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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Lockdown”

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It opens innocently enough as the camera pans back to reveal the wrap up of a routine C-section delivery. But within a moment or two, a new family's world is turned on its head as an infant child goes missing from the bassinet at her mother's side. So begins "Lockdown," episode 17 of House, M.D.'s sixth season–directed by none other than series star Hugh Laurie.

Laurie is no stranger to directing–nor to directing himself. He directed himself in several episodes of the British television series Fortysomething a couple of years before he did House.Laurie has grown tremendously since then and his American directorial debut exhibits a deft and light touch. He knocks it out of the park.

The missing newborn triggers and intense but appropriate response: the hospital is put in "lockdown." No one comes or goes; everyone stays in position until security finds the baby. But the lockdown at Princeton-Plainsboro and the mystery of the missing baby only serve as a framing device to the real story, back with the show's regular cast of characters. Paired off and trapped in place, each duo passes the time, bored, isolated and with only the other for company and/or amusement until the crisis ends.

Someone clearly has made off with the baby. Was it her big brother, who resents the little intrusion into his life? Was it a nurse? In the blink of an eye a baby is gone–vanished into thin air. The truth is only revealed when a subtle, hidden symptom of an aide reveals itself. She seems normal until suddenly, quietly–she's not. (She had been suffering mild and unnoticeable seizures all day.) Cuddy's (Lisa Edelstein) sharp eye and quick thinking catches the subtle symptom and rescues the baby, hidden among the laundry by the sick aide. But, as I said, the missing baby story mere glue for four other stories, also about hiding and revealing.

Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) surprises Chase (Jesse Spencer) by hand delivering their divorce papers and they are forced to share a small examination room and confront their relationship. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and 13 (Olivia Wilde) are involuntary companions in the hospital cafeteria, where they engage in a game of "Truth or Dare;" Foreman (Omar Epps) and Taub (Peter Jacobson) find themselves in the deliciously inviting file room, where they have access to everyone's personal files. House, caught in the hallway when the lockdown happens, ducks into a darkened patient room, where he has to confront the death of a patient whose case he had once refused. 

It was a joy to see Jennifer back as Cameron, if only for this one episode. (Although the door was left open for a return.) Chase has been tormented for weeks (well, at least since "Private Lives") by the belief that Cameron never really loved him.

Chase hits it perfectly when he tells Cameron that he could never measure up to the idealized version of love only possible when it ends too quickly (albeit tragically). Cameron's first husband was terminal when they married and she spent a year caring for him and loving him in a way that's impossible in a normal relationship. A wise colleague of mine has a favorite saying about making every day count as if it's your last on earth. And when you know every day might be your last, life takes on an intensity that's unrealistic in an "ordinary" relationship.

At first Cameron isn't interested in confronting what went wrong with their marriage so quickly. It's easy to say that it was House's fault; or that Cameron left because Chase's assassination of a genocidal dictator was morally indefensible to her. Or that he was toxic.

But in the end, in the quiet dark of an exam room, Cameron reveals what's in her heart, taking responsibility for not sticking around through the rocky shoals that might have been ahead for them. It's clear she's also been doing some thinking and has some regrets. And she doesn't seem quite ready to entirely let go of Chase. I hope Jennifer comes back next season; I think her relationship with Chase would take on added dimension and sparkle post-"Lockdown."

Taub and Foreman trapped together in the file room has such delicious prospects. And anyone in the viewing audience who thought we might get a peek at House's personnel files and some big reveal about either his employment history, medical issues or anything else have been watching too many House promos! It's not like they didn't try, of course. They found House's credentials file, but realized that House had falsified his records: not to sanitize his background, but to make it seem worse! Why he would do this is interesting to speculate about.

House's real track record is probably pretty spectacular, malpractice cases notwithstanding. And although House talks a very good game about recklessly going where no doctor has gone before, when he actually performs a procedure, it is usually with meticulous precision. He would not do a brain biopsy without imaging; he just wouldn't. But Taub and Foreman would want to believe it; would believe it as it's so much a part of House's public face.

By the way, Foreman should get stoned much more often. I like him better when he's not cloaked in self-righteous judgmentalism and House's Vicodin seriously loosened him up.  But Foreman is not as self-confident as the image he projects. He had come down to the file room to purge a notation in his files, that he'd been put on academic probation for faking a lab result.  (His actions are an echo of his reveal to his patient Lupe in season three's "House Training.")

Foreman, it seems, has been looking over his shoulder for years as if he'll be outed as not belonging–perhaps even a fraud. In this respect, he's the anti-House; House doesn't care, in fact he revels in his bad-boy image.

Ultimately, realizing that it probably doesn't matter much at this point, Foreman decides not to rip out the damning page from his file. But Taub, his cellmate during the lockdown, does a very House-ish thing, removing and shredding the file page, but only after Foreman has gone. It's an anonymous, yet illegal, act done to protect Foreman's future–exactly the sort of gesture for which we've come to know House.

Taub, too has secrets to reveal: an illustrious career sidetracked by success and fortune. Is his working for House his way of working out the regrets of his life and returning to the more noble medical work of his youth?

Wilson and 13 are locked in the cafeteria. Although the two are ostensibly playing "Truth or Dare," they're really playing "House and Wilson," with 13 in the role of House. Exploring question of Wilson's love life, 13 accuses him of holding back on possibilities because of how it would affect House. She calls thinks House is simply an excuse to avoid getting involved with his first ex-wife. But tapping into Wilson's more self serving side (and yeah, we know it's in there) 13 manipulates him into doing something for himself.

Their conversation nicely reflects back on the season four episode in which Amber admonishes Wilson to buy the sort of mattress he'd prefer and not the one he believes she'd want to have. It's an attitude that leads to resentment (and in Wilson's case three divorces). How long would it be until Wilson begins to resent House living under his roof and that relationship explodes (and does much damage to House's psyche)?

Thirteen's subtle manipulation is House-like, indeed. Annoying, but at the same time, making a point–one well taken by Wilson. They even bid each other good night in the end House-Wilson style!

A word is needed here about the series timeline. (Yes, I know.) Wilson and his first wife were married from 1990 to 1991. Which would make House and Wilson's first encounter in 1991 or 1992. But then there's Hector, the dog of Wilson's second marriage. Hector is 17 years old by the end of season three when House takes the unfortunate animal in. Do the math and it just doesn't work. So the only thing possible is for Bonnie to have exaggerated Hector's age–or the timeline doesn't work. 'Nuff said on that.  And now onto the main event: House's encounter with a dying patient, Nash (David Strathairn).

I had reservations about how Hugh Laurie would direct himself in his scenes with Strathairn, hoping that we would catch glimpses of the more human side, but wondering if Laurie would prefer to play the jerk card.

But Hugh sees House as a man who has both suffered and has witnessed much suffering and that come through in his scenes. We see a Gregory House very much changed in some ways. He is no longer afraid to reveal his regrets, and he readily apologizes to Nash for never having helped him when he might have. What a change from the man for who apologies are meaningless. And House's was heartfelt and genuine. How different his actions here than in "Remorse," when his apology was forced and did not come naturally to him.

We also learn a bit about how House has been dealing with the pain. House has a dilemma. He is obviously worried; the pain has increased and, as he tells Nash, he believes the artery where the original clot presented has been further damaged. But. He hasn't yet gotten an arteriogram, which would prove House's concern–or provide evidence that there's another source for the pain. House's fear is that if it's not physical, he might be suffering emotional pain. He's worried about it. He doesn't want to know the answer to the question; the answer might be too difficult for him to handle.

So, House is on Ibuprofen and (I'm assuming) still on antidepressants. He's still staying away from narcotics. Some fans have wondered why House is able to control the pain with only Ibuprofen. I'm guessing that he's on a prescription level dosage of the drug, which works because, in addition to the dependence on Vicodin, he was suffering some degree of narcotic-induced hyperalgesia. Once he detoxed in "Broken," Ibuprofen helped to make the pain more tolerable. He's certainly never been pain free this season–and it's been getting worse over the season.

Is Nash a peek at House's future? Is he destined to die alone: a pathetic wretch of a man living a life disconnected from his own humanity and from others? House tells Nash that he felt better off alone, but that changed while he was in treatment at Mayfield. In "Broken," House connects with Lydia, and he tells Nash that she showed him that it was possible to form a connection and feelings for someone. Something fundamental changed in House with that encounter. He had been flirting with connecting (with Cuddy) for most of season five, but House's broken psyche interfered. And now, healing, he no longer wants to wrap himself in his isolating shell. And, as we learn in "Wilson," he fears being alone. It may be among House's greatest fears (along with a worsening of the pain; the return of his Vicodin habit, and a resumption of his hallucinations).

He wants to connect with Cuddy–and he's tried ("Known Unknowns"). Right now, she's involved with Lucas and there's very little House can do to change that. Cuddy needs to realize for herself that she's settling for something less than love. But the faint hope that House might be able to win Cuddy may be one of the driving forces in House's life right now, helping to keep him from backsliding (that along with his fear of the hallucinations, which is much stronger, I would guess, than his fear of the pain).

House is full of regret about what might have been with Cuddy: a relationship at this point (at least in House's mind) that must feel only a faint glimmer of a possibility. Nash's words to House, "Tomorrow will be the same for you…but yesterday would have been different," speaks poignantly to those regrets.

What else does House regret? His encounter with Nash confronts him with a harsh truth–one House probably thinks about only rarely, if at all. What becomes of those patient consult requests that House tosses into the recycling bin? Do they get better? Are they all like Nash and eventually die from lack of diagnosis?

Even if they are, how responsible is House for those untold deaths? What sort of responsibility does he feel? We know how he feels when he loses a patient, but Nash presents him with something he's probably never considered. Will we see a more thoughtful House? (I doubt it, but it would be something interesting for the writers to play with.)

Nash assumes that House wants to up his morphine doses and knock him into a chemical haze to avoid talking about it; but is that true? I would guess at the beginning it might be, but House doesn't like to see a patient suffer any more than any other doctor (and maybe even less given his history). He continues to sit with Nash after the crisis is over and is free to leave behind this unwelcome reminder of a House casualty.

House's gentle (and blunt) honesty is just what Nash needs to make one final call to his daughter. It's a wonderful moment and something House certainly had no obligation to facilitate. And in the end, House still ups Nash's morphine, sending him more quietly and far less painfully into the night. I love these moments on House.

I liked "Lockdown." It was an unusual episode and Hugh did a great job in his debut directorial debut. He elicited lovely and nicely understated performances from his co-stars, especially Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer in their scenes. I hope he gets the chance to direct again before the series runs its course.

Next up is "Knight Fall." I'm a big Renaissance faire fan, and the thought of House paying a visit to the faire makes me smile. And yes, if you've seen the promo, you've seen House dressed in appropriately Tudor-esque gear. Love it.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Pat

    I have loved this show since it first came on and now I have my whole family hooked.

  • Kerry

    I don’t know whether i got distracted and wasn’t paying much attention when House was telling the patient about himself but I can’t remember him saying anything about Lydia. Anyone know where I can get the transcript for this scene?

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @ Michele1L: i believe that, sadly, you are right. The rates for this much promoted episode were low, and that is not, in any way, an indication of the people’s interest – it’s just a sign that the way the episodes were programmed and aired this season was very, very disappointing. I have no doubt that “House” viewers (even the “regular” ones, not just us, the “obsessed bunch”) would have been very interested in Mr. Laurie’s view on the show, but they just lost the strength to keep up with the air dates and the changing of air dates this weird season.

    On the whole couples issue (i will not use the word “ships”, because i find it diminishing to this superb complex show): again, i agree with Flo on principle, even if i am convinced that complete impartiality is ultimately impossible.

    However, i have said it before and i’ll say it again: we, as fans, go with the flow, and the flow is set by the writers. I wanted House with Cameron, and then with Stacy, and then with Cuddy. We love House and it’s only natural to both wish that he gets what he wants AND to be interested in seeing every part of him develop. I am interested in everything he thinks, says and does, i am interested in seeing him express himself or act upon his religious/atheistic beliefs, his complex philosophy and ethics, his morality, his emotions, his childhood traumas and his existentialistic drama. I am also interested in seeing him express himself and act upon his masculinity and his sexuality and his romantic side, which are an essential part of him, just as they are an essential part of any adult human being.

    And this brings us to Joe and his comment: i apologize, but i have no idea what that was about, since the possibility of romantic relationships between characters and the existance of romantic feelings on House’s part were present in the show ever since the beginning of season 1, when the possibility of a relationship with Cameron was being explored and then, when Stacy walked on stage. So i have no idea what the “romance-free golden era” might have been, nor do i understand why we should choose to watch a character we love (House) and see his intellectual and emotional depths explored, except for the Big Taboo of romantic love. Why should romantic love and sexuality be banned from a complex show such as this, is beyond me. Yes, the silly and cheap Grey’s Anatomy soap-operish style romance is a No-No for “House” fans, but i see no reason to fear it, since “House” still has the same creative team that has offered us the experience of perfection so many, many times.

