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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Open and Shut”

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“Open and Shut,” the 19th episode in House, M.D.’s sixth season, is an examination of relationships within the context of the patient’s open marriage. She and her husband have an agreement that allows them to be with other sexual partners based upon the idea that the openness of their marriage will prevent the lies, secrets and misery other marriages. Like Taub’s (Peter Jacobson). Taub is a serial philanderer who struggles with keeping faithful to his wife Rachel. So the episode allows us to observe the two relationships juxtaposed. Is an open marriage the panacea to Taub’s marital issues? Is it really that simple? On House, as in real life, nothing is ever that simple. 

And then we have the budding retreaded relationship between Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his first wife Samantha (Cynthia Watros). Tangling with an ex-spouse can be a minefield in any scenario, but when you add in  House (as in Dr. Greg, played by the always interesting Hugh Laurie), “minefield” is almost too gentle a word to describe it.

House plays puppet master in all three relationships, trying to illuminate each in the harsh light of day, tease out what's real and what's hidden behind a smokescreen of lies and deceptions. But is he playing the cynic or the romantic? Is he trying to help, or is he only interested in inflicting misery on the players in these relationships?

House does not believe that truth hurts a relationship. Honesty, whatever its consequences cleans the slate and removes the subterfuge. As House dissects the patient’s relationship with her husband, Hadley realizes that House isn’t the disdainful cynic; he’s the disillusioned, pro-monogamy romantic.

House visits the patient, curious about how she and her husband justify their relationship, especially with a six-year old child. But she disarms him, relating how much better it is to live life openly, without the toxicity of secrets and lies that pollute other, less honest relationships. I wonder if her philosophy resonates with House, himself the product of an unfaithful mother. Was their household tension caused in part by the open secret that House could not have been John House’s son? Would young Greg’s life have been any less miserable?

Buying into the logic of this relationship, however–at least for the moment–House believes he has found “the unicorn,” as Taub puts it: a mythical and honest relationship where happiness is attainable and love maintained by an open sexual attitude towards marriage. But when Chase discovers that the husband, in fact has not been playing around on the side and only agrees to his wife’s infidelity because it makes her happy, House immediately suspects that all is not open and honest in this marriage. Chase calls him on the cynicism that immediately makes him jump from the husband’s assertion to “he must be compensating for his own misdeeds.” He allows it, therefore he must be perpetrating his own betrayal. House unicorn is now a “donkey with a plunger stuck to its face.”

Hadley sees something different in House’s reaction. She believes that House understands the husband’s actions as “evening the score.” He has done something, so he allows his wife the latitude to have sex outside the marriage, so it’s all even. But Hadley calls House a romantic and closet monogamist from what she observes.

Actually, I think she’s right and House is perpetually disappointed by people in his circle who are unfaithful to each other (and I think that’s a reflection of his personal history). He is a romantic who has been disillusioned by experience. Hadley’s assertion is a riff on something she says to House back in season four about what drives his insatiable need to question everything. “If you stop asking questions, you’ll lose hope,” she chides him in “You Don’t Want to Know” (I think). House keeps searching and hoping to be proven wrong, not right. But I heard nothing in that particular scene to support Hadley’s observation.

House is an active participant in his manipulation of Wilson and Sam; and in his nudging of Taub. He encourages Taub to learn at the knee of the patient, who idealizes her situation and the honesty it brings to their marriage. Encouraged by her idealized view of her open marriage, Taub proposes it to his wife. He sees it as a way to have it both ways: keep his marriage to Rachel—and step out on her without the accompanying guilt. Taub can have his unicorn: a marriage made in heaven (for him at least); eventually, Rachel agrees to it.

But nothing is ever that simple. Open and shut; black and white. Life is colored by grays hidden within the creases and whispered between the lines. The patient believes their open marriage keeps it honest and avoids the lies that plague other relationships. Until, that is, she discovers that her husband isn’t enjoying outside sexual games, but has bankrupted them by a risky business investment. Her life of no lies has been destroyed by a big one. And her ideal and idealized marriage threatens to fall apart.

Agreeing to Taub’s request also proves not to be so simple, and Rachel decides she can’t do it. In her heart, she probably realizes that Taub continues to be unfaithful, but perhaps to her the beautiful lie that he’s not cheating comforts her and enables Rachel to lie to herself. Her unicorn is a life lived in blessed ignorance and self deception. She can pretend to be happy and Taub can pretend he's faithful.

To House, his meddling, whether by suggestion as with Taub or by sabotage as with Wilson, is his way of helping. (At least that's what he believes in his own bit of self-deception.) If they can withstand whatever storms he may perpetrate directly or obliquely, then their relationships are strong enough to thrive. For some reason (again, perhaps going back to his personal experience), House feels a need to test others’ relationships as much as he tests the solidity of his own. But how much of House's testing and pushing is fueled by his own insecurity and misery as he futilely seeks to prove that there is no such thing as a unicorn (or an ideal relationship)?

House envisions only disaster in the future for Wilson and Sam. He knows Wilson well enough to understand that he will  suppress any feelings of annoyance and resentment for the sake of his partner’s happiness. As House might say, “that’s Wilson’s pathology.” But he also knows that if pushes hard enough, Wilson will snap and say what’s on his mind instead of letting it simmer and boil over. So House speeds things up by annoying Wilson on Sam’s behalf. It causes a confrontation between the former spouses and (so House thinks) ends their relationship before it can make Wilson to miserable (and has the side benefit of letting House keep Wilson all for himself).

House thinks he’s done Wilson a favor and is so delighted with himself, he buys Cuddy an espresso machine? Hmm. Cuddy is as perplexed as we are. But, House explains that he has realized doing nice things for people has payback. He helps Wilson and Sam ends their relationship. Buy Cuddy an expensive gift with no ulterior motive and perhaps he will be rewarded in some way with regard to Cuddy. It’s twisted logic, but hey; this is House we’re talking about.

In the end, our patient is dying from something outwardly beautiful and sweet smelling: lilacs (my favorite flower in the world). But lilacs bring bees, and bees sting. And in our patient’s case, can kill. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

House often treads a fine line between character drama and medical mystery. The show usually does a spectacular job treading that line, framing House’s story within the structure of the medical case while illuminating the other characters in a more tangential, but significant way. But what to make of House episode in which House, himself seemingly plays an almost marginal role?

“Open and Shut” improves on a second viewing, but is (in my opinion) one of the weakest entries of season six. Taking the focus off House never helps an episode, and despite his pivotal role as puppet master playing behind the scenes, I found the episode disappointing, something very rare for me. Too many episodes have been “House-light” this season, particularly in the second half of the year. And although I enjoy each of the characters, I enjoy this series as a character study of House and his universe. And in my opinion it suffers immensely when the "powers that be" forget that. Of course your mileage may vary.

I won’t even talk about the timeline again. Two weeks in a row Samantha asserts that she and Wilson have only been apart for 10 years. We all know that makes no sense at all. Is Samantha delusional? Did she somehow lose 10 years? Or is it just sloppy writing? Last week’s goof could be attributed to a simple writing gaffe, but two weeks in a row? Oy.

Next week we have “The Choice” followed by “Baggage” and then the season finale “Help Me.” I am sure the intensity will pick up as the show moves toward the season finale, so stay tuned.

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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.
  • marykir

    I’m beginning to think they are paying Hugh by the hour :)

    I *like* Taub as a foil for just about any of the other doctors – Peter Jacobson seems to make Olivia Wilde and Omar Epps in particular more entertaining. And I thought he and Jennifer Foley did a fine job portraying the Taubs’ screwed up marriage. But this hour just dragged on and on and on for me. In many ways, it was just too true to real life to be entertaining.

