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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Dead and Buried”

A classic House, M.D. tale unfolds in the seventh episode of the series’ eighth season. Writer David Hoselton has been writing for the series since season three, and plucks at several deeply buried (and tiny) little threads (including one about Chase’s talents as a hypnotist plucked from “House’s Head,” creating a classic House episode in “Dead and Buried.”

House (Hugh Laurie) finds himself in direct conflict with Foreman (Omar Epps) over the case of a long-since dead child. The new dean wants House to diagnose a 14-year-old with an odd constellation of symptoms. But House has other ideas. Intrigued by a grieving and miserable member (Channon Roe) of his anger management class, House becomes obsessed with finding the cause of his son’s death.

Although pursuing a dead case (as it were) is likely less productive than solving a live one, House can’t help himself despite the warning from Foreman that he will send the still-paroled House directly to jail should he continue. Wilson is caught in the middle trying to navigate between cajoling House into considering consequences and trying to get Foreman to back down from his hardline stance.

Which is the more difficult task? Hmm. Trying to get House to back away from a case that’s caught his eye is like trying to pry drugs away from an addict. In a sense, as Wilson points out, solving medical puzzles is a sort of drug. And House has an addictive personality.

But why is House so drawn to this particular case? Why now? He has always used puzzles (and other addictive substances) as a way to distract himself from life, and right now, his life sucks. Chained to his home and office by a short tether, House must be going stir crazy.

The novelty of freedom is now old news, and things have settled in. He’s bored and likely frustrated by the imposed limitations. House’s leg appears to hurt in the vicinity of the monitor bracelet, and that can’t be a good sign. Perhaps the one case a week load just isn’t enough to distract him. He needs more, especially because he’s on such a tight leash.

As the team tries to diagnose the 14-year-old girl, House goes off to a crypt, breaks into a residence, and gets into trouble dead kid’s mother (played by Julie McNiven, who played Ginn on Stargate Universe, a now-defunct series I’ve only just gotten into). Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) suggests that House is being driven by a deep-seated desire to return to prison. House vigorously denies this, but Wilson could have a point buried deeply within his advice and counsel.

In the end, House’s persistence pays off for the living offspring of the dead kid’s mother; it is a genetic defect that killed the boy, and House’s diagnosis will save the life of the boy’s younger brother. And after realizing that part of the 14-year old’s problem is multiple personality disorder, he saves her life as well.

There was a lot of energy in “Dead and Buried.” The script is snappy and quick; a lot of little jokes and asides helped to propel the story and balance out a pretty serious episode. I really am beginning to like the repartee between the four members of House’s team. Charlyne Yi’s dry and straightforward delivery as Park erases any sort of nerdy innocence, and Taub (Peter Jacobson) continues to offer his own twisted, sarcastic view of everything. But the revelation here is Chase (Jesse Spencer), who has finally come into his own. He’s a serious team leader, and obviously House’s right hand. On the other hand (the left, perhaps), his secret life on camera as the Aussie TV doctor is hysterical. I hope that continues.

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.
  • 20V

    Unless Mr. Hoselton was a consultant on the show’s first two seasons and I wasn’t aware, his first official script with the show was the third season’s “Lines in the Sand”, where House treats an autistic child and is rewarded with a PSP. Suffice to say, “Dead” doesn’t really match up with a great like “Lines”, but I enjoyed it all the same.

    I liked Wilson’s persistence with Foreman. He seemed genuinely concerned for House; there’s all these little ticks and movements when he plays the Cuddy card. It’s almost like he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying, but he’s willing to say whatever to change Foreman’s mind, at least, that’s the way I thought Robert Sean Leonard was playing it.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Hi 20V. I clarified Hoselton’s role as writer, beginning in season three. Had a brain freeze. I meant season three and typed “one.” Thanks for pointing that out.

    RSL was great in the episode. I really liked all the character stuff.