  • janine

    I dont want to come off as rude, but if your turned off from the show, why are you here? Are your one of those fans who just want to stick in tll the end? For me, the coupleings (except foreteen) make the show more interesting. I would get bored if the show was all medicine, and they need other storylines besides House’s issues because if they focused soley on those, the show would be resolved too quickly. As long as the rlationships don’t become Greys Anatomy (and in case you’ve never watched that show,House is not even close to that) I’m fine with it.

  • joe

    For me, the love affairs they have added to the series turned me off from the show completely =/

  • simona

    @janine don’t worry 🙂
    @Jeffrey K …speaking for me, I like speculations! Which kind of life would be without speculations? we would have nothing to talk about :-))

  • Katherine

    Thanks for your review Barbara! It was amazing.

    This episode was WONDERFUL. It was fresh and different (just like Lock In) than the typical ones. The scene Chase and Cameron shared was absolutely amazing. Both Spencer and Morrison did a phenomenal job. I also really loved the Wilson & 13’s part. It was hilarious seeing Wilson trying to steal a dollar.

    However, I was/am disappointed that Cuddy was not in the “Lockdown.” I understand that she is the Dean thus she had to find the baby but nothing was revealed about her. 🙁 I was hoping that she would come to a realization that she doesn’t love Lucas, or actually, scratch that. I think she knows, but she’s hiding from it for Rachel’s sake. She also needs to understand that what she’s doing is not necessarily the best for Rachel.

  • Jeffrey K

    Whether House will do vicodin again is still very much speculation, albeit being very much talked about and believed in many forums. There is no official information or even tabloids suggesting it. Just want to clarify… I noticed that most of the discussions here are what happened on the show House, but not much speculations about what may come. Are speculations acceptable at this blog, or are they also considered as much a taboo as spoilers?

  • janine

    Good theory
    sorry for the spoilers, but if it is any consolation, this is only speculation (at least on my part). I have no idea if House will really be back on the pills, its just what I feel will logically happen.
    I generally don’t like spoilers either, but since Laly mentioned what she did, I had to workout the possible scenarios in my head. Sory again if I ruined something for other readers, I was just speculating.

  • simona

    @Flo: the chess game metaphor is really beautiful and it remind me to the episode “The Jerk”, I need to rewatch it. About shipping I like House and Cuddy but I am especially fascinated by the House’s journey so I had no problem with Lydia who represented an important resource for House during the rehab.

    I do not like spoilers because they are anxiogenic, ruining the surprise and trivialize a series so rich in insights as evidenced by the beautiful comments on this episode. Thanks to everyone for the insights. House would say: interesting! 🙂

  • Flo

    some of us a re really spoiler free!! I didn’t know about the vicodin thing before!! whatever you want to say, don’t post it here please!!


  • Dago

    to Janine -81
    How about an physical breakdown?I:ve learned
    that very small issues mentioned in between
    can matter a lot.House said to the patient that the damaged artery wall might have gotten worse even though that hasn`t been confirmed yet.
    And I wonder if it`s correct to assume that
    the pain caused by that severe damage House
    has suffered can be that easily managed
    if there is less emotional distress.It
    sounds so simple,but I bet in a reallife situation this would be much more complicated.

  • janine

    I too saw House being back on vicoden (weather perminantly or a one time relapse) as did, i believe most of the fan base. THat is why I feel that even though House may be back on vicoden by the end of the season, there is more to the story. The House finales are known to shock us and give us the unexpected (with the exception of season one) therefore there has to be more to the vicoden, unless the writers use it as a cliffhenger (will he or won’t he stay on it) but that doesn’t really make sense because, with the exception of season five to six, the breaks are usually shown in real time (the three months for us are the three months in House time as well)
    Any perticular reason you can give away all of this information on what is happening to House but not the thing about Cuddy? (although I think I know what the Cuddy thing is).

  • janine

    Great comment about shippers. I toally agree. Even though I would like to see House and Cuddy together, just as I had wanted to see House and Stacey together (because that is how the writers have set us up), I’m fine with either of them being with other people for the time being. I really liked his connection with Lydia in “Broken” and I don’t mind Cuddy with Lucas either. Speaking of Cuddy and Lucas
    I hadn’t even thought of that interpretation of what Cuddy said to that mother. Even if your interpretation of what was said wasn’t the writers intention, I like it a lot and I think it fits more, since Cuddy has already bonded with her baby by now and the likelyhood of her having a biological child is kind of slim. I also liked the yin yang idea. Now that it has been pointed out, I think that was the intention (Excellent symbolism!)
    I totally agree with your comparison of Miami Medical to House. I watched one episode and I just couldn’t take it. Actually, I have that problem with a lot of shows since discovering House. Very few are able to produce the same quality of entertainment. After all, how many other shows can you think of that can generate over 100 comments in a disussion that is ocntinues almost week after the episode aired?

  • Wynsome

    I did not think the adoption discussion was on the nose reference to Cuddy’s situation with bonding with Rachel. i felt it was more related to her situation with choosing between House who she loves organically and Lucas who she is trying to love because it’s convenient and seems the appropriate thing to do for a proper home enviornment for Rachel. I had noproblem with the Lydia comment. House did not answer the POTW’s question directly, he referred to Lydia as an agent of change, not as a lost love. The then she left me was his catalyst to learn he could try to connect with people and if it failed he could survive it, that is why Nolan released him. It is nothing that we didn’t already know. House has wanted to connect with people since the end of season four, and tried to connect with Cuddy in season five, but he was not ready and he failed. Lydia was a catlyst to him being able to move on his desires, he was able to knowck her door because he did not have all the weight and baggage an emotional investment he has with Cuddy. I felt the different scenes all reflected back to arts of House’s personality even the one with Ab the Taub Foreman scene, I think they were trying to get inside House’s head and they did or at least they explored two sides of his ego. The egotistical narcissist, which was Taub, having a brilliant early career and thinking he should be as far along as House and having to be humbled by working under him and reporting to others younger than him(did he mean Foreman?) Then Foreman having excellent grades, first in his class at Johns Hopkins. but cheating because he had to be even better than the best because he inside, despite his egotistical behavior has low self esteem, he doesn’t believe he belonged at Hopkins and doesn’t believe he belongs a PPTH and Taub at the end destroying that evidence of Foreman’s cheat, isn’t that what Foreman did for Chase? Isn’t that the kind of thing House does, rescuing people without their knowledge? Aren’t those the kind of struggles House has, despite his brilliance, feeling as if he doesn’t belong, feeling like he doesn’t deserve to be with Cuddy?

    P.S. When Foreman and Taub were lying on the floor didn’t they look like a ying and yang sign? The yin and yang of House?

    Yin and yang) is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. The concept lies at the heart of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine. Yin yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, although yin or yang elements may manifest more strongly in different objects or at different times. Yin yang constantly interacts, never existing in absolute stasis but achieving balance.

  • Rebecca

    @Flo (#76): Hats off to you for the very powerful chess metaphor. You expressed so eloquently my thoughts about the show. I couldn’t agree more.

    In your comment (#69) about the episode you mentioned the very two things I did not like. The slow motion at the end & the phrasing of House’s “confession” to Nash which was soap-operish indeed. As far as the latter is concerned, though, I realized that the very articulate and witty House can easily become verbally clumsy, when it comes to expressing his feelings. So it wouldn’t be completely OOC.

  • DebbieJ.

    Flo, I couldn’t have said this better myself. I’ve always thought “shippers” sell themselves short when it comes to this complex show. I find whatever arc the writers wish to write fascinating and I’ll go with it so long as everyBODY, (meaning each invididual character) stays true to character.

    I loved in the earlier seasons when Cameron pined for House. I couldn’t wait to see where it took them. I loved it when the writers brought House/Cuddy to the forefront and rooted for them, too. I’ve always rooted for House/Wilson in a total platonic, brother-love sort of way. I have to roll my eyes at the House/Wilson shippers who see things beyond that, such as a romantic or sexual ship. I’m not homophobic; it is just not there between these two characters. The writers haven’t written them that way.

    I loved that House had a relationship with Lydia, however brief. She was pivotal in his recovery and that she “changed him” makes all the sense in the world to me. She taught him, “it is better to have love and lost than to never have been loved at all”. She taught him to open up, to allow someone in. He can have that in his life. That is huge for him.

    If the writers return to the House/Cuddy path, I’m all for it. If they choose to go down the House/cafeteria lady path, I’ll be all for that, too.

  • Flo

    Rebecca, Ted, Meena and Barbara, thanks for your kind words. I can’t believe you had the courage to read this really loooong post of mine.

    You all have really good points too.

    @Rebecca (#73) your thoughts on Lydia are really interesting. I love your first point on this. I am not a shipper either and had no trouble with the Lydia storyline in “Broken”. That’s why I also agree with Meena (#74) and the example of Stacy is spot on.

    House is indeed a very complex show with very complex and multi-layered characters, that is why I think, if you really want to enjoy it, you have to watch it as a whole and not with ‘ship lenses’.
    In that regards, I already share this theory of mine here before but since Barbara’s been attacked by some Cameron/House and Wilson/House shippers I think it is a good time to add my two cents about that again.

    Here on why I watch the show as a whole:
    I watch the show as a whole. For me it is the only way to watch this show. This is the only way to see all the multiple layers the characters have and to appreciate the complexity, subtlety and beauty of it. I tend to think you can’t fully understand the show and its inner construction if you watch for one thing and almost ignore the rest. You really have to try to not make favorites even if it’s impossible to do.
    Watching the show as a whole is the only way to be as less biased as possible and therefore to be sure to not miss something important and misjudge a situation or a character because of that. If you don’t do this, you risk being obsessed by favorite aspects, seeing just that and judge the show, not on what it is, but on how you think it should have been. That’s a big mistake.

    For me it’s vital. I always use what I call “the chess game metaphor” to explain this. Okay, ‘pompous and pretentious mode on’ (sorry for that): The show is like a chess board. If you want to have a chance to win at this game you have to CONSTANTLY look at the whole board. Otherwise you lose. It’s the same thing for a TV show. All the characters are like pawns that, when moved in a right way, will further the game to its end. Sometimes you even have to sacrifice pawns along the way. But to do that correctly and win, you have to watch the whole board.
    ‘Pompous and pretentious mode off’

    And here is my two cents about shipping:
    I’m not a ‘shipper’ and I hate the terms “huddy”, “hameron”, “hilson” and so on… because the show is not about that. I think those terms undermine (not to say sometimes downright deny) the independence and the individuality of the characters.
    I like all the interactions and how they make the show going on. For me there is no such thing as “huddy”. There are just two individuals who interact with each other in many different ways, and whether it leads to a more intimate relationship or not, they are still two individuals. Same thing about “Hilson”, “Hameron”, “chameron” or whatever you want a call a pairing. Each character exists outside those pairings therefore nobody should confide them to this cliché.
    I’d like to add that to ship can make you become bitter when the storyline don’t go in your (and your favorite couple’s) way. Every storyline which is not supposedly good for a ‘ship’ is automatically considered as bad by the hardcore fans of that said ‘ship’. I always viewed this as a slightly childish thing.

    so now you all know where I come from….

    If you disagree with this, fine. You can say so here or even on my twitter. Just do it in a proper way. This is a place of great analyzing and discussion. It is a shame that it gets sometimes polluted by bitter, angry fans.

  • barbara barnett

    After a morning at work (and now on vacation!!!!!) It is great to com e home to see the discussion still going strong. Thanks everyone for your kind words towards me–and for really keeping this debate civil and interesting.

    Rebecca–I have always liked Hugh Laurie’s metaphor of the series, describing it as a Faberge Egg. I’ve been watching Miami Medical the last few weeks because I have always adored Jeremy Northam and his work. He’s a phenomenal actor.

    After the second episode, it occurred to me how two-dimensional the character were. Predictable (even tho the central character is supposed to be enigmatic). There’s no gray in any of the characters (or very little). The characters always seem to act as we think they will. In fact when given the choice of watching a House rerun for the 400th time and re-watching an episode of Miami Medical (I wanted to see if I was missing something), my husband (who is not a House fan) asked me please to choose the House rerun! There’s a reason for that.

    The characters on House act strangely sometimes. They’re sometimes unpredictable and we sometimes get angry with them (and their writers) because of the way they act (and are written).

    Is the writing sometimes sloppy and out of character? (sometimes it is–especially with writers newer to the staff.)

    The wilson-House relationship; the house-cuddy relationship; the house – anybody relationship. They’re all complex on both sides. This is very unusual in network television (and why House is so often the lone network show up for major television awards).

    Flo, Ted, Jen and everyone else: great comments. I can’t believe it’s already Friday!!!!!

