Home / TV / TV Review: House, M.D. – “Charity Case”

TV Review: House, M.D. – “Charity Case”

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+2Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Very few doctors would view altruism as a symptom. But it is no surprise that the cynical Dr. Gregory House, on the road back to his “normal” (for him, anyway) would see it that way. Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) plays Benjamin, the overly generous patient of the week in “Charity Case,” episode three of House, M.D.’s eighth season.

Of course House is right, eventually, anyway. Ben owns a computer company. A wealthy man, he endeavors to pay it forward by giving away pretty much everything he owns—including both of his kidneys—just for the asking. No one quite believes House, suggesting that his ingrained cynicism fuels his refusal to believe in Benjamin’s kindness for kindness sake.

The week’s case provides an interesting context for examining motivation, generosity and even an ethical relativism that creates conflict between House and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). Conventional wisdom would suggest that Benjamin’s altruism is kindness and caring—selflessness, albeit a tad extreme

But giving gifts, small and large, monetary and less tangible, can be viewed from a more self-serving point of view: it makes us happy to make others happy. “It’s better to give than receive,” says an old proverb. But why? Giving becomes a balm for an unhappy soul—or an attempt to buy a little happiness. That’s the prism through which the chronically cynical House would view it, anyway: generosity as selfish selflessness; altruism with an agenda.

But at this point, House is mostly just trying to get back to his life. Giving himself a much needed haircut (and I’m loving the fact that The Powers That Be have decided not to cover his thinning hair this season), House is a new man—or not. The haircut symbolizes House’s re-entry into his universe: familiar hair, familiar toys—and though he’s not successful, he wants to surround himself with familiar physicians with whom to brainstorm.

Opportunistic ex-con with a sob story looking to re-fund his defunded diagnostics department, House sees a potential mark in Benjamin—at least that what he admits to his pathologically generous patient. As House grapples with the ethics of taking money from a patient whom he believes not to be in his right mind, Wilson does his Jiminy Cricket routine, reminding House about things he already knows (but sometimes needs to hear from his more morally straightforward friend. House knows that he cannot ethically take money from Benjamin, no matter what the purpose—or motives. On the other hand, Wilson’s own ethics go out the window when Benjamin offers to donate kidney (and then two!)

The ethics involved in taking advantage of someone like Benjamin are tricky. At what point does generosity become pathological, or in House’s world, a symptom? Is it $1 million? A kidney? Two? Is it less morally reprehensible to harvest a vital organ from a man with altered mental status than to request of him a substantial contribution to adequately fund a needed medical department?

Ultimately, neither Wilson nor House get what they want. Wilson’s patient dies and because House cures Benjamin—and cures his pathological altruism—House is out $1 million in funding needed to rebuild his team. House is right. Once Benjamin is cured, he’s suddenly not quite so gullible…er…generous.

But rebuilding his team, even if he’d had the funding, might prove a bit of a challenge. Chase and Taub are nowhere to be seen (I miss them), and Thirteen? She’s given up medicine (or so she wants to make herself believe) to travel the world with the woman she loves . She wants “normal” for the short amount of time she has left before Huntington’s Chorea makes her life just this side of impossible.

But what really makes her happy? Is fleeing to Greece hand-in-hand with a new lover really going to trump medicine? House doesn’t believe that, and does his best to test the theory, tempting Thirteen with the challenges of diagnostic medicine. But when he discovers that her return to Team House is more out of guilt than her pursuit of happiness, House sacrifices a bit of his own happiness to ensure hers. When he begins to understand that her ultimate happiness would be to find love in another person, and not her job at Princeton-Plainsboro, he lets her go—literally. Firing her, House does her the greatest kindness he can, absolving her of responsibility for the lives unsaved by taking the impossible choice from her.

The only thing that might have made the great final scene between House and Thirteen even better would have been a lingering shot on House’s eyes and a softly spoken “Have a good life” once she’s out of his line of sight. Yeah, I know. It would have been a tad too emotional for this series. Oh well.

I liked the game playing between Adams and Park, dancing on the line between Adams’ generosity and Park’s defiant refusal to accept anything from anybody, no matter how irrational it may seem. Park sees Adams as trying either to buy her affection or harboring guilt for being so wealthy; Adams tries to find Park’s breaking point. What will it take for Park to relent and accept a little generosity? Of course it’s all played with a Housian bent in which both women are playing for their own self-interested reasons.

It was nice seeing House back doing clinic hours, and in so many ways, this episode (in so many ways) more resembles a first season episode than anything from more recent seasons. And it should, I suppose. House hits the wall at the end of season seven (literally), and a year has passed since then. And although House is trying to pick up the pieces of his old life and put it all back together, it’s clear that, for him, it’s a new world. The only things really left in place are his private office (and its artifacts) and Wilson. House doesn’t seem as morose as he had back in the early days of the series, or as pensive. On the other hand, he’s been locked up for a year, and in a way, this is probably the happiest he’s been since last season’s “Bombshells.” So I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to be introspective (he had plenty of time for that in prison). Personally, I like the more introspective, soul-searching side of House, and I do hope that we see more of that as the season progresses.

