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TV Review: House, M.D. — “Epic Fail”

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Way back in the season three premiere, “Meaning,” Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) had returned from three months of rehab and recovery after having been shot. Asking to be treated with an experimental procedure involving the veterinary anesthetic Ketamine, House was back and pain free. He jumps immediately into two cases, which alarms Wilson and Cuddy, who believe House is simply trading “solving puzzles” for taking Vicodin. The switch does nothing to solve House’s addiction issues. Well, they dealt with that one effectively didn’t they?

Three years later we are at the same crossroads in “Epic Fail,” the first episode since House has been released from Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. But this time, instead of resisting help—and falling prey to well-meaning but misguided colleagues during a critical and vulnerable time—House asks Dr. Darryl Nolan, his Mayfield Psychiatrist, to be his guide and mentor. On Nolan’s advice, House avoids jumping back on the horse, and in a strikingly honest exchange with Cuddy and Foreman, House resigns his position to pursue a less-pressurized career in research.

Nolan has also advised House to get a roommate. He doesn’t want House to isolate himself. “It fosters depression,” he says. So, of course, House has moved in with Wilson. Advised to get a hobby, the skeptical House tags along with Wilson to his cooking class. And surprise of surprises, House seems to have a flair for the chemistry-lab like feel of gourmet kitchen. House’s knowledge of chemistry serves him well as he whips up delicacies from near and far.

At least for awhile, the cooking seems an able substitute addiction; and a good distraction from the pain. House’s thing for cooking leads me to wonder if that gourmet kitchen in House’s apartment had gotten a much better workout in his pre-recluse days.

Cuddy visits House while he’s engaged in cooking up something in Wilson’s kitchen with a Chinese classmate, who (apparently) speaks no English (House and the classmate trade barbs about Cuddy in Mandarin Chinese). Cuddy is concerned that House has resigned because of her. House, who could have made any number of quips and insults, chooses a more sincere approach. “You flirted; I fondled. I hallucinated sex with you and then shouted it from the hospital balcony,” he reminds her, taking full responsibility the entire incident. And then she surprises him by saying she’ll miss him. I think he’s pretty moved by that, until the classmate interrupts the quiet moment—in English!

“Epic Fail” is an old-style House episode: a classic House formula of testing and guessing: no plot twists, but played out against the parallel trials of House and Foreman. And the diagnostic department falling apart. Like the virtual reality game designed by this week’s patient (but not as scary), House and Foreman battle the monsters and demons, which attack from all sides.

House’s quest is to stay drug free and deal with his pain by distraction rather than narcotics. But it’s also a battle to win the trust of those closest to him. I couldn’t help recall the season three episode, “Words and Deeds,” when House, at the time in rehab, resisting everything and everyone as fools and idiots, confesses in group therapy that his friends “have no expectations” of him. And they still do not.

Wilson treats House as he always has, lecturing him, manipulating and assuming House has not changed. When Wilson breaks his own toilet to steal a urine sample for a drug test, House expects it, and he’s ready for it. He’s disappointed in Wilson (and Cuddy, who doesn’t really enjoy being dragged into the scheme this time), wondering why Wilson didn’t simply ask.

As House begins to feel his way along this untested route, Nolan is the life-preserver neither Wilson nor Cuddy can be. House doesn’t trust Wilson (or even Cuddy) enough at this point (and with good reason) to confide much in them. But in Nolan, House has finally discovered someone with whom he can be serious, acknowledge his fears and not be judged. Someone who can really help him at last.

House visits Dr. Nolan several times during “Epic Fail,” each time when he seems lost, seeking direction when he’s feeling slightly rudderless and feeling incapable of coping safely with his pain. It’s telling that House is alarmed late in the episode when Nolan confesses he may have misjudged the importance to House of practicing diagnostic medicine as a coping mechanism for the pain.