  • Meena

    Flo, your analysis is incredible, really great. I think that you’ve hit it spot-on, with the structuring of the scenes and plot and all the nuances with the truth/dare game among the characters. You really helped me see the episode with new eyes, and given me a much better appreciation for Lockdown.

    However, that being said, I do think that the writing in this episode suffered a bit – and suffered in a I-expect-more-from-House-the-show way, not in general compared to other shows. I think I was also a bit distracted by the Cuddy storyline in this – I kept thinking, where were the cops? Shouldn’t the baby be dead, if under those many blankets for such a long time? I also kept thinking, what happens if someone is in surgery at the start of the lockdown? Needs emergency surgery in a lockdown? A crash cart? I didn’t want DS’s character rolled into the OR necessarily (against lockdown orders) because House cured him in the end, that would have been way too corny (especially for this show). But this show usually attempts to address even minor sticky plot points, and gets some of their best storylines out of them.

    And this is a complete aside, but I find it interesting that people object so much to Lydia, because she was married, though Stacy was married as well when House was going after her. Is it because Lydia had a child? Met him in a psych hospital? Played the piano? Can’t figure that one out, especially since she was clearly in a loveless marriage, while Stacy was still in love with Mark at the time.

    I find it interesting that so many people object to the relationship with Lydia on the grounds of it being an ‘unfaithful’ act, when House consistently exists outside of that orbit (and many others). He is the ultimate romantic, the “all’s fair in love and war” kind of person, certainly more DH Lawrence than Jane Austen (and with a few prostitutes thrown in;) ). In the end, though, Lydia did the right moral thing, by letting House go in order to keep her friend/ family together. But back in season 1, Stacy would have left a handicapped Mark for House. Do people not like Lydia because she rejected House in the end? Or because of Cuddy?

    I think that House mentioned Lydia over Cuddy because they were talking about the yesterdays, and not the tomorrows. I also think that he was intimate with Lydia in a way that he hasn’t been yet with Cuddy, that he expressed his feelings and desires to Lydia in a way he couldn’t bring himself to with Cuddy. Intimacy doesn’t mean love, per se, just what one is willing to admit to another. I think that Cuddy knows him better than anyone, perhaps even Wilson, as House really is, warts and all. And the story between them isn’t over, certainly.

    I have noticed that House is reluctant to assess a situation until it has reached some form of closure – he is almost always eventually right, with eventually being the operative word in that sentence. If Cuddy got hit by a car tomorrow, I bet House would know exactly how to articulate what he thinks of all the ways she has changed his life.

    OK, I’ll stop!

  • Rebecca

    Thank you Barbara for another insightful review of an episode I thoroughly enjoyed on many levels.

    1)As far as Lydia is concerned…

    I believe that House genuinely connected with her and had strong feelings for her. I fully agree with you, Barbara, when you say that in matters of the heart there’s no middle ground for House.
    But does his answer to Nash’s question (“She changed me and then she left”) mean that he is pining for her? That would indeed make sense without the episodes preceding and following “Broken”. But whether one likes it or not, Cuddy is a central figure in House’s emotional world.
    So, what conclusion can we draw? Is it a witting flaw, an inconsistency?
    IMHO it most certainly is not.
    One of House’s favorite defense mechanisms is displacement. Displacement is an unconscious defense mechanism whereby the mind redirects affects from an object felt to be threatening to a safer, more acceptable one. In “Remorse” House chose to apologize to an old classmate for a wrong committed years earlier instead of apologizing to Cuddy or Wilson.
    Taken out of context, couldn’t the words “She changed me and then she left” also be suitable to describe what happened with Cuddy? She has been an important agent in House’s changing process. But she has chosen to distance herself from House, after his return from Mayfield. Metaphorically speaking she has “left” indeed.
    It would be very hard (and threatening) for him to put this into words, even in the presence of a stranger. He feels relatively safe with this dying man, but he doesn’t feel safe enough with himself and all his unaddressed emotions.
    “Your secrets are safe with me” says Nash “Unless you’re hiding them from yourself”
    Note that I am not a “Huddy”shipper (or any relationship shipper for that matter) and I really loved the Lydia storyline in “Broken”.

    On another level, House could be talking -again on a metaphorical / subconscious level- about his therapy and the process of growth and recovery. Lydia was part of this healing place (both literally and metaphorically) and House’s ability to trust her, connect with her and accept her loss was an element pivotal to his therapy.
    So, another way of reading this controversial phrase would be: “Mayfield and therapy changed me. But now its effects seem to be wearing off, as I am facing the challenges of my “real” world. And I am again in emotional and physical pain”
    That IMHO makes a lot more sense than the obvious pining over Lydia.

    2)About Wilson and his attitude/ feelings towards House:

    One of the many things I appreciate in Barbara’s articles is the subtle analysis of emotions and relationships. And one of the things I dislike in some discussion forums about [H]ouse is that people act (or rather express opinions) as though human beings were not complex, ambivalent and multi-layered but rather one-dimensional. There are so many “grey” zones in human relationships…
    So, the fact that Wilson deeply loves House does not mean that he can not be angry at him, tired of him, resentful and capable of hurting him.

    For House’s writers the complexity of the human condition is an axiom and that is one of the reasons why this show is so unique. That is also the reason why they are often accused of contradictions, character inconsistencies, writing things out of character etc.
    But then we humans tend to act …out of character relatively often.

    PS. @Flo: Very smart, very interesting analysis of the episode -as always!

  • Ted

    Oops, sorry Flo. I didn’t see your post before I hit my “Post Comment” button. I was replying to Jen #68 about the “warm body” thing. And, Flo, your review is fabulous. Thanks for taking the time and effort to join all the scenes together. It makes so much more sense now. Yes, I agree that House was borrowing lines from his soap. It sounds really very corny. Can’t be his own words.

  • Jen


    What I meant by the warm body comment has to do with Cuddy. With the writing this season, it appears that House is only going after Cuddy because Lydia is unavailable and Cuddy is the closest reachable person, not that she necessarily means anything more than that. He was able to connect very easily with Lydia and formed a great attachment to her to the point that he was able to act human with her, but never with Cuddy. I know that the argument is that is because Lydia did not judge him. But if he was able to form a strong connection to Lydia, then was his feelings for Cuddy really genuine or is it a matter of him not wanting to be alone and Cuddy is conveniently there. Also, the show has shown that House tends to go for unavailable women. So is his interest in Cuddy now just because she is unavailable?

    I just think that when it comes to romance, the writers of House have failed miserably.

  • Ted

    I don’t think House was just looking for a warm body. I mean, by your logic, it means that as long as House is still attracted to Cuddy, he would not pursue another woman. If so, then why would he have gotten together with Stacy after the “one-night stand” with Cuddy? I believe that when House was with Stacy before his infarction, House was convinced that Cuddy was a lost cause because he had to transfer school, not because he doesn’t like her anymore. Similiarly, when House realized he needed to get away to a psychiatric hospital (which also meant getting away from Cuddy) and especially if he took into account how much he had upset Cuddy with his “public exploit of his sex life with his employer”, I believe House had given up hope to be with Cuddy again. That’s why he was available to Lydia. House may use the service of hookers for sex, but when it comes to relationship, not everything goes.

    As to the fact that Lydia was a married woman, I’ll like to think that House allowed himself her company because he couldn’t help himself. I do believe that love is irrational. If you like a person, you’ll like her whether or not she’s married. House tried to refrain himself from her, but Lydia kept leading him on until he couldn’t say no to her anymore. So yes, if she had decided to leave her husband and stay behind, I think that House and her would still be together. But she’s left, and he’s given up hope on her. So once again, he’s available. And, he’s still attracted to Cuddy and Cuddy’s available, and now that he knows he is capable of coping should Cuddy reject him, why not pursue her? Would be a fool not to.

    I am equally uneasy with Lydia flirting with House when she knows she’s a married woman. It’s unfaithful and she shouldn’t be glamorized. She toyed and hurt House; she didn’t save House. It was House’s experience with Lydia and the new knowledge that he can cope with rejection that changed him, not Lydia per se.

  • Flo

    Okay, I finally gonna be able to write something about this episode!!
    It took me a long time because I watched this episode twice and did something you might consider crazy: I described every scene, scene by scene as they went and pairing by pairing too see if there was a pattern and try to understand how it was constructed.

    I noticed some interesting points.
    Every episode of “House” is brilliantly written but this episode is a good example of how it works.
    Every scene is leading to another and every pairing is an echo to another. There are some “mini arcs” in those discussions.

    First the settlement into parings and locations. The Cuddy/missing baby storyline is the trigger but also is what gonna gives break for us in all those discussions. Then we got the personal talks and the consequences.
    It is interesting to note that the more the discussions gonna go into personal, intimate territories, the less we’re gonna see Cuddy. The baby storyline even gonna disappear for a while in the middle of the episode.

    As for the coherence in the writing and in the order of the scenes and the pairings, here is an example:
    13 and Wilson plays a game of truth or dare and they start, of course, asking personal question “did you ever participate in a threesome?”
    Then we cut to Cuddy asking the mother about her stepson.
    cut to Chase and Cameron beginning their difficult resolving of their relationship. During the discussion House’s name is pronounced saying that he is toxic or something like that.
    This leads to the next scene with Taub and Foreman watching House’s personal file but finding nothing worthwhile in it. House screws with everyone.
    We cut to House talking to his patient about loneliness but also offering to him a “narcotic haze” until the end, so the patient won’t suffer.
    Then we go back to 13 and Wilson talking about family. 13 talks about her relationship with her father when she (supposedly) told him about her bisexuality which leads to Cuddy asking Walker about his feelings regarding his baby sister.
    Truly great. It is like this for all the episode:
    House talks about pain and his problems with it. His concerns about the pain being physical or psychological.
    Cut to: Taub and Foreman high. They don’t feel pain anymore so they hitting each other. Taub then finds Foreman’s personal file which is gonna lead to a more intimate talk about themselves.
    Cut to: Chase and Cameron and her accepting to answer his questions. She admits she doesn’t know if she ever loved him.
    Cut to: 13 asking Wilson if the “Now” in his “I’m not dating anyone, right now” means that he recently was dating or if he will be soon. He refuses to answer so 13 asks him to steal a dollar which is something bad.
    Cut to: revelation about Foreman having falsified a test lab.
    “Bad boy” Foreman echoing to “bad boy” Wilson who is gonna go out of the closet.

    I also want to point out that it seems to me that as fun as the “Truth or Dare” was to watch, it is also a fundamental element of all the discussions and pairing here.
    Somehow they all play “Truth or Dare”.
    13/W do it literally and it’s not a surprise that the first discussion about something personal and intimate takes place between them when Wilson asks her about the threesome.
    Chase pushes Cameron to finally tell him the truth about her feelings towards him and their relationships, Taub and Foreman dare to take drugs and therefore discover some truth about themselves and the other, the patient pushes House to make a confession and House make the patient to dare to call his daughter.
    In the end, it’s gonna work. Cameron and Chase will find some closure, Taub and Foreman will find some peace with their regrets, Taub even destroying the “bad” page of Foreman’s file, Wilson will call Sam out and House gonna apologize to his patient for not having take his case.
    They all gonna hear some truth about themselves.

    I agree with you Barbara, 13 was very Housian in this episode (and she was awesome!). In that regards, it is interesting to point that House and her are the only ones we’re not gonna discover something new about. In the end, House’s great and unique bedside manner are gonna be confirmed and 13 is gonna stay extremely smart and mysterious.

    This episode was fun by the fact that all the character except House are gonna dare to do something crazy: to have sex in the clinic room (no the first time C&C do it in the hospital but it is still a rather crazy thing to do), going high on Vicodin just for the sake of it, stealing a dollar from a cash register and showing your breast to a colleague.

    I thought the directing was really good except for the slow motion at the end. It shouldn’t have begin on Cuddy. That was ugly and totally corny. Who the hell decided to make her cry? Corny and unnecessary. Really bad idea.
    Otherwise great directing from Laurie, all the actors were great!

    On the House/Lydia/Cuddy thing I totally agree with Barbara. I don’t think House was ready to talk about Cuddy, surely not seeing how complicated their relationship (or lack thereof) lately is.
    I think he was just saying that he found someone with whom he could let his guard down with and found out it was okay.
    However i also can understand the people who didn’t really get the way House talked about Lydia and the great importance she seemed to have in his life. She was extremely important to confirm to him that to open up to someone is a good thing even if it is for a short period of time but I don’t think she changed him.
    We have to blame the writer for that. I found the dialogue a bit corny, totally OOC for House and just really badly written.
    “I met a woman, she changed me”… Seriously? Are in “Days of Our Lives” or in “House”?
    The only explanation that I can find for it to work properly is that House really didn’t want to share something with the patient so he talked about Lydia and not Cuddy and using a phrasing he surely hears everyday in his favorite soaps but somehow I don’t buy it and regrettably I think it just poor writing.