    I had the same problem with “5 to 9.” I left the real world rat race behind; I don’t want to watch a fictional version on TV. One of the joys of [H]ouse is House’s nonstandard view of the world and way of responding to events around him. Whenever [H]ouse lets House fade into the background, that gets lost.

  • janine

    surprised you didn’t mention the return of the whiteboard. THought you’d be excited about that as it was on your list of wishes for this season. The final scene with the milk was definately an indication of things to come in House’s future. He looked so sad. I think the espresso machiene will come up again ater too. I have a feeling Racel will divore Taub.

  • Housecall

    Couldn’t agree with this more and shared many of the same thoughts/ comments on a fan site. I love this part:

    “Open and Shut” improves on a second viewing, but is (in my opinion) one of the weakest entries of season six. Taking the focus off House never helps an episode, and despite his pivotal role as puppet master playing behind the scenes, I found the episode disappointing, something very rare for me.”

    I’ll mention the chalkboard. House wasn’t writing on it and so it was anti-climactic.
    Very.

    Thank you for your review. I enjoyed reading it enormously:)

  • just4paws17

    BB, I just love reading your reviews, they are so great, and lend so much to the ep! I think it was starting to be a great ep, hence my tweet, but then it did go all over the place. I laughed at the timeline too, paying attention this week. I too think this season has been House lite. I do enjoy watching the others, but House is what drives the show! I thought from Lockdown and Knight Fall we would see the rest of the season with House in full force. I guess the final eps will tell us. Love following you on twitter! Really cool!
    Jen

  • Nora

    Barbara, the timeline was a mistake – check out Doris Egan’s tweets about that: http://twitter.com/Doris_Egan

    Also, I have been thinking about the title of this episode “Open and Shut”. Does anybody have a clever explanation for that?

    I agree that there wasn’t enough House in this one. Also, didn’t he have pain issues last week? Where did that go? I liked your thought about House looking for answers and examining the relationships of others because he wants to be proven wrong. His romanticism and “all or nothing” attitude collide with his desire for the truth. Which sets him up for disappointment, but what else is new?

    I did like Taub’s wife a whole lot and I don’t think she knows he’s still cheating. I really hope not. And she should kick his “adulterous ass to the curb” as House put it last season. Brilliant acting, too.

    Finally – loved watching Wilson being obsessive, fighting, making-up … until he said “Don’t tell House.” Uhm, no. Could you please stop that Wilson? I know you don’t want to encourage him to meddle, but could you at least acknowledge that he was right and helpful?

  • Eve K

    It worries me a bit when Barbara is disappointed. A rare thing. I didn’t think this was such a bad episode. There were others far worse this season. But House looked so sad when he put the milk in the fridge door at the end. A weak protest that nobody cared about. His lonely limp down the hallway…I guess there is no end to his neediness.

  • Patty

    Yes, I prefer my episodes to be “House Heavy” not light.

    Bur, I was so disappointed with Taub in this episode. I’ve always liked him, but he was just too big of a rat in this one. His wife is way too good for him and should dump him.

    Chase was appalled by Taub’s actions — and that’s what made he and Cameron such a good fit — they are the characters on the show with the most traditional and loyal attitudes. Hope Cameron is around more next year.

  • Orange450

    Welcome back, Barbara. Thanks for another wonderful review. I have to admit that I enjoyed the episode like I enjoy almost all of them (talk about an undiscriminating enthusiast). Just watching my favorite cast of characters do their thing on that spectacular set (and amazing apartment) makes me happy.

    Be that as it may, I especially appreciated a specific aspect of this slicing and dicing the nature of love and commitment – emotional as well as physical:

    I was struck by one of Chase’s lines – which I believe wasn’t a throwaway: “I was jealous of House all those years, and he never touched her.” (Or “and she never touched him” – I don’t remember which it was.) To which 13 replied: “what about the emotional fondling?”

    And then the patient’s paramour came with flowers and sincere concern and they didn’t want to see him. Sex was ok, but when the paramour feels emotion for the patient, that’s an invasion.

    Not all infidelity is physical. Someone in a committed relationship can form a deep emotional bond with someone on the outside, while never making the connection sexual. There are people who feel that emotional cheating is worse than the physical kind. I agree with your take that Rachel probably knows that Taub won’t keep his promises, but she and he believe that his extracurricular activities are more about the physical, and his emotional bond with her is intact. Maybe it really is just his vasopressor receptors!

    I couldn’t help but appreciate the ironic symmetry – Taub being the one to state it up front – “someone always ends up unhappy”, while we know that he’ll inevitably hurt Rachel, in spite of her heartfelt, genuine, and beautifully portrayed efforts to accomodate his inclinations. And House being the one to scoff at the idea of monogamy in theory, yet this isn’t the first time we’ve been exposed to his deeply-held distaste towards infidelity (of any kind!) in a committed relationship.

    Is the attempt here just to explore a single tantalizing issue – or is this part of a larger theme? If so, I’m not sure what it is. By this time in S5, I think we all knew that House was heading for a crash. By contrast, this episode had a sort of “mid-season” feel. It could have taken place any time at all. I don’t get a sense of what House is heading for.

    Try not to sweat the timeline issues! At this point, I think the writers know how you feel, and they’re just messin’ with ya!

  • Cyndi

    I can’t quite make up my mind about this season, but something is missing. I like that HOUSE is trying to be human, but still, something is amiss. Get rid of Cuddy’s boytoy,
    give Wilson a little more spine, let Chase be happy. Needs a little more kick. The hour used to fly by and now I find myself looking at the clock.
    Please fix this wonderful show

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barmett

    Thanks all for your comments and nice words! Eve–it is rare for me to be disappointed by the show. So much so that I’ve been taken to task (and even accused of working for Fox or NBC!)

    That last scene was very sad indeed.

    Open and Shut. Describes something simple and obvious, like an open and shut case. What appears in the episode to be obvious and simple turned out to be anything but.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barmett

    Ohhhh, the whiteboard! Barely worth a mention this week. Loved that Chase gets to Play with the markers (:)) But no House….

  • savta

    Nearly midnight in Jerusalem but had to get in some thoughts before turning in.
    Thirteen’s character seems to be developing a little more each week. She is portrayed as having a wisdom that we weren’t shown before. She is given a lot of leeway in her pointed remarks to House and others. Her opinions are considered as they weren’t in previous seasons. In not being attached to Foreman and without the focus of her illness, she is allowed some growth or as they like to say, the layers are peeled away and more of her character is revealed. I find her more interesting than I did last season when I just wanted her to disappear.
    Taub is a great disappointment. I do hope Rachel tosses him out without mercy. His is not a sympathetic character and I find it hard to give anything he says any weight. He is whiney and longing for ???
    The more we know about him, the less I like him.
    I will willingly join Sara Hess’ Jennifer Foley fan club for her great portrayal of Rachel Taub.
    I liked the episode but each week I am looking for some hints of the point or direction this is all taking. I hope we get it soon.

  • janine

    Glad DE aknowledged the timeline mistake, she owes it to the fans. It was a disapointment House wasn’t writing on the board but I feel its reappearance signals something, but I’m not sure what yet. I feel his apartment is next

  • Flo

    Thirteen is really very perceptive. Not that I didn’t know that before but I think it is interesting that she’s the one seeing House’s romantic side.

    in “Lockdown” she was the most Housian character and now she takes initiatives for the choice of the cases; She’s the one talking about it first and saying it is interesting because of the open marriage which makes me think that she also found that interesting in a fun way and thus was the one to propose that one. House agreed, like she knew he would.
    She becomes more and more like the master and seems to a very good place right now. Her street smarts, dry sense of humor, her light bluntness and perceptive side are finally coming up in a great way on the show (note that I always liked her for those character traits).

    Of course, she is right. House is a romantic and he believes in monogamy. I agree with you Barbara that the fact that House’s mother cheated is really important to him, even if he occasionally slept with married women himself. Especially that he is the product of this philandering.