House knows how close he came to losing everything that matters to him, most of all his mind and grip on reality. This is the most important battle of his life, and playing by the rules is the only way to win it. There are no cheats or shortcuts or hacks. It’s as real as it gets.  When House nearly slips, the pain becoming so intense he feels he can do nothing else but find some Vicodin, he stops himself and finds a substitute. And then, most important of all, tells Nolan. He doesn’t try to scam or cheat; he is honest and sincere.

For House it has always been about the pain and fear of the pain. But after the events of season five, House is even more afraid of the hallucinations returning than the pain. As long as the fear of losing his mind overshadows his fear of the pain, he will probably be able to overcome his inclination to easy answers, like Vicodin, to deal with his life. This is the beginning of what will likely be a season-long journey for House.

Besides the hospital, the one place House avoids is his apartment. But in a moment of darkness, when nothing seems to help his leg, he returns to the darkened room (the electricity has even been turned off). House is wary here, glancing around, remembering the horrors he experienced when last he was home.

Although it’s likely Wilson and Cuddy have gone through the apartment and disposed of House’s stash, they couldn’t have known all the hiding places. And as House confessed to Cuddy in his detox delusion in “Under My Skin,” he keeps a secret supply in the closet—in a shoe. And there it is. A last bottle of the “good stuff.” One pill and no more pain, must whisper one part of House’s mind (maybe even Amber’s echo). But the rational part of House’s mind must also have its say, reminding him Vicodin nearly destroyed his mind. We never know for certain whether he’s actually refrained because the camera cuts away. But I tend to believe he has not. Do you?

Foreman’s battle is more straightforward, but to his career, no less important. He wants to win the role he’s been gunning for since he joined House’s staff: to run House’s department—and prove he can do it as well (if not better) than House. With the department closed down for three months, he has been waiting in the wings for his chance. No sooner does House resign than Foreman swoops in (like one of those ginormous birds in the virtual reality game) for House’s remains.

I loved that Cuddy acknowledges the small fact that diagnostic medicine departments do not exist outside of the House-universe. The Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital department of diagnostic medicine was created exclusively for House. (Compensation for what the hospital did to his leg?) But Cuddy reluctantly gives Foreman a chance as a new patient arrives, a virtual reality game designer, who seems to have all the answers and an intimate relationship with Google.

Anyway, Dr. Eric “I’m as smart as House but nicer” Foreman is an “epic-fail,” as the episode title tells us. Where House is sarcastic, Foreman is dictatorial; where Foreman tries to control everything and be the “decider,” House filters ideas and theories through years of experience and an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, science and history. And he’s not much nicer than House, if at all. The “I’m the Boss” smugness pours from every pore. And it drives a big wedge within the department, causing a rift with 13, and leading to Taub’s resignation.

Omar Epps does a great job in showing us Foreman’s barely concealed glee at taking the diagnostic reins. He struts into House’s inner sanctum like a crowned king. You can practically hear him thinking: “Mine. It’s all mine.” But, Foreman has only one shot to make it work.

He has no help from the patient, who, with his symptoms from burning hands to priapism to iodine mumps, challenges Foreman more than 13 and Taub combined. The patient plays along with the diagnosis, bringing in experts to help him do his own virtual reality differential, and try to solve his own medical mystery on the “Interwebs.”

The patient is the sort of Internet-savvy geek House eats for breakfast in the clinic. However, I can imagine House striking some sort of bond with the game designer. Sure, House would mock him for getting his diagnosis off the “Interwebs,” while asking him to be a beta tester on the new game he’s designing.

Foreman likes playing Dr. House. He does everything he thinks House would say and do. But  Foreman’s view of House is only on the surface, so his mimicry is false. When asked if he is the replacement for the genius that runs the department, Foreman replies that he’s “Genius 2.0.” And he has the chutzpa to really thinks he is. But, as the episode title says, “Epic Fail.”