    There’s another thing that bothered me. How come no one found the baby earlier? She was in a cart which was on a corridor and surely one of the people looking for her have passed near the cart. How come nobody searched them before? And are we really supposed to believe that the baby didn’t cry at all and that nobody in the corridors or in rooms heard her? I mean she should have been hungry and all.

    Otherwise, very smart, interesting episode. Good patient, good directing.

  • Jen

    “… and then she left.”

    With this statement, even my delusional Huddy mind cannot convince myself that House’s conversation with the POTW. My biggest problem with Lydia is the glamourization of her character. Here was this married woman that had sex with a mental patient. I would call her a nutjob not a savior. But that’s just me. And House’s statement reinforces to me that he would still be with her if she was still around. So the whole Cuddy hallucination makes it seem that he just wants a warm body, not necessarily Cuddy. But then we had him trying to chase Cuddy in the beginning of season 6. Now I am left to wonder if Cuddy is being used as a replacement for Lydia since she left him. If the writers are trying to sell a romantic House/Cuddy storyline, then I think they’ve failed in that department by their inconsistency and ability to convince me that he’s in love with Cuddy.

    I apologize for getting into shipping territory because I know this show is so much more than that. I was expecting to sympathize with House’s journey this season and see him get on better footing. Yet, I see so many holes and continuity issues in the writing this year. Instead of feeling like I know House much better this season, I am feeling like Wilson that has been his best friend for many years and still does not know what is going on in that head of his. This baby steps that the writers are taking has made it become increasingly frustrating when you’ve watched since day 1 and feel that you have nothing to show.

  • simona

    About Lydia, I’m wondering if there might be a connection with the game dare/truth.
    House feels compelled to reveal to the patient a part of himself (experience with Lydia) but fails to tell the truth, citing Cuddy. I doubt at this point that his defenses are actually so “well” structured that he could not recognize, himself at first, how deep is his need for Cuddy. And probably this unconscious denial is doing worse physical pain.

  • tigerfeet

    Just to be sure: I meant the comments, Barbara. Your episode-articles (and most of the others for that matter) are always spoiler-free.

  • Jaim

    I just wish that we could have learned something new about one of these characters, House especially. I just felt like we were seeing a bigger version of One Day, One Room but this time we didn’t discover anything new. The direction was well done and the music was great, but the episode overall felt lacking.

  • Jackie

    Barbara – Great review as always. I enjoyed this episode and thought that Hugh Laurie’s direction was subtle and effective. The steady cam was very much appreciated and noted. As much I like the episodes directed by Greg Yaitanes, the shaky camera becomes a distraction. Back to “Lockdown”- I loved the scenes between HL and David Strathairn. Hugh was absolutely spot on in having selected/recommended DS for the role as the dying patient. The regrets David Strathairn had as well as what HL tried to convey with his statement about Lydia was very revealing. I don’t think he was saying that Lydia in effect was THE one that got away, but that it was okay to love and lose and still move on as he is doing now. The Chase/Cameron exam room set up as well as 13 taking on the House role vs Wilson was interesting as well. I liked the Foreman/Taub pairing as well as Cuddy in her Sherlock moments, but it was House and his PoTW and the Chase/Cameron pairings that did the most to make the episode tick.

    I did think that the musical selections were for the moment (as they usually are), but the one that seemed to drive home the point of the night was “Once in a Blue Moon, You will Find the Right One” – not sure of the rest but the slight smile that House had at the end after DS finished his comments and drifted off, were to me very telling. Something is working in House’s mind, and I agree with you. “Lockdown” is only the beginning of the five remaining episodes to the season. I was surprised at the ratings that this particular episode garnered, but with weeks off then on it is frustrating to see what has become of the Fox schedule in regard to this show. The show deserves better treatment. There have only been two times during the season that the show has been on for the entire month. Two weeks here, off for a month, three weeks whatever, is not doing the show or its viewers any favors. There have been many weeks prior to the returns of “AI” and “Glee” that “House” was the only Fox show in the Nielsen Top 20.

    Anyway back to basics and the top at hand. I am looking forward to next Monday night’s episode and the ones to follow. Should be doozies.

  • RobF

    barbara (#59): “He starts talking about Cuddy (as interesting as that would have been in this locked-room scenario), I’m not sure House could have handled it.”

    Indeed. As Nash had said moments before, the only reason for House to avoid telling him something is if he wanted to avoid telling himself. House decided he was fine talking about Lydia, but was nowhere near ready to open up the can of worms that is his pitiful history with Cuddy.

    House has been trying to change himself into someone who can have a meaningful relationship with Cuddy, but he knows he’s not there yet. And he’s not about to tell anyone — not a dying man, not a trusted psychotherapist, not Wilson, nobody — anything about that while he’s in the middle of the struggle.

  • Janine–Interesting theory. I like it.

  • Janine

    I agree totallly wih your assessment with Lydia, but @Lifeline, your interpritation could also work. I have to agree with Barbara though that being with Lydia did not convince House that he did not want to be alone, it just taught him how to handle the situation of rejection better. Therefore House is more willing to make attempts at connections he wasn’t willing to make before (like with Cuddy) because now he knows he can handle the rejection. Idefinately have to watch this scene again!!

    Also @Barbara
    since you said you don’t personally mind spoilers, what do you think of my theory about cameron posted earlier (page 1 of cmments)

  • Good points Orange. I didn’t mean to suggest that Stacy didn’t take House seriously. She didn’t put as much weight on their encounter as he did INITIALLY (hence their disconnect on the rooftop). Her reaction fit perfectly with the idea that she (at that point)didn’t know/understand that House had pined for her for years as Wilson told her.

    You make a very good point about how House turned her world upside down as well in season two, alternately being sweet and manipluative (sometimes not alternately, but simultaneously).

  • Orange450

    He didn’t know how she would make him feel, and he probably had no clue that she would have such an effect on him. But she did, and when (shades of Stacy) she didn’t take it as seriously as House, House was hurt.

    “He didn’t know how she would make him feel, and he probably had no clue that she would have such an effect on him. But she did, and when (shades of Stacy) she didn’t take it as seriously as House, House was hurt.”

    Barbara, my mileage definitely varies here. I must take (polite and respectful) exception to your equating of Lydia’s and Stacy’s reactions to their respective interactions with House. I agree with you that Lydia – perhaps inevitably, under the circumstances that you describe so well – didn’t take the encounter with House as seriously as he did. But not to mince words – there’s no way that I can allow anyone to say that Stacy didn’t take what happened between them seriously without responding passionately 🙂

    At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, House turned Stacy’s world upside down – even as she did the same to his. She struggled – quite valiantly, IMO – against his machinations and manipulations. I could write an entire essay about nature of the conflict that she experienced (perhaps I will, one day :)) I would go so far as to say that it was House who didn’t take her struggle seriously, and wasn’t able to internalize what she was going through. (As perceptive and omniscient as he usually is, it wouldn’t have been the first time he’s misread someone important to him.)

    Things would have certainly have turned out better had he performed his Solomonesque gesture at the very beginning of the arc, rather than ceding Stacy to Mark only after he had already ripped her in half. But that surely wouldn’t have made for such compelling television, which indeed it was!

  • Hi Lifeline. You are right. After Amber’s death, House decided he didn’t want to be miserable. Then, life smacked him upside the head. Wilson left; his father died and although he tried making a move to connect with Cuddy, he lost his courage. Then came Rachel and more tentative steps–then wham! Kutner committed suicide and whatever misery House might have been trying to work out for himself became futile in the face of that.

    Season four (“WH”) leads directly into season five and six.

    House isn’t the sort of show you can watch as a casual viewer and get the same experience as people who watch it more intensely. Many casual viewers see House as a medical procedural about a sarcastic, misanthropic jerk of a preening arrogant self-important doctor. Most of us don’t see the character that way.

    If a casual viewer puts more prime importance on Lydia than is intended, there’s nothing that can be done to prevent that. It’s never been the kind of show to paint anything as black and white (except for guest villains like Vogler and Tritter).

    You’re also right about your dipstick metaphor 🙂 But House’s emotional state at the time has to be considered as well. Also, House was concerned about getting involved with Lydia. He misread her and her feelings (or not) and to House it was not a one-night stand (neither was Stacy in S2). The same would go for Cuddy. House places a huge value on love it would seem (there’s evidence of that all over the series). I don’t have a problem with Lydia. But (of course) YMMV!

  • Lifeline

    Also, having a one night where got to dip his vertical stick without having to pay for it does not equate to making a human connection.

  • Lifeline

    In the episode, House revealed to the patient that Lydia helped him to realize that did not want to be alone. Yet, I keep thinking how is tgat possible? After Amber’s death, we knew that he no longer wanted to be miserable and throughout season 5, we saw his attempts towards not being miserable, which included trying to connect with people. So how did season 5 not matter at all? Also, why is there such great importance being placed on Lydia’s character. Many people don’t even remember her. If I was a casual viewer watching the scene, I would take what House says to mean that he’s pining for Lydia and his emotional pain is due to her leaving him. The casual viewer doesn’t spend hours trying to analyze the real meaning behind House’s words.

  • Thanks all for your comments. The Lydia thing is an interesting disagreement, well articulated by both sides.

    I don’t think Lydia “changed” House. House was changed by his season five experiences and more profoundly by his stay at Mayfield, which was quite a journey.

    House (who is deep down, in my humble opinon a romantic) was touched by her (ok, so figuratively, too). It made him see something possible that people close to him could not–because they are so close to him and he has fears about each of those two relationships (with Cuddy it’s been intimacy and committment as well as fear of being rejected by her and all that means). With Wilson it’s his fear of loneliness. Right now, Wilson is all House has (Cuddy is a friend and an intimate but she’s involved with Lucas and their relationship is especially fraught with all sorts of complications right now).

    The fact that Wilson and Cuddy have always been House’s main support system further complicates it.

    Wilson (and to a lesser extent Cuddy) have always wanted to “change” House. It’s been his mission since season one. But he’s been unsuccessful. Why? They’ve tried manipulation, appealing to his rational mind and logic. Etc.

    Lydia was a stranger. Someone, someone who has no value judgment–doesn’t know him well enough to know anything of his real history. She accepts him at face value as a good person with a good heart (though misguided)–and confined to a residential psyche unit. But she still accepts him. He didn’t know how she would make him feel, and he probably had no clue that she would have such an effect on him. But she did, and when (shades of Stacy) she didn’t take it as seriously as House, House was hurt.

    But he dealt with it and moved on. And maybe it proved to him that he could move past hurt without trying to numb himself or give himself over to the dark side. He survived Lydia. It leaves him more available than he probably has been since he first met Stacy.

    Would I like to see he and Cuddy be together at this point, heck yeah! (apologies to my Cameron/House and Wilson/House fans) It’s infuriating and makes me crazy 😉

    But I have an understanding of what House meant. It’s my understanding and of course your mileage may vary.

    As to why no mention of Cuddy to Nash: This is someone Nash may know as the head of the hospital, but I don’t necessarily think House would consider that. House is perhaps not ready to articulate his feelings about Cuddy (and perhaps he can’t). He starts talking about Cuddy (as interesting as that would have been in this locked-room scenario), I’m not sure House could have handled it.

    I’m glad it didn’t turn out to be the overlong Foreman monologue of House Training. If House was a book and we were getting to the final three or four chapters, maybe yes. But I don’t think either House or the show are ready for that sort of cathartic unburdening.

    I’m rambling because I’m late for a meeting and really rushing this out, but I did want to add my comments to all the other well-spoken thoughts on all sides of the Lydia/Cuddy/House issue.

  • Jen

    Great review. While I agree with some, I am still having a very hard time with the Lydia mention. House was talking to a dying patient. What better time to get into House’s head than this? Here is a man that is dying, where House’s revelations will not be revealed beyond the confines of that hospital room. I was waiting for some real insight into House. Instead, again, it’s Lydia that gets a mention by House just like in Broken. I know many people adored Broken. I was one of the few that didn’t. None of the real issues that put him in Mayfield was ever addressed. Wilson and Cuddy who are suppose to be his two closest friends were never mentioned. Instead, we get a stranger (married nonethless) that get credit for changing House. How did she really change him? She knew what she was doing and from the beginning she knew that she was going to leave him. However, House sees her as the one that changed him? How did being used by a selfish married woman turn her into a savior. I think there are constantly many missed opportunities this season to further reveal the real House. Instead, it feels like instead of addressing relevant issues, storylines are there just to skirt the real issue. I have a very hard time connecting to House or any of the characters this season. All of a sudden we are told all the characters are damaged, but are not really shown why they are damaged.

  • Barbara barnett

    While I try not to spoil vey much in my articles, I’ve done interviews and previews since I started writing this column. I don’t generally mention spoilers beyond what has been officially released by the show. Please do try to label anything beyond that for the spoiler-free among us. Thanks!