  • Eloise

    A total classic in all ways! House showing the little hints of humanity he is often accused of not having, but also still being a lovable jerk. Lovely that he told the dad of the dead child he looked peaceful.
    Made House and us jump when he was opening the coffin,funny line “you owe me a new pair of pants”!
    Liked the Foreman/Wilson inaction, very much enjoying Foreman’s role this season.
    Chase’s OTT aussie doc very funny!
    All in all a brilliant episode which had my laughing one minute and crying the next!

  • rbrown205

    You wrote:
    “Now, to what I think is the core of this episode—the power struggle between Foreman and House and its referee Wilson. Foreman has never really understood House as anything but a hyper-rational man. Wilson (and we) know that is far from the truth. House is not always rational; his motivations for his actions are fueled by a lot of buried emotion. He tries to be that rational machine-man Foreman thinks he is, but he’s always been a miserable failure at it. And of course, that makes him just…miserable.”
    This is what I agree with 100%. Although House is extremely rational when it comes to diagnosing medical cases, and to a somewhat lesser extent, with figuring out people and their motives, still he carries this heavy anchor of emotional self-torture that colors his world view and influences his choices and decisions.

    An example of his occasional flight from reason was demonstrated when he handed Cuddy her hairbrush and walked away from the disaster that he caused.

  • bigHousefan

    Barbara – “House is not always rational; his motivations for his actions are fueled by a lot of buried emotion. He tries to be that rational machine-man Foreman thinks he is, but he’s always been a miserable failure at it. And of course, that makes him just…miserable.”

    rbrown205 – “Although House is extremely rational when it comes to diagnosing medical cases, and to a somewhat lesser extent, with figuring out people and their motives, still he carries this heavy anchor of emotional self-torture that colors his world view and influences his choices and decisions.”

    Exactly what I was thinking throughout the episode and you both explained it perfectly!

    I really love this team! Kudos to the writers and actors for making it work in just a few episodes.

    Chase’s lines like, “Did House give you homework?” during Park’s inquisition and “Wait for it…” after Adams says, “I think he said exoplanet” are perfectly ‘Chase’!

    Another really good episode!

  • rjw

    I haven’t commented for awhile,but wanted to add that I found this to be a very suspenseful,enjoyable episode.I know some haven’t been happy with this season,but I have really liked it.I look upon each season as a different chapter in House’s life.Over the years,Hoselton has become one of my favorite writers.

  • tipitinatoo

    Terrific, absorbing, entertaining, suspenseful episode. Kudos to Hoselton and all the cast. Starting to feel like “House” again.

  • Kevin

    I have not read this blog this season as faithfully as I have in the past, but I believe there is something that needs to be said. I love House, and have watched every show since the pilot, but I honestly believe that Charlyne Yi is going to kill this show. She is not a very good actor. Every line she says sounds like she is reading a line from a script. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure she is a wonderful person, but she cannot act.
    I didn’t really want to admit it, but it last week when she had a scene with Peter Jacobson and he out acted her by a factor of 100. I personally know of people who will not watch any more just because of Yi and her lack of acting ability.
    I am really sorry to have to post this, but I think it has to be said. If she continues on to the end of the season, the show is toast.
    Anyone out there want to prove me wrong or support me, chime in.

  • ValentineBaby

    A general question regarding this season: Has there been any comments (behind the scenes, etc) about why 1)House has gone partially bald 2)his bracelet 3)he’s tucking in his shirt. Why the subtle changes? Silly question, but was curious.
    Love this show – past, present and hopefully future. Am dreading the possible news that it will be the last season.

  • housemaniac

    Finally an episode with dramatic tension and the quirky, enigmatic House I have known and loved!

    Barbara: I have a question about your great review. You mentioned that House’s leg seems to be hurting where the ankle bracelet is located and that this can’t be good. Are you thinking that it is hurting for psyhcological or physiological reasons, and what is behind your comment that this doesn’t bode well? You have me very curious!

  • KMC

    Good episode…had the needed elements: involving puzzle..two, in fact…fun minor plot…Chase’s metrosexual grooming and TV debut…and Wilson arguing for the defense. I agree that Foreman’s view of House as uber-rational is skewed…Foreman likes to think of himself that way…and assumes House is too…House has too many daemons who haunt him to be completely rational as we..the audience..well know. We can hope a few get exorcised this season. And was it me but was this episode WAY overly hyped…we’ve seen much stranger, bloodier, off-the-wall stuff than anything this episode about “crying wolf”! CAN’T wait for next week!

