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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Recession Proof” Finds Dr. Gregory House at a Crossroads

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In one very important way, this week’s episode of House,  “Recession Proof” (7×14) is pivotal both for the character of House (the always-amazing Hugh Laurie), and for the series. For Dr. Gregory House, the events of “Recession Proof” are a turning point for him, a significant barrier at last addressed—at last surmounted.

The patient this week is an out-of-work real estate developer, who has been unable to tell his wife that he’s now working as a janitor and has put them in dire financial straits. After he collapses at an Asian restaurant after consuming a live—and squiggling worm-like delicacy (ick), the team tries to piece together possible causes through lies and the things he’s concealed that might provide insight into his rash, fever and organ failure.hugh laurie, house, house md

Along the way, Masters (Amber Tamblyn) begins to understand the value of lying, as she is forced to deal with the patient’s wife—and gain her confidence and consent. Under Chase’s (Jesse Spencer) caring mentorship, Masters gets through it, wiser and more understanding that the blunt truth, harshly told, is not always the right thing to do.

In the end, House realizes that the patient suffers from a treatable genetic condition. But, by the time he puts the puzzle pieces together, and arrives at the correct diagnosis, it’s too late. Masters and Chase arrive just as the patient arrests, and despite Masters’ heroic attempts to revive him, the patient dies. It is the first time for her—she’s never lost a patient, but again, Chase is there, providing guidance and quiet support. I’m really liking this Chase! Glad he’s back.

Meanwhile, House has a command performance: he must escort Cuddy to a hospital charity gala being thrown in her honor. We know, as well as Cuddy and Wilson, that House has a bad track record attending these sorts of events. However, he plans on going, insisting that he will be there—and even taking Wilson’s $200 bet on it. Despite Wilson’s (and by extension, Cuddy’s)
extreme skepticism, House even auditions a mariachi band (to hire at his own expense!) to surprise Cuddy at the gala. This is her night—and, after all, the dinner is in her honor. House believes she deserves more than a token gift from the hospital board—she deserves a grand gesture (like a mariachi band) to truly mark this moment.

But then his patient dies. And House, believing that he should have put it together earlier, wonders if it’s his fault. He worries whether, in the end, he was too distracted by his command performance to escort Cuddy to gala charity event. But he’s not brooding only about the loss of his patient as he sits alone in the dark of his office. House is also considering the cost at which his relationship with Cuddy comes. Is she so much of a distraction, that his love for her costs lives? It’s irrational math, but not to House. It’s been one of his core beliefs since the first episode, and he’s always given up on happiness, healing and love rather than really test the theory. So, while everyone else goes to the party—even the team, none of whom take patient deaths quite so to heart—House, at an emotional crossroads, broods alone about a choice between who he needs to be and who he wants to be.

So, again the series returns to the question of the effect of love and happiness on House’s ability to be a genius diagnostician. It’s come up over and over during the series run. At the end of “Need to Know,” after House has sent the love of his life, Stacy, away and back to her husband, House goes to brood on the hospital’s rooftop. Wilson is furious with him, telling him that he essentially sabotaged a good thing (never mind that Stacy was married at the time) in order to keep his specialness. But that is the first of many occasions over the seasons.

In Season 3 (“Resignation”), Wilson secretly slips antidepressants in House’s coffee, which make him “hazy” and demonstrably happier. (Yet, when he feels that he came in late on the diagnosis because he was “hazy,” “happy,” or whatever, he realizes that the pills take away his edge—what he needs to be uber-doc.) Then in Season 5, House finally finds something that will (if used carefully) will make his quality of life considerably better—methadone (“Softer Side”). Finally convincing Wilson and Cuddy that it eliminates his pain completely, he feels better—happier. But in the end, he takes a pass on using the powerful pain killer because he feels he missed a diagnosis, his sharp senses dulled by his ability to feel something other than misery.