In the end, House, seeing the patient’s plea for a diagnosis on the Internet, can’t help himself. He submits his call, and lo and behold, it’s right. It is a slightly obvious plot turn, one you could see as soon as the patient offers $25,000 reward online for the right diagnosis. How could House, who seems to constantly be surfing the ‘net, resist?

He knows he’s not supposed to “go back to his old habits,” including diagnostic medicine, but when he tells Nolan he’s slipped—not by taking Vicodin, but by diagnosing the case (and showing up Foreman in the process), he thinks he may have been too hasty in warning House off diagnostics. Time will tell if getting back in the game, as it were, will prove too risky for House.  

A word about the graphics in this episode: stunning, especially in high definition. I think this was easily my favorite teaser ever. And yes, it’s the geek girl in me talking. But spectacular work on the part of the graphics department.

James Earl Jones guest stars in next week’s House episode, airing Monday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on FOX.

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About Barbara Barnett

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

    Nice, positive review. I agree with most of your analysis regarding scenes involving House, Wilson, Dr. Nolan and Cuddy. I liked the fact that they are taking things slowly regarding House’s recovery. I agree that the big issue this season will be how House finds his balance without returning to the dark cycle of pills, abuse, hallucinations, etc.
    This episode should have been called “Eric fail” and sure enough, Foreman was front and center failing at everything he attempted. I understand that this had to be shown and I even agree that Omar Epps did a good job portraying the sickeningly smug and arrogant Foreman. I even understand that to some degree, this had to involve 13 and their relationship. However, once again, they managed to have a 13-centric show, too many scenes were absolutely not necessary to tell the story and were just about what Foreman and 13 do/talk and fight about when alone. As both characters by themselves and as a pair are extremely boring and annoying, it was sad to waste time showing them doing this and that. The only slightly interesting interactions were those they had individually with House.
    Even though there were some great lines, especially the comedic ones, in this episode, overall the writing seemed awkward at times, too obvious, and there wasn’t much chance for the actors to act out scenes without spoiling them with words.
    The graphics were different, maybe interesting, but for me, they took too much time away in an episode that already had 13 and 14 on the screen longer than the main characters, and frankly, they did not add much to the story overall. The teaser was exaggerated, I guess it was supposed to be spectacular, but it did not fit the show.
    This episode served to have Taub quit, and have 13 fired from the team, to put a crack in 14’s relationship and to have House attempt the first steps outside the asylum on his own. The latter is the main story, all the other parts are background, setting the scene for House’s return to PPTH and it should not take over half of the episode to lay that out. Instead, I wish they had shown or told us a bit more about what went on at the hospital during House’s absence, not just that the team was reassigned, but their reactions and interactions as well.
    IMO, the episode had some great moments (all involving House) but after the great premiere episode last week, this seemed like a letdown and the writing and dialog was not up to the same high standards.

  • angelcat2865

    Excellent review as always.

    I love watching House trying so hard to stay well and that he has found someone he can turn to in Doctor Nolan. I do worried that like House on on of his cases that Doctor Nolan will get it wrong more than once and House will lose his way again now he is back at PPTH.
    On the other hand I thoroughly enjoyed watching Foreman’s “epic fail.” I think he has proved one and for all that he is a bigger ass than House will ever be.

  • tigerfeet

    Thanks for an excellent review, highlighting the good points and ponderable issues in an episode that for me was a bit of a letdown from the sensational “Broken”. It will be interesting to see if there will be a different dynamic in House’s relationships. Will House follow dr. Nolan’s advice and trust people with the truth about himself, the real him? And if so, how will the ones closest to him react?

    Of course I would have loved to see more of House dealing with the aftermath of Mayfield, but I also understand that HL needs a bit of a break every now and then during a long season. Which must then necessarily be filled with the other characters, this time Foreteen. I agree that Foreman handled his stab at being the boss very badly, but I also found 13’s resistance a tad too much. Still, all in all they did a reasonably good job in conveying the challenges facing a couple where one party suddenly also becomes your boss.