    I think the theme of the episode was interesting. Is there such a thing as a happy “open” marriage? And more importantly, can it last? All the discussions about Taub and his (quite incomprehensible) philandering side were interesting and Jennifer Foley was great.
    I agree with Orange that the episode implied that all infidelity wasn’t just physical. (BTW, Orange, Chase said “She never touched him” which is wrong cause she actually kissed House). You can love someone without touching him/her as much as you can sleep around with random chicks/guys and still love your wife/husband. The idea here is what really works? And what makes you happy?

    However, I agree that it was a weak episode. Too many storylines, and not one really centered on House. We learned nothing more about him. Plus, for someone who claimed that if a couple can past beyond his shenanigans and the fights that they cost them, putting the milk in the fridge door once again is quite jerky.

    Really an episode I could have done without.

  • Pferd

    Very interesting episode. I am a big fan of the themes shown in House especially the moral grey zones. As you mentioned nothing ever is that easy nothing only has one side.

    In my opinion an open relationship can work if both want it the same. Most of the time there is one that prefers the open relationship and the other goes along to “please” the partner.

    I think there is nothing like the perfect relationship. A good relationship is hard work… from BOTH partners.

    Thanks for the great review!

  • Debbie

    Hi Barbara,

    While I agree that the timeline was screwy and that this episode was “House- lite,” (not to mention that House’s epiphany really came out of nowhere), I felt that this episode did reinforce two major themes that have always been presented on this show:
    “Everybody lies” and “people don’t change.” Taub and House definitely proved this to be true this week.

    Thanks for the review. :D

  • ripzu

    Barbara, I loved your review and agree about being disappointed. My take was that there was an energy missing and the “soap” element played too big a role. I hope we’re not headed in that direction.I was never a fan of soap operas. Is Hugh tiring of the role?

  • Orange450

    @Flo

    Thanks for the clarification :) You’re right about the kiss.

  • Tayto

    After last week’s embarressing fiasco, I was very happy with this episode. Thirteen has always been tuned into House’s way of thinking and she illustrated this fact well. He needs her just as he needs Wilson. The show has changed so much since we remember Cameron ‘caring’ for House in her own particular way…if she was still around, she wouldn’t leave him in pain to sort out his own problems.

    The actress who played the patient was familiar to those who watched Prison Break. She was well able to take on Hugh Laurie as a guest star…she must have been nervous.

    Why isn’t there any more clinic patients in the show any more? They were a great comic relief to the A and B stories and helped House to share his remarkable brand of ‘truth’ with his lucky patients!

    Overall, this season started well and peaked around 5 to 9 and went down hill from there.

    I don’t believe I’m laughing as much as I have done with the show…which isn’t a good sign.

    Hugh Laurie is signed until Season 8 so we only have two more seasons remaining of this remarkable character. Hopefully, the writers are writing a better Season 7 – they owe it to themselves, the character, and most of all, the fans!

  • Sarah H

    Agree with everyone’s comments about too little House in this one. This is also two weeks in a row of Thirteen’s being the POTW’s unsolicited counselor — it almost feels like the writers are trying to make her the moral center of the team, a role that Cameron was stuck in with very inconsistent results.

    Speaking of inconsistency, did anyone else think that the espresso maker scene between House and Cuddy made no sense? I so enjoy HL and LE together that it was lovely viewing, but would House honestly even slightly put his heart back on his sleeve to her after the events of this year? House is definitely a romantic and may be a masochist, but it felt like that scene was inserted solely to set up whatever is planned for the season’s end. There was certainly no build up to it since 5 to 9.

    I found O&S to be a fair episode, however, what’s really bothersome to me is that it feels like the show is falling victim to stunt writing, for want of a better phrase. As with Season 5, the season started with a strong element (House & Wilson’s fractured relationship in 5; House’s post-Vicodin recovery in six), stirred in a little Huddy, and let things drift until the real drama was saved for the last few episodes (the last 5 episodes starting with Kutner’s death in 5; sadly, we’re down to only 3 episodes in 6). This year has seen even less House and the advent of the “focus on the side players” episodes; it has changed from a show that was 44 minutes of compelling story and a fascinating central character to one of good moments, moments that seem to be coming along with less frequency these days.

    Not trying to be totally negative; just trying to sort out why the show seems to be running from the focus on House that made it the phenomenal success it has been.

    Barbara, as always, thank you for your thoughtful reviews.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Barbara, great review, thank you! (i repeat myself every week:)

    The episode might not have been the most compelling in history, but it’s always a treat to get a glimpse into House’s romantic view of the world.

    The result of an affair himself (Barbara, great observation about how much of the household tension and John House’s abuse to Gregory were the consequences of the obvious mismatch between the son and the legal father – i’d say a lot!), House has a set of ideals that can be described as supreme. His addiction to science and truth is a good example of how a child who has suffered from the burried skeletons of his family becomes an adult who fears deception and lies more than anything. And yes, beyond the household tension and father abuse, House suffered also in the form of a permanent and severe identity crisis – his legal father’s identity and legacy is a complete misfit for House and he still seeks for a symbolic justification of who he is and how he became who he is, by trying to know more about his biological father – and there, too, he was disappointed.

    As Barbara said, on his deepest level, House has a desperate wish to be proven wrong in his cynical and pessimistic views of relationships. This is the deep, true motive of the endless trials he puts people through, testing them relentlessly in search of the ultimate true, unconditional love that he has never known. He does so, being ultimately aware of the fact that relationships are conditional, which is very clear in the qui-pro-quo explanation House has on the patient’s open marriage (she gets something and the husband gets something in return, qui-pro-quo).

    I think that the House-Cuddy scene with the espresso machine is House’s personal version of relational truth doubled by qui-pro-quo. He gave her an expensive gift, but he wants something in return (Lucas out of her life and sex:). He was very open in his conversation with Cuddy, as he was during their conversation about Wilson in “Knight Fall”, and i acknowledge the fact that it is a major step forward for him.

    I don’t think it made no sense. We were never made to believe that House’s feelings for Cuddy ever changed, so it was a matter of time until he dealt with the pain of losing her and he went back in the game. After “5 to 9″, there were the flirting scene in “Private Lives” and the open, emotional conversation about Wilson in “Knight Fall”, and now he played his usual, unique and naughty seduction technique in this episode. By the way, i love seeing him like this – playful, funny, naughty, charming, chivalrous.

    I also believe that the qui-pro-quo theory (essentialy a concept of the transitional analyses, based on the roles and exchanges inside relationships) applies well to House and Cuddy: he understood that she needed to have her thing with Lucas – just like in the patient’s marriage, House had stepped out of the circle of trust and intimacy between them several times, hurting her and humiliating her, and Cuddy had to get karmic justice by having a relationship with Lucas. I consider this to be the reason why House has moved on from his anger and disappointment and pain – he understood her reasons and he still loves her, so he licked his wounds and now he’s working at winning back his very special place in her life.