  • BrokenLeg

    Barbara: great review for a great episode. Thanks.
    As many others commenting before me in this post, finally a really Houseian episode,in which “gravitas” togheter with GH emotions finally have appeared. It seems more an episode of first seasons than an eight season one.

    Only one thing: the way Foreman controls and tie short, as BB said “muzzled and eventually broken” House, only demonstrate to me his total lack of commanding abilities and his lack of emotional intelligence, an essential quality to command and be the leader of any group. Really he doesn’t fit the charge.

  • 20V


    1) He’s old.
    2) He wore it in prison.
    3) Habit he picked up in prison.

  • BrokenLeg

    1)Maybe it’s not only because GH is getting old, but it can be produced for the stress jail days suposed to him. And is better than the unappropiate wig HL used to wear last year….

  • Paulac45

    So over this episode for everything everyone has already said. am totally loving this season (but then I loved last season too, except for Masters!).

    @ Kevin – You are not alone in thinking CY can’t act. Right from her first scene I thought that – as well as her diction being dreadful, although in fairness that does seem to have improved slightly. Maybe the studio made her take some lessons. However. When you have the truly brilliant and gorgeous HL, terrific RSL and pretty good OE and J S and not too bad PJ, one can overlook CY – and OA for that matter, whose acting – while a bit better than CY’s – isn’t exactly the best! From the way HL talked in interviews this last week here in the UK, I think in his heart even he is assuming this is the last season anyway (a thought which makes me extremely sad).

  • Paulac45

    First line was meant to read “so loved this episode”!

  • hwo40

    I really love Charlyne Yi’s Dr. Park. She along with HL and JS I find compulsively watchable. She emits a quality of authenticity that more conventional actors rarely achieve. Perhaps the strong reactions, both positive and negative, should be read as a positive. There are a lot of people who can’t stand House.

  • Jane E

    I liked this episode and how it dealt with the characters of the show. I enjoy Chase coming to be his own individual. I enjoyed Forman and his power struggle with House. But most of all, I loved Wilson. I thought the writing was excellent. The lines he spoke regarding Cuddy were so very true. Again Wilson is back to being the cushion between House and the hospital brass.

    As for House’s adventures in this plot, I believe they did a good job conveying House’s obsessions lie from some where deep within pain and they have many more stories to tell. Good job House writing staff!

  • Barbara Barnett

    Housemaniac wrote: Barbara: I have a question about your great review. You mentioned that House’s leg seems to be hurting where the ankle bracelet is located and that this can’t be good. Are you thinking that it is hurting for psyhcological or physiological reasons, and what is behind your comment that this doesn’t bode well? You have me very curious!

    I think it’s probably a little of both. I think part of this arc involves House’s growing frustration (bottled up, of course) with his situation. How will House deal with that? That’s the source of my concern for House, but it will make for great drama.

  • RobF

    The writers need to figure out a way to get rid of the tracker. It’s too confining, and they are resorting to ever more cartoonish ways to break the limits. (Criminal electrician –> fake hot tub damage gag; “oh, I just got a flat tire…”) Just get rid of it and substitute some other conflict with parole conditions if you must.

    The story was pretty good this week, although the pacing was a bit off (minor niggle, I know). It wasn’t a blockbuster episode by any means. I can’t imagine anyone thinking back to it when remembering the series. It was just House breaking some rules to solve a puzzle nobody else cared about, but which turned out to be important. Kind of House in a nutshell — he cares about puzzle-solving because of the challenge; the hospital cares about his puzzle-solving because it saves lives.

    As for the supporting cast: Chase is fabulous this season, and Park is becoming very good. The other characters are either pointless (Adams, and amazingly Wilson), or just plain wrong (Taub and Foreman).

    Many fans have been waiting for 7 years for Foreman to become a great character. The acting ability is there, and the character’s storyline occasionally picks up, only to have him dropped back into an empty role.

