brain is the one that make him vulnerable. I guess that ties it up to the patient, but I didnt see that until I write your review.

    I was shocked with the finale twist, but glad at the same time. it wont end well if house and cuddy become a couple, the show would never be the same.

  • Dara

    Thank you, as ever, for a wonderful review. Other people have said it, and I agree, that my viewing of each new episode isn’t complete until after I’ve heard your take on it, and come over to read the thoughtful comments on this board.

    A devastating episode. Felt like I had been punched at the end of it. I had to turn off the TV, the computer, and try to distance myself from the episode for a while. But this morning, I woke up thinking about it. This one is going to stay with me for a long time. And as much as I hoped that maybe House had found a bit of happiness, this other road they’ve taken us to is tremendously compelling.

    Still, there are some episodes of House I just can’t rewatch. Not because they are poorly done (because they never are), but because it is just too painful a thing to see again. The Tritter arc. End of Wilson’s Heart. And this episode, I suspect.

  • Sheila

    I wasn’t looking for more sadness just now in my life, as I battle colon cancer and face chemo shortly, but I couldn’t turn away from House last night. They simply broke my heart. The tears I shed for House’s loneliness & fear drew from my own well of sorrow.They- broke-my-heart. I worry about HL psyche given he goes to that deep well of pathos & lonliness so often . DS is a ‘functional vampire’ with his cast , delving into their pain to realize some strong story lines. I feel like a sadist watching Jesse & jennifer get married knowing their personal history ; as well as knowing HL’s battles with depression.I hope DS is careful & doesn’t push to far.
    I second the motion for the HL Emmy with nods to RSL and LE. I don’t know what else the man could have done to make me feel his pain anymore. High-fives to the writers.

    May House find some moment of peace…even joy…in Season 6. It would make me smile even under my current circumstances. I would like that.

  • Wnkybx

    Beautifully written review, Barbara! There is so much in this episode that a full review would take 20 pages, but I like your focus on House. I love your haunting commentary that everybody lies (like House says), including his own brain.

    Overall, I have mixed feelings about this episode. Unlike Val, a second viewing didn’t resolve those feelings, but it did bring more positive feelings than negative ones. My right brain loved the beautiful execution and seamless storytelling, Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein’s performances, and the David Lynch-ian reveal in the last scene between House and Cuddy. My left brain is sighing in disappointment that TPTB really did go down the “Gotcha! It wasn’t real!” road again. In the week between “Under My Skin” and the finale, I had felt confident in my delusional belief that they had something else up their sleeves.

    Disappointment aside, and getting over the fact that TPTB decided to reuse and recycle, the view we got of House’s heart was incredible. We saw that in the depths of despair, House believed Cuddy was his salvation, from the sinister Amber and from his addiction. We saw the deep trust he has in her and the connection he perceives to exist between them. When Hugh Laurie gave us a smiling House, we also saw the potential happiness Cuddy would bring him. Previously this season we saw clearly that Cuddy wanted to move forward with him (hence all the antics in “Let Them Eat Cake”), and we suspected House wanted her too but was dragging his feet. Now we see that as a coping mechanism for his downward spiral and increasing misery, House’s brain went into overdrive and created a beautiful love story of his innermost desires. How heartbreaking it was for reality and his left brain to emerge again, shattering the illusion of happiness. The look in his eyes during the final minutes will haunt me all summer. House’s imaginary time with Cuddy becomes more disturbing when placed in the context of the beautiful reality of Chase and Cameron’s union at the altar. The stark contrast between the two love stories—complete miscommunication vs. open communication, misguided childish antics vs. adult decision to commit, Cuddy’s tears of anger/hurt/frustration vs. Cameron’s tears of joy, House’s expression of complete devastation when reality hit vs. Chase’s expression of complete happiness after the “I Do’s”—truly core-shaking.

    What’s also scary is how alone House has truly been during his descent into madness. I’m glad the review addressed how it was missed by his friends. Despite all of his support and good intentions, Wilson, his best friend, still missed that House had lost his mind in this episode; his suspicion that something was amiss (during his whole lecture on romantic endorphins) didn’t cause him to question House’s sense of reality when 24 hours ago he was hallucinating Amber. Even House’s team didn’t say anything when they looked somewhat alarmed that he was twirling his vicodin bottle. In this episode we get a small glimpse into how isolated Kutner could have been with his inner turmoil and how private his quiet struggle with depression was.

    I feel a bit numb about House’s admission to a psych hospital. I’m not sure where the story will go, but I am certainly ready to find out (4 months from now!!).

  • simchasd

    This episode reminded me a little of the “I See Dead People” Movie. Even though nothing happened between Cuddy and House the previous night, their dialogue fit neatly into what the other was saying, without giving anything away until the end of the episode. Can anyone explain to me the point of House wanting to make Cuddy angry? At that point did he have any doubts as to her feelings for him? Was he trying to prove how she felt toward him scientifically?