  • janine

    my comments before wer short because I was in a hurry, but hre’s everything I was thinking

    Despite the fact that I usually am not a fan of “House-lite” episodes (5 to 9 was by far my least favorite episode of the enite series) I actually really liked this episode. As Delia_Beatrice said, it was a nice glimpse into Houses romantic side. I also agree with her assessmet of the coffee maker although I also agree with Sarah H that the point of the espresso maker was also a set up for something to come later, perhaps in the finale. Sarah H- I kind of see what you are saying about the format of the seasons but I kind of always saw that in this show. Seasn two started with the Stacey arc and did not have any big drama involving the character of House until the finale. Season three had the healing arc and the tritter arc but then had a whole bunch of episodes that focused more on Chase/Cameron before their departure and its effect on House in the finale. I kind of feel that the story of Taub and his wife may lead to something in the finale just as the Chase and Cameon story in season three led to them both leaving.
    Tayto-
    I find it interesting that you find you have been laughing less at the show because I feel like the show has been focusing more on the comedy this season, especially since “The Down Low”. In fact there have actually been some people complaining about too much comedy in the show this season, although I don’t agree with them. Also, just because Hugh is only signed until season 8, doesn;t mean that the show will end then, although a part of me wants it to. I still love this show to death and even the episodes that are considered “so so” by House standards are far more entertaining than anything else on TV. That being siad, I would rather this show go out early with a bang and be missed than go out with a whimper and be forgotten (Even Hugh said so in a recent interview with Parade).
    Barbara-
    LOL that people accuse you of working for FOX. Your reviews really are great. So many critics (of any show, not just House) focus on the one or two things they don’t like about a show (for instance the Cuddy/Lucas story of this season) and miss all of the great things that you are able to point out and more. Your rviews are the only ones I read and the people here (as I have said before) and some of the only civil ones left.

    I am so excited for the next three episodes (especially the karaoke next week!) and how this season will end because House seasons are known to go out with a bang. I havea few predictions, but they are only based on what I have seen on the show, no spoilers.

    Taub and his wife will break up or seperate
    House will end up back in his apartment and will take vicoden again (only once not a complete relapse)
    Cameron will return pregnant (although I think my thoughts on that are more shaped by intenet speculation after “Lockdown”)
    Something will happen with Thirteen, Olivia said here character will have something to deal with in the finale but I don’t know what
    I don’t know why but I feel like Sam will some how end up working at PPTH or for House. (Just out of curiosity, has it been confirmed if she will be back? Some online say that she will but I don’t think any evidence has been released to support that. The same goes for the Lucas character).
    For those interested, there’s an interiveiw with Katie Jacobs on EW under Ausello Blog Files. She talks about the finale and season seven, but very vaguely and no real spoilers.

  • janine

    also, just read DE’s tweet. I like the first comment sugesting Sam changed the year buecause she didn’t want to admit her age. The timeling doesn’t really bother me because timelines on this show have never been consistent and don’t really change the story. At least this episode and the last one were consistent with each other. Call it consistently inconsistent!

  • Housecall

    So many wonderful and thoughtful comments here. The simple truth for me is that the analysis here plays better for me than the show did last night.

    The parts seem to be greater than the whole. Beautiful words and themes do not seem to be enough. Some of the scenes were juvenile I thought and some of the scenes laced were coffee flavored Huddy bones- meant to tease the appetite, but not satisfy it.

    I am hopeful the last few episodes will be wonderful and have an unexplainable anticipation for the finale, which I hope is realized.

    The oral sex line was so random and seemingly out of place- not only for the hour but the situation. It wasn’t cute or meaningful.
    Someting has to progress here. We’ve been on pause and back for some time now. Two steps forward, three back.

    Let’s keep going with the “okay” button:)

  • Housecall

    sorry- should have read:

    Let’s keep going with the “PLAY” button:)

  • Delia_Beatrice

    I watched “Open and Shut” again and i have to say, i actually liked this episode quite a lot.

    The POTW and her story, with its social, emotional and ethical implications, was one of the most compelling this season – in my opinion.

    The Wilson/Sam situation and the fight were monumental. I have often felt frustrated at the lack of self-espression on Wilson’s part, but i couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and this episode explained my feeling. Wilson’s usual conduct on the show is pretty constant and his “decent persona” is built carefully, but sometimes, he seems off – and the lack of genuine self expression is what’s missing, to the extent that there are times when he seems like a shadow, instead of a real person.

    The Taubs’ story was very interesting and i felt very sorry for Rachel – the actress managed to do her job well enough to cause me emotional distress, and i had mixed feelings about Taub himself (he does have a conscience, but it functions poorly…).

    Thirteen had another great episode, and it seems to me like the only character/actor with whom she has no chemistry is Foreman. I understand why a relationship with Chase, Taub or House was not possible for Thirteen, but still, i believe that the unfair amount of criticism she receives from some fans is heavily due to the completely uncharismatic couple she made with Foreman.

    I felt immensely sorry for House – the final scene, of him walking alone behind Wilson and Sam, both oblivious to his pain, was very characteristic, and heartbreaking. Since Wilson’s issues with building resentment are now crystal clear, it will probably not be long before the collision between his relationship with Sam and his living arrangements with House becomes severe. I cannot help but remember how Wilson asked House to risk his life one more time to save Amber’s – i do not question Wilson’s loyalty to House, he has proven it, but i cannot help but be disturbed by the importance Wilson gives to the women in his life, even at the expense of hurting his best friend. Of course, this is probably another resentment-aggression mechanism, since it was made clear years ago that House can be considered responsible for ruining Wilson’s post-Sam marriages, because of how much his needs drove Wilson away from his wives.

    @Housecall: i don’t think the oral sex line was random. It was out of place, yes, but on purpose, because adolescent House needed to say something naughty and offensive in order to compensate for the truthful, emotionally loaded things he had said and done. The espresso machine – i cannot think back to a time when House gave a present to anyone, let alone an expensive present. It was a nice, chivalrous thing to do, and it was accompanied by an open emotional discussion about Wilson (the second one in a row) and about his desire for a relationship with Cuddy – the two essential emotional issues in his life, the two essential relationships in his life. It was pretty big, telling her he wants Lucas out of her life like that, and since this is House, he couldn’t have said it in any other way than a juvenile and abrupt one.

    The dominating feeling i have after this episode is that of immense tenderness and love for House – his impressive journey this season has made me love him even more, and the fact that this episode revealed his ideally romantic side contributes to that. I cannot help but be very worried about him – it’s natural to wish the best for a character whom you love so much, and i’m afraid that hard times are ahead for House. Without Wilson, in increasing pain and facing the dramatic events that the season finale probably holds, i fear for him. I hope he will be able to cling to something and not fall into the deepest misery – whether that will be Dr. Nolan, Wilson, Cuddy or himself.

  • marykir

    Barbara – if you are interviewing any of the writers soon, I would love to know more about how much they take the ad breaks into account when writing the scripts. Obviously they know how many acts are required, but do they think about how long the ad breaks are when people watch “live” or do they assume people will be watching with the ad breaks removed or shortened? Do they consider the mood of the sorts of ads that play during the show and how that will affect the viewers’ reactions to the end of one act and the beginning of the next? That sort of thing…

  • barbara barnett

    Marykir–I will be interviewing Doris Egan after “Baggage.” It’s something I’ve discussed both with her (last season) and with Katie Jacobs as well in interviews. Doris mentioned how difficult it sometimes is to make sure the the crisis points match–and now there are more of them (or something like that). But I really plan on revisiting that with her when we talk. Like you, I’ve been especially bothered by the seemingly ever-increasing breaks.

    Delia_B: I loved the exploration of House’s romanticism, and it’s something I’ve considered for a long, long time.

    I will be popping in and out the next few days, but not around as much to respond. I’m trying to finish the final edits on the book, so I’ll be pretty focused on getting that done this week ;) After that, I’ll probably be around much, much more to jump into the great discussion!

  • hwl40

    Thank you for your review, Barbara. You get right to the heart of it.

    I wonder if David Shore has lost interest, perhaps concentrating on Rockford or some other project. I don’t think Hugh Laurie is giving the role any less attention but the “bite” that Shore seems to supply is missing so direction and intensity are lacking. It’s really a shame because there’s plenty to explore with a recovering House that has barely been touched on in favor of the easy laugh.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the comedy, but without the underlying story of a struggling House with flashes of brilliance, pathos and compassion, the comedic turns are pleasant but forgetable. Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. This is too good a show to limp out the door like this.