So now we have two weeks until the next episode—special for Halloween! In the meantime, I invite you to check out ABC’s new fantasy-drama series Once Upon a Time, which debuts Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. The reason I mention it here is that it stars Jennifer Morrison, who, of course, played Allison Cameron on House for nearly six seasons.

Powered by

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)."
  • While I enjoyed “Charity Case” more than the previous episode, I’m looking forward to Chase and Taub coming back – I think that is when Series 8 will start to take a bit more shape.
    I still hope we will see Andre Braugher’s shrink at some point this season. I just think bringing the shrink back from Season 6 is a no brainer. At the end of Season 7, House was arguably in a worse state that the end of Season 5 and the shrink could introduce another element of stability since House coming out of prison. I just feel it’s a missed opportunity if they don’t bring him back, at least for one episode.

  • The Other Barnett

    Broken Leg,

    I have noticed that, at least, the limping and vicodin seems to be de-centralized from our attention. I wonder if its a commentary about how fascinated House is to be out and focused upon something outside of prison and also so focused upon re-establishing himself at PPH, getting the “band back together” and maybe even being out of the Cuddy shadow.

  • The Other Barnett

    First off, I am never going to catch up…first time I’ve been on in a couple months….forgive me, Barb. The show was pretty good, the interplay between Yi, Annable and Laurie has lots of promise. The reference to House “feeling his way around” certainly shows as he awkwardly tries to help the patient, but also tries to secure funding for a team. House cannot be House without people who play off of him…and Taub and Chase each provide another facet to him and his performance in diagnostics.

    I agree with Amie that House himself is not very entertaining or interesting right now, but who would be less than a month or so out of the big house? I can only hope that is the thinking behind the writers lack-of-pop in the one-liners and soliloquys.

    Amie, I also agree Foreman is boring, and can only hope that this is intentional because of the new position he finds himself in as DoM.

    Barb, don’t you get the feeling that the writers are intentionally focusing a bit more right now on the patient and the newbies because there is an interest at “righting the ship” a bit in focus? To me it also allows the audience to get right with House and to get to know the new girls before we see Chase and Taub enter.

    Finally, outside of Wilson, no one has really dealt with House concerning how they feel about him post crash. Would it not be wise to have some kind of opportunity for everyone to hash out their feelings in one setting? Bring in Andre Braugher’s shrink and set them in the DoM’s office for the whole episode, while Yi and Annable deal with a patient. Just a thought.

  • Amie

    Foreman is so booooooooring.
    I’m sorry I sound like a troll. But I have trouble seeing the bigger picture. He’s the only old one still interacting with House (Wilson has had hardly any scenes with House), the new girls don’t really challenge House, and it is all very boring…

    I’m very sad to say this but now, when I look at House, I think he is pityful and not funny with his antics and one-liners.
    Is it the car-crash, the hookers? Or is it HL’s acting? I don’t know.
    This is all so sad…

  • Action Kate

    I’d forgotten about the wife! I wonder where she is.

    I like Park’s stubbornness, but she does sound like a ten-year-old. Add to that Adams’s casual dress and Thirteen deliberately in civvies, and House’s “Charlie’s Angels” quip led more to me thinking “This is a bad ‘One Tree Hill’ crossover.” I’m hoping that once everyone is dressed like doctors, it will feel less like the second coming of Doogie Howser.

    Barbara, I agree that I would have liked to see some tiny acknowledgement on House’s face at the end that he’d done it deliberately for Thirteen’s happiness. It didn’t have to be as blunt as “have a nice life”; a half-smile would have sufficed.

  • ann uk

    I love this complex character and will miss him badly when he finally leaves the screen.
    What makes this show so brilliant is watching House struggling with the moral conundrums that his cases throw up. This episode with its complex examination of the moral ambiguities of generosity is a perfect example.And , of course , we get to see the real generosity of House.
    More, please! And more of those silent soliloquies of House alone.

  • Thanks everyone. Thanks Cesar!

  • Excellent Review, Barbara. I also loved this episode. I think it was better than the previous ones. The relation between Park and Adams was funny and perfect.

    I can’t wait for what follows.

    Saludos, y que tengas un bonito día.

  • Good point, Elizabeth.
    I do find Taub sorta dull, but at least his presence will liven up the DDX’s.

  • Chase will be back in the 5th episode, I’ve heard.

  • Yes,Broken Leg. Something is missing… House doesn’t show a lot of pain with his leg; no Vicodin (or not a lot), a kind of “too easy” arrangement for the entire deal. But I still love HOuse and always will.