  • madfashionista

    Very good review, Barbara, but I have to disagree with some key points.

    I felt the acting was superb…DS was simply amazing, as he always is. It was great to see Jennifer Morrison, and Jesse Spencer just keeps getting better. And I LOVED Foreman and Taub getting stoned!!! I am alone in my Foreman love but when he’s allowed to loosen up, he delivers to the goods. As for Thirteen and Wilson, RSL makes everyone he acts with look good. Although, to be fair, like OE, when she’s not required to be robo-doc she’s much better.

    But as for the writing, it seemed derivative. JM and JS dancing which turns into sex? “Broken.” Doctor with dying patient confessing secrets? “House Training”. Foreman confessing his unworthiness? “House Training.” I didn’t have a problem with him mentioning doing drugs. Maybe he’s gotten into pot now. So I had a lot of deja vu watching this.

    Also, in what way did Lydia change him? They had sex then she slammed the door in his face. I so did not believe that. House has plenty of deeper secrets that he could have revealed to a dying patient. To me, it felt cheap and out of nowhere. He’s never referred to Lydia, and a more realistic reaction would be anger for her concealing the fact that she was married and had kids. Even if it was mixed with the human connection.

    The writers had no choice but to make House’s file nonsense. Think about how complicated it would be if it was his real file. I can only imagine.

  • Ted

    @nc: Maybe House meant to screw with Cuddy using the falsified files, as much as he screwed Taub and Foreman. As the Dean of Medicine, Cuddy was the only one who has access to House’s file. If whoever electronizing the papers realized that House doctored them, he/she would sent the file to Cuddy.

  • Ted

    You’re right, Barbara. I think House’s falsified file was really meant to be a humorous touch for the episode and probably for the teaser (I almost jumped out of my seat when I watched the promos). But I also absolutely agree with you about House not wanting to have an official record that might jeopadize the mask he wears.

  • nc

    I think the falsified personnel file is supposed to reinforce how much House thinks and cares about Cuddy. Think about the fact that all the malpractice claims supposedly were about a patient named Lisa Cuddy.

  • tigerfeet

    Thanks Barbara for yet another fantastic analysis.

    I have also noticed that more and more spoilers have sneaked into the otherwise splendid comments here. I’d hate it if I had to stop reading them, because there are so much intelligent discussion going on! And spoilers include any “official” information. A lot of us avoid ANYTHING regarding unaired episodes. Speculation is fun – actual knowledge not!

    Again – this is a fantastic place to be for a House-addict, so please please keep it spoilerfree.

  • hwl40–In Housetraining, Bonnie mentions that Hector was a puppy (he’s been a bad dog since he was a puppy, which was why they named him Hector). Since they named him, I’ve assumed that they got him as a puppy or he would have already had a name 😉

  • hwl40

    Quick note: Maybe they bought Hector when he was an older dog…

  • barbara barnett

    Ted–great points. One of the complexities of the show has always been how the other characters reflect House in some way.

    The issue of why House falsified his records is an interesting one to explore. Maybe the writers meant it as a “throwaway” joke. As Taub (?) said, screwing with us even when he’s not here (or something like that).

    I said in my review that the completely private House may have long ago decided he didn’t want his professional story to be recorded for posterity on computer film. He falsified them to suggest a careless, if not reckless, doctor who doesn’t care at all about the patient’s life or the risk to it. Yet we’ve seen House to be a doctor whose commitment to a good patient outcome is intense.

    This is the doctor “who (doesn’t) sleep better at night” like Dr. Marty in DNR. He cloaks his “caring” in feigned recklessness and indifference. Remember “Deception” and the LP procedure? He had Cameron and Foreman convinced that he couldn’t do an LP–yet when we see him do one the following year (in “Airborne”) he is meticulous and careful not to injure the patient under the most horrible of conditions on a moving airplane.

    So, do House not want people to know him for who he really is? Would citations, directed donations and thankful patients, heroic procedures, etc taint his projected image? I think that has something to do with it. And then, of course there’s the screwing with people to feed their already-tainted image of the crazy doc.

  • Ted

    “Bad pain month.” Oh, what an agonizing month of waiting for this precious episode!

    With all respect, I’m not sure what in this episode showed Hugh Laurie had directed it well. I mean, I don’t know enough of what a director does to say if one had been good or bad. I enjoyed the earlier comment about how Hugh Laurie had used different colors and frames. I’ll love to learn more about such subtlety from all of you.

    But I would say this episode was probably the most complex with so many themes, stories and characters playing all at the same time. Credits to the writers for the amazingly well-woven lines.

    I agree with Barbara that Wilson is building up resentment against House, but definitely not deliberately or knowingly. Like in an earlier episode with the dying oncologist, Wilson resented her resignation from cancer research not because he really felt abandoned, but because he was stuck in his own rut and was leashing out on her just as the patient astutely pointed out and Wilson admitted eventually. Wilson might have bought House a beautiful organ, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be resenting House simultaneously. They are all complicated characters with lots of contradictions, and like 13 pointed out, he can’t be that good a boy.

    One of the hardest things for me this season was the transferring of attention to characters other than House. I was worried that there were some politics or unhappiness among the crew concerning screentime and if it were true, it could spell serious trouble for the show. Maybe I’m paranoid (I sure hope so!), but we’ll never know for sure. In the meantime, I’ll give the benefit of doubt and wonder if this was done intentionally for artistic purposes. First off, we have mentioned several times in previous episodes that this shift of attention from House, along with the disappearance of his whiteboard and the frequent use of full body scans, was symbolic of House’s recovery.

    Secondly, the show has traditionally used stories of the POTW to reflect the main story surrounding House. Perhaps, we should also watch the other characters’ stories as reflection of House’s own story. And, of course, a revelation of how other characters perceive House could be just as revealing as understanding House’s worldview and behavior.

    1. It was finally revealed that Cameron is equally screwed up in relationships. She only married her husband because he was dying. She knew it was going to be temporary, nothing could go wrong. With Chase, it was going to be forever. And we know that Cameron have difficulties with commitment because, like Chase pointed out, she avoided him when he bought her a ring, she hesitated to destroy her husband’s sperms, etc. Now, at the every first opportunity to end their relationship without being the coward, she seized it by rationalizing it as Chase/House’s fault while denying her own part.

    House’s approach to his commitment issues was different in that he avoided getting into it at all. He came so close to knocking on Cuddy’s door, fished her to say he wanted a relationship with her only to dismiss it as a silly wordplay, and most poignantly, he told Lydia, “There’s two possible outcomes. It ends, someone gets hurt. Or it doesn’t end, someone gets hurt… I can’t do this”.

    However, House seems to be changing his mind this season. After Mayfield, he’s wooing Cuddy. He’s committing! Of course he is still fearful, doubtful and insecure about relationships, or he wouldn’t have admitted on this episode that he tries to convince himself that he’s better off alone. Yet, House is still taking a leap of faith into relationship. I think that’s what Lydia changed in him: showed him that it is alright to pursue happiness even if the ending might be bad. And (as another commentor puts it), it is ok to let other people in because life can go on even if they hurt you. It just doesn’t make sense that Lydia is House’s long-lost love; he wouldn’t start courting Cuddy again while pinning for Lydia.

    Cameron confessed that she did love Chase, only in a way that wouldn’t have work. They broke up and they seem to be happier than ever. Could this be a reflection of House’s and Cuddy’s relationship? House, like Cameron, had taken a leap of faith to pursue a commitment but would also eventually break up with Cuddy, like Cameron with Chase, if they had gotten together. House and Cuddy love each other, but also in a way that wouldn’t work and they’ll be better together alone.

    2. The scene between Cuddy and the mother was especially thought-invoking. “Am I a horrible person if I can never love him as much as my own child?” (Apologies if I’ve quoted wrongly, recalling from memory here.) Was this what Cuddy felt too? Was this what House knew Cuddy would feel, that’s why he was so against her adopting? And lastly, was this what House was afraid of for himself? That if he got together with Cuddy, he could never be the perfect father? That he might become John House and create a little Gregory House in Rachel? It would be another fear to overcome if he were to court Cuddy.

    3. Why did House falsify his credentials? Maybe it’s the same as reason as Foreman’s or Taub’s? Maybe he doesn’t want people to know that he was kicked out of med school for cheating, or more serious medical mistakes that caused unnecessary suffering and death which bugs his guilt? Maybe it was an echo of House’s tendency to hide his failures? Yet, House couldn’t just take out the mistakes and leave only his achievements. That would appear arrogant, and House who is ever so self-critical and truthful, would never do that. Finally , if Taub’s credentials were spectacular, House’s would be glorious. Yet, the writers have chosen to keep it unsung, giving House a precious humility. Hugh Laurie once commented in an interview that one of House’s admirable qualities is that he doesn’t mind what others think of him, criticism or praise.

    Let’s come back to my original point about other character’s stories as parallels to House’s. Taub has spectacular credentials to be a great doctor, and yet he’s has to contend with a less glamorous fellowship He’s not proud of it but he rationalizes that it’s a nobler (recall scene between Taub and the ex-cancer researcher) and more challenging job (recall House manipulating Taub back into the team with medical mystery). House is a great doctor, and yet he’s convincing himself to settle for loneliness. He’s not proud of it but he rationalizes that his misery contributes/comes with his genius (recall the genius physicist POTW) and it is his brilliant mind that defines him (recall “No Reason” when he confronted Cuddy for messing with his head or when House gave up doing methadone). Taub wants to downplay his credentials, would House give up his brilliance for a normal but happier life?

    Sorry for this long post.

  • Elena, Ukraine

    I love reading this blog and everyone’s opinions. It helps me to understand better every episode. If I disagree with somebody’s POV, it’s still very interesting. And I like the friendly climate of mutual respect.
    The seasons since second finished with some disaster. If House will back on Vicodin by the finale of this season, it’s hard to understand to me – and how about ‘Broken’? What was the point?

  • Laly


    Im positive about my spoilers!

    and sorry for not putting a warning.

    but really with this show, I smelled House being back on Vicodin by the end of the season all the way back when he turned around to look at Wilson before entering Mayfield…

  • Louise

    I want House to go on forever. That said, we got a taste of Omar Epps when he wasn’t trapped in Foreman’s straight-jacket — and could be funny and unrestricted. I hope he is cast in other roles that allow him to show that side — what a darling. Maybe Foreman should become a Vicodin addict?

  • barbara barnett

    Wow! I go out for the evening (and away from my computer) and I miss all your great observations and comments.

    Monica, I”m not sure where you see the Wilson hate in what I said. I don’t hate Wilson. But as with Wilson’s marriages (and as House observed in House v. God, reiterated by Amber in S4) it’s possible for Wilson to begin to resent the one-way street he believes he’s on. It could happen easily with House. It doesn’t at all mean they don’t love each other (and in my opinion in a completely heterosexual way). There are times I could throttle Wilson and (although well meaning) has hurt House and his psyche. OTOH, House has done many things to Wilson.

    As others have said, I’m grateful that the discussion here has always been civil and respectful. So let’s please keep it that way, no matter what point of view.

  • Meena

    Barbara, thank you for the review, very nice. As always, everyone has such astute observations! Even when I don’t comment, I always come here to read everyone’s opinions. And I like that we converse more about the ‘yesterday’ of House than the ‘tomorrow’, for sure.

    I really have a lot to say about this episode, so here it goes. I found this episode to be much more interesting on second viewing. The most surprising is that I felt that it really wasn’t that revealing about House, but more regarding other characters for a change.

    Yes, the Lydia thing was very interesting, new information, but it didn’t surprise me like House in Half-Wit (advocating functionality over musical talent) and Merry Little Christmas (advocating normalcy over difference). We have seen how House is a little different after his stint in Mayfield, and I believe Lydia was an important part (both then and now). I feel his mentioning her was less about the chair sex and more about Lydia enjoying his company and looking forward to his being around (though chair sex certainly can’t hurt;) ). At Mayfield, he was first beginning to feel worthy of being not alone.

    Regarding the rest…Taub as more of a do-gooder, I was really surprised by that, in addition to Foreman as someone potentially more laid back when in the right ‘environment’. I have always felt Thirteen is most interesting when written as a sort-of foil for House, and here she didn’t disappoint. And Wilson, too, for being just as secretive about women as House – he might be the most mysterious character of all.

    Finally, Cameron and Chase – what a great series of scenes, that both held onto breakup cliches but transcended them as well. JS is such a phenomenal actor, though I too feel that sometimes JM suffers a bit in comparison. But the moment that she locked the door and did a little back-up jump thing on the door, how inspired. Amazing scene.