  • RobF

    I agree with everyone who is happy to see Thirteen blossoming into a real character. You can tell she is enjoying herself the past few episodes. We can be cynical and say the writers decided to replace some of the (sorely missed) character of Cameron, but still it is welcome.

    I liked the twin storylines of Taub/Rachel and House/Wilson. Each had a glimmer of hope that he could take the high road and still get what he wants. Taub was honest with his wife about his desire for an open marriage — way to reach for the unicorn! House was devious, but in a positive way — as he said to Cuddy, getting Wilson to stand up for himself instead of being resentful was something a real friend would do.

    For a while, each seemed to be on his way to his goal, all by being good. House was overjoyed enough by this to be inspired to do something nice for Cuddy. (Self-aware as always, House defused the situation by pretending that he was trying to buy good Karma.) Sam seemed on her way out, and Taub had his wife’s blessing for extra-marital sex.

    But then it all came crashing down. Wilson’s honesty actually brought Sam closer to him. Taub’s wife decided she couldn’t live with an open relationship.

    With their dreams dashed, did House and Taub take a philosophical view, and realise how much better life is on the high road, even when it doesn’t go where they want? Nope — each decided that they would go back to the low road. Taub cheating and lying; House trying to sabotage Wilson’s relationship.

    An alternate view is that House put the milk in the fridge door knowing that Wilson would know he was the one who did it, in the hope that Wilson would also confront House instead of silently resenting him. Even bad attention is better than no attention, right? But that hurts my head.

  • Michele1L

    Wow. Great comments and observations. Delia Beatrice – You always articulate so well how I,too, feel about the show. I think you’re absolutely right about the House-Cuddy scene. I made note of the fact that Cuddy wasn’t bothered at all about House’s comments about Lucas dying and oral sex. She seemed, in fact, to be mildly amused by him — which I haven’t seen in awhile.
    I agree with the “stunt writing” comment. We’ve already had speed dating, which led to nothing for House and revealed nothing new about him — and now next week we have karaoke. There is so much more to be explored about this character — and, while the other characters are nice, I was sucked into religiously watching this show by House himself. Why do the writers devote so much screen time to Taub’s marriage? — I will say that I do like the actresses who play Taub’s wife and Wilson’s ex. They are both well-drawn and well-acted. — But I am so frustrated with the writers. Why do they think it’s okay to have House running in the background of his own show like virus protection? It’s as if they’ve forgotten what made the show a success. I thought this episode was well-structured, but an episode of “House” that barely includes him is never good enough.

    I, like others, don’t feel any progression this season toward anything. One week, House is in grave pain, the next week, it’s not mentioned nor noticed. One week Cameron returns and she and Chase have a powerful scene of closure, the next week it’s as if it never happened. There used to be a progression and flow to this show that one could feel. This season has been a choppy and fragmented mismash. I hope it gets better because I’d hate to see a terrific show like this die out in a whimper.

  • Jaim

    I wish that the writers and creators actually did have an end game in mind for House, because then maybe these smaller plot-lines would have more continuity and meaning. I thought it was an okay episode and I did like the fighting scenes between Wilson and Sam, they reminded me of a Gilmore Girls episode called “Friday Night’s Right For Fighting,” where each of the family members are shown arguing with each other for hours, and then finally are able to forgive and forget.
    I wish that I could buy that a five foot two inch guy with a receding hairline could score all these women, but I can’t. He may be a doctor and have a good sense of humor but he’s not the kind of guy I would envision scoring with all these young attractive nurses. I think if anything, House would be someone with this kind of prowess(if he wasn’t so unsure of himself) and could talk a woman in to a night with him. He may be older and have many issues but he has a kind of charm and rugged handsome look that I think would attract a lot of women. Taub just puzzles me. I wish he would explain why he always needs to screw around, beyond the obvious sex aspect, why he feels this impulse to start up romances with other women. I felt really bad for Rachel. No woman should have to actually setup a night for her husband to screw another woman. I think that in the end no matter how much she loves him(which I don’t get why) that she will realize that what she wants from him does matter. She deserves a man who only wants her and for every Taub out there she can find a House. I say this because, House seems to abhor infidelity, and I don’t even think he cheated on Stacy the whole five years they were together. Once he’s with a woman, he’s with her all the way. Taub isn’t that way.
    As for House in the episode, I felt bad for him mainly because I could already see that he will be alone by season’s end. His gestures won’t be enough to sway Cuddy because she is too proud to admit she may have made a mistake. Wilson will do what he always does and emotionally dump House the minute things get more serious with Sam. Thus, House who has made great strides this year will look at his life and think, “I tried to be better but it got me back here in the lonely place anyway. At least with the drugs I could numb all this pain.” I mean, I wouldn’t hate him for relapsing because he hasn’t got much positive kudos this season from Cuddy or Wilson, for all the personal, work he’s been doing and still trying to avoid opiates. I could see him feeling like he’s damned either way so why not at least feel less pain.

  • PH

    For those viewers that are questioning the supposed randomness of House’s pain, please remember the mental aspect of his pain. I saw in ‘Knight Fall’ his pain increase due to his concern over Wilson’s relationship with Sam. The old habits that are ingrained within us, so easily crop back up into our lives. When House finally concedes at the end of that episode, we see him in less pain in ‘Open & Shut’.
    He has decided to let their relationship go where it may.

    I believe he has now turned his angst into more productive and healthy actions. Instead of trying to tear them apart, he has decided to try to enlighten Wilson to his obsessive need to coddle and ‘keep the peace’, only ensuring the relationship’s demise.

    Please note the final time House places the milk on the refrigerator door. It is after Wilson states “fold” to Sam’s “all-in”. House senses Wilson’s inherent coddling has resurfaced once again. Old habits die hard!

  • Nora

    @ PH: The poker-observation and that Wilson’s “I fold” is a continuation of his “inherent coddling” is brilliant!! I was thinking about the “all-in” vs. “I fold” but I didn’t reach your conclusion. Love it.

    Also, I commented above on House’s pain and that I was surprised that we didn’t see more this week – and then I realized that I had overlooked something. When the patient is in pain again, House and the team discuss outside and he is sitting there, rubbing his leg and saying “Pain, pain went away, came back the other day.” I was so focused on the medicine that I didn’t realize this the first time around, but now it’s obvious that this wasn’t just a random comment about the patient…

  • slashfan54

    Wilson could have cheated on his second wife with his first. Clears up the time line and underscores his screwiness.

  • simona

    barbara thanks for your review and thanks to all for the interesting comments.
    After all, I liked the episode and it suggested me some thoughts.
    Personally, I think that love does not put the chains, love makes us free. House is doing that with Cuddy? And is he trying to make it clear to Wilson and the rest of the team throughout the season? Above is that he’s trying to teach himself? Perhaps it is what he has learned from experience with Lydia? (Connection with the meaning of the bonds: the other person is like a butterfly alights on your hand but if you shake hands you risk of killing or whittled away and this will be not good for you either, because ultimately you will still not obtain what you want. Better to miss the other, to let her/him fly away, rather than having a mutilated person beside).
    The title, Open and Shut = open and close a bracket, meaning “brackets” as a temporary event, something that starts and finishes. And, after all, everything that happened during the episode spoke us about brackets (the opened couple; the “permission” of Mrs. Taub; Taub final betrayal because probably, if he had his wife’s consent, he lose the thrill of transgression; the “temporary” separation between Wilson and Sam after divorce; House who opens and closes the fridge in the sad final scene).
    And I really loved the image of a Gregory House confirmed monogamous, jealous and loyal. So House is a unicorn, a man more transgressive than anyone else, just because he does not adapting to “the common sense of non-decency” in the relationships.

  • RobF

    Normally, “open and shut” means an issue that is uncomplicated and quickly resolved.