  • PS Sure would love to see J. Morrison return again for another guest appearance, even if she does have another show going on…

  • I like the new team, esp. Adams, but I look forward to seeing Chase, at least, return. I know there are many fans of Jesse Spencer who are unhappy that he’s still not back (I hear from them on Twitter, etc). Sorry that 13 didn’t get to say goodbye to Chase, whom she liked, and who obviously liked her. It seemed as though David Shore et al were trying to set them up as a couple for a while. (I am baffled by Foreman’s letting 13 go so simply and without many feelings… even for him). As for House saying “Have a nice life,” Barbara, if that’s what I understand you to be saying? — 13 won’t and can’t have a nice life, can she? Her happiness with the new lover (name never really learned) will soon be lost in the onset of her Huntington’s. I thought it a shame that we did not get to see House keeping his promise to 13 (though she obviously still has some years left in her) to “kill you” (“The Dig”) when she needs help. That was a good, and excellently acted show. I liked some of this one (esp the game between Adams and Park) but I felt it was repetitive of other episodes of House. I don’t think House really intended to take the money from the rich guy. Not that he’d have anything against it, but that he was trying to prove it was a symptom (which 13 did much more efficently and quickly).
    I will really miss her. I wish there were at least a possibility that she will return for a guest appearance now and then. A great character! (And think of the dramatic possibilities of House having to decide if he will endanger his freedom by keeping his word to 13… now that he’s been in the slammer.)
    Who knows. Maybe if there are other seasons? But it feels, even with only 3 eps, as though they are almost rushing through and preparing for this to be the final season. I’m sorry and hope I’m wrong.Even Hugh Laurie, one of the great actors of all time in my opinion, seems to be giving a light performance some of the time. It is unbelievable that he wouldn’t at least think about Cuddy and their relationship after all this time, and also– has anyone noticed? He didn’t take a Vicodin at all, as far as I noticed, during this past episode. What is happening with that, or did the writer just forget?
    I like clinic duty too,and hope they will do more of this. (But how does Foreman–dull choice for DOM, I feel– get House to do this? Cuddy had so many weapons on her side– sex primary among them. Foreman has only the threat of jail…)
    I wish someone else could have been Dean. NOt that I don’t like Omar Epps, but it has been done before, and though Epps is bringing something new to it, I’d have liked to see some new and different dynamic. Maybe Foreman has to rejoin the team part of the way through the season?
    I’m fussy, I guess… but I love HOUSE and will watch to either its or my dying breath.

  • Elisabeth

    Speaking of Adams and Park, I think their roles are going to make more sense when we get Chase and Taub back and we get that good give and take in the Differential Diagnosis.

    On another note, look how much Olivia Wilde improved as an actress from her early years on House. At the beginning I thought she was awkward and wooden and you could always see that she was an actress playing a part. By the end of her days on House she had really honed her acting chops and I couldn’t see the actress, just the character.

    I will bet that Adams and Park will also improve as they learn from HL and RSL and the other excellent role models on the show.

  • Paulac45

    Like your review. Still don’t like CY/Park, and definitely think they need to get her a voice coach so that some of her lines are actually understandable and audible. didn’t care for the Adams/Park schoolgirl antics and do hope that is not going to become a regular feature. Loved the final House/13 scene, so well done, but would have at least
    Iked a reference to his promise to her from last season, either him telling her it still stood, or even better, her telling him he was absolved from it, as she is actually no longer alone – however, wasn’t to be. Actually do like that they are taking it real slow in House’ return and not trying to resolve/explain everything all at once ,I.e.Cuddy, the green card wife, where are Chase and Taub. This week we had the goodbye to 13, Adams coming in (unfortunately, as her acting leaves a lot to be desired), and House settling into his ‘home’ a little with the tussle and deception of Foreman, which Foreman of course actually saw through, some clinic – and I don’t think it should be compared to the little girl from the earlier season, since the complaint/symptom was totally different – and this one was understatedly funnier, there was some more interaction with Wilson, and starting the war with his nextdoorneighbour, ortho, in a very Housian way. Thought the subtle things in the episode were great, like House’ obvious frustration of being stuck unable to go get a takeaway, imprisoned by the ankle monitor, and did like all the ‘retro’ reminders of scenes from previous seasons – the haircut/previously a shave, dropping food from the balcony onto the janitor. The episode improves on subsequent viewings but not one of the best, but was written by Sara Hess whose writing I have never been hugely impressed with who does seem to be very ‘female friendly’ – possibly why this episode focused too much on the two female newbies – who just are not enough of a match in the acting department when in scenes with HL, particularly OA, perhaps will improve over time.