  • PurpleGirl

    Great review! Once thing that I didn’t get: how could Nolan come to the SO obviously wrong conclusion that House should stay away from diagnostics?! Did he not talk to anyone around House at all, to learn about his “Rubix complex”? Wouldn’t Cuddy have told him the story of giving House a placebo shot that worked nonetheless–until the case was over? I don’t know, it just seemed a bit contrived–like the writers wanted badly to play with the idea of Foreman as boss, and this was a way to do it.

    House cooking WAS truly enjoyable though!

  • Chen

    Eric Foreman = E.F. = Epic Fail.
    brillaint review. really enjoyed reading it as always

  • Reba

    Dear Barbara.
    So much fun to read your reviews again! I must say I agree with the other speakers here that the scenes with House was the most interesting. I feel that House is still House even though he speaks his mind a bit more. His approach to Cuddy was heartfelt and good, and it amazes me how Laurie and Edelstein manage to put so much into such a short time. I also enjoyed Omar Epps’ portrayal of Foreman and Olivia Wilde’s, I thought, natural reaction to his promotion. However, it shall be good to see House back in the diagnostic chair. The season’s first two or three episodes shows a shift in the writing, I think, which is intriguing if they manage to pull it off. I also think House should keep his hobby. It was refreshing to see him do something else than diagnosing and popping pills.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks everyone for kicking off the discussion overnight. Always fun to wake up to great comments.

    Perhaps Nolan was coming from a place House told him about. The breakneck pace of the diagnostics had been great for House, but maybe the pressure too much (and seeing clinic patients, and dealing with a staff). Maybe House wanted a clean start and Nolan though it best. I think although Nolan encouraged, I would guess House had some input into that decision to stay away from PPTH.

    I also thought, as mentioned above, a little too few moments spent with House and too much with Foreman and 13, but it was worth it to see Foreman finally get it (or does he?) Will he willingly give up the department Cuddy has now given him? Or will House have to win it back?

  • blacktop

    Another excellent review, thank you Barbara. Although you didn’t comment on it, I loved the scene between Thirteen and House in Amber’s kitchen. House was back in couples counseling mode and she was able to get beneath his usual snarky exterior to get two important revelations: he cares about pursuing happiness and he is deeply worried about the returning pain. This conversation in fact is exactly a parallel with the ones House has with Dr. Nolan, but it is more significant because Thirteen is a permanent fixture (although secondary) in House’s life. Opening himself up to a colleague member is an important step forward for House and it was a great scene splendidly played by both Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde.

    I also liked Thirteen’s scenes with Foreman. The tensions between them were expertly developed and their delicate balance was explored in a way that made this couple interesting at last. They were also made relevant as a counterpoint to the future that might lie before House and Cuddy should the older couple chose to move toward greater intimacy.

    Also important to note is that although House solved the illness of the week, so did Foreman in his own independant epiphany. House did not one-up or surpass Foreman at all. It was Thirteen’s return to the Internet for an anonymous solution that undermined Foreman’s triumph and undercut his confidence. A nicely played bit of irony in an excellent episode.

  • ValentineBaby

    I agree with TigerFeet that the episode was a letdown from the sensational “Broken”. But maybe any episode after Broken would be a letdown,BECAUSE it was so sensational and deeply moving.
    I enjoyed the scenes of House in the kitchen with Cuddy (darn the other woman for opening her mouth at the wrong time) and with 13.
    Loved the idea that House solved the case (and got paid so much for it).

  • Val

    Barbara-wonderful review! I didn’t really know where or how to view this episode on a whole and your recall to previous episodes always give your reviews and the episodes a bit more meaning as well. I knew I liked it, but other than particular episodic moments, it was harder to articulate why. Do you see those parallels between episodes the first time through? Well done! It usually takes multiple viewings for me.