    In this episode, it has a more literal meaning, referring to the patient’s bowel which is open after the enema, but later shuts again. What had appeared to be an “open and shut case” then becomes more complicated.

    Similarly, the problems of House and Taub seem to have been quickly resolved in their favour, until the open door is again slammed shut.

  • janine

    @Michele1L
    The speed dating story wasn’t pointless in terms of learning anything about House. It was just another way to show him making strides to change. Would season one House have been at all willing go speed dating? And if nothing else it was entertaining. Regarding the karaoke, that is not entirely the writers choice. This week FOX is doing “FOX rocks week” and each show is required to show the characters doing some kind of musical number (which is why “Broken” is reruning friday, because of the rap scene and I’m really excited about rewatching it). Also, based on what I’ve read this episode will help us learn a lot about House or at least lead up to what the finale will reveal. Again this shows House’s change. Remember in season three when House saw the fellows in the resturant and wan’t even able to go in and eat with them? Going out with Chase and Foreman is another big step, the karaoke is just a gimmick for the FOX rocks week. I feel like the writers do these “non House” episodes so that the drama surrounding the actual character of House will last longer. A part of me feels like the writers never expected House to become the phenomonon that it did.
    @ Jaim
    A part of me too wishes the writers had an end game for House but then again a part of me is glad they don’t. Look at Greys Anatomy. The writers know exactly how each season will end before it begins, and I believe they already know how the series will end. However, fans responded VERY negatively to a lot of stuff that happened on that show and now thw writers can’t change it. The House writers have the option to change (what if they had planned a Thirteen and Foreman marriage with the response those two got. And I agree with the above post that Thirteen has great chemesty with everyone but Foreman.) I feel like when the show does come to and end, everything will make sense. This show is not so much about telling a well scripted story than seeing the character of Houe journey through his life to find happiness and a pain free existence. As long as the story continues to make sense, and it does, the show will be great
    @PH
    I was just about to mention that the pain is triggered by emotions and thus it makes sense that it would come and go. Loved your poker observation. This show is so carefully scripted, almost everything has significance (if not now then later) you have to watch more than once to catch everything. Like what Nora said. I didn’t even catch the fact that House was rubbing his leg until she said it
    @Slashfan54
    Do you mean that Wilson cheated on his second wife with his thrid? That could work with the timeline if we regard the “married from 1990 to 1991″ comment make in “Lockdown”. That has actually been what I’m doing. In my mind Wilson and Sam were married twelve years ago, divorced ten years ago and the 1990 comment was the mistake, since the ten years is what has been repeated multiple times. Again I will say that it is a good thing timelines don’t carry any importance to this show.

  • madfashionista

    I too was disappointed with this episode, in a season that has been filled with disappointments. Is it even ethical for 13 to be speaking to the patients about their personal lives?

    Perhaps Hugh Laurie is tiring of the role, and the demands of carrying the show. I liked Wilson and 5 to 9, but House is not nearly around enough, and when he is, he tends to be a fairly neutral character. At least compared to past seasons.

    For instance, at the end, the House of, say, Season 4, seeing Sam and Wilson playing poker (the ultimate insult, in a sense), House probably would have gone over to the organ and played something loud and annoying, with an innocent smile on his face. YMMV.

  • janine

    @madfashionista
    Your reference to season four is exactly the point the writers are trying to make. House is changing and allowing things to be the way they are insted of wallowing in self pity at the piano, although you could see the sadness in his face at the end and I have a feeling sad House will be back soon. Also, the doctors have always talked to the patients about their personal lives, as far back as season one. Whether its ethical I do not know, but it is no different from what we have been shown in the past. I doubt HL is tiring of the role but it is only fair that he work less. In the past he has said he works 15 to 18 hour days. If we get a few episodes focused more on other characters because he needs a break I’m fine with that (even the supporting characters on this show are some of the most interesting on television). Perhaps the writers don’t want Hugh to resent them like Katherine Heigle did on Greys Anatomy. On national television, she told of how the actors were abused by working 20 hour days with only a fifteen lunch break. I think she was supposed to be joking but people were not happy about it because she was totally ungrategful for the role that made her famous. I do agree that Wilson and Sam playing poker would be the untimate insult in a way because that has always kind of been House’s game.

  • Michele1L

    Janine- thanks for clarifying the karaoke thing. As far as the speed dating is concerned, I didn’t say it was pointless. It was amusing so, it certainly wasn’t pointless to me. What I said was that it revealed nothing new to me about House. I already knew he was making efforts to change. That’s been clear since the season opener. What did the speed dating scene do to move along his personal narrative? What new thing did that reveal about him? It was actually a revelation for Chase’s self-discovery, not for House in my view — and that’s my complaint.

    Jaim- I’m not sure whether you’re a guy or girl because I’m not familiar with your name. Having clarified that, I’ve noticed in my own life experience as a woman that the George Clooney and Brad Pitt types are nice but they’re not necessarily the end-all — and this comes from someone who is generally considered by others to be one of those attractive chicks you’re talking about. A great sense of humor and intelligence goes a long way with a lot of women –even when it comes to guys who are considered only marginally attractive. — I am in agreement with you about House, though. (I don’t know what the age difference between House and Taub is in the world of the show, but in real life HL is not much older. The difference is 5 years or so and a probably a bottle of hair dye for Peter J.)
    House, when he’s not being an obnoxious jackass, is insanely charming, rugged, nearly 6’3 and has those killer eyes. I agree he could, if he applied himself, attract many women to him and would probably be generally prefered over an average-looking man of 5’6. — But the average looking man often attracts pearls. He’s not often the first choice, but he’s often the one we delightfully discover when the Georges or Brads turn out to be complete duds.

    People can often mistake behavior like Taub’s — frolicking around with different women — to be evidence of supreme confidence but I believe Taub is severely insecure and the conquests help to create in him a feeling of worthiness he has to replenish again and again. If one’s confidence comes through validation by others and not from within, there can never been any real self-fufillment which feels complete –which is why I feel he feels the need to cheat. It’s sad that it’s not enough that he has this adoring and attractive woman at home — but often these types of men cheat because they feel beneath it all, unworthy of the women they already have.

  • crazydave

    Season 6, Episode 19, “Open and Shut” – about a patient in an open marriage.

    House: “Glad the husband’s back. After missing so many little deaths, he should be here for the big one.”

    Why writers feel under-appreciated – – “little death” is a French euphemism for orgasm.

    All you sophisticates & nobody got it?

  • Jaim

    Hey Michele1L, I am a woman and I get what you’re saying. However, I am not talking about Brad Pitt type of handsome but someone more on par with Gabriel Byrne or even Liam Neeson. They are attractive older men but they are not conventionally handsome and have a kind of brooding quality I think that would be more appealing to a young woman searching for a mysterious guy. I don’t see any of that with Taub. It’s the same way that I feel about the Lucas/Cuddy situation. I think Cuddy would go on a few dates with him but eventually grow bored and move on. I don’t see him as being physically the kind of guy she’d stay attracted to or even intellectuelly. Sometimes, I think the tv exces keep pushing this idea of the “hot” woman and a not very hot even slob looking guy as a couple. I noticed this trend alot in tv and it becomes rather annoying. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but I don’t think it happens as often as tv likes to show.
    I disagree with the idea that Taub is insecure. I don’t think he is at all in terms of his personal exploits. I can see him as insecure with his career but I get the impression that he cheats because of the thrill, like Rachel said, in other words he does it because it’s fun for him. I don’t think he’s a sex addict either I just think he’s a kind of man who wants it both ways. Rachel needs to take care of herself and end this disasterous relationship. I also wish they would show us some reason for her believing that he does in fact love her. I have seen her loving him(i.e. buying him that expensive car last season and accepting him back into her heart in The Itch) but I never see any real demonstration of him being a loving husband. Not to say he doesn’t care about her but I would like to see whatever it is that Rachel sees in him so that I can understand why she puts up with his womanizing.