So here we are in Season 7; House has found some happiness falling in love with Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). He’s overcome several obstacles and they’ve withstood several arguments and more than six months later they are committed to each other and to making this relationship work.

We’ve seen House at this crossroads, as I’ve said, choosing to stay true to himself rather than take the risk of compromising his medical mojo. But we’ve also seen House stand at the brink and choose a riskier path. At the end of season two, after a series of hallucinations and interior conversations with his antagonistic Moriarty (“No Reason”), House chooses to undergo a risky procedure that may compromise his intellectual gifts for a chance to physically heal and be pain-free for the first time in years.

The decision that House ponders in the last moments of “Recession Proof” is perhaps even more important to his long-term happiness. He finally has what he’s been seeking for the past several years: he’s in love with Cuddy, they are involved in a stable, secure and committed relationship. They’ve withstood squabbles, disagreements—and House’s personality issues; things are good. And I think they’re both happy. Not that they don’t both have their worries about the future, of course.

But now House wonders whether the addition of Cuddy into his life equation—thinking of more than himself and his patient—has impaired his ability to save lives. “How many lives will be lost,” he wonders, because he’s focused on Cuddy—or their relationship (in even the most benign ways, I’d have to think).

So instead of going to the gala, House gets drunk in his local pub, not answering his phone—and seeking clarity. He tells a worried Wilson that he’s going to go to Cuddy’s and talk to her. When Wilson, terrified that House will break up with her in his distraught (and inebriated) state of mind, takes his car keys away (House should not be driving anyway), House is determined enough to walk—in the rain—to Cuddy’s home. My thinking is that he wanted to get it over with—and had the bourbon-soaked courage to do it. I believe that when he walked out of the pub, he intended to end it.

But the real clarity, in my opinion, came not from his hours of rumination, but in the walk to her home—in the rain. He arrives at her house soaked to the bone—still drunk, but perhaps more sober than he’d been earlier. Admitting that she makes him a worse doctor, he tells her “you should be sitting down for this.” Surprising her, House tells her that although his involvement with her may make him less effective as a diagnostician, he’s willing to forego saving a few more lives to be with her.

This is an enormous step for House. It is probably the most important sacrifice House can make for her, and for his own happiness. We know that for many, many years, House has defined himself by his medical chops. “What do I have?” he screams at Cuddy from within a hallucination in “No Reason,” furious that a procedure she’s done has potentially damaged his intellect—while healing his leg. “I have nothing else,” he rails at her—and Wilson. Medicine is all House has been for so long, that his decision to risk it for who he wants to be at this point is pretty stunning.

Maybe it’s the “hopeful romantic” in me that sees how important this moment is in the canon of the series. And as House lies, his head in her lap, Cuddy can do little but stare ahead, stunned and a bit perplexed. Whatever anger she might have had at his non-appearance at the gala can only dissipate in what she realizes was–for him—a night of considering the possibilities and risks ahead. (Although I’m sure she was, like Wilson, probably more worried than angry, considering that he’d lost a patient—and knowing how powerfully and internally House tends to grieve when a case ends badly.)

Everyone ready for next week’s “Bombshells?” Episode 7×15 is one of the season’s most highly anticipated of the year. It will be poignant and surreal, infused with alternate realities, hallucinations and surreal dreams. I will have more to say about the episode later in the week, with clips and interviews provided by FOX—and maybe a surprise or two.

In the mean time, for those interested, I’m embarking on a virtual book tour across the vast Internet during the months of March and April. So check out the tour’s official page for more information. For those of you in the Chicago area on March 10, I will be participating in a panel at the University of Illinois at Chicago on how television affects us as health care consumers. I’ll be talking about House (the doctor and the show), and debating the merit of TV docs with a medical professor and a communications lecturer from the university!

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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.
  • leah

    Wow i didn’t know House was really this miserable, sad but i hope he could balance his job and relationship

  • 54

    Barbara, as always, your review sheds light on aspects of the show that I hadn’t thought of. Thank you for your wonderful insights!