    After seeing House in such dark places last season and his struggle in last week’s amazingly brilliant opener, it was fun to see House essentially being himself…screwing with Wilson and being a bit snarky (though honest) with Cuddy. House knows Wilson and even Cuddy’s expectations. The outcome of his scheme proved that the three of them have a way to go before they can really trust each other.

    Nolan’s cameos were a welcome sight. I think (and hope) we’ll get to see him more this season.

    Foreman and Thirteen: The negative feelings about those two seemingly everywhere and for so long (thankfully, not really here but comment areas on other reviews). From very early on in the series Foreman’s likeness to House has been commented on by ducklings from Cameron to Thirteen. This parallel hit full force in this episode and was well-portrayed by OE, whose Foreman seemed more of an egotistical jerk to the PotW than House ever did. Foreman makes such a conscience effort not to be like House that even when using Housian tactics they don’t achieve that same outcome. In season three Cuddy said that he could do worse than end up like House, and reminded him that diagnostics only exist because of House…he really needs to listen to his boss.

    It’s probably the House/Cuddy fan in me that has made me view 14 with a House/Cuddy lens. But, how House interpreted and dealt with the 14 relationship, as he began to last season during the whole trial fiasco, does bring it back (indirectly) to House and makes it worth watching. So, I have a hard time seeing the problems and feelings aroused by these two characters. I felt that we learned the things that were important; everything was essentially on hold and almost disbanded because House is that department.

    I enjoy 13 and Taub (though they weren’t Taub and Kutner) and feel that the new fellows are starting to get their wings. I do hope to see Taub and 13 (and OW and PJ) again in their own right as House’s fellows. It took a year or two for the old group to become the well-oiled machine they are; I would love to see House really take 13 and Taub under his wing and get back to what he does best. Winning back the department for Foreman wouldn’t be a bad side effect either…

  • Val

    Want him to win the dept back from not for Forman.

  • P.

    Nice review as always, Barbara.

    However, I can’t tell you how little I enjoyed this episode. Except when Hugh Laurie was on the screen, it was annoying and boring. Take number 4 (or 5) of Foreman proving he’s not the doctor or the man that House is; endless Foreman/13 sex/relationship details (I’M SO TIRED AND BORED OF THEM getting more screen time together than the rest of the staff put together!)

    There was none of the charm that made this show great — and the increasing slide downhill into the darkside (set into motion by the darkest of the Tritter episodes)of the past few seasons has me very discouraged. I’m tired of feeling sorry for scared/sick/helpless House.

    I want the doctor back who could cheerfully insult and run rings around every one else, with his biting wit and native intelligence. The fun has gone out of the show, and I hope the can get the magic back. My Dad and sister have already quit watching recently, and I doubt that they are the only ones.

  • Jen

    Great review Barbara! I love the reviews and re-watching the episode! Awesome! I am tired and bored with Foreteen too!

  • Sue


    I always learn something from your reviews I did not think of myself. Well done!

    I find it interesting that you hardly mentioned Olivia Wilde or 13 in your review. She had about 30% of the screen time, yet she did not have much impact in the episode. For me, this was a “been there, done that” episode regarding Foreman’s attempt to be House. How many times can that train run before it is derailed?

    I think Omar is a great actor, evidenced in the wonderful episodes from season two “Euphoria.” But, every time he is on screen with Olivia Wilde, Foreman is like wall paper paste. I can barely discern what he is saying a lot of the time. The show even commented on how boring Foreman was. This does not make for interesting viewing, especially next to the incomparable Hugh Laurie.

    Olivia Wilde is expressionless in voice, face and body, unless she is pursing her lips or bugging out her eyes. With her and Foreman on screen 60% of an episode, I can’t be bothered what is “happening” with them. So, there may be parallels with House and Cuddy, but if I am tuning out, these parallels have no meaning. The 14 story only serves to show how much I long to see more of Hugh, Robert, Lisa, Jennifer and Jesse.