  • Celia

    I wish they would write Foreman as Foreman and not as Cuddy. It’s just very weird to see him but hear her. If he lingers in the hallway one more time for House, I’m going to start to think there is more too their relationship. Honestly, they’ve just swapped Epps for Edelstein and have not even changed the stage directions. Lazy…and it runs throughout the series now, the lack of attention to continuity etc.
    The whole concept of a Team of physicians, a Department, no less taking ONE patient to diagnosis; that’s always be a major burr under my saddle. Such Departments of Diagnosis that do exist (often called something other than that) are buried in cases and handle many at a time. [H]ouse must make them grind their teeth. DS could have achieved the same effect with references to background cases that were ongoing but only highlighted one of them weekly. It’s just an unnecessary flaw the way it was originally written.

  • Celia

    And anomalies bug me.

  • trisha1915

    This is my first post here or anywhere but I am a huge House fan. I am relieved too that this season seems to finally be reaching its stride. Though I could watch HL exclusively for the 42 minutes I have come to appreciate the new additions to the cast. I loved Foreman’s response to Wilson’s comment, “We’ve got a problem.” F- “Does it limp?” Though I never excused House’s actions at the end of Season 7, I certainly can see the build up to that point. The rat medicine to rebuild muscle, his botched surgery attempt on himself, the patient of that final episode ( it seemed she and House were on the same wavelength, and then she caved in to love)and Wilson and Cuddy haranguing him to deal with his anger all prompted that final scene. As He drove away from Wilson I really believe he meant to once more harm himself.
    That being said, what I really miss this season are those tremendous close-ups of HL’s eyes where we see into his troubled soul. In fact, his eyes don’t even look blue this season. Maybe that’s just my TV. The other thing that bugs me is the absence of leg pain. For seven seasons it dictated his functionality. Now after even more surgery,some of it in his own bathtub, are we to believe the leg is better? We have not seen him really bothered by it since the opening episode of this season. While I understand this show cannot go on forever, I certainly hope it comes to a believable resolution.

  • Meredith

    In this last episode (that I loved!) what was the ‘big plot twist’ that was promoted???

  • housefriend

    House is back Great episode,Along with Transplant its showing the emotion and character of House that has been missing ,Without Wilson last year would have been unbearable, The House Wilson relationship and the new team are indredible! I think Wilson threw in that Cuddy stuff as last resort,Trying desperately to get Foreman to back off. Cuddy only put up with house because she was in love with him imo,

  • ann uk

    First thought. It’s nice that House is a Terry Pratchett fan like me . And perhaps Hugh too ?

    For those who haven’t yet discovered the Disc world , “Igors” live in the great city of Ankh Morpork and are experts at recycling bodies.

  • RobRow

    Ann uk, I thought the Igor reference was just a nod to generic henchmen in black and white horror films; if it’s a Terry Pratchett allusion I stand corrected. Also, I must say I thought this was the best episode so far this season; the only time since prison House hasn’t seemed like a caricature of the character as established in Season 1. The dovetailing of the two patients of the week – a child grieving for a dead parent; a dead child mourned by two parents – was compelling. And we saw the gravitas that, I completely agree Barbara, was missing. The debate between Wilson and Foreman about how rational House is summed it up: he’s an addict, and as Tritter pointed out in Season 3 all addicts are ultimately stupid. The river of waste and pathos that flows from this is vast. If he’s an addict he’s still an amazing doctor; Wilson’s line about him being a tool brought a wry smile the first time I heard it. Nearly in tears the second time. Wonderful review; I hope this isn’t the last season.

  • Oversimplified

    @ 20 robFan

    I don’t think you’ll have to worry about the tracker for too much longer. I get the feeling we’re heading for a re-set pretty soon, which will sort that out. Perhaps something that medically questions his culpability for what happened at the end of season 7. Could be wrong, but something is definitely brewing.