  • janine

    @Michele1L
    sorry I misunderstood your comment about the speed dating. No problem on the karaoke thing
    @crazdave
    I had no idea that is what little death ment. I was trying to figure out the significance of that line for a while. I thought it was just refering to their deteriorating relationship. Thanks for the reference. The writers of this show are so brillant.
    @kristy
    what does you comment mean? are you being sarcastic or serions? no offense but I can’t tell.

  • janine

    btw did anyone watch Dr. Phil yesterday? the whole thing was about cheating men and they mentioned lot of things this episode of House said or dealt with

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @ Simona: “And I really loved the image of a Gregory House confirmed monogamous, jealous and loyal” – LOL. I love that too. The many, many layers of this man cover (=protect) a spectacularly beautiful human being…

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barmett

    Dave–“Little Death”
    I almost forgot that! It’s been awhile since I’d heard the euphemism and I was groping to figure out when and where. I never underappreciate the show’s writers. No bounds to the complexity of their scripts.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    PS @ Michele1L: thank you for your kind words:)

    I have to disagree, however: this season was different and hesitant, just like House himself was, but i cannot say anything really bad about it. On the easy resolve of humor: well, it’s something House himself does (“it all sucks, we might at least smile”).
    I think all storylines will lead to something, sooner or later. I think it was amazing to witness this amazing man struggle so hard and doing such a great job at it – i love him more than ever for it. I think that all characters’ storylines have a significance and part of it is already visible, while other parts wil only be clear for us later on. I’m sorry i don’t have time to discuss this in detail, but i just felt the need to say that i still have complete faith and admiration for the best team of writers ever (in my opition, of course).

  • Toby B.

    Maybe it’s just me but the last few episodes have seemed like there’s a bit of a spark going on between House and 13. More from 13 toward House. Also, the espresso maker for Cuddy made no sense to me. What was the point of that? If he just wanted to talk about Wilsons relationship he didn’t need to buy her anything to do that.

    The scene at the end showing Wilson and his ex (I forget her name) play cards was nice for them, but sad for House. House knows that even though it’s better for Wilson, if he loses Wilson he’s lost is one true friend. Of course, that IS is own fault. Maybe he feels that relationship straining and that was the reason for his nice gesture toward Cuddy. I dunno. I read on another website that the season finale of this season will definitely leave viewers “wondering about the future of one of the characters on the show”. Hopefully that’s Lucas…

  • http://barbarabarnett.com barbara barmett

    Delia_B–I have to agree with you. I think the journey this season will only be appreciated in hindsight. Like you, i have faith in the writers.

    Toby,
    I think there’s always been a connection between 13 and House. He’s always been a beacon for the wounded (ironically) who see something in him that others don’t usually see (we mostly see it in his patients). But she’s had him pegged since season four, and conversely, he’s always been protective of her in one way or another.

    I don’t see that evolving in any way, but there’s definite chemistry there.

  • PH

    @Toby B.
    **Maybe it’s just me but the last few episodes have seemed like there’s a bit of a spark going on between House and 13.**

    I have felt the same way, ever since they did their ‘tango’ in the conf. room in ‘Moving the Chains’. It just instantly struck me that it would have further significance.

    That frightens me since I have only seen Thirteen in ‘lame love’. But if the writers work that, I will trust that it would be expertly spun (even though my gag reflex is initiating).

    If that is to be the case, at least one fortunate outcome has transpired from it. She is no longer ‘lip-smacking’ every other sentence. She must know that would be a def turn-off for any suitors.

  • Jaim

    I have noticed the House/13 chemistry all the way since Instant Karma. They flirt a lot more this season than last season and both seem to have the other figured out. I also think it’s a bit telling that he would go to such lengths to have her stay(canceling her plane tickets) and ironically also respect her privacy(as seen in the season four episode when he tore the Huntington’s results) he seems to respect 13 in a way that is very different than other characters. I remember when Cameron thought she had HIV and House had already looked at the results before she had a chance but for some reason he didn’t do the same thing to 13. It’s funny I like 13’s chemistry with House, Wilson,and Chase. I would be happy if she ended up dating any of them. However, I still think they should show her in a healthy same-sex relationship instead of just the crazy one-night stands of the previous season. Her bisexuality should be treated a bit more seriously. I’d like to see her meet a woman who she actually loves and wants to commit to just as she wanted to commit to Foreman last year. I don’t think her same sex relationships should always be played as unsafe or chaotic and her straight relationships portrayed as more stable. I think that is a very prejudice stance to take and I’m surprised the LGTB community hasn’t expressed more concern over this double standard.
    All in all, the episode was alright, but I think Taub’s character needs to be more than just a philanderer. It’s become a bit predictable and boring that he is always having marital issues or cheating. Whenever there is a Taub centered episode I find myself very restless. He is a funny character and is more interesting when interacting with the other fellows or House.

  • Orange450

    @Toby B. @Barbara @PH

    The chemistry between House and 13 reminds me more and more of the chemistry that frequently sparked between House and Amber. Nothing romantic about it, IMO. Rather, it’s the interaction between two highly intelligent and perceptive individuals, both of whom demonstrate a ruthlessly decisive mode of action, carefully guard their vulnerabilities and maintain that the best defense is a good offense.

    They’re well-matched sparring partners who clearly respect one another. And since they’re not attracted to one another (again, IMO), they’re able to engage without innuendo. At least, none that I detect.

  • Orange450

    @Jaim

    I was typing my comment while you were posting yours, or I would have included you in my To: line :)

  • cucucucu

    I was just wondering if anyone noticed the look that Cuddy gave house when he hoped by doing a good deed with expresso machine that maybe he might lucky with her. Cuddy gave this look of, hmmmm, me like. :)

  • savta

    I agree with Jaim about the Taub character. There is nothing to him. I actually thought that after Lockdown, we would get some more insight into what he’s all about. Some of his disappointments were exposed while he and Foreman were in Lockdown but it seems that the reveal in that epi didn’t go anywhere. He continues to lie to Rachel and be an insincere jerk. There has to be more to him than that. Especially since we now know what he accomplished for no other reason than the sake of humanity, at a very young age.
    There is nothing to make him an interesting character, one whose development and life story would draw the viewer in.

  • Michele1L

    Delia_Beatrice – Despite being largely disappointed in this season, I too still have faith in the writers — which is why I’m still watching and will watch until the very end (and beyond)– and why I have decided to comment on this blog for the first time recently despite knowing about it for years and watching the series since the beginning.

    Jaim- okay … the rugged unconventionally handsome ones … got it. (smile) I think Taub cheats for the thrill as well. We are not disagreeing there at all. The “thrill”, I believe, is part of his fufillment — but don’t get me wrong — I’m not condoning his priggish behavior. I think he’s a self-serving jerk and his behavior is sad, pathetic and his lovely, long-suffering wife should move on.

  • Grace

    For me this was a *filler* episode. How you ever wrote four pages about this episode is a miracle, Barbara. I thought it was SOOOOO BORING and WAY.TOO.MUCH.TAUB.whom I can not stand and never have. Unlike some of you, I have not warmed up to 13 in the least. Someone here said that House needs 13 as much as he needs Wilson. Does anyone really believe that?? I wish they would both just not come back next season. Crazier things have happened…Cameron for instance.

    The whiteboard is back as promised but House is not writing on it, Chase is. If Hugh is tired of playing HOUSE, then let’s just end the show this season.
    Here’s what I find funny. Everyone says that House wants/believes in a one on one relationship, but twice we have seen him having sex with a married woman and one of them had children. Is it ok for him b/c he is not commited to anyone? How does that make any sense? I am more than confused. And he didn’t have any trouble at all telling Stacy that it was either him or Mark now did he? Thank God he came to his senses and let the poor woman go back to her husband.
    Last week he was popping IB’s like they were candy and this week not a one did we see. Where did the pain go? Did he not tell POTW the week before that the pain was getting worse? Again, I am confused.