    Thank the world Taub quit. I don’t know how many Taub-free episodes we well be treated with, but I will love every one of them. I can only hope there will be 13/14-free ones as well. I cannot think of another show that I watch that has made such a poor casting change in the middle of a show’s run. Their insistence on centering episodes on two such boring characters ruins the show for me.

    I look at this episode as one of transition. It is a transition to getting back the old team, and to bringing House back to his department. It is a transition getting Cuddy and House in the same room again. I hope it is a transition to better episodes.

    I have CRPS, which is a chronic pain condition. It was not an appropriate diagnosis for this patient. It is a good diagnosis for House’s leg. However, I found the back and forth of when House has pain or not very confusing. House did not deal with any of the “issues” that gave him pain while he was working at PPTH when he was in Mayfield, yet he was distracted by diagnosing patients before he went crazy, but he had constant pain. If he had no pain while he was diagnosing the patient in this episode because his mind was occupied, why did he have pain while he was working before? He dealt with Cuddy more honestly in this episode, but that did not relieve his pain. He did not deal honestly with Wilson, but no pain relief there. He had severe pain and no pain while off Vicodin, so that couldn’t have been the source of his pain. So, what is the reason House had pain before and then he didn’t? If I am this confused, how confused are other viewers? I am a graduate medical professional who had to retire due to chronic pain. I have been on and off of narcotics. I have used distraction to help my pain. I have no idea why House had no pain and why his pain came back. People don’t have pain just because they don’t deal well with the social issues in their lives.

    I missed the vitality of the actors from Mayfield in this episode. I did not think Robert was warmed up to the new season yet. The House-Wilson scenes lacked the spunk we usually see. I liked the House-Cuddy scenes, especially when Cuddy went from frilly skirt and buttoned-up shirt to tight skirt, low cut top at Wilson’s apt. House’s mea culpa to Cuddy was heartfelt and honest. House’s avoidance of the hospital seems to be more about avoiding Cuddy.

    I am looking forward to looking back at the old team becoming the newest team. If we see a return to the glory days, for however many episodes it lasts, this will show how much has been lost with the cast changes many of us have regretted for over two years.

  • sherlockjr

    I do not believe that House took the Vicodin. He’s been honest with Nolan, and I think we should take him at his word, since no one else in his life other than Nolan ever seems to do that.

    I, too, have chronic pain, and I know the power of distraction (writing this, for example). It’s not a cure, nor a panacea, but it’s immensely helpful. And for someone with House’s brilliance and obsessive nature, finding something interesting enough to distract him is both difficult to do and useful, when he does find it. Yes, I think they’ve taken a few shortcuts, but I enjoy the fact that we don’t see everything and are left to imagine the rest.

  • barbara barnett

    I agree that House didn’t take the vicodin. Distraction definitely does take the edge off pain. His pain is never gone completely. But when distracted, it’s less noticeable.

    But the physical agony probably has its ebbs and floes too. So that can certainly account for the differences. In a way, it’s a testament to the series that House’s pain is variable.

    I get horrible migraines. Sometimes the meds work; sometimes they don’t. But I also know even with a migraine, it’s much worse when I’m at home and if I can muster enough from within to make it to the office, my activity helps immensely. It’s not chronic pain…

  • sdemar

    Great review, Barbara. So much fun to have new episodes again.

    To answer your question, I don’t for one minute think House took the vicodin but fear he will eventually go back. I would love to see Nolan be a constant on the show but between AB’s schedule and for creativity purposes, it isn’t going to happen. I think Nolan is House’s only chance for staying clean and that makes me sad for House. I feel like we, the viewers, have been on the journey with him.

    House thought the only reason Cuddy deals with him is because he is the hospital’s greatest asset. I thought her reaction to his “I quit” and subsequent visit revealed that he means much more to her than that. Instead of her actually saying it, she showed us through her actions. No prodding to come back, offering of a raise, giving him a bigger office or anything else to entice him to come back. A simple and honest declaration of “I will miss you” spoke volumes along with the look on his face when she said that.

