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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Confession”

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I confess! I confess! I’ve much missed Taub (Peter Jacobson) and Chase (Jesse Spencer)! And they’re back in House, M.D.’s latest episode “Confession.”  Not only are they a necessary ingredient to Team House, they are also really the only ones who can take new Dean of Medicine Foreman (Omar Epps) down a peg or two. I think their main role this season will be to keep Foreman from getting too full of himself (which he will do) and to keep reminding him of House’s value. But they are also integral to House’s diagnostic process.

Until this week, we, as viewers, had little framework through which to observe House’s return to Princeton-Plainsboro. With Foreman removed to his dean’s ivory tower and Wilson sequestered in his office most of the time, we only experienced House through the eyes of the newbies Park (Charlyne Yi) and Adams (Odette Annable). With Chase and Foreman returned to their places on House’s team, there is an energy in tonight’s episode I’d yet to feel since the season premiere.

House is also much more engaged in the medicine this week, instead of the game playing. (Although the paternity bet, only very slightly retread from the first season episode “Paternity” keeps the games afoot.)

Battlestar Galactica’s Jamie Bamber (whose American accent is as good as Laurie’s) guest stars as the week’s nice guy patient who falls ill while having illicit sex with a woman not his wife. However a side effect of his illness produces an aneurism that makes him so truthful he confesses to things he’s never done. Not only does he publicly confess to the affair, he confesses to everything from embezzlement to murder.

The entire episode becomes an inquiry into how much information is too much information. Confession is good for the soul—but whose soul? In the end, is the patient’s wife better off not knowing the truth? It may make him feel better, but what will do to her?

It’s a theme that the series has explored before (“Need to Know” in season two) in a different context. And here it sets up a couple of amusing subplots.

House is certain that at least one of Taub’s new babies is not actually his. Taub insists that he doesn’t care; he loves them just the same. But that would never be enough for House, who relentlessly pursues DNA samples to test paternity of the infants. In the end, House is proven wrong; Taub really doesn’t care, allowing House to shred the paternity test films rather than know the truth. (Either that or he’s got a duplicate set of results sitting on his computer and just doesn’t want House to get the satisfaction of being right.)

Of course, everyone’s in on a pool to guess the real parentage of the Taub children, much to Taub’s chagrin. Even Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) plays along. But the antics are a side story to the main plot—just as it should be. Given House’s own parentage, I wonder if any of House’s interest in Taub dilemma is personal, although if so, the series missed an opportunity to explore it, at least at this juncture.

Foreman also gets a dose of needed honesty on two fronts. Forbidding a transplant surgery because it’s too reckless for the hospital, Foreman is being more than a hardass. Telling himself it’s for House’s own good, Chase has him pegged right, suggesting that he’s covering his own ass. Chase warns Foreman that the patient will die without the surgery, but the dean is willing to live with that, observing that the patient will die of acceptably natural causes. No liability. It’s a nice echo back to season two’s “Deception,” in which Foreman also notes that the patient’s death would be preferable to breaking the rules required to save her.

I also liked Foreman’s interactions with Wilson. Presumptuously believing that he will become his sounding board as he had been for Cuddy, Wilson refuses to take the bait, through with that routine, and recognizing that that sort of interference can be destructive. “You have a problem with House, deal with it.”

And then there is House’s own relationship with Foreman. They barely interact, but I love how House is screwing with Foreman’s head. Of course Foreman is waiting for House to do something; to act out; to sabotage him. But it’s not happening. He makes his clinic hours; he behaves; he doesn’t even go home!

Of course House knows that Foreman will refuse to let him roam the halls of Princeton-Plainsboro unsupervised, so he’s stuck there, reduced to sleeping in his office. Aha! Furthermore, with Foreman looking for House to have planned a massively cunning plan; the best plan is to have no plan at all. And what a cunning plan it is!

Quietly staying in his office, House sets up a martini bar, installs a flat panel cable TV, and remodels his office space—all the comforts of home away from home. And the piece de resistance: House’s new movable wall, which opens to Wilson’s office—silly, really. Silly, but sweet!

House (and House, M.D.) has certainly gotten back on track with this episode, the strongest since the season premiere. All the elements are back in place; the prodigal sons (complete with hugs) are back, and House is on his game again. Great script, fun, but with a lot fewer over the top antics this week, I can see where the series might be headed as we enter fully into the November sweeps this week. Chase and Taub were the missing puzzle pieces, and as House hits his stride since his return from prison, so has the series. It bodes well for the remainder of season eight!

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About Barbara Barnett

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

    I am happy to see Chase back. He has definitely hit his stride lately. I’m not so sure about Taub (or the other two); the writers and actors seem a bit unsure what to do with these characters. And much of the dialogue still sounds as wooden as if it had been written by George Lucas.

    The episode was better than the first few from this season, even if you have to roll your eyes at yet another use of illicit sex to trigger an illness. In the House-iverse, sex outside of marriage seems to have about a 70% chance of triggering a lengthy hospital stay.

  • Jane E

    I was very happy to see Chase back. I liked several elements in the episode. I liked Foremen approaching Wilson for House aide and Wilson standing up and saying No. I like Chase and Taub both refusing to be House’s check. But I still believe something is missing and I can’t put my finger on it.

  • Josie123

    Jane,

    I thought it was a very good episode, but was missing was more House, the man. We saw more of the prankster side of House. I know that I miss the introspective side of House. I’m assuming we’re going to get that soon. He’s avoiding being alone at home. Something is going to happen.

  • hazel eyes

    I loved the episode. My only comment though is that they have not quite re-captured the drama element, the fun is there, the gruesome scenes are there but it all needs t inter-sewn drama. I still think though that House is still the best show on TV.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    I’d like to see a little more of the introspection we’ve come to love (or at least I’ve come to love). I think that’s coming.

  • smk46

    here is what i think is missing from this season: there is no character development of house. the writers in previous seasons revealed and deepened house showing him to be a man both romantic and flawed whose capacity for emotion was profound and kept hidden. all the layers that covered those aspects of him have been stripped away over the seasons, culminating in the season 7 finale and now there is no more to reveal. we have seen him at his worst and we’ve seen him at his best. his nobility has been displayed in his interactions with his team and wilson. his wit and brilliance have been constantly showcased along with his jerkness. there is nowhere left to go with him without some sort of change and change has been forbidden to the writers by david shore. house can’t grow and he’s already run the gamut of the character traits laid out in the first seven seasons. what’s missing is revelation of deeper layers of the man. i think most of us believe that they exist, but until the writers are allowed to reveal them we’ll keep getting episodes that are missing something.

  • Kim in California

    Barbara, you’re right. It was a fun episode with some laugh out loud moments. I am so happy to see the boys back and now I realize that you can loose Cuddy, Cameron and 13, but you have to have Chase just as much as you need Wilson. Chase has become the closest thing to House’s protoge. The fact that he had faith House would be back and waited to come back to medicine until House did, was rather touching and highlights the paternal relationship Chase has developed with House over the seasons. One season Chase is rebelling against Dad House)and is disenfranchised in surgery, the next season he needs emotionally to rejoin the family firm (back on the team)so he begs Dad to take him back and now it looks as if he will be the son who runs the business when Dad retires (or dies of a Vicodin overdose.) I hope they continue to play up their relationship. I hope Chase challenges House, supports House with Foreman and does some soul searching himself this season. I loved the subtle shift we’re seeing in Wilson, his desire to distance himself from hospital House-politics, his own ethics shifting (i.e. wanting the kidney from the sick patient a few episodes back, bagging the fork to win this week’s bet.) Wilson is letting go of his House-whisperer position and allowing the dice to fall where they may. I hope we see a more playful Wilson, one who allows himelf to just enjoy House and stop trying to change him. This season (except for the first episode) has been luke warm, but this episode was definitely warming the Houseian soup.

  • The Other Barnett

    I just watched a ‘dramedy’ last night called House, you all should take a look at it. Yes, it is not the House I’m used to, but it is very good TV.

    The PoTW was blah. Sure, the illness was interesting, but it felt like the writers did not dive into the depths of the question of truth and its consequences. I never felt invested in the patient, the wife or even the overall town reaction to his illness-based false candor.

    The return of Taub and Chase was very welcome and it did feel like the team was complete – I shared the feeling of House – those brief scenes of his satisfaction of the interplay of the differential diagnosis. Still, questions were left for me….what happened to Taub’s marriage or his relationship with the other baby-momma? Why did Chase leave medicine? What did he do in between? Chase may have been flippant in his response, but I do hope there is more layers to be peeled away. Another note of disappointment, Taub and Chase never really express their thoughts (or even give a hint) on how they feel about what House did at the end of last season. Humans would still have some kind of residual thoughts or feelings. Hmmmmm.

    The Chase and Taub interplay with Foreman was very welcome. Foreman may actually be the perfect choice for Dean, though I had a load of doubt during the summer. Whereas Cuddy had this whole amount of dysfunction and pathos in dealing with House, Foreman is just a tightass…which suits an administrator. Chase and Taub coming in to run interference or (eventually) “be Wilson” for House to Foreman is a great (and welcome) change for the show. Wilson should not have to be House’s keeper, when he could just be his colleague and friend.

    The use of comedy was enjoyable last night. Maybe it was slightly un-House-ian, but it just worked. Wilson’s scene with Taub in the cafeteria – sweet. The rising wall to Wilson’s office, LOVELY! I hope this was not a one-time thing, I hope this gets used once in a while.

    Barb, could you give me your impression of something I came away with last night…..I seriously felt like the writers (and hopefully Shore) see the show as something that go well for at least one more year after this season. All this talk of this being the last season has been floating over my thoughts while watching this season, last night’s show pierced a hole in those thoughts. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but the last couple weeks suggest a tone akin to when the 13, Taub, Kutner team was finalized. Not all things are new, but I feel the show is invigorated. It may not be what it was, but it is still a very good show and is kinda renewed.

    Am I just wishing, here?

  • n

    I couldn’t find much to enjoy in this episode. The office remodel was an expensive, stupid prank and a colossal waste of money. House was just a nosy, meddlesome jerk, without much if anything to leaven the jerkiness. Taub spent the whole 44 minutes wheeling around a baby carriage, which turned into shtick pretty quickly, IMO. I gave the whole thing a resounding “meh” when it ended.

    I must say, however, that I dearly enjoy Dr. Park. Funny, feisty, insecure, mouthy, yet shy. I really like what Charlyne Yi does with this character and look forward to her scenes.

  • housemaniac

    I have to agree with n. I’m sorry to be negative, but I was almost as bored last night as I have been with most of the other episodes this season. I also agree with the comments about the lack of character development in House and a lack of emotional angst, which used to be as natural to him as his pranking. It’s all just a little too light for me. No drama in the characters’ lives and no drama in the actual plot of the episode either. Where is the suspense? Where are the through-lines? And, I ask again, where, oh where, is the Vicodin? (The last is just a minor peeve. It wouldn’t add drama, just continuity.)

  • housemaniac

    Oh, I meant to add: the fact that I (and apparently some others) was bored, even with the return of two familiar characters, says to me that it is mainly the writing that is a problem here. But I think the mediocre writing might be affecting the acting as well. Or maybe the 8th season is affecting the acting. Or maybe it’s just my new TV. Probably not the latter.

  • bigHousefan

    This episode felt exactly right to me. House is dare I say, happy? He’s out of prison, has his BFF Wilson back and making wagers, reclaimed his outer office, has a team he’s pleased with – this all probably feels really good and the episode reflected that.

    I love the Season 8 team’s different personalities. I loved Chase and Taub translating House-speak for the newbies and showing them their well-seasoned skill in that area.

    I agree with Kim In California that there is a father/son thing brewing between House and Chase and it makes a lot of sense to me.

    The old and new team members dialogue together did not feel awkward as I thought it might early on.

    I love the effort and lengths House goes to to screw with and not be separated from Wilson. He loves Wilson and Wilson knows it – I feel their is something brewing there, too, but can’t put my finger on it.

    I feel like the show is laced-up and I’m really eager to see where it goes!

  • Maria-Eleni

    5 – Barbara Barnett
    For me also the introspective House is the one I love. My favorite episodes are the darkest where House has to make choices that torment him inwardly. In fact I fell in love with House – literally – during the Se 1 episode where he had to condemn a newborn to death to save the others. Loved your analysis of the episode as well!

    However I am not sure we shall soon have House-angst; DS made it quite clear Se 8 would be lighter. Still, he has frequently mislead, so all hope is not lost.

    I have to admit though that I thoroughly enjoy the fluffier episodes like “The Confession” when they well executed with lots of delicious confrontations. The best this time was Foreman/Chase/Taub and Taub/Wilson. I am so pleasantly surprised with Foreman who used to bore me.

    6 – smk46

    “…all the layers that covered those aspects of him have been stripped away over the seasons….”

    I do agree with you, up to a point.
    He is so familiar to us now after 7 years of overanalyzing him that I wonder whether it is possible – and credible – to reveal even more layers. In fact he does not exude the “larger than life” aura so present in the first seasons; he is no more a mysterious personage.

    On the other hand I find a lot of character development for House, up to now this season, even though it is not the deep soul-searching type. I also find a lot of change in the way House is perceived by his environment and subsequently by us the viewers. I tend to think that it is done on purpose, as in almost every season [H]ouse varies in atmosphere and House in mood.

    Which for me is linked to the subject of “what is missing”:
    Awe.
    House is no more…er.. “awe-inspiring”:
    a) Because by now we know him so well and the mystery has gone. To use a clich? he has fallen off his pedestal.
    b) The whole hospital is not in awe of him any more! Previously House was disliked, even hated, but I do not remember anybody being insolent to him.
    I was also struck by a detail. House used to walk in the corridors and everybody parted like the Red Sea. Well now at least on one occasion (“Charity Case”) he had to sidestep to avoid a rotund nurse! In a show so obsessed with symbolic details I am sure it was done on purpose. Oh well! he has to bear it; Cuddy is no more there to protect him and he is an ex-con after all!
    c) His new fellows are not in awe of him either. In the early Seasons Foreman, Chase and Cameron might have been rebellious but for them to have fun at the expense of House is mind-boggling. Park and Adams not only answer back to House they also mock him!
    d) Chase and Taub are back but they are definitely not prepared to accept House’s shenanigans as they used to.
    In fact it is strangely satisfying to see House counteracted by his new team and House accepting it and pulling faces.
    In a way I get the impression that the only one still in awe of House is Foreman, which looks very promising for his scenes with House and the old fellows.
    For me this is development, at least of the show.

    As for House’s character development it is quite evident: he is still a jerk but a self sufficient one at least on a material level. He does things himself and does not expect or manipulate others to do them for him.
    He tries and succeeds – in a Houseian way, and I would not want it otherwise – to finance his own department. When did he ever care about finances? There were always complaints that his department was losing money, did he ever show concern about it?
    He is paying for food!! OK, Park and Adams had a hand in this, but I have to admit House putting his own coins in the machines and giving money to Taub for the motel is very refreshing.
    And I cannot remember House ever using a set of tools! Prison skills?

    And yes he is still a snarky jerk but a certain malice and serious intent has gone away. Maybe that is why it is flat and not so effective as before. His jerkiness does not produce tension anymore.
    Is it intentional character development or just sloppy directing and delivery? I shall be optimistic and settle for the first, as it suits the lighter mood House is projecting.

    It is quite possible that the traumatic events of Se7 (and we should not sum it up to just the car crash which I find happening frequently and unjustly) followed by a year in prison had a cathartic influence in House. Instead of adding to his habitual tension and desperation these shocks might have actually resulted to diluting his misery.
    His words when in prison show that he finally recognises/accepts that he does not belong with normal people, that he should try no more to change so as to fit into the circle of thin white people. Is it possible that the angst that is missing is due to an evolved, but not changed, House who finally accepts who he is and no longer dislikes himself because he sought and got official punishment?
    Most of us wish for this character development but one should be careful of what one wishes for. If House develops towards a more psychologically healthy person he will probably lose some of his most compelling ( TV show) characteristics.

    I suspect this is happening which is why I have a slight feeling of reading the epilogue of a riveting book. The drama has come to an end and the reader is informed dispassionately about the characters’ situation after the denouement.

    Frankly any “kaboum” would be preferable to an epilogue, so I do hope that the writers will still surprise me.

  • 20V

    Wow, I completely wailed and railed on John Kelley when Pete Blake revealed he was writing an upcoming episode and now I feel like such a tool when it’s turned out to be one of the better of the five-so-far episodes. Hope it wasn’t a fluke.

    I would have liked to see a little more House introspective. Nothing wrong or unusual with him just toying with his fellows, but he took a backseat to Chase and Taub returning, which I suppose was probably warranted anyway. Very funny episode; I like that the show’s having a little more fun without the romantic melodrama.

  • Paulac45

    Good review Barbara, although a short one by your standards. Nothing I didn’t like about this episode. All the House/Wilson, Chase/Taub/House, House/Taub, Chase/Foreman and old team/new team interactions were superb (the POTW has always mattered less to me). Have always loved the playful House, messing with people, or as with the case of Foreman in this episode, messing by not messing. Loved the old team teaching the newbies how to handle House, and showing them they have a lot to learn in this respect. Taub’s scene at home with the babies was touching without being sickly sentimental. RSL was great, his understated comedic timing was superb, as were some of the best one liners – ‘satan’s alarm clock’ is how I will always think of crying babies from now on! The unveiling of the new wall was superb and now ranks among my top favourite moments from the show – again RSL was terrific. I think the lighter feel to the episode was just the right note for the bringing back of the old team and House getting his office back together, and hopefully sets the scene for future episodes – to me the ‘unveiling’ with a flourish at the end was significant. The darker side of me did worry that the toast House gave Wilson at the end when he raised his glass to him might have been some sort of farewell but I am trying to ignore that thought and tell myself I am being over imaginative and wrong!

  • Merkof

    9-n
    “Taub spent the whole 44 minutes wheeling around a baby carriage, which turned into shtick pretty quickly, IMO. I gave the whole thing a resounding “meh” when it ended.”

    Really? Isn’t this rather unfair?
    Taub did not spent 44 minutes going round with the babies.
    The whole baby arc done for comedy and linked with a bet typical of the House Universe had some most amusing moments: Taub, sans babies, finding about the bet from Wilson who tried hard to keep his good guy façade, and Park with Taub, avec babies, at the motel.

    10 – 11 housemaniac
    About the Vicodin, thank God or should I say DS, for not ramming it down our throats together with House all the time. That plot has been whipped to death.
    I am not saying it should be forgotten and never brought up again, but I prefer some exploration of new themes, mostly for when the series would have ended and we shall be re-watching, probably ad nauseam, the DVDs.
    In addition, we know that during his year in prison House was getting a regulated dosage far less than his usual excesses, part of which he had to give over to the gang. On top of that, he has to be careful of public Vicodin pill-popping as Foreman is holding the prison threat over his head.

    As for the problematic writing, I have to say that as a very latecomer to Housemania I went back and read some very old reviews of House where more or less I find the same critiques: The writing is inadequate, the medicine is inconsistent, the characters are not fleshed out and so on. And yet the show went on and became an international success.
    I believe a certain boredom is inevitable after the highly dramatic Se7. This season is slower and lighter. House seems, if not exactly happy, at least contented and not tormented any more. Inevitably contentment results in lessened tension and excitement. But then I thought that is what most of us wanted for House: to escape his eternal misery.
    If that is the intention of the writers then I think, that for the moment, they succeed in laying the basis for a contented House and the acting successfully projects this mood for House. A jerk, goofy, always manipulative but with an imperceptive smile behind the eyes that has replaced the angst and tension. In fact there is a fleeting moment of pure contentment in House’s face when Chase and Taub enter the room, so delicately emotional, that it transcended for me all the unhappiness of Se7. In spite of all his crimes, I do not think that House should be condemned to eternal unhappiness, so I can take a bit of boredom just for witnessing this moment.

    However, I am egotistical enough to expect the show to deliver some more of the drama they dished out in previous seasons. Quite frankly, angsty, tense and introspective House is so much more interesting. And sexy. (I fervently hope that neither House nor HL are fed up with the consequences of sexiness)

    12 – bigHousefan

    I absolutely agree with you.

  • RobRow

    I liked that episode, while admitting that most of the doctor interactions were made for laughs. The Taub baby plot seems so implausible that laughs is the only way to play it (where were the mothers? baby sitting by Wilson, for God’s sake?) I think if you basically like the show and want to carry on watching it you have to accept that some of the issues raised at the end of last season will be dropped. And you have to swallow some stuff: notably Foreman as dean. The return of Chase was beautifully judged. It was touching when they hugged; House referring to the prodigal son required a dismissive comment to disguise how deep the allusion was. I’m not religious, but it’s always been a favourite story. And I loved both his reference to faith in House, and House’s comment about the others doing more surfing. Mutual respect that wasn’t there in the early seasons. As for the new wall/door at the end: funny and Wilson must have known about and accepted it. BigHousefan, I agree it’s love. Barbara, I also agree that it felt like things were slotting back into place, and the previous episodes felt like a prologue. Roll on the next one. Great review.

  • housemaniac

    Merkof #16: Interesting comments. But I don’t think for a second that House can “escape his eternal misery” because people don’t change! I think this might be one of the things that is bothering me. I spent a year wishing that DS and co. would drop that pretense. Then, accepting it, I thought well at least we will get some of the psychodrama that attends House’s very difficult personality, only to find that House seems, well, essentially fine. Now, I’m just perplexed. If people DO change, this is not a very interesting way to have House change. If people DO NOT change, then we need House to mess up his life in some way. Sorry, but that has been the premise of this character (along with the genius-ass conceit) for seven years! If we lose that, we have only lightness and buffoonery and some POTW plots without any story arcs.

  • Celia

    The episode was ….fine….just ‘fine’. It wasn’t the [H]ouse that I use to eagerly anticipated each week. It seemed to be trying to hit all the marks but to be absolutely soulless. I feel like DS & Co. have beat a hasty retreat to ‘ Bertie Wooster M.D.’ following the controversy over S7, and left the viewers who enjoyed the gravitas along with the wit ,out-in-the-cold. I don’t recognize this caricature of Gregory House I’m seeing in S8, and more significantly , I don’t care about him. It feels like everyone is trying to play it safe: DS has stopped being creative and taking risks ; Hugh Laurie’s head and heart (and art) are in the Recording Studio; and everyone else comes in at reads their lines & hits their marks, period. I watch now only out of a combination of loyalty and rubber-necking at a crash scene. I would love to be won back, but I think the magic for this show has dissipated along with the ratings.RIP Gregory House, you were really something once upon a time.

  • housemaniac

    All so true, Celia. And thanks for mentioning the ratings. Just checked them. Boy, are they down–by about 2 million from last year. The whole business is just very sad. That is why I keep coming back to this site. So, thanks Barbara!

  • BrokenLeg

    @10, 11 & 18 housemaniac
    I agree with all your posts…and I can swear you it’s not my TV, that, on the other hand was exactly the same in s7…..
    And subscribe specially this part of yours: “Now, I’m just perplexed. If people DO change, this is not a very interesting way to have House change. If people DO NOT change, then we need House to mess up his life in some way. Sorry, but that has been the premise of this character (along with the genius-ass conceit) for seven years! If we lose that, we have only lightness and buffoonery and some POTW plots without any story arcs.”
    Said that, I believe this was the best of the five episodes of this season. Maybe too much light episode of dramedy, but is what there are….I hope for the moment.
    I thank the arriving of the remaining of the old team, even if “bouffon” Taub is there, with his ridiculous story of the two babies that seem to have no mothers either of them. I liked Chase and his father-son, or better master-pupil relationship with House. I do not like Foreman, always bored me, and more as a DoM , a position of command too big for him. I like Wilson, maybe a too much light Wilson, but fine to me. But I hope that this will not be the regular tone of the episodes to come. If that, as @19 Celia say, RIP House.

  • BrokenLeg

    @20 housemaniac
    Oh, boy!! Two million people is about 20-25% viewers lost. Were all Huddy ones?. I suppose not, because if so, the so called by DS “a percentage of a percentage” is a very , very significant one…………

  • Josie123

    I’m surprised the clinic patients haven’t reacted to Dr. House being back. His crashing into Cuddy’s house would have made the newspapers. Don’t you think the patients may question his sanity and not want him as a doctor?

  • KMC

    Well, it’s definately heading in the right direction. Having Chase and Taub back gives us more to connect with, and seeing the interaction between House and Chase (father and son, master and padawan) gave us some good, solid moments. I loved Wilson’s new “just say no” policy with Foreman…if he’s going to be House’s boss, he needs to learn to confront him..not use Wilson as the designated go-between. I also loved Wilson’s scene with Taub in the cafeteria…I knew he wouldn’t get away with the fork…but I enjoyed seeing him try. The wall at the end…with the group on the couch with their martinis…and Wilson’s non-reaction reaction…priceless (though I think the laws of physics got bent a bit…where did the wall go?). I actually laughed a few times…and I haven’t done that lately. I just hope they’re getting it back in the groove. I too would like to see some more introspection from House…some retrospection from Wilson and House regarding the “lost year” and a little more explaination about Cuddy, but I can wait.

  • Jules

    Really enjoyed this one! i never thought they would go this far in their settling him back in but it has worked really well up to now IMO.
    He didn’t want to go back as he stated in “20 Vicodin” in it not being good for him or the hospital but he was drawn back with a set of lungs and got his mojo back. blah blah to the following episodes of it being him being a selfish ass to refund his dept because he wants to be able to do his best work and needs resources to do that etc.

    In this episode he delivered what he claimed about the lack of resources especially with Chase becoming the prodigal son. Chase was brilliant in this episode! he guided the new ones into House’s way of thinking and gave House the clue to his final diagnosis (always a plus).

    Love that Wilson is not entertaining House’s needs and trying to focus on himself and yet House has been good with him (up until the ending really lol) but others have decided to jump on the bandwagon instead because they know he is a soft touch.

    What is Foreman doing? He thinks he has to supervise House at all times so has stayed at the hospital for 4 days because House did yet doesn’t interact with House and wants the two people who he knows will not spill the beans on House to try and be his spies? Big mistake from him also in believing Chase that House isn’t playing the game and so basically he should trust him now they are back…repercussions on the horizon? very much so….

  • tipitinatoo

    As usual, very astute observations, but I have to agree that HL appears to have left the show and is now fantasizing about his next CD, musical tour, etc. I just don’t have the sense that he’s still invested in the role, perhaps in part due to the lack of imaginative scripts that challenge his very considerable acting skills. Even the most casual viewer can see the stark contrast between Seasons 1-7 and Season 8. Each week I’ve yearned to once again see some of that spark, tension and sex appeal that has engaged 82 million viewers for so long, but it just isn’t happening. I can’t begin to imagine Sherlock Holmes deteriorating into a 1-dimensional powder puff character. As most of us know, it’s always best to leave the party while it’s still “swingin’.” So, is the “House” party over?? Or could a few Katie Jacobs/Doris Egan style collaborations revive it! And is DS willing to give his new “team” the same degree of creative freedom as the original team — or did he just not hit the creative jackpot this time around and should some of the current writers be replaced? These are questions that he & his management team should honestly confront in executive session and remedy asap. Once that 20-25% tunes out, it’s unlikely they’ll ever come back. “House” is on life support, and drastic measures are required to save it!

  • Jane

    This has been annoying me for a while. Someone please tell me. What is that metal beaded bracelet doing on House’s wrist? I thought prisons only issue plastic ankle bracelets.

  • Amy

    The episode was better than any we’ve seen in months and it was great to have Chase back. But House just isn’t a likeable guy anymore since he deliberately drove his car into Cuddy’s house and didn’t apologize directly to her. Hugh Laurie is still a great actor but the character House has become a vacant cartoon-like human being.

  • BrokenLeg

    27 @ Jane

    Maybe is something HL owns, a remembering of someone or someplace. And he wants to use it on set ( I think I read something like that). Or is something scripts make him wear as a remembering of his prison days, because he is an ex-con, instead of some tattoo.

  • Jane

    29 @Broken Leg

    Thanks. I agree the chain may be a prop to remind us that House is not yet a freeman. Let’s wait and see if House will remove it when his parole is over. I remember some observant fans here noticed that House did not wear his watch in season 7 and speculated that it was to signify that “time stood still” while House and Cuddy were in a relationship.

    It’s great to see Chase back. I noticed that he’s come back with a lot more gravita or heaviness, depending on how you see it. Gravita because he is now the most senior fellow and is guiding the two new ducklings into House’s world. Heaviness because of his beard and the mysterious baggage that Adams was hinting at. I really wonder why he left medicine? His parents passed away a long time ago. He didn’t quit medicine when Cameron found out about Chase’s murdering of Dibala, so it can’t be why he quited now. Has anyone any speculations?

    Chase is becoming more and more like House now. Abandoned by his parents and wife, genious at medicine and trained in House’s style of practice, he’s also growing a caustic tongue (especially with Foreman). He’s every bit as destroyed as House, lacking only House’s recklessness to save himself from further self-destruction. And, in a way, he’s worse off because he doesn’t have a BFF ‘Wilson’ . I feel sorry for him. Cameron was probably right to say that House ‘poisoned’ Chase–not because Chase’s morality is blurred but because the protege has learnt to do whatever it takes (even destroying his soul) for his convictions.

    On a related note, I wished the writers did not mentioned the issue of murder in this episode. Chase’s act, although controversial, was nonetheless committed out of a noble spirit and the man is suffering for it. To use it as a dramatic tool for such a trivial effect felt almost sacrilegious to me. Recall when they used Chase’s baggage to compliment 13’s part in assisting her brother’s suicide and you will realize the difference.

    I think it was noble of House to pressure Taub to do a DNA test. I believe House’s intentions were to pressure Taub to confront and get over the temptation of abandoning his ‘questionable’ children in the future when the upbringing gets tough. As it turns out, House’s baggering has made Taub a more committed father now. House is still the ‘secretly good man’.

    I miss the labcoat Foreman. I hate the administrator Foreman, although I think it is completely in character for Foreman who is ambitious and power-mongering to want to be the Dean of Medicine. Therefore, it’s not entirely a writing flaw although I do think the board of directors at PPTH must be blind to have chosen Foreman for Dean because he’s so unadept at the job.

  • ann uk

    I really hated this episode. I was never upset by House’s violence at the of season7, as that seemed to me to grow out of the whole of his life . But now the writers are turning him into an oafish clown, obsessed with mocking the team and Wilson and bating Foreman. Where is the psychological subtlety,the emotional depth and our privileged key to the secret House ?Surely there should be a continuing effect of losing Cuddy and the year in prison as House struggles to regain his place andfind a way of living with so much change ?
    Memo to Writers:
    What on earth was that nonsense with the moving wall into Wilson’s office? And please get rid of Taub’s babies even if you have to organise a double infanticide.

    Oh. and PS. I can’t understand a word Dr. Park utters even at a third hearing.
    PPS Perhaps I will like it better when I watch it again.

  • Earth Orbiter

    @uk ann: Cuddy has been gone for a year. Anyone who hasn’t gotten over a bad love affair after all that time has got a whole different set of problems. To show House still pining for her at this point would be absolute nonsense.

  • Susan

    @Earth Orbiter – it wouldn’t be just getting over a bad love affair. House would have to get over the 7 seasons (whatever that translates to in non-TV years)of working every day with Cuddy in the hospital and the relationship that they built up prior to their “dating”.

  • Susan

    Just being in the same hospital where they worked together should confront him with memories of her at every turn.

  • Earth Orbiter

    Again: nonsense. As I said, its been a freaking YEAR.

  • Maria-Eleni

    I totally agree with Earth Orbiter.

    What’s more House brooding over Cuddy would negate the whole point of “Moving On” when he acted violently, bordering to murderously, so that he could eradicate Cuddy and his need for her.
    He had also promised Wilson in “After Hours” that he would change and stop being self-destructive. By giving himself up to be judged and punished through the civic system and not self-punishing shows that he has indeed ‘moved-on’.

    Finally I suspect that he might even feel relieved that Cuddy is not there and that he can restart his life in a familiar environment (after all he hates change) without having to face her.
    He is almost ‘giddy’, I cannot say happy, which is so justified as after being in prison (that must have been very difficult for such an anarchist), and isolation (physical and emotional), he suddenly finds himself almost reinstated, Wilson included. He would definitely spare no effort to avoid the unpleasantness of thinking about Cuddy, something that he accomplishes by concentrating in funding his department, tormenting his people and building the garage door. The last being so giddily childish!

    However I have to admit that I long for ‘brooding House’.

  • ann uk

    I don’t want him to brood about Cuddy and I agree that his attack on her house is a symbol of eradicating her from his life and that it is a relief to him. I do think a year in prison would leave a mark on anyone, let alone a solitary intellectual like House. But I am really talking about the whole ethos of the drama.
    One of the things I love about House( the series ) is that it treads a tight rope between comedy and tragedy so that one minute one is laughing at a bawdy crack from House and the next agonising with him over the profound pain of his inner life.This play of light and darkness is what makes him such a complex and fascinating character and this is what I miss so far in series 8.
    I think the comedic elements are being exaggerated to the point where they risk turning House into a buffoon and incidents like the moving wall and Taub’s babies seem to betray a desperate attempt by the writers to inject something new into the show. Even H.L. himself seeme to have lost confidence in it.
    But I hope for better things .

  • smk 46

    ann uk #31 & #37:
    i am in complete agreement with you…i’m sorry to say. and to judge by comments on other sites, so are many others. house is not the show it used to be and it is the writing that is lacking.

  • The Other Barnett

    #38 – smk

    I agree with you whole-heartedly on one thing…..House is not the show it was. It is different. It is not better, but I have time saying it is worse. It is just different. Its unfair to expect a show to stay the same (even if House and Shore agree that people do not change) over an eigh year (or hopefully more) hitch. Do I miss House the deep thinker, yes. Do I miss some brooding, of course. But its nice to see at least less emphasis on the vicodin. Its nice to see Wilson not getting emotionally and mentally pummeled by House as a service to the hospital. Its nice to not see Cuddy visiting her dysfunction on House and his team. Its nice to see a self-assured Chase. Its nice to have some new blood in Annabelle and Yi.

    I will completely embrace the argument that the writing is not at its best. It has not been since House had the breakdown. The writers (I said last year and still assert) write as if they are trying to win some award….not advance the story meaningfully.

    Still, its unfair to compare a show in its eighth year to itself in its first supernova years.

    And for those who want a pining House for Cuddy….it will happen. Anyone with House’ intellect and self-awareness will hit a wall.

  • Maria-Eleni

    37 – ann uk
    The comedic elements are exaggerated in the last 3 episodes after House gets back his job at PPTH, but “20 Vicodin” was quite dark and “Transplant” had suspense/stress, fewer comedic exchanges but was also quite emotional. Episodes 3 and 4 lack intensity mostly because House is disinterested in the medical cases but also, I think, because of the editing/ directing.
    In general, the last seasons the show failed to achieve the same intensity and suspense around the medical cases and House’s angst in connection with them that made it so great in the beginning. It got shifted to his stress about personal relationships without really weaving the two together as successfully as it did before.

    Se 8 House is no way as buffoonish and obnoxious as in Se 4, my least favorite Season. In fact I find that now he lacks that malice intended to hurt. It is more to be provocative and keep up with his bad boy image. So he is less forceful and intense, but I would not put it down to bad acting: I think it is intentional. House is winding down.

    “But I hope for better things .”
    So do I, given that the show runners follow this format wherein the drama picks up later in the season.

    38 – smk 46
    Surfing around the other sites I got a different impression from yours. Even where they are usually negative with House this time around there are less grumblings and more a general satisfaction of the type ‘my show is back’

    39 – The Other Barnett
    Ditto!

  • Maria-Eleni

    39 – The Other Barnett

    I missed this in your post:
    “And for those who want a pining House for Cuddy….it will happen. Anyone with House’ intellect and self-awareness will hit a wall.”

    It will not happen.!
    After Stacy left, there was one episode “Distractions” with House reeking vengeance on an old adversary and injecting himself with all kinds of drugs with Wilson explaining this as his reaction to his loss …. then she is never mentioned again.
    Lydia is brought up once as someone who ‘changed me’ in “Lockdown” …..then she is never mentioned again.
    Cameron (five years in the show!), after breaking with Chase and leaving, is just inferred to through Chase’s behaviour, comes back once for the divorce papers….. then she is never mentioned again.
    Parents, brothers appear for an episode or two….. then are never mentioned again.
    In fact, I was surprised to see Cuddy’s mother center stage for 3 episodes, but then she is Candice Bergen which at least sweetened the pill.

    So no, I do not think Cuddy will be brought up in any significant way.

    Incidentally, I have just read an interview/article about HL. Here is a quote about the show:
    “Whatever we’re doing now on the show, we’re doing it for its own satisfaction. I don’t feel like we’re struggling to prove ourselves to executives or critics. Not to be complacent about it, but I think we’ve moved beyond that stage and we’re now in the last year maybe, or the end bit.”

  • ann uk

    To be fair, I think the writers have practical problems.In losing Cuddy and Thirteen they have lost two main characters for him to interact with and the new characters have not had time to develop yet.
    But ,I do think things like the wall are not credible. I know House is used to running round the hospital like a monkey in a banana factory, but would he be allowed to make structural changes like that? And why would Wilson agree to it?
    I think Taub was developing into an interesting character and his relationship with House was intiguingly ambiguous, but the ” 2 babies” plotline just turns him into a comic butt.
    I do agree that ” 20 Vicodin “was a really good episode and initiated a a study of House reduced to utter powerlessness and struggling to regain his power.I suppose what I missed was that we were never shown how House felt about it as we once would have been.We seem to be seeing him from outside like all the other characters.

  • Earth Orbiter

    I have to give props to my girl Maria-Eleni. Cuddy is gone; let her stay gone.

    @ann uk: I found it hard to believe that all of that construction work went on for 4 nights and Wilson had NO CLUE? You’re right about the wall not being credible. You’d think there’d be a sprinkling of sawdust in Wilson’s office at some point. That whole scene was just plain silly.

    However, I DID like the portable bar. That’s pretty much a must-have for today’s hip health care hero.

  • sara

    ”And thanks for mentioning the ratings. Just checked them. Boy, are they down–by about 2 million from last year.”

    And thy down about 12 million from season 3. Season 4 was the start of the end.

  • blacktop

    This episode was a slight improvement over the previous week’s outing. But still no where near as intense, exciting, and passionate as the “House” of seasons past.

    The clowning is definitely getting cloying. Before, the buffoonery was a vital contrast to the darkness and realism that was the hallmark of the show. Now the relentless fluff and joking is just not all that entertaining.

    The final sight gag of the new wall would have been hilarious and highly meaningful if it had been followed by a brief poignant scene of House at the piano, doodling “Cuddy’s Seranade,” and sipping a bourbon. Those gut-wrenching endings that packed a powerhouse punch used to be a show speciality that I always looked forward to. Now we just have the frivolous piled upon the goofy upon the pointless, scene after scene.

    I am desperately hoping that when we finally get a scene of House at home we will see that he is still the brooding, introspective, haunted genius we first knew and loved. The studied and utterly implausible avoidance of any mention of Cuddy must surely be a cover for his deeper emotions or else we will have to accept that House has indeed changed and not for the better.

    I also truly miss House the diagnosistic genius fully engaged in the medical story. In “The Confession” he never even met ONCE with the patient. House’s passion this episode was reserved for tormenting Taub about the paternity of his babies, stealing furniture for the office, tormenting Foreman, and building a rolling door into Wilson’s office. This is not the House I really enjoy watching.

    “House” is definitely not back and it makes me sad.

  • Earth Orbiter

    I give up. House was able to pull his head out of Cuddy’s vagina. Why can’t you people?

  • Maria-Eleni

    46 – Earth Orbiter

    Wow! Perfect!
    Are you…House by any chance?

  • The Other Barnett

    Earth Orbiter….AMEN!

  • housefriend

    Loved this episode and House actually seems happy. this show(and House) communicate via metaphors often and the wall coming up was a HUGE one in my opinion for the House/Wilson relationship, Something coming up, They have been the pivotal relationship on the show for 8 years and the most important one House has. I think its going to be revealed further that they are and have been more than friends,Its the closest thing to a marriage ( a real marriage) that either one has,They are devoted to each other and that relationship has been the one constant on the show,