    I am confused that the writers used to write AMAZING stories and now they are writing not so amazing stories. So much so that we have lost viewers b/c of them.
    If they don’t want to write for HOUSE anymore, maybe TBTB should hire other writers. But they are too busy being all holier and smarter than thou to even see what they are doing to the show.

    That last scene of House putting the milk in the door again was just plain stupid. And I have no idea what the coffee maker to Cuddy was all about, not to mention the remark he made to her about it.

    I guess I have finished my rant. Make no mistake, I LOVE [H]OUSE and I LOVE Hugh Laurie. That is why I am so upset by most of this season and the lack of substance. Hugh deserves that Emmy but the writers and producers don’t seem to care if he gets recognized for his AMAZING work over the past 6 years or not. Well I care!

  • janine

    @Jaim
    I have a feeling the writers are avoiding the Thriteen bi sroty because of Greys Anatomy. They have a bisexual doctor whos storyline caused a lot of controversy and lost viewers because of the intimate scenes with a girl. Its not right but sadly there are still people in this world who dislike gay people. also they probably don’t want to seem like they’re copying now because even though Thriteen was introduced as teh bisexual character first, the writers on House decided to put her with Foreman.
    @Orange450
    I totally agree that the House/Thriteen relationship is more like that with Amber than with a love interest.
    @Delia_Beatrice
    I totally agree with your assessment of the slow pace of the season. I too have NO complaints and I feel like the season was written this way on purpose. We are supposed to see progression slowly because House can not change overnight. This season is not so much about learning about House but seeing his journey and his efforts to be better. This season will definately be appreciated later, espicially after we see its conclusion and how everything was summed up.

  • RobF

    I went back and watched the end of Black Hole, after Taub had “proposed” to his wife, and the PotW’s boyfriend had proposed to her — each couple choosing to believe that love can continue after infidelity.

    House had seen Taub flirting, but still believed (or pretended to believe) that Taub was going to make his marriage work. “Good for you”, says House, although after Taub has left House seems melancholy.

    In “Open and Shut”, House pushes for honesty instead of romantic illusions, but the events of the episode indicate that people often prefer an illusion if the truth is something they are simultaneously unwilling to accept and unwilling to reject.

  • Beefy

    I think the one-dimensional nature of Rachel’s character takes away from the Taub story-line. If we don’t know who she is or what she sees in Taub, then why should we as viewers care about their marital problems? I think the actress does a lot with the small scenes she has each week, and while I don’t want this show to become “Taub MD”, this storyline would be more worthwhile if we knew more about the nature of the Taub’s relationship.
    I have been impatient with this season overall. The individual episodes have been less satisfying (POTWs are less interesting; too much 13; not enough House; etc.) and it’s hard to see where the story arc is headed.
    That said, I had similar issues with season 5, but the last few episodes really tied everything in a really stunning fashion.
    So I remain hopeful for Season 6!

  • Michele1L

    Toby B., with the coffee maker, House was “paying it forward” to Cuddy or doing something nice for her in order to get something nice from her in return — which was his way of letting her know he was still interested in being with her.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Orange450 (53): i fully agree with your view on Thirteen and House. Fully.

    @Janine (59): that’s how i feel, too. The season was designed to match the changes in House himself – therefore, the increase in the quantity of attention and time devoted to other characters, the slower pace, House’s limited involvement in the cases. His professional self was not as intense as usual (at least for a few episodes), because all of his efforts and intensity were driven towards staying clean and changing the way he relates to people and to the world.

    Also, to anyone who says they consider the pain issue inconsistent: i cannot understand where that is coming from, since there were a great number of hints towards the increase of pain – in “Open and Shut”, he expressed himself verbally (which he doesn’t often do) – “pain, pain went away, pain came back another day” and non-verbally: touching and massaging his leg, increased difficulty in moving, sitting up and down etc etc. I see absolutely no inconsistency there, but the expected way this would go, typically housian: verbal hints, non-verbal hints, more, much more Ibuprofen, anger and frustration (shouting at the team in “Knight Fall”) and so on.

  • simona

    I reviewed Open and Shut and at this very moment I feel the need of a BIG explosion of feelings. And I realized that what I missed more this season is a huge romantic gesture. Not in the sense of a gesture which must necessarily lead in the short term to something concrete, but a gesture such as: it is my final answer and we lighten!! And now let’s see what happens! These small steps are conducting me to a nervous breakdown, I am putting untold emotional, the wait is diminishing my fragile nerves. So as I believe it is eroding the fragile nerves of House and Cuddy and, from this point of view, I believe that the writers are doing a great job because they manage to get me “live” exactly the emotions of the two characters I love most, in a process of identification. I see them both worn out, coiled upon themselves, dissatisfied, unhappy, blocked, suffering, ambivalent, exhausted. I read that the title of the next episode is The Choice and I don’t know what it means in the dynamics of the episode. Following’s Open and Shut I feel that House really needs to be chosen, at this point this is a vital need for him and the satisfaction of this need is totally (IMO) in the hands of Cuddy. Time will tell.
    Starting from Broken I assume that only during the final season we will see, finally, the circle’s closing.

  • janine

    @simona
    Totally agree that the writers do an amazing job of making us feel as the characters do. I can’t think of any other show that has achieved that. I too am curious about “The Choice”. I know the patient is about to get married and is questioned about old flames, so perhaps that is how the title pertains to him, he has to chose his wife. But I want to know hoe the title, as it usually does, pertains to House and the other characters. What will Houses chioce be and what will the choice be about. Perhaps the choice is not House’s to make; Wilson could make a chioce about thier living arrangement or Cuddy could make a choice about the desire for a relationship with House. I’m excited for this episode, and if that wasn’t enough we get to see House FOreman and Chase sing karaoke.

  • hwl40

    @simona
    Thanks to you and all who have pointed out the difficulties these characters and their writers are living through to keep the tension and the hope for growth, if not resolution, alive for the characters and, therefore, the viewers. If fellow feelings are, as you suggest, a sign of a successful show, then the 6th season continues the brilliant trend of pulling me into their world. A great place to put my frustration with lack of House intensity as we see where they take us as the season closes.

    Thanks for the insight, put me in a more open frame of mind.

    Really, really enjoyed “The Choice”, think you were spot on.

  • simona

    @janine and @hwl40, I am glad that we agree :-). In this blog there are always discussions, equal or otherwise, very interesting.
    Currently I have not seen “The Choice”, I think being able to watch the episode in a few hours and I can not wait! I look forward to watching….

  • bakerstreet blues

    Barbara, you keep noting that season 6’s last half is House lite…..and it is. It is also possible that House on anti-depressants is the cause…just like Resignation when House was on anti-depressants (nice bit of ethical treachery on Wilson’s part), his focus was off. I really enjoyed the conversation between House and Nolan about Van Gogh and who he would have been on anti-depressants. I talked with my sister about this discussion and she put into terms for me to understand. I have always contended that House was right that Van Gogh would have been content painting houses on MAOI’s, but Nolan wants House’s LIFE to be better. House told Nolan right at the start that he did not want to lose who he basically was (healer). Too bad Nolan did not really hear House say that. House was forced to improve his life, but at what cost to his inner-self? We all know House….who he really is and who he wants to be. And House is absolutely right….people cannot change who they truly are. House has not been the smartest person in the room for quite some time and sooner or later he will have to realize that the price he is paying to make someone else happy will end up costing him a hell of a lot more than he (should) or will pay. Just as each couple in this episode, what price glory? Wilson, Taub and the patient each have their own prices to pay.