  • NancyGail

    Foreman may be a decent doctor, but he’s way over his head when it comes to running the department. Amazingly enough, Huddy kept him there despite his nearly killing the patient repeatedly. House has GOT to come back and re-take his rightful spot on the dept. throne.

  • Flo

    Liked the episode even if everything was predictable.
    The Foreman=House thing always been one of the worst storyline and it was about time the writers have a dig on this.

    Foreman’s fail was obvious and necessary. He is not like House, he is a real jerk and can be very domineering as a character. I liked Taub and his sense of humor, “I thought it was the pants” lol. He is not fooled by Foreman’s attempts at being House and him saying to his new boss that he was here to work with House is a straw at Foreman’s belief he can ever be “genius 2.0″.

    The scene with Cuddy in her office when he asks for the job no sooner that House had quit, reminded me of the season 4 episode when Foreman, after being refused everywhere, wants his job back with conditions. Cuddy laughed at him saying there is a huge gap between him and House and it could be worse for him to become like his mentor. It was a little like that.
    Cuddy created this job just for House and giving him a career back when all the other hospitals didn’t. She doesn’t want to give this to anybody and clearly has (legitimate) doubts about Foreman.

    It is interesting to see that Foreman did have the epiphany and foud the answer by himself only to find out it was useless.
    He is a good doctor, he is very capable, but it doesn’t really have what it takes for this job. One of them is the trust of his colleagues. Taub quits and 13 went on the internet again because she didn’t feel she could share her doubts and opinions with Foreman.

    Anyway it is time to House to come back. it’s gonna be interesting I’m sure.
    Really liked his scenes with Nolan and his interogations about him and his future.
    It is not just about healing (himself and others) but also about finding on who he is now. It’s an inner reconstruction.
    Baby steps is a very good metaphor. He really is like a baby who tries to walk for the first time. He’s probably gonna fall from time to time but with persistence, he will eventually and steadily walk by himself. At least that’s what Nolan probably think and what House wants to believe.

    I’m ready for the journey, bring it on!

  • Mary Grace

    I really wish they would be more honest about House’s level of pain w;out painkillers.

  • carolyn

    Great review. Loved the point that the only thing House fears more than pain is losing his mind.

    I thought it was funny how House always justified taking Vicodin because it allowed him to do his job without pain. Now he needs his job to get over the pain and avoid taking Vicodin.

  • maddy

    On Wilson’s defense, when he asks House something, House doesn’t answer truthfully. Remember the scene where House is eating ice cream and watching TV.

    Wilson: “How’s your leg?”
    House: “It’s fine.”

    And just a second later he tells Nolan that the pain is coming back heavily to his leg. So I can’t really blame Wilson for not automatically asking House the next time.

  • ann uk

    Hello Barbara, Our broadcasts of series 6 are 2 weeks behind yours, so I hope you will forgive me for being behind hand with comments.

    I found the first episode intensely moving and Hugh Laurie made it almost painfully real,but I rebelled like House , against the doctor’s arrogance, ( and , yes, I do see the irony ).
    as Nolan says , House must have recognised that there is more ” wrong” with him than drug induced delusions, but the cosy assumption that enforced company will humanise him and the denial of freedom and autonomy is surely the wrong line to take with House.

    He can’t be cured of being House- he is still crippled ,still in pain and his brief encounter with Lydia has left him still rejected and shut out just as he was as a child.

    He reaches out to Lydia because she accepts and loves him as he is – as Stacy must have done and as Cuddy finds it hard to do. His tears betray the depth of fear, despair and isolation he is

    That said, the episode confirmed the superiority of ” House ” to the superfical, souped up dramatics of most ther TV series.

  • Jane

    A great episode, fantastic House/Cuddy/Cecile and House/Wilson scenes… the old House is back with a touch of maturity, very very nice. Looking forward to tonight’s episode.