  • RobRow

    Lauren, thank you for that very elaborate statement of the counter argument. Some things I thought (and others I didn’t see), but was unwilling to acknowledge. All I can say is, if she comes back both her and House may be a little happier. And what that says about them would be heartbreaking. Realise I’m not that altruistic as a viewer. But I really can’t think of any other TV drama this deep.

  • Hi KMC–I think House is feeling his way. He’s far from being ready to talk about Cuddy, I would guess (at least IMHO). As far as the green card wife, my guess (fanwank) is that she divorced him for her boyfriend (after all House was away for a long time).

    House (I think) owns his apartment (I think that was established in Season 2). Also, House must have money stashed away, so I’d guess the mortgage would have been taken care of on autopay, etc. I can’t wait to see him in his home, but it’s really only been two episodes since he’s been back at PPTH.

  • KMC

    I’m still not sure how I feel about this season…the fact that I haven’t bought last season tells me that there isn’t an episode from season 7 that I feel the need to watch again…unlike previous seasons’ episodes that I’ve watched ad infinitum.

    But I agree that things are missing. What did happen to House’s “green card” wife? All it would have taken is a comment or two between House and Wilson to wrap up that strange little story line. And when will we see a serious discussion regarding Cuddy? They owe us that…they owe both the character and LE that.
    Maybe it’s just me, but these two new doctors just seem like blank spaces…and why oh why can’t they hire actors who at least look like they’re actually old enough to be doctors…not high school sophmores? It’s too bad Wilde had to leave just when her character had gotten interesting..but I wish her well. They do need Chase or Taub..the two “little girls” just don’t seem up to the rigors of House for a whole season…and Foreman being DOM puts him out of the diagnostic loop; but I’m not looking forward to Taub’s “twin sons of different mothers” arc…that belongs on General Hospital, not House.
    I know I seem very negative…but I’ve loved this show, and I too would prefer it went out with a bang…not a whimper. I just caught “Birthmarks” today, and the comparisons…writing and acting…are striking. There very much is a flatness to it all right now…and a sense of shortcuts being taken…seriously…considering everything that’s happened..having House settle back in so easily (compared to after “Broken”) makes it seem that they aren’t even trying. I wanted to see Wilson hold out a little longer…and I’d like to find out how House can just go back to his apartment after at least a year and a half…who paid the rent, etc? Wilson? I’m getting a sense that the writers and production team are simply glossing over/forgetting about (and hoping we’ll forget about them too) anything that would put a roadblock in the way of House settling back into his routine at PPTH with barely a hiccup. And yes, I know logic has never been the show’s strong suit…doctors drawing blood, running lab tests, doing medical imaging…yeah, that happens a lot (worked in the field for 20 years, every tech I’ve ever met loves the show…but thinks the whole “doctors do everything” part hilarious.) Still, given what led up to this season, a few explanations do seem in order.

  • BrokenLeg

    @ 8 Josie123 & @18Housemaniac & @ 20 Celia & @ 22 Joan

    I agree with all your posts. They express my feelings too.
    Really something, or a lot is missing.Tension, creativity, interactions….

    And on the other hand, is really necessary to have Taub back? I think the story with his two babies & two women is really boring and an stupid plot.

  • HouseMDFan

    @Lauren !!!!!!! I want to draw hearts all around your post 😉 So wonderful!

    I also think that her drivenness, as RobRow called it, was very much a reaction to her illness. But she’s been without the job for basically two years, experiencing the last months and death of her brother + prison in the first (which left her in a very dark place), and personal happiness in the second. After that, I can see her making this decision, making her life matter in a different way, by enjoying it as long as she can – even if it isn’t an easy decision, which was the point of this episode.

  • Lauren

    I’m sorry that was so long! (Feeling guilty because I feel like putting that in writing was more for me than for you guys) 😉 See what I did there??? haha

  • Lauren

    I think the episode Rob might be referring to is “The Greater Good” (also written by Sara Hess actually). I found parts of “Charity Case” to almost be an interesting response to “The Greater Good”–especially regarding 13’s apparent change in opinion about ‘making a difference’ vs. ‘personal happiness’. What’s even more intriguing about 13’s change of heart, is the fact that since “The Greater Good”, she had appeared to have lost the hope that she had previously been holding on to. Her interactions with House in “Changes” last season demonstrated that neither of them felt that they were going to have a happy ending, and they each had their own coping mechanisms to deal with it. One of those coping mechanisms really seemed to be their friendship with each other–something I personally will really miss now that she has left.

    Perhaps it was finding love in the year that House and viewers did not see, that led 13 to re-evaluate things. If she had completely given up hope, and then found this seemingly healthy and loving relationship that made her happy for the first time in years, I can see her wanting to jump at the opportunity to experience that love and happiness for as long as she has left.

    As Rob pointed out though, 13’s worldview has always been about contributing to the betterment of humankind over her own personal happiness, and the guilt that we see in her in this episode, is the struggle between that worldview, and what she wants out of life now. House knows her better than anyone. He knows how she thinks, and he knows that if he wanted to, he could use her guilt to convince her to stay–in fact, at first, he does. The look on House’s face when 13 embraces her girlfriend shows that he now knows something else…she is happier than he had ever seen her. Her outlook has changed because SHE has changed (not much…but maybe a little), and love has done that. The fact that House is willing to concede that point (that maybe she has changed), is in itself an act of charity. He never mocks her newfound happiness or implies that it won’t last (whether he thinks that or not, we don’t know…but it certainly would be a Houseian view), instead, he wants her to pursue the happiness that neither of them thought she would have.

    House’s selflessness doesn’t end there. He is giving up a friend and confidante. Someone who accepts him for all his flaws and understands him as well as anyone could. A kindred spirit with whom he shares a lot history (despite the fact that they’ve only known each other for 4 or 5 years). He’s also giving up an experienced member of his team, and one of the few things in his life that hasn’t changed.–Knowing House, we know that this is something he would not want to lose. Furthermore, by acknowledging that 13 can be happy, he is putting himself in a position where he may have to admit to himself that there is a chance that he could be happy to–something that on paper, sounds great…but to House, is terrifying. Misery loves company, and House lost that company in Thirteen….the thing is, he didn’t lose it, he let her go. And that says something about House.

    This episode was all about altruism, and yet House ‘firing’ Thirteen was probably the only true altruistic action in the entire episode. House did not have anything to gain from this…and so much to lose. Much like House’s promise to 13 in “The Dig” it was an act of love. On a side note, two of the most loving and kind things ever said to 13 were not only said by House, but were: “I’ll kill you” and “You’re fired”. If that isn’t indicative of a Houseian relationship, I don’t know what is!

    In that final understated moment between House and Thirteen, one could see in their eyes that they were acknowledging the history and the understanding that they shared–as well as the fact that they may never see each other again. (and if they do, it would likely be when she was very ill, and he was following through with a promise.) Both HL and OW were excellent.

    A couple seasons ago, I remember saying to a friend that if 13 were to leave, it would likely be because she was dying or had died, or because she decided to “move to a tropical climate to have fun for her final years”. I scoffed when I suggested the latter and said that I hoped that wouldn’t happen because the former would be deeper and more emotional. On any other show, I would have been right. As much as I still hope that we will one day get to see House fulfill his promise, I feel like the layers to this ending for 13’s story made it beautiful.

    She is the only character who has left House’s circle happier and better off. People have certainly left wiser (i.e. Cameron and Masters), and others have left hurt, angry, and devastated (presumably the case for Cuddy), and a couple have left dead! (Poor Amber and Kutner). The fact that the woman with a terminal illness and a chip on her shoulder that has gotten bigger and bigger every season, was able to be genuinely happy, was also Houseian in a way. She’s also the only person who House has willingly “let go” because he knew that would be best for her.

    I’ve obviously read a lot into this, but with show, I think that its fair to, because the writers are so good and they really acknowledge the layers of these characters.

    I will miss the House/Thirteen dynamic on this show…but I feel like this was an appropriate send off! As much as I would have loved for them to hug, or for House to speak some words at the end, I feel like the understated way in which it was played, where neither character revealed too much of how they were feeling, WAS the House/Thirteen dynamic that I love so much…for that reason, I think it was perfect.

  • Joan

    housemaniac18 I tend to agree with you — I’m happy enough with the patient focus, especially this week’s guy and the ethical issues they used to address and its nice to have thinky time, clinic back etc. but the shows are a bit flat…Wilson and House are having very low key interactions, Foreman is playing DOM straightforward and House is not overplaying his hand to challenge him so there is nothing like with Cuddy. Not having Foreman, Taub, Chase or 13 to be challenging House we are left with two pretty subservient ducklings. Particularly Adams is bugging me — she was the dr. when he was a prisoner and after his antics lost her her job,he summons her to be a freebie part of his team and she basically shrugs and buckles down to work! I appreciate that she gained respect for him finding out his bio and seeing him work, but it seems like there should be a little more push-pull in this relationship? I do like the way he is relating to little asian dr. — I can’t even recall her name, ugh, especially playing her against Adams, that felt like old times. But there is some dynamic still off — partly the lack of sparks with ANYONE –Foreman, Wilson, anyone??? And not romantic sparks w/Adams, please G-d. But even the clinic scene — the joke and everyone’s reaction was so flat! Nothing like the hilarity of the little girl masturbating with House finding ever funnier names to refer to it or other kiddie scenes — they wrote the joke but it just landed with a thud. Maybe writers are rusty on clinic scenes, lol.

    I also agree that while there is some discomfort in House readjusting, overall it is moving along pretty quickly to the way things were for him at PPTH. Oh, except that Cuddy is gone and its his fault she left but no one is going to mention her name or allude to anything other than the cool street cred fact that House is now an ex-con. I don’t know if its laziness or lack of skill or pointblank refusal to address the elephant in the room but it seems to me there should be something about how Foreman/Wilson/House feel about this new situation and the cause thereof… should we now refer to She Who Shall Not be Named? History being swept under the rug is definitely the way it feels. And not just re Cuddy but all the characters (I guess we’ll see in a few weeks when Chase/Taub return)we are just moving on.

  • RobRow

    Rewatched the episode, and realised I was wrong about Thirteen. Guilt does seem to be her main motive for wishing to remain a doctor. But it still feels unnatural for me, given what the character said in a previous season – what was the episode? – about having to make her life matter because of her latent disease. She’s always seemed driven to me, in ways that would make her choosing a girlfriend and Greece unlikely. Accept she may simply have changed her priorities, and left herself more open to guilt.

  • Celia

    This. #18 Housemaniac
    DS and Co. have beat such a retreat to a revisionist ‘past’that they should have the cast all wearing T-Shirts that say ‘ Been There;Done That’. Even the humor is a retread…a masturbating child identified in Clinic and a shocked parent. Original.

  • Michele1L

    I Really liked this episode and agree that it reminds me of the first season. I really loved the final scene between House and 13 and think it played out just as it should have. There has always been an underlying affinity between House and 13. I’ve loved their relationship from the beginning and am sad to see OW go. It seemed fitting that she wouldn’t hug him before leaving. For me, clearly she wanted to because she was fighting back tears. In some respects the two are so similar. So defiant through pain.

    I actually miss both Taub and Chase, but the season, so far is progressing as I feel it should. House was in prison for a year. Eevryone is not going to be waiting there for his return a year later. They moved on as they had to. It’s all making sense. (I don’t miss Taub’s crazy baby-daddy storyline, but his prickly interactions with House during differentials would be welcomed — especially since Foreman is no longer part of House’s team.)

    I’m sure that the Cuddy matter and the whole thing with the green card wife will be revisited at some point. We have a lot to look forward to.

    It’s good to see Katie J’s hubby back again in a producer seat. I haven’t noticed Paul A.’s name in the credits for quite some time, and I generally enjoy Sara Hess’s episodes.

    I want the theme song back!!!

  • housemaniac

    I have to admit, this back-to-basics season is not really working for me. In hitting the reset button, TPTB seem to have erased practically the entirety of the show’s past. When people on this blog say that something is missing (last week and this), I think one of those things is the past itself. If the premise is that people don’t change, then I would think each character’s history (and the history of their interactions) would weigh more heavily on the present than has been the case so far this season. The season seems to be operating in a vaccuum and, for me at least, this is very unsatisfying and lacks drama. There’s almost no tension in the episodes and as hard as that can be to watch sometimes, I miss that feeling in the pit of my stomach that I used to have when I watched the show. Also, episodes 2 and 3 have been stand-alones. With the possible exception of the introduction of two new characters (and given their character development so far, I am not sure that their introduction counts for much), there have been no arcs established!

    I agree with Josie123 about the lack of a problematic transition back to the hospital for House. No legal, emotional, interpersonal repercussions whatsoever (okay, five minutes of tension with Wilson and an ankle bracelet that seems to have no real consequences for House, but that’s it)? That simply does not ring true on this show and is another reason why there’s virtually no dramatic tension this season so far. Also, Josie123, you mention the writing. On another blog, several posters mentioned the acting. As much as I hate to say it, I think it’s as much or more the acting–including, alas, that of HL and RSL–that is off so far this season. The long-termers (Laurie, Leonard, Epps) seem burned out. And the new actors do not yet quite fit in. At least that’s my take. Would love to know what others think.

    I am sticking with the show. I’ve come this far and will not break off this relationship. But so far for me this is a disappointing season and if it continues like this, I think it should be the last. I think often of Barbara’s comments on the X-Files, which was a show I adored, going on too long. House hasn’t reached that point yet, but I’d hate to see it end with a whimper instead of a bang! Sorry to go on for so long….

  • bigHousefan

    Barbara –

    I watched the episode a second time and recalled your comment about the final scene with 13, and thought… After all that’s happened, House is still a romantic!

    Also, loved the choice of music in these three episodes as well. Loved that the Phoenix Center was next to Berta’s Bar (Recession Proof). Loved the haircut scene and how it felt so familiar when thinking about the shave in ‘Softer Side’ Season 5.

    I’m enjoying the continuity and finding comfort in the familiarity amongst all the change. Maybe that’s the point.

    Wasn’t there a promo that said something to the effect of ‘What if House’s greatest failure is the key to his redemtion?’

  • Elisabeth

    “Slow, quiet redemption” – I LIKE it!

    Like you, Barbara, I would have preferred some comment from House after 13 walked away, but this may be better as we can all individually imagine what he was thinking.

    I have to say that I think they are handling House’s re-entry beautifully. The discombobulation that House is experiencing with the PPTH environment and with his former colleagues is palpable. I am experiencing discomfort as I follow along with HIS discomfort. It takes brilliant acting and brilliant writing to achieve that end.

  • Rob-I think House’s realization that some part of 13 still felt guilty about leaving medicine, and might have kept her from leaving (or even loyalty to him). His act was ultimately selfless, truly selfless, because of the way in which he did it, to ensure that she would not feel either the need to be there for him–or for unnamed future patients. I thought it rang true for House, and the way in which he does things.

    With arranging Park’s father to come see her (and bring her dinner) also behind the scenes, I wonder if this sort of thing will become House’s slow, quiet redemption as the season goes on.

  • bigHousefan

    @HouseMDFan 12
    …repercussions, effects, can’t outrun yourself… perfectly stated!

    @RobRow 13
    “… but the story about Taub fathering two children was embarrassing and seemed to belong to the medical soap that House watches. Would happily see it forgotten. A bit like the wife.”


  • RobRow

    The final rejection of Thirteen rang a bit false – after seeming to establish that her need for medicine was more than just guilt, for House to cite it was hollow. It smacked of the writers’ and actress’s convenience. Otherwise, a very interesting episode, that made me think about my own feelings towards altruism. Loved the bit about an opportunistic ex-con trying to scam some money for his department. Have realised that House’s denial about Cuddy is actually making the tone of the show lighter and I’m thankful. A House wracked with guilt would be much harder to watch. How in-character I’m open to debate. I felt parameters were being reestablished, and the absurd contest between his team members – and House’s manipulation of it – seemed familiar territory. As well as excellent dovetailing with the main story. As for the return of Chase and Taub I have mixed feelings. Chase ok, but the story about Taub fathering two children was embarrassing and seemed to belong to the medical soap that House watches. Would happily see it forgotten. A bit like the wife. Insightful review Barbara.

  • HouseMDFan

    @bigHousefan & Filmlover

    I have been thinking about that line as well. Maybe he means that things aren’t really over but change, their repercussions and effects stay. Also, since he was talking to Park and about her hang-up about charity, he could mean that you can’t outrun yourself, that your history and your memories and your personality will stay with you.

    @Nate – So glad to see that somebody else enjoyed all the seasons and the fact that we’ve had this incredible journey so far. I don’t need House to change to like him, on the contrary, and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to explore all the corners of this character. Also, in the light of the first part of this comment, I don’t think it’s a circle, the events that transpired are forever a part of his and the show’s history and I wouldn’t want to miss any of them. (… yes, okay, I wouldn’t miss the classroom fight in “Two Stories”. *g*)

    Oh, and @bigHousefan, yes to the hug. Big YES. But anyway, the scene was completely beautiful and wonderfully played by both HL and OW. Thirteen trying not to cry was a bit heartbreaking, but it’s still a nicely positive send-off and therefore indeed bittersweet. Sara Hess is the queen of that.

    Another thing I loved in this episode was once again Foreman, continuing his rational and level-headed approach to House, which is really working so far. Also loved the House and Wilson scenes, finally discussing ethics again, and cheered when Park revealed their ploy at the end.

  • bigHousefan aka Lori

    Filmlover 9

    When I heard that line I thought he might be thinking that consequences never go away, hurt remains…?

    I, too, would love to hear others reaction to that line!

  • bigHousefan aka Lori

    I’ve enjoyed all three episodes! This season does feel like early seasons though, as many have said in the past I miss House’s thinking scenes, piano playing…

    I was hoping 13 would have given House a hug before leaving as I believe she saw right through his hard-ass act.

    The only thing that didn’t make sense to me was that he had his car fixed. Yes, he’s attached to his stuff not unlike a small child, but the car? I would think it a constant reminder and something he wouldn’t want to see again.

    I hope Hugh gets to sleep in an extra half-hour now that he doesn’t have to do time in the ‘hair chair’ as he once put it.

    Nate 4 – I agree!

  • Filmlover

    I would like your input on this: At the end House tells Park that nothing is ever over. Howevr, he knows that isn’t true. Relationships end. His relationship with Cuddy is over. I don’t mean romantically. I mean working and friendship. His time with her is over. So, do you think he means? Is it the memories and feelings that remain that keeps something from never being over?

  • Josie123

    I am enjoying House with his new team. He works at a teaching hospital, so it’s natural that he should have new students. Hugh Laurie has a nice report with these new actresses. I personally would prefer if Chase and especially Taub not return. I like how in this episode there was less time spent in the supporting characters stories.

    Although I liked this episode, there was something missing. I think the writers did not have any shots of House brooding nor rubbing his leg, to add some heft to his final scene with Thirteen. However, it just didn’t work for me. Except for noting having his old team back, things have been easy for him at PPTH. He has no stigma for being in jail by the hospital staff. He only popped one pill. Is he so happy to be out of jail that he’s just enjoying his relative freedom?

  • RobF

    In past seasons, House has expressed an opinion along the lines of charity / altruism / asceticism being a symptom, rather than just a part of being good. So, while they took that to an extreme in this episode, it was nice they also looked at the other side — how people’s own hang-ups affect how they accept gifts.

    But apart from that, I found the writing very weak. The interaction between characters was forced and the dialogue stilted. That’s to be expected with new characters; unfortunately the interactions between House and Wilson, Foreman, and Thirteen were also poorly done.

    I don’t know if the writers are just finding their groove for the new circumstances, the new direction for the show. I hope it will get better soon, because that was painful to watch.

    (Also, they’re not only avoiding talking about Cuddy altogether; they’re also continuing to avoid talking about House’s wife. Are we just supposed to pretend that never happened?)

  • 60 plus

    After these three episodes, I feel as though I can afford to stop holding my breath about what the new season will bring. So much good stuff. They have provided an insightful transition into what is to come.

    Nate, I thoroughly agree with all of your last paragraph, especially the ending. I think Wilson once said it best: “House, you are as God made you.”

    Barbara, thank you once again for your reviews and offering us this opportunity for dialogue.

  • tipi–patience. If House had everything back to normal by episode one–or even episode 4, people would have complained that everything went back to normal too quickly. Slowly everything in House’s world is normalizing for him.

    Nate–Thanks! I also like the new kids on the block.

  • Nate


    Very good review. All I can say about this season of house is that I didn’t know I missed the seasons of old until they were here again. I don’t miss Cuddy. Her purpose was served, which in the end was more or less the woman that finally pushed house over the edge. I stated in last week’s review, that the show now feels full circle. Even though we didn’t see just how house dealt with the fallout after stacy, we feel like we were there because of how he acted after Cuddy. It gives the show even deeper roots, and makes everyone’s point that the character doesn’t change the main theme. What makes someone change? Some are capable of starting anew. Others simply can’t. They try (like House has over and over again) but in the end they resort back to what is comfortable.

    I think in a way the circle of the show has been the pattern in house’s life even when he was a boy. Back in the third season episode “Son of a Coma Guy” he talks about why he wanted to become a doctor. It all came down to the Janitor who wasn’t liked by anyone, but when he was needed they had to listen, because he was right. House doesn’t like to be right; he needs it. It’s what sets him apart. It’s why medicine is something he risks his career (even his life) to find the answer. If House didn’t have medicine, who would he be? Why would people even acknowledge his existence? They acknowledge him because he is right.

    But, what I find so brilliant in my favorite show is that he is changing. This is not the House we met in season 1, even though in many ways it feels like season 1 again. This is a man who has tried to change for seven years only to find that his safest place to be is where he is comfortable. How could House be just a researcher like he talks about in twenty vicodin. Researching is just theory. There is no definite answer like in medicine. It’s where he belongs. It’s his validation. It’s the thread that keeps him tied to those around him. This season has been an absolutely brilliant first three episodes, with two new girls who feel completely organic to the show. Foreman as dean fits perfectly. House and Wilson are back in fine form. The patients are once again front and center. I don’t know about you but I actually got a bit of a chill when he was offering both kidneys and then all of his organs after dying. It was an episode that was subtle enough that the contrast between House and the patient is something we have to think about, instead of being obvious.

    I’ve loved every season. It’s been an amazing journey. And if this is the final season, I will relish in the fact that I got to experience eight years of an incredible journey about a very damaged man. Is House irreparable? I don’t think it’s the right way to look at him. I think House is House. And if he never changes for the better, it will be fine with me, because after all some people don’t change.

  • tipitinatoo

    House has GOT to have a team–by sheer force of personality, he is and will always be Head of Diagnostics at Princeton-Plainsboro. Foreman comes off as a figurehead, not a Dept. Head. House needs a whiteboard & differentials from a team to rev up his creative juices and allow him to chase zebras again. If not, “House” joins the ranks of all the other ho-hum medical shows that we all grew tired of. So perhaps it’s not a new medical team that’s needed, it’s a fresh new team of creative writers. The formula worked; don’t mess with success!

  • Amy

    It was a better episode than we’ve seen it a while. Liked House’s new team.

  • MusicandHouse

    I really liked this episode and i agree that it feels a lot like a first season episode in many ways, which is good, especially if this is going to be the shows final season.
    I miss Chase and Taub too, but they will be back and I am looking foward to that. I also can’t wait to see how House is going to manage to get his office back from the orthopedic department. There are no spoilers yet saying he will, but its House…we know he will eventually!