    I have to say, for me, this was easily the strongest ep so far this season. The little details such as the call back to Chase’s hypnotist expertise made it much more satisfying to watch than it has been in a long time. I really liked the way they dealt with House’s case too. Recently there’s been a tendency to sensationalise everything, whereas here they underplayed it and dealt with it sensitively from the acting and writing to the direction. Much kudos to Miguel Sapochnik here, who’s fast becoming my favourite director on the show. The bit in the crypt with House examining the little boy’s body was pitch perfect in my opinion, i.e. as respectful as possible under the pretty grizzly circumstances. I really liked the resolution with the pitching fork too. It was smartly done with the earlier reference to the Drewisms, and none of the recent anvils.

    There was definitely a shift in House this episode. I liked the fact they chose to portray him as a flawed human being who often acts like a jerk, rather than vice versa. It was refreshing and personally I think it’s where all the more interesting drama on the show has always emanated from, which was framed nicely by Wilson’s comment about him being a ‘tool’. It was good that they finally managed to acknowledge why Cuddy was the boss that I don’t think Foreman is capable of being. Foreman wants power over him, whereas Cuddy knew that approach was fruitless for both her and the hospital. Her approach also stemmed from the fact she genuinely cared about the hospital and House. Foreman merely stepped up to plug a gap, and reap the benefits. He’ll build bigger walls for House to climb, but House will just use longer, more precarious ladders to get over them that have a greater danger of falling down around both their ears.

    I’m still not warming to the newbies though. All they’re doing is making me appreciate Chase, and even Taub, all the more. I’m just not feeling presence or purpose with either the characters or the actors, but more like they’re there to make the male to female ratio more acceptable.

    All in all this was definitely something to build on, but there’s still a hell of a long way to go.

  • natasa

    I was just going through some old articles of Barbara and ended up reading one from the beginning of season 7. The line: “Will their relationship burn bright, burst into a chrysanthemum of fireworks and catastrophically crash, destroying their personal and professional relationship?” was so telling.

    And about the episode I have to say I really liked it (which I haven’t in quite a while). I guess I’m still rooting for house and for him to find some peace which he tried and succeeded to give to the parents of a dead boy.

  • ann uk

    long before his promotion Foreman was obsessed with proving that he is a better doctor and a better person than House.So, in any conflict with House his prime aim will be enforcing his authority. He lacks the courage and self confidence which enabled Cuddy to cope with House. She was in her own way House’s equal and her focus was always the patient, not beating House, and he respected her for this.
    I disagree that House was acting out of an ” addiction” to puzzles- surely this is one of those acts of Quixotic gallantry that we have seen before with House. He believes that Foreman will send him back to gaol but he is unable to leave the living boy to die without warning the parents.
    Foreman cannot understand this because he has cast House as an ultra rational, self interested jerk which,paradoxically,is much more like him.

  • BrokenLeg

    28@Oversimplified and 30@ann uk
    I agree totally with both.

    Yes, something is being cooked, maybe this great neurologist to come means something…or if questions medically House’s actions last year, turns everything upside down!

    And yes, House has been capable of this “Quixotic gallantry” before, but, ann UK, your words sound great and sweet in House defense.

  • Cyndi

    Kevin… You are so right! CY cannot act! I know several people who do not watch the show anymore because of her. My sister, who I turned on to HOUSE several seasons ago, has stopped watching as she says CY makes her feel old as she does not understand one word the woman says. Maybe they can subtitle her dialogue. She mumbles!!!!!
    This was the first episode of this season that seemed like old house – writers are finally bringing the show back to life.

  • DebbieJ

    A solid, enjoying episode. A few plot holes here and there, but I won’t nit pick. I thought the character Emery was played wonderfully by the actor. So sad, you really felt his heartache.

    I’m really enjoying the new team and have to admit that I love that louse, Taub. Three Brazilians? Ouch. Ouch. And ouch!

    I enjoyed the light and funny comments. What a contrast to such a dark and sad story.

    One question. Why is House’s monitor on his right ankle? Wouldn’t that cause more pain in his thigh than he already endures? Couldn’t they have placed it on his right ankle?

  • Maria-Eleni

    33 – DebbieJ
    You took the words right out of my mouth….er… fingers!
    As for the monitor, I think that either they want to make it more dramatic or that House prefers to have his good leg unfettered.