  • Christina

    Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts on this last episode. One previous comment was in regards to family members. I was sad to see Cameron walk down the aisle alone, even though she was radiantly happy. I also would like to see the reappearance of House’s calm, strong mother. The one person he can’t lie to. His relentlessness and devotion to duty came by way of his father, his observational powers by way of his mother. Surely Wilson will have let her know about her son’s institutionalization? My blood chilled at the sight of this “good facility” that Wilson recommended. It looked so grey, cold and forbidding, more like a prison than a place to get well.

    Looking forward to the Doris Egan interview–thanks Barbara for supporting our dependency.

  • An amazing episode. The ending was totally destroyed for me because of a writer in New York Times, who wrote about the ending without spoiler warnings before the ep was even shown! (It was in my mailbox at seven o clock, New York-time – you can read the article via the url)

    But I got over it and enjoyed the episode, re-watching it now.

    The ending was amazingly played and Hugh looked VERY handsome. (He sometimes looks unbelievable handsome and sometimes he DON’T. Love him all the same.)

    About Chase and Cameron. They had a little God and Abraham moment there.
    Chase wanted Cameron to give up her husbands sperm, but when she did, he offered her to keep it. The sociologist Francesco Alberoni says this is the final test of true love. The future is looking good for the two of them.

    Looking forward to the interview with DE!

  • Louise

    Barbara, I totally agree with you about the strengths of Season Five!

    I had read some hints that the House-Cuddy lovemaking might be a hallucination but I dismissed it a too cheap a device for the classy House producing-writing team. BUT, they pulled it off in a highly coherent and believable way. Yes, it broke all our hearts and the philospher-god of House, Jagger, was back to sing us through it.

    The thing that makes me smile, however, is all the online snipes at the poor medicine last week as House detoxed overnight! We ALL missed a major tell–it was only an addicts fantastic delusion that he could detox overnight and wake up the next morning and make love to the woman he loves.

    Season Six. Oh my that is too far away.

  • GMF

    Thank you for a great review as always Barbara. After viewing the episode last night I must admit I was very angry and felt I had been cheeted by TPTB. I guess in my own mind after five yrs I just wanted to see House have a little piece of happiness, alas though that was not to be. So House has finally crashed, the look of relisation on his face was trully heart breaking to say the least, and also heart breaking watching House walk to an uncertain future! Will he loose his licence to ever practice medicine again? I guess those answers will be answered next season. It sure is going to be a very long four months. I look forward to reading Doris Egans take on this episode. Also want to agree about Hugh Laurie, he has to win the EMMY this yr, he is always just amazing. I would also love to see Robert Sean Lenoard and Lisa Edlestine also finally get nods this year.

  • Dominique

    Thank you for this wonderful review! I agree with every observation you’ve made.

    The thing that haunts me is House’s desperate look at Wilson before the door closes, and the subtle upward creeping of the corners of Wilson’s mouth: it’s okay. That’s what it said to me along with Robert’s eyes. Their friendship will always be my number one reason to watch House MD (the way it’s written, so complex and having them share emotions through looks and body language) and Hugh and Robert will be my favourite actors out of the whole cast forever. People that don’t want look very hard underestimate the relationship they share as the Emmy committee underestimates Robert Sean Leonard’s outstanding portrayal of Wilson and Hugh Laurie’s purely divine portrayal of House. Both of them should win. They take the complexity and the loyalty and the being there for one another but… not really being there for one another, giving every slight twitch of their muscles the significance of a full blown theatrical dialogue to an unreachable level.

    Emmy’s for both of them… they’re long overdue! And I mean that.


  • Janna

    Thanks Barbara! Great article!

  • Val

    This was the first time this season I could say, after the first viewing, that I had mixed feelings as well leading towards disappointment. I was really hoping that (despite speculation…as it “makes a spec out of you and someone named lation” lol) what had happend was not a hallucination.

    As much as House had suffered this season, I hoped that he had found his light at the end of the tunnel. However, the gut-wrentching final scene with philosopher Jagger’s haunting song was a perfect, telling choice of where House is in his journey. As depressing as the first viewing was, the second had bits of light.

    The first light, Wilson: RSL was wonderful and it is clear that Wilson cares deeply about House. He was his cheering section (urging him to act on his feelings for Cuddy), his board of sound advice (his warning about being careful to not hurt himself or Cuddy), and the sadness in his eyes as he watched another person he cares about walk into an institution. I was sad for him too!

    Second, of course, Cuddy: The center of his delusion, and yet the center of his happiness. His addiction, his right brain, his subconscious whatever force brought him to his happy delusion rather than his lonely reality was very telling. She certainly had to put up with a lot of “poo” in this episode and as angry as she was still a point of stability for House. The parallel that Cuddy was there both in his delusion and, eventually, in reality remains a high point in very dark episode.

    I enjoyed the PoTW from the start. His different physical halves compared with House’s inner halves was the most telling story of the episode for me. What a great twist to have the girlfriend, Annie, ultimately put the missing pieces together.

    So, upon a second viewing, I have no more mixed feelings about the episode. It was brilliantly written, directed (Greg Y again!), and acted. I think every viewer will go mad if Hugh Laurie is passed over for him Emmy this year. What a tour de force! The “detox” scene in 5.23, his obvious happiness in reaction to his delusion, his realisation of his delusions, and the final walk to the instition…and that was just in the last two episodes.

    I guess all that’s left now is to say how great I thought this season was (easily my fav so far) and make a wish list for season 6…and I already have a few ones on the list! Maybe when the summer winds down we can all comment on our wishes…wouldn’t that be fun?!

    Looking forward to your interview with DE, Barbara! I really enjoy how she writes House and Wilson. She gets to the core of their friendship each time. I don’t know if you’ve already had the opportunity to talk with her yet, but I’d sure be interested in knowing how she sees the relationship bwtn House and Wilson has changed during this season?

    I really enjoy this blog. Looking forward to the discussions during hiatus!

  • barbara barnett

    Maria–I disagree that the plots and storylines have been weak. They have not. Season five has been about as cohesive as it gets. I disagree with their choice to highlight 13/Foreman as much as they did, but beyond that…

  • barbara barnett

    I agree that Jennifer–and Jesse were terrific in these last episodes. The range of emotion shown by them–and really everyone in the cast, but especially as they were dealing with their own crisis really highlighted their gifts.

    I agree with you Sandra that Cameron and House share a unique understanding of each other. And I am so happy to see it more fleshed out and matured this season. She’s gone to House twice now for advice regarding Chase–not because he a rational, dispassionate thinker, but because he’s a deep thinker and he understands her (and she knows it.) Likewise I think she understands him in a way that is unique. She sees beneath the exterior and sees a romantic and his more noble side.

  • Maria

    Thanks Sandra, I think people often take for granted how gracious and professional Jesse and Jennifer have been during the last two seasons of House trying to act their way out of a couple of scenes every other episode and still be able to shine through weak plots and storylines.

  • dave

    Have to underscore Dee – Lisa is far too under-rated. The emotion she showed in a simple twist of her hip while collapsing against the reception desk in the ‘balcony scene’ where House shouts out he slept with her…..wow that’s communication…..deflation, resignation, all in body language. Great ensemble, great actors, great writing and thank you Barbara great reviews!

  • sandra

    I just need to add it: “Congratulations to Jennifer Morrison, she’s a wonderfully talented actress who really deserves some credit for the scenes she has had to play in the last four episodes of the season.” Agreed, her part was rather small (too small if you ask me) but brilliant! And I’m sure it was anything but easy for both, her and Jesse Spencer to replay their personal play (though with a different ending for now), no matter if you’re a professional or not, that can’t be easy.

  • sandra

    Though I often disagree with your views, I still find it very delightful reading your reviews, they are giving me a chance to take a look at episodes through the eyes of a Huddy fan – a ship I’ll never be able to comprehend, which doesn’t mean I’m not interested in differing opinions. Thanks for your reviews, and especially a big Thank you for these lines: “And in the midst of all this sadness, Cameron and Chase marry in a beautiful ceremony intercut with House’s journey toward his own uncertain future. It is poignantly ironic that House, understanding Cameron’s fears and advising her to take a chance on happiness, saves her relationship with Chase, as his own possibility for happiness evaporates like a mirage in the desert.” It’s the beauty of the relationship between House and Cameron, they understand each other and they trust each other, both simply wanting happiness for the other. And while the finale’s storyline was rather predictable and not really surprising for me (too many spoilers in advance I guess), I’m still amazed by Hugh’s brilliant acting. Him standing in front of the hospital broke my heart… I can’t wait to see House finding his way back to his old self, to his unique personality and his life!

  • Maria

    Congratulations to Jennifer Morrison, she’s a wonderfully talented actress who really deserves some credit for the scenes she has had to play in the last four episodes of the season.

  • barbara barnett

    Dee–you’re right of course. As I’ve rewatched, each time more stuff comes to me as well. I wanted this to focus on House in particular, but I’ll have lots more to say about the episode. I can’t believe I hadn’t made the connection between House’s illness and his missing the symptom with Reiner’s character. It was a very important clue.

  • Manu

    Mixed feelings. It was a cheap cop out, but a brilliantly executed one. I hope to feel better once/if Doris Egan sheds some light on this one.

  • mzMraz

    Thank you too Barbara for shedding some light and making us love each House episode one after another!

  • Dee

    Don’t forget Lisa Edelstein. She was beyond amazing in this epsiode. She is so often overlooked. It’s time she gets the attention and accolades she deserves!!