    I agree with Barbara that House’s revelation is immensely significant for him as a character and for the series. I wonder how this will play out in the future.

    I thought the events leading up to House’ revelation could have been presented in a better way, but, I think I see the point the writers are trying to make in showing how much House has allowed people to affect him, and how his love for Cuddy has taken him further on his personal journey towards self-development.
    I know that there are fans of the show who think some things House has done (in relation to Cuddy) in Season 7 has been out of character, but, I wonder whether or not that is partially the point that the show is trying to make. People may not fundamentally change when they are in love, but, do we not change significantly at least some part of our lives when we are deeply in love with someone? I am unhappy with the way in which the writers have handled the topics, but I think that the topics needed to be covered. I hope that the writers (maybe it’s the editing? allotment of time to certain themes?)have a compelling story ahead of us for Season 7.

    I liked this episode much better than last week’s episode. I am SO excited for “Bombshells”!

  • The OTher Barnett

    Barb,

    First of all, thank you for leaving the Bert and Ernie part of the story alone. It was somewhat annoying….and not overly amusing.

    I’m increasingly dreading the departure of Amber Tamblyn….she is really bringing something special to the show. House taking to his bosom and saying she is growing up…..lovely!

    Chase may be the hero for the last season and a half. He has really developed and is a more completely realized character than anyone else in the show, except House, of course.

    At first I was annoyed with House drinking in his pub, until I returned to the natural thought that “this is what House does, be dysfunctional in some way because his mind is screwing with him”. I was similarly worried about the confrontation with Cuddy at her house (for some reason I was worried about Rachel being scared or disturbed)…..then was amazed (my mouth was agape) at this disturbingly weird sense of peace that House shared over being fallible for Cuddy.

    My one concern is to what extent is Cuddy going to remember the conversation with House when her mother was dying when House said he did not want Cuddy resenting him for her mother’s death. What if House slowly builds a “resentment callous in his soul” after a few deaths? What if, out of nowhere, House takes it out on Cuddy in a destructive manner because he blames her for every death that he thinks he could have prevented with more immediate diagnostic insight? Great for a story arc, but a sure way to chase Cuddy away.

    But it does make me root for a return of Andre Braugher.

  • The Other Barnett

    Leah, which House TV show have you been watching? Misery is always going to be a House characteristic….its like expecting Eeyore to be telling jokes!

  • ruthinor

    I agree with Barbara that it has been a recurrent theme that House believes that he can’t be both happy and a great doctor. So nothing in this episode is surprising in that regard. But I have a much darker feeling about the scene at Cuddy’s house at the end. While it’s true that House was drunk and had just lost a patient, telling someone you love that the act of loving her leads to the death of patients because she’s “making him a crappy doctor” lays a total guilt trip on Cuddy. How is she ever going to forget that thought? No wonder she had that look on her face. Will he blame Rachel some day too if she distracts him from a case? Maybe it’s a kind of breakthrough for House, but it’s at Cuddy’s expense. Seeing his head in her lap at the end, all I could think was she’s now got two kids, not one.

  • The Other Barnett

    Ruthinor, I agree with the two kids comment, can only hope this is drunk House, not sober House from now on.

    At the risk of sounding a bit irritated with Cuddy up to this point, is it not kind of payback for Cuddy’s hang-ups coming home to roost (along with House’s head) on her lap? After all, hasn’t this season been so much about Cuddy and Wilson trying to domesticate House?

  • Visitkarte

    I also think this episode is foreshadowing the next one. This episode brought back one memory in me, it was contrasting House’s decision on the end of ‘The Softer Side’: “This is the only ‘me’ you get” is what he decided back there, and now, after a lot of thinking and despair, he decides: “No matter what, I want to be with you, I want to be happy”.

    I have no doubts he is, as usually, too hard on himself. It wasn’t that he is a worse doctor (actually, he is, he is too distracted, not so focused, