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!