    That Cameron is really as damaged (if not more)than anyone else on the show is quite a revelation. It puts a new spin on Love Hurts for me, when House said that she liked him because he was damaged, and because essentially she needs to fix people. But maybe she just wants to be around people more damaged than herself in order to feel less so. Chase would seem like a great candidate for that, but in actuality he is more stable, he is not as damaged as he should be. Very interesting, and I am curious to see how this develops.

    I thought they could have dropped Cuddy’s storyline here – Cuddy is smart and loves babies, nothing new. I love LE, and find her acting superlative, but it did add to a bit of choppiness to an already cut-up script.

    To end on a positive note – HL’s directing was quite subtle. I really only noticed it in the framing of Taub and Foreman’s scenes. I think the greatest compliment for him is to say it blended so well into the fabric of this series that I wasn’t distracted by it at all! And yes, the colors were very pretty:)

  • pawpaw

    Wonderfully insightful commentary by everyone as always! I love reading this blog:)

    The inconsistent timeline is a bit annoying, especially if you re-watch the episodes again like I have been doing during the hiatus.

    Also, I’m not even sure which medical school House graduated from. In “Distractions,” we learn that House was thrown out of Hopkins for cheating. In “Known Unknowns,” House tells Cuddy that he did not call her the next day when they were both in med school at Michigan because he had just learned that he’s been kicked out of his second med school. But in “Humpty Dumpty,” Cuddy tells Cameron that she was an undergrad at Michigan when House was already a “legend.” Are House & Cuddy close enough in age to have been in med school together at some point?

  • Kristin

    As always, I enjoyed your review. You pointed out some things that I couldn’t really put my finger on right away. In all honesty, I watch each House episode about two times before I really feel like I have given it my full attention. There are always phones ringing, kids running through the room, door bells and so on.

    I really love your thoughts as well as Barbara’s. I really have to say, I don’t care for Cameron much anymore and this episode gave me more reason. At the same time, my caring for Chase has grown. His uncertainty and longing to be something more to her than he was is endearing and heartbreaking. When he told her what he felt he had figured out I wanted to clap for him. I felt he was dead on.

    As far as what Lydia meant to House, I have a hard time with it. I think what he said is what he meant and it would be a disservice to read too much into it in relation to Cuddy. We really don’t know what Cuddy’s thoughts are about House right now. We don’t know what House’s feelings are about Cuddy right now either. The main reason for this is that they have shared very little screen time together or been given moments where we have been able to clearly see an answer to these questions. How do they feel about each other? I don’t know anymore when in previous seasons I think it was easier to pinpoint. I think that in an attempt to hold back the progression, we have lost some of the fire and excitement and are just over all lacking. In a moment where we could have had a glimpse of what she does mean to him right now, we were handed Lydia as an explanation. I am a big fan of Huddy, but I can’t really see myself turning that whole Lydia comment into something related to Huddy at this point. I think that it is sad that his “savior” so to speak ended up being a married woman he had a relationship with while in treatment and we are supposed to think that is ok. I am struggling with that idea, sorry. I believe that if Lydia ever came to House’s world, she wouldn’t be accepting of who he really is. The thing is that Cuddy is accepting of that and unfortunately finds herself attracted to his flaws. She fights herself because she doesn’t believe he wants her in any real way.

    BTW…I don’t see the Wilson hate. I love Wilson myself but if I had to live with my best friend who relied on me because of sobriety issues, I might get sick of it eventually. Wilson is pretty much a good guy.

  • Jen

    BB, great review! I loved the ep and just added it to my iPod to re-watch it tomorrow! I think the ep, was a lot like earlier eps,Three Stories, Son of a Coma Guy, One Day, One Room and more recently Birth Marks. It is always cool when we get to see “inside” the characters. I loved the parings and F and T were hilarious! Not the “usual suspects”. I loved HLs directing and his interactions with the patient. I think this might be the best one of the season! I was really going into withdrawals from no new eps, so I am so glad to have two in a row!

  • savta

    I would like to agree with Orange 450.
    I was startled by Monica’s tone, and saw no basis for her comments or her anger. This is the only House blog that has maintained an interesting discussion as an open forum for people’s thoughts w/out fear of attack.
    Barbara’s blog enhances our enjoyment and interest in a really special tv show. I think we should all strive to keep it that way.

  • DebbieJ.

    I want to start by saying this episode was worth all the hype. Hugh Laurie certainly outdid himself and I hope they give him another opportunity to direct again in the future.

    I usually enjoy the episodes that break away from the formula and this one by far, is my favorite.

    13/Wilson. Hugh should direct Olivia Wilde each and every episode. For once, she actually showed emotion and wasn’t wooden in her delivery. She was affable and I actually liked her last night. Wilson, well, RSL is always terrific and I thought they played off each other nicely. Glad to hear them mention Sam and see that we’ll meet her next week.

    Foreman/Taub. Loved them. They were a riot when stoned. Foreman really does need to loosen up a bit more (albeit in a legal way!). He was the most fun and handsome I’ve ever seen him in six seasons. I liked how Taub revealed how depressed(?) he feels in this stage of his life. He’s a sympathetic character, but not a pathetic one, imo. And I thought what he did at the end by shredding the evidence in Foreman’s file was a cool thing to do.

    Chase/Cameron. OMG Can Jesse be any better than he was last night? What a terrific actor! I’m glad to see some of C/C’s loose ends resolved. And although I’ve always liked the character Cameron, I always thought Morrison wasn’t a good enough actress to hold her own in scenes with such powerhouses such as Hugh and Jesse. That being said, I thought she did a better job last night than she ever had, and I guess again we should credit this to Hugh’s direction. Until last night, I never thought of how deeply Cameron must be affected by the death of her first husband. It was the first time I realized the effect it must have on her.

    House/POTW. David Strathairn. Who’s idea was it to cast him as the POTW? Excellent, excellent choice. And if it was Hugh Laurie’s idea, then even more kudos to him. I loved that the story stayed off of formula and that House didn’t have a last minute epiphany. As much as he wants to show people what a miserable bastard he is, he shows his true colors by encouraging the patient to call his estranged daughter and to help him die peacefully, both physically and emotionally.

    And I actually squealed last night he mentioned Lydia! I am so glad he brought her up. It’s his first mention of her since Broken and am glad the writers didn’t put this to bed. So, House feels that Lydia changed him. I’d like to see them explore this and hopefully we’ll get to see how in the remaining uninterrupted episodes of the season. Maybe his admission that he likes to be alone, or at least tries to convince himself he’s better off that way. Maybe that is how Lydia changed him. Maybe she helped him realize he doesn’t like being alone.

    It seems like the pain will return. It, along with his addiction to pain pills, was mentioned a few times last night; his convo with POTW, him rubbing his leg in the first time in a long time and another mention, I believe by Foreman and Taub.

    I was kind of hoping they would have brought this eventual problem on more subtly and not so glaringly obvious. But, I’m glad they’re at least addressing the pain/addiction again.

    The Other POTW. The mom was terrific. This could have been a role that was overacted, but the actress played her beautifully. Honestly, by admitting she had a hard time feeling a connection to her adopted son and for Cuddy not judging her. Physically, she really looked like she had just given birth! So kudos to the make up/wardrobe department!

    And good for Cuddy for using Housian-quality detective work in finding the baby all by her onesie!

  • Orange450


    as a longtime veteran participant in Barbara’s highly respected blog, I feel compelled to point out that this particular House discussion venue prides itself on the environment of collegial respect and good manners that generally prevail here. With some regrettable exceptions, of course – your post being a perfect example of such.

    The participants here often disagree with one another, and sometimes with Barbara, as well. But there are better ways than yours to express one’s disagreement. At the risk of sinking to the same level, I’d like to say that no one forced you to read Barbara’s review. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. That is your privilege. But please refrain from spoiling an otherwise pleasant and friendly environment with your rude vitriol.

  • monica

    I swore I wasn’t going to read any of your reviews anymore, but unfortunately I clicked on this one. Can’t you ever just stop with your Wilson hate? It is absolutely ridiculous and unbearable for Wilson fans.

    Where did you ever come up with the idea that Wilson may have started to and will resent House living with him? What show are you watching?

    Did you even watch “Black Hole”? Remember the last House/Wilson scene when House comes home to find the organ? A very expensive organ that Wilson bought for House’s pleasure and to show House that the apartment is House’s home too?

    How do you ever assume that means that Wilson is going to resent House?

    Seriously, your reviews are just so biased and your Wilson hate is just unbearable.

    Take care.

  • Janine and @Laly–and everyone:
    While I can’t guarantee a completely spoiler free experience here, I try my best to avoid them (out of respect from the spoilerphobes who read me, although I enjoy a good spoiler myself). Thanks so much for your contributions to the discussion!

    Quin–I believe that HL’s color choices were intentional and very noticeable. I really liked the commentary the lighting offered on each story. The depths of despair (and how HL lit DS’s eyes to make them completely liquid was amazing) to the romantically darkened lighting of the exam room (and why the lights stayed off) to the lighter tones of the other two “room” stories.

  • Janine

    sorry to sound like a hypocrite cuz i posted spoiles too, but i warned or gave vague ones. if you could have warned would have been better. are you sure your info is true??

  • Janine

    No spoilers please

  • Quin

    This episode was to me a pivotal one in the way “One Day, One Room” was in that both episodes were about the idea that your life consists of a series of rooms,and the person who’s stuck in the room with you is what your life is about. In ODOR, House for the first time is willing to consider something other than scientific data in order to attempt to heal. He listens to the girl’s feelings and opens up his own feelings to her. In Lockdown, House connects with a patient’s painful history by telling part of his own story, and attempts to help the patient heal his relationship with his daughter. I loved how each of the five stories moved the relationship between the characters forward.

    Visually, I particularly enjoyed the use of frames and how characters were framed in the stories. 13 and Wilson start off framed in separate window panes and by the end they are shown together in one frame. Taub and Foreman are also shown framed by the openings in the file room. The use of color in each of the stories was interesting to me as well. The deep blue of House’s story, the sepia tones of Taub and Foreman, the red-orange of Wilson and 13, and the underwater blue-green of Chase and Cameron. Even the POTW was shown in yellow tones. The only ones not overlaid with overall color were Cuddy and the nurses, but they were dressed in shades of red, pink and purple. I’m not sure if the colors themselves meant anything, but it was like color separations on a print that when you bring them all together you get a full-color picture.

    I thought the opening sequence was exquisitely done and very beautiful. I loved the episode and also thought Hugh Laurie did a wonderful job of bringing out each actor’s characterization.

  • [Edited]

    Not sure where things are headed by season’s end, but I’m sure it will be an intense ride. “Lockdown” was just the beginning, I do believe.

    BTW–I will be chatting with Doris Egan after episode 21 (which she wrote). It’s the episode right before the premiere and my conversations with her are always enlightening and insightful. So stay tuned.

  • Laly


    when House goes to see Nolan again, it wont go well.
    the episode ends with him leaving the shrink by making a point that he’s done with therapy and never coming back…

    he gets into fights, Wilson kicks him out to be with Sam, Cuddy has some stuff I cant talk about and all that leads to
    the last episodes as a spiral to him being back on Vicodin.

  • cj_housegirl

    I really, really loved the music in this episode. Hugh MUST have picked it although I’m sure Katie Jacobs helped. There were some beautiful pieces that really went with the scenes. I thought Hugh did a fine job directing. I totally agree with your light touch comment Barbara, which was absolutely needed because there were so many scene changes.

    I loved this episode, funny, poignant, sad, and happy. I loved the pairings. Chase/Cameron, 13/Wilson, Foreman/Taub, Cuddy/Mother and House/Patient.

    It was interesting to see a patient that House had turned down. If anything it allowed me to sympathize with Cameron’s annoying habit of lecturing House on some of his patient choices. For instance, the porn star, the man on death row in S2, etc.

    I mean this is an obviously gifted doctor and you can’t help but ask should he really be spending his time helping a guy on death row? House’s answer to Cameron was pretty definitive about what he thought of that stance. House’s opinion is that non-medical issues can’t enter into his decision.

    Philosophy Ethics 101:
    If you have limited resources and there are several people who you can help but you can’t help all of them how do you choose? Do you not help any of them? If you choose to help 1 or 2, by what criteria are you choosing? First come, first serve?

    House’s answer: take the cases that interest him.

    There are definite times where that seems selfish but really is it any less valid than any other method of choosing? No. He doesn’t choose based on social status, gender, or race, it’s based on the medical information that he gets and whether or not he is medically interested in that information.

    Unfortunately, if you’re one of the 19….

    On top of everything else, I thought there were some pretty great ethical discussions underscored in this episode in all of the pairings.

  • Janine

    just because the sex hallucination was not mentioned on screen doesn’t mean it wasn’t said to Dr. Nolan, especially since that was the basis for House’s admitance. The writers probably just figured that since the audience saw it happen, they wouldn’t waste time rediscussing it and would move on to showing House’s healing

  • Janine

    you’re absolutely right, the amount of reruns this season were rediculous. I felt they were worth rewatching, but some episodes have re aired three or four times already on FOX, and not very many announcements were made on television as t when the show was comming back unless you were watching an episode for the fourth time in six months (and as much as I love HOuse, i can’t watch the same episode that many times in such a short time span).

    It is clear through tv by the numbers (which shows ratings bythe half hour) that many people didn’t know the show was on. At 8 the ratings were only around nine million but a 8:30 the ratings were over 11 million. No reason for a jump that big in a show that is pretty hard to pick up on from the middle unless people did not realize that it was on.
    I agree that while the episode was great I wish we could hve learned more about House. I still think the Lydia thing was significant though, and I don’t really see why there is such a problem with her in the fan base. The writers were not trying to pass her off as his long lost love. He was just saying that by connecting with Lydia at a time when he was vulnerable and bouncing back after she left, he learned that it is ok to trust people and let them into your life because even if they leave you, you will still have had the experience of being loved or at least connected to another human being. I don’t consider this story a discontinuity, as someone earlier said, with the Stacy story because we know that even when he was with her, he had trouble letting her in and pushed her away (this was said several times in the arc, most poigntly in “Need to Know”)

    I think the reason the writers gave the oppurtunity to Lydia of making House open up is to show that House finds it easier to trust someone he just met, who doesn’t know him or his past, rather than someone he knows better. This theme was actually explored throughout the season, in “Remorse when House chose to appoligize to the old Med school student rather than WIlson or Cuddy and again in “Private Lives” through the patient who told more to her inernet friends than real people, paralleling House in some ways. Also i agree House will end up taking vicoden again before the seasons end, but I also know Andre Braugher will be making another guest appearance in a May episode so I have a feelig that even if he relapses, he will seek help.

  • Michele1L

    RobF – love your description of Lucas as an ‘evil boy scout’! Perfect!

    Delia_Beatrice – I hope Wilson’s involvment with his ex leads to House’s return to his own condo. It’s time for House to go home. Wilson is great for House, but House living in Wilson’s condo hasn’t been great for me as a viewer. I think House’s own condo is the perfect illustration of his character — so, I hope you’re right and that the fireworks send House back home to play his piano. I miss his time alone in self-reflection and his playing of beautiful music.

    By the way – despite, in my opinion, “Lockdown” being the second best episode of the season so far, “Broken” the first for me, HL’s directoral debut on “House” is, unfortunately, the most least watched episode since Season 1. That’s what happens when a network constantly disrupts a season with reruns not worth re-watching. There was entirely too long a wait between first-run episodes. One can grow tired of the wait and change the channel to CBS. I’m please to hear there will be no further interruptions.

  • Jaim

    I liked the episode but felt a bit disappointed that more wasn’t revealed about House. I thought that of all the things that could have been revealed, his emotions toward Lydia, was not as significant. I also wish that Cuddy’s storylines weren’t always centered on motherhood or children. 13/Wilson were fun to watch, but I wish we could have found out something real about 13. She is still a huge mystery. Chase/Cameron were the best part of the episode, in my opinion, because they finally were honest about all the crap they’ve been through. For the most part it was a strong episode, but I was left feeling as if I didn’t really learn anything new that I already didn’t know about these characters.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Barbara, excellent review on a splendid episode.

    I fully agree with Orange, and with Barbara’s answer to Orange. Nothing further to add here.

    I only have one thing to say about Mr.Laurie’s job as director: the episode was emotionally intense, but what made it special was that this intensity and drama were expressed in the most delicate and soft manner. His approach was gentle and loving towards all characters, and the way he shot the scenes shows his solid affection for the actors, as well. He brought out the best in every one of them. In regard to the characters, the episode focused (and i bet Hugh had a word to say in regard to the writing and the choice of situations) on the most human, vulnerable and lovable parts on the characters.
    House was shown at his best, brave and sincere and vulnerable and caring.
    Wilson was the very Wilson-quintessence. Thirteen’s housian approach made her infinitely more likeable than her usual self.
    Chase was vulnerable, sweet, troubled, yet masculine.
    Cameron was vulnerable and sincere, moving past her usual “insane moral compass” and becoming more human and more real.
    Cuddy was efficient and sharp, while trying to be supportive to the family, but she revealed her immense vulnerability when she found the baby.
    Taub was more human than i ever saw him, looking in sad retrospect to his descending professional trajectory, and more noble than i ever saw him, with his final very housian gesture.
    And Foreman was better than ever, i have never liked him much, and certainly never as much as i liked him in “Lockdown”. The man can laugh contagiously, for God’s sake!

    One question on Cuddy and her issues with maternity: when the mother asks if she’s a horrible person for thinking that she might love her adopted child less than her biological baby, Cuddy turns awkwardly and goes into the bathroom for tissues (and then she sees the extra towels – by the way, the manner in which she solved the mistery was very housian). It is uncharacteristic and strange and i wonder if she avoided the discussion because she still has motherhood issues. Perhaps she thinks that her initial difficulty to connect with Rachel was due to the fact that she adopted, or perhaps she still has guilt issues about not giving her daughter enough time and attention.

    RobF: the “evil boy scout” is a terrific expression. I’ll try to remember it:)

    However, i wonder why House found it hard to talk about Cuddy in this particular situation. After all, the patient was in a supremely vulnerable position, he had opened his heart and spilled his most painful secrets, plus he was literally unable to tell House’s secret to anyone. So why not make a confession?
    This also brings up the fact that his “flirt with connection” (credit: Barbara) with Cuddy and the details and significance of his hallucination were never mentioned while in Mayfield, to Dr. Nolan.
    I wonder about it, because he has clearly acknowledged his love for Cuddy to himself, so the barrier has now moved to the exterior. House spent a long time hiding his feelings for Cuddy from himself and the world, but after he finally addmitted it to himself, why try so hard to hide it from his therapist or a dying patient?

    Barbara, i think you are right about Wilson building resentment – we have seen signs of it already (he seemed annoyed by House and angry at him for no good reason a few times this season – typical reaction for those who try to ignore their own needs and focus on others, and then their frustration bursts in the most unexpected and unjustified situations). I think his relationship with his first wife will provide an unfortunate territory for this to explode – i fear for House when this happens.

  • janine

    thanks tara
    maybe i read the ten years ago thing in a review or something that was incorrect because for some reason that number was in my head. I guess the timeline does make sense then. I forget that in season one, Wilson was refering to the fact that when he saw Danny in that spot, it was after he had left home.

  • tara

    About the House/Wilson timeline:
    In Histories(S1) Wilson says:
    “This was the last place I saw him, nine years ago. I don’t even know if he’s alive”
    In the Social Contract(S5)
    House:”You told me you saw your brother once. After he disappeared.”
    Wilson:13 years ago. I used to go to Princeton whenever I could…” and yes he says danny had dissapeared while he was in medical school. So it s all right i think, and in Birthmarks i remember Wilson says:
    “I was fresh out of med school…” nothing about 10years ago. So if Histories is 2005 and the social contract 2009 the last time wilson saw danny is 1996.

  • janine

    I totally agree
    I also noticed a few other discrepancies
    Foreman says “i always talk too much when i’m stoned” but I was rewatching “Kids” the other day and Foreman tells House that he never did drugs
    Also, you put the time of Wilson and House’s meeting in 1991 or 1992, but I remember something last year in Birthmarks where House or Wilson said they met each other ten years ago (which, at that point would have ment that they met in 1998 or 1999). This is kind of the same discrepancy I had with Wilson’s missing brother (who I’d still like to see again). In season one, Wilson said his brother had dissappeared nine years ago (1996 or 1997) but in The Social Contract Wilson said that his brother dissappeared while he was in Med school. This is impossible if House and Wilson met in 1991 because that would but Wilson as an undergrad, which he wasn’t because he was at the doctors conference and unlikeley if they met in 1998 or 1999 because Wilson would still be interning and also not at a doctors conference. Although meeting in 1992 fits what House said in Known Unknowns “I haven’t been to a US medcal conference in over fifteen years”.
    Its a good thing the timeline is not an important factor in the overall show, but still, the writers need to brush up on their math!!!

  • RobF

    I don’t think Lydia is really the number one lost love in House’s mind; she’s just the one he’s willing to talk about. Even with a dying patient, he’s not going to come out with all the humiliating details of his non-relationship with Cuddy. Even post-treatment House isn’t willing to go that far when opening up about himself.

    The “I had a fling with an exciting woman who changed my life and then disappeared” story is a lot easier to tell than “I was such an emotionally stunted self-satisfied jerk for so long that the woman I love is now living with an evil boy scout.”

  • janine

    I didn’t even consider the thing about Hector, but I have noticed through the years that there were aspects of the House/Wilson timeline that just didn’t quite match up. I do have to point out though, that I don’t remember Bonnie saying that they got Hector as a puppy so that could work, if they had adopted an older dog from the pound.

    I think the mention of Lydia is very significant. I don’t think she is being credited as the reason for his lack of physical pain, as others said, but she made House realize that it is ok to let people in because even if they hurt you (as Lydia did) life can go on. I think House is using this to persue his relationship with Cuddy. He tried, as she rejected him in Known Unknowns, but he moved on and realized that if it is tryely ment to be, things will work themselves out.
    My only complaint about this episode is that I feel like each story would have benefited from being the only sub plot. In other words, I think we could have gone a little more in depth with these issues if say the Chase/Cameron story had been the subplot of one episode and the Thriteen/Wilson the subplot of another. I could have easily spent this entire hour watching House interact with the patient. 🙂
    Warning: Spoiler/Speculation Ahead

    In a recent Ausiello blind item, we were informed that a character from a popular one hour drama with a rabid fan base will show up pregnant in the season finale launching questions of whos the daddy. I strongly have a feeling that this Character is going to be Cameron now. After all, we already know that she has been contractually guarenteed at least three or four episodes next season. To be honest, as overdone as the “ex returns pregnant” storyline is in TV and movies, I think it would be a perfect way to give Cameron her final proper goodby. Think about it, We would get to see a little more of Cameron and Chase dealing with their relationship and parenting (their children would be BEAUTIFUL) but we would have a plausable way to write Cameron out of the hospital. The viewers would know that she is at home and happy taking care of the baby. Plus, we could get some good pregnancy drama without the akwardness of writing in the child character later on (I still feel that the writers never quite know how to work Cuddy’s baby into things)

  • Laly

    your review is very well done as always.

    but Im sorry, I cant agree with you about the Lydia thing.

    House thinks she changed him. but as he often says, intentions dont mean anything, only action speak for itself. and yes he is aware now that he wants more out of life and doesnt want to be alone but he hasent really shown that he is bale to or acted like he really wanted too. he’s made a few attempts but he ramains our House playing games and not being real with the people who matter the most around him. even Wilson whom with he’s made the most progress, he hasent shared anything inside his head. to think that TPTB gave this importance to a character he’s had a thing with as opposed to Cuddy & Wilson who stood by him for 20 years…he knew he didnt want to be alone before, when he was with Stacy otherwise he would have never had this relationship.
    Ive read maybe 10 reviews about this episode and about half the fans didnt remember Lydia. he was able to connect with her because she was not available, because they didnt have a past, because she did thing carefree of those around her. and she might be the only person he’s met who he didnt even bother scrutinize like he does all the time with people.
    all of this does not make sense to me.
    we are told the hallucinations meant a lot and are very significant, then he has a 2 minute thing pants on chair styled with a married woman who he has the guts to knock on her door, then he deflects at the first confrontation with Cuddy post Mayfiled, then he chases her, admits he’s always wanted her, and more and now they are trying to sell us that this L is his long lost love?
    I dont believe for 1 sec that she is. and even if they only wanted us to feel that he is now more open and willing therefore hinting that he hurts about Cuddy and not being able to be who he wants to be all that thanks to Lydia, who is presented as ahis savior, well they made a poor job at handling it.
    Im tired of making up excuses for their lack of sense and contunuity, tired of fires lit with no water pouring after, tired of always having every single event left unresolved, tired of never receiving things.
    I know what show Im watching and I know it cant go well and get me what I want the way I want it but at least dont contradict yourself, dont ruin characters, and have the guts to show us how you can handle what you’re afraid off.

    sorry for all this ranting.
    Im usually one of the optimistic but we only have a few episodes left and Im not feeling too pleased.

    btw, you’ll see House back on Vicodin by the finale for sure. you can bet on this.

  • simona

    First thoughts. I loved this episode so much…
    “Interesting night” as Taub said. Initially I found this episode very difficult to decipher. BUT. After a re-watch it suggested me many thoughts, questions, partial answers, and of course the usual confusion that characterizes House. Furthermore House would not be House without uncertainties and unanswered questions. Thank God! I love it for that….
    In this episode there are so many different situations and I want to start by the latin inscription engraved on the stone: “Omnes te moriturum amant” – precisely: everyone loves you when you’re gonna die. And, curiously, to give us this definition has been used precisely latin which is defined a “dead language”.
    Reflection on death, intended as an end but also as a new beginning, is the thread of this episode. Death as a closure with the past, leave behind to meet the future. And the premise for this is the reconciliation with the past in order to begin the journey towards the future. In this sense I understood everything that happens in every different room. And above all I think that’s the meaning of the House’s speech about Lydia: “she changed me” and now he can not turn back the knowledge he needs a connection with other human beings.

    And focus on the room of House and POTW, how many interesting examples:
    “H: I like being alone or at least I convince me….we suffer alone we die alone………..Tomorrow will be the same…………”
    “POTW: but yesterday could have been different”

    House, eventually, gives the patient all that he would receive the same: support, understanding, closeness, compassion, freedom from pain and the feeling of not being alone.

    And today is already yesterday than tomorrow.

  • Barbara barnett

    I agree it’s significant that house has not likely shared his experience with anyone else. He’s holding a lot inside right now: the feelings Lydia uncovered, how much he must be hurting wrt cuddy–and the increase in his pain.

  • marjohn626


    It may be noteworthy that House hasn’t yet trusted anyone outside Mayfield to share his experience with Lydia, much less confess that it changed him. His secret is safe with the near death patient, so he exposes himself briefly and honestly.

    He’s been bunking with Wilson for months and hasn’t hinted at such a revelatory relationship, not even during his mating dance with Cuddy. Had Wilson known about Lydia, he may have approached his counsel to House with more sensitivity to his vulnerable state.

    No time now to get into all other corners of this ep (maybe later), but the short + sweet = Strathairn never disappoints.

  • Liz

    This episode simply reminded me how great the show was in pre-Huddy times (sorry, I know you are major Huddy fans here). And thus, for me it was great that it’s Lydia House loves. She was the one who touched his heart and made him want to change.
    One thing striked me as evident though (and it makes me sad): the script sucks. Don’t know what it is, but seems like the writers have lost their mojo in season 4 and are too busy looking for it to write proper storylines. That’s the only way I can explain why they turned Cuddy into a character I love to hate, why they focus so much on the boring new team (is it just me I thought Taub/Foreman was simply silly, and not in the good way), why they ruined all the awesome character development my favorite character Cameron went through in the first seasons into (sorry for the wording) bullshit. While I can’t wait to see her again, I really hope and pray that next time it will be a proper storyline not such crap like “Chase, I’m pregnant). Chameron is over, and it’s good that way.
    Anyway, as always it was refreshing to read a review from different ship’s POV, so thanks for the insight.

  • RobF

    The “random people locked in rooms” set-up is a cliché, but the writers clearly understood that and simply got to the business of examining the characters. It was nice to see the mechanism (missing baby) dealt with as quickly as possible, so we could get to:

    1.) House and rejected House patient. I think most of us would agree that Hugh Laurie was born to play Dr. House, however this is one instance in which he was not the best actor in the room. That was very wise, as the material could have been melodrama in the wrong hands. As it was, David Strathairn did a marvellous job of bringing some truths about House into plain view. He understood that House is addicted to using narcotics to blunt his suffering, and that the part of that suffering not controllable by ibuprofen is emotional pain. The interplay between them was fascinating, as House gradually transitioned from playing the part of House “I take maybe 1 of 20 cases” into finally being almost Wilson-like as he connected personally with a dying man.

    2.) Taub and Foreman. This one was fun, but didn’t really tell us much we didn’t know. Foreman wears a responsible persona because he is insecure. Taub has an enviable, balanced personal and work life, but undervalues his functional, happy(ish) marriage. Would he really trade places with House?

    3.) “Remy” and “James”. This one was almost a throwaway, except for the moment when Thirteen pointed out that House is on the way to becoming the 4th ex-Missus-Wilson. Wilson’s announcement that he is thinking of turning back the clock and trying to have a real relationship with his first wife is a brilliant move for the show.

    4.) Pretty White Kids With Problems (on the WB). I thought this bit was largely a waste of time, as the two made sad faces at each other and had cutesy moments. I had missed Cameron a lot, and was very unsatisfied with the way she left. I am glad this episode dealt with that by having her admit that the problem was not House nor Chase being “toxic”, but with herself. But it doesn’t really matter unless she is going to be making regular appearances.

    I don’t exactly know how to explain it, but watching this episode was like that calm moment before a thunderstorm when suddenly you hear the rustling of the leaves in all the trees. I am very much looking forward to the rest of this season.

  • Helen

    Im not sure that Lydia was being portrayed as the reason for his emotional pain as such, shes part of it because since his connection with her in Mayfield she opened up a part of his heart that he thought was dead, she reminded him what it felt like to feel and now hes at a stage where he really wants that, he wants to love and be loved but its not working out the way he wanted. Hes hurting because hes seeking that connection, that fulfillment, hes not missing Lydia per se just what he found with her if you get me.

    I found it interesting how he mentioned he was having a bad pain month, like the emotional problems are building up inside him and the last month as been particularly bad. Cuddys still with Lucas, seeking the connection with his real Dad, Wilson begining to look to his own future. All adding up to his increase in pain.

    It makes sense he thinks of Lydia from time to time, he must consider Mayfield on a daily basis, she comes with that.

    Great review Barbara, I loved the episode.

  • barbara barnett

    the title “Lockdown” is so appropriate. Orange is right that each character pair is in their own emotional lockdown and each confronts his or her issues (or intends to) as the lockdown ends. Unlike last season’s “Locked In,” which ends with the beginnings of House’s emotional meltdown, “Lockdown” occurs a year later when so much in House’s life has changed. This encounter with Nash was an important step in House’s growth and healing.

  • Nancy

    As always Barbara’s review is flawless and the episode itself even more so with Hugh directing.

    I always enjoy reading the comments here and just need to add that this Lydia was there at a time in House’s life where his judgment had to be impaired by the shock of what his body was going through in his stay at the hospital. I find it ironic that this episode was called “Lockdown” when if you ask me House was broken and in his own private lockdown in eps 1 and 2. I was happy that House found Lydia, but only because she was a physical release,really, for him and to make him realize to stop hallucinating about Cuddy and do something about it. Either approach Cuddy, as he has in S 6 about his real feelings for her or find another woman to have some kind of healthy physical relationship. Perhaps, in “Lockdown” the writers should have meant Lydia changed House in making him realize he could share physical intimacy. His plight is similiar to Chase and Cameron, sex, or intimacy is the only thing that they need from each other, not love.

  • barbara barnett

    The way House apologized to Nash for not taking the case (that scene brought tears to my eyes!) really brought home to me the reason that House goes out of his way not to see patients. What if he had to spend time with all the cases he’d refused, and they all “became people” to him. And he made the same heartfelt apologies! My goodness, can you imagine how torn up he’d get? Poor guy. Even though I don’t generally agree with his approach, I can definitely see that for him, there’s a real element of self-defense in it.

    I’ve long contended that the hypersensitive House feels very deeply. I think the way he advocates for his patients partially comes out of his understanding of their suffering in a way that most doctors can’t process (as odd as that sounds). But we’ve seen since “Euphoria” what happens when the patient is someone House knows (or gets to know). When he’s gotten drawn in he loses a lot of his famous objectivity, so his approach as cold as it seems may indeed be self-defense.

    I didn’t see Lydia being cast as central to House by the conversation. I saw her as being pivotal and crucial to show House that he can connect; that he is human and can feel. In season five he could not bring himself to even ring Cuddy’s doorbell: the result of several years’ self-imposed exile from his heart. Lydia proved to him (and it could have been anyone who was able to see past the facade) that he could feel (and handle rejection). I’v also always seen House (as you know ;)) as someone who falls very deeply for someone. He doesn’t take relationships casually and at this vulnerable time, his connection with Lydia was strong enough to bring tears to his eyes when they made love. So I can see the impact of that relationship (buy YMMV, of course).

    I didn’t read the scene as making Lydia the source of House’s potentially psychological pain. I think he told Nash about Lydia as the beginning of the story as to how he can once again connect. If the link is more direct, you’re right. It doesn’t make sense.

  • Zay

    This episode was definitely amazing, but in a more subtle way. You really had to think about it to realize just how much was packed in that forty-three minutes.

    Hugh, of course, did a great job with the direction – but that was to be expected. Each line was interesting, funny, and at times heartbreaking. Chase and Cam completely broke my heart but I feel like we finally got closure. Both Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer acted the hell out of that scene and it ended up being raw, awkward and utterly gorgeous. All the loose ends were tied up, it made sense, it rationalized Teamwork, and I felt a lot better about it. I really did.

    Barbara, you were spot on with your analysis on House with that patient. Those were exactly the things running through my head too as I watched – but I could never say them as concisely as you, haha. I think the episode really sets up some good drama for House’s character as we wrap up the season – the pain is getting worse, he’s obviously still a mess, and there’s five more episodes to go. My morbid side is excited.

    Thanks for your review, as always, Barbara, because they have now become an inescapable part of the House watching experience.



  • Alex

    I must have missed the part where winning Cuddy may be one of the driving forces in House’s life right now and might help to keep him from backsliding. I need to rewatch this season.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks for a great review, as usual. I also liked the episode very much.

    I loved the way that the physical lockdown for each of the pairs precipitated the release of the emotional “lockdown” in which each individual had been trapped. (Well, I don’t think Chase and Cameron got entirely the kind of release I mean, although they certainly experienced release of another kind.)

    Foreman and his academic issue, Taub and his shame at his lack of status/accomplishment. Wilson and his dating inhibition, and 13 facing the lack of candor with her father. Beautiful, insightful writing for Chase (so well acted by JS) – I was very happy that he’s finally able to absolve himself of any wrongoing in the relationship (which I could have told him at any time, if only he’d asked :)) I especially admired the way the writers accomplished the delicate task of keeping each pair entirely in character with regard to both their lockdown and their release. Each pair behaved predictably – especially House and Nash – and I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense.

    Even tho’ I suppose that Cameron had to be included, I was forcibly reminded of how little I find to like in the character – whom I haven’t missed at all. (JM really sold it, though. She did a great job of portraying a character I don’t like.) I’ve always found Cameron to be manipulative and disingenuous, and her conduct in Lockdown was no exception. I actually resented the way she went through her litany of issues without saying a word about how her long-drawn-out schoolgirl crush on House impacted her ability to form another healthy relationship. It was fascinating to see how she ended (I guess we shall see – one might be excused for thinking it was a new beginning) her relationship with poor Chase exactly the way she began it – by initiating sex with no intention of following up with a relationship. Benefits – but not much in the way of friendship, IMO. I guess I could call her many things, but “inconsistent” is not one of them!

    I agree with your assessment of what House’s reference to Lydia meant, but I wasn’t happy with the inference that she was the inevitable answer to “who was she?” – making her seem a more of a central figure, i.e., the lost love of House’s life – than a meaningful encounter at a vulnerable time. IMO, Lydia was a classic “rebound” relationship – House coming back to life, open to the overtures (no pun intended) of a smart, witty and very attractive woman – and it didn’t hurt that she was a musician, too. Had House witnessed someone else go thru the events that he himself did, I’ve no doubt that he’d have labelled it in exactly that way.

    So yes, Lydia woke him to the realization that it’s good to be with someone special, but I didn’t like the way she was positioned as the possible cause of non-physical pain for House. To ascribe to her such pivotal importance in the face of two other women with whom he had/has incredibly profound, layered, conplex, and loving relationships, both past and present? No, even in spite of the current situation with Cuddy and Lucas.

    Now if he’d continued the conversation to say that Lydia taught him that he has something to offer a woman, that someone else can actually like him, it would have been OK. But wait – that wouldn’t have worked either, because she wasn’t willing to leave her husband and family for him, and had never intended to. So to credit her with being the architect of his “change” didn’t sit well with me at all. (In fact, after Broken I kinda wondered what House would have done if Lydia had demonstrated serious intent to leave her family for him. Might he have rejected her like he rejected Stacy?)

    But then it occurred to me – his answer to Nash could easily have been a typical House deflection – hide the truth at all costs, even from a dying patient! In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that’s what he was doing. Otherwise it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    The way House apologized to Nash for not taking the case (that scene brought tears to my eyes!) really brought home to me the reason that House goes out of his way not to see patients. What if he had to spend time with all the cases he’d refused, and they all “became people” to him. And he made the same heartfelt apologies! My goodness, can you imagine how torn up he’d get? Poor guy. Even though I don’t generally agree with his approach, I can definitely see that for him, there’s a real element of self-defense in it.

  • I have always enjoyed the series “House” and try to watch it whenever it is aired in my area of the USA (Iowa). I think the idea of a doctor that cares but does not show it, Hugh Laurie plays the part with perfection. He is my favorite actor and I think with his directing too, the show will survive at least one more season. Probably many more.