    30 – ann uk
    “I disagree that House was acting out of an ” addiction” to puzzles- surely this is one of those acts of Quixotic gallantry that we have seen before with House.”
    Yes, it seems to me that House usually –and understandably- connects with deeply unhappy and wounded people and tries to alleviate their suffering, whether mental or physical. However don’t underestimate the excitement that solving the puzzle gives him as well as the alleviation of his own pain through the process of the solving.
    So I would say, it was a combination of both that got him to flout authority and disregard the consequences once again.

    28 – Oversimplified
    “I liked the fact they chose to portray him as a flawed human being who often acts like a jerk, rather than vice versa. It was refreshing and personally I think it’s where all the more interesting drama on the show has always emanated from,…”

    True, that is where the strength of the show is based on. Which is why I like Se 8: they started with 2 mostly dramatic episodes and followed them with more lighthearted ones to suit House’s playfull mood – he is out of prison, Wilson is a friend again, his team is with him, he is back in his own turf –albeit changed. But is was a bubble that starts to burst in this episode as he has to face the reality of the restrictions in his life.
    As Barbara succinctly puts it “……his life sucks. Chained to his home and office by a short tether, House must be going stir crazy.”
    And as others have mentioned above it will hopefully lead to more dramatic houseian situations.

    30 – ann uk & 28 – Oversimplified

    Cuddy v Foreman as the boss.
    I never saw Cuddy focusing on the patient, that was always what House did, whether it had to do with the diagnosis or the person. Cuddy was not forbidding tests or treatments to protect the patients, as they are terminal anyway: her interest was mainly the hospital, the lawsuits, the reputation, and the personal power struggle with House.
    Both Cuddy and Foreman got House at a very low time in his life.
    Cuddy, however, is more at an equal footing with House and their interactions were spiced up by their friendship and history of mutual attraction. Her main weapon was firing House and that was frequently shown to be ineffective. After all she only did it once when House shouted from the hospital balcony that they had slept together. On the other hand House did quit at least twice –for personal and not medical reasons- which finally shows that this weapon could backfire on Cuddy
    Foreman has a more complex relationship with House administratively: he used to be House’s subordinate, now not only he is the boss but he also holds a terrible weapon, prison. He is in a difficult situation and I rather sympathise with him.
    His disadvantage is that he thinks he knows House when he actually never read him correctly. Being dispassionate himself, he tends to identify with the “rational” House and disregard that House is anything but dispassionate and rational when it comes to something he believes/needs, as Wilson put it.
    Truly, Cuddy’s strength was in realising what an extraordinary tool House is and backing down in time so as to be able to continue using him. Foreman almost lost this tool by being unsure of his control over House and so making the tactical mistake of brandishing the prison weapon for a relatively minor transgression of House.

  • Ladybelle Fiske

    I am so hoping that it won’t be the final season. I hope Hugh Laurie decides to stick it out a bit longer… and that the ratings allow it. Because there is still so much to be resolved in HOUSE and if they end it now, much may be left hanging forever…
    Anyway, I love it though I wish they’d have spoken more of what happened to Cuddy and the whole nine yards. I suppose House is afraid to know where she is, for he might seek her out (in fiction land).

  • rjw

    Something that I have thought about,and was glad to see someone in this episode actually not be interested in seeing House go back to jail (Wilson).I know that House can be a huge jerk,but to have either the orthopedic doctors or Foreman be too willing to bring up the “send him back to prison” idea,I found just as obnoxious.I work with teenagers,and unfortunately,some of them are already in prison (some for a very long time).Prison is not a place to wish someone to go to,unless it’s really necessary.It was nice to have Wilson actually stick up for House instead of joining the prison chorus.

  • Max Durdy

    I really enjoyed this episode – I think it’s the best one in Season 8 yet. It felt like a season one episode in the way it made you wonder why House was trying to solve the case of the dead 4 year old. It showed a caring House (one that, frankly, I’d been missing!) It was also the first time that Foreman was used well in this season. The conflict between Foreman, House and Wilson showed the potential of the premise, and I hope they all lock horns again further down the line.