  • Kizmet

    Belatedly commenting.

    I really don’t like the House=Foreman stories. It’s been done to death and well demonstrated that Foreman not only isn’t House, but he doesn’t have a clue about who House is.

    The notion that Foreman could ever be ‘House, but nicer’ is just annoying to see again. House is a jerk because he’s trying to avoid caring too much. He’s been repeatedly shown to have a much greater ability to connect to the patients even when he’s trying not to, than the other do when they’re trying to connect. Foreman is only nice because he worries about how people perceive him. In reality his natural inclination to care or be nice is stunted at best.

  • bakerstreet blues

    Hi Barbara, I am sure you probably don’t go back and read these comments that are posted so late, but here’s hoping. I would really like to meet Omar Epps in person only to see if he really is as big an A-HOLE as I think. Yes he does play his role with perfection which makes me think he probably isn’t that great an actor….unlike Hugh Laurie who also plays his role with perfection, and who also has 20 plus years experience. (oddly enough just like the two characters. Subtle) I have never like the Foreman character, even as early on as the pilot. I noticed right away that he yells too much and has no problem getting up on his HIGHHORSE every chance he gets. I also noticed that every time he does that he is absolutely wrong. The differences scream at me right from the start, Foreman’s loud egotism and House’s calm humility, Foreman’s unwillingness to listen to any other point of view, and House’s ability to filter all points of view, Foreman’s insistence that House is wrong, and House’s quiet recognition that he trusts Foreman’s ability (Socratic Method comes to mind), Foreman’s lack of confidence in himself causes judgments of others, House’s confidence in his ability allows him to never judge others, Foreman’s walls keep people out, House’s walls push people away (this is a huge difference). Foreman’s attacks on House are always personal, where House’s are always shallow and/or playful. Every time that Foreman calls House a racist, I seriously want to lynch him…..yuk,yuk. Every time Foreman calls House a junkie, I want to slip him some LSD. Or just choke him to death. I understand that House needs a negative to push him to make sure he makes as few mistakes as possible while trying to cure a patient, but really…no one needs that much negativity in their life. I am always reminded of the House Training episode where House learned (or re-learned) a valuable lesson about Chasing Zebras, yet Foreman was completely devastated by the fact that HIS mistake was what caused a death. Foreman could not get past the fact that he could make a mistake…he never once tried to learn from it. (Three Stories- House: It is in the nature of medicine that you are going to kill someone, if you cannot accept that reality, try another profession or finish medical school and teach.) Never truer words were spoken. I have NEVER seen a Diagnostician in Foreman, he leaps to the easy solution each and every time. There is zero “out of the box thinking” in him. During Whatever it Takes, I loved the parallels between Foreman and House. House bobbing and weaving, while Foreman standing in the middle of the ring just getting pummeled. House changing course at every mistake to save the patients life, while back home Foreman sitting in the outer office like a stunned child unable to change his course. I also found it ironic that Foreman went to the patients room to tell her that he was going to do “what doctors are not supposed to do” admit that I was wrong. God, House admits that he is wrong at least twice per episode and never has a problem admitting that to a patient. He knows that he is going to be wrong a hell of a lot more than he is right. You can only be right ONCE. Oddly enough that is the same lesson he tried to teach Amber, who was also too stupid to learn anything from House until she was fired. I truly believe that Chase (and even Cameron) are better critical thinkers. Cuddy would have been smarter to give the job to Chase.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Hi Bakerstreet! I actually come back and read comments several times a day and try to pop in and out of the conversation when I have something to add to it.

    Omar Epps is said to be a wonderfully gracious person–nothing like his egotistical, arrogant character!

    I agree completely with your assessment and have written tomes on it over the years (and in my book as well).

    I would like to see Chase take up the mantle as Dean, and I also think he’s a better critical thinker than Foreman (who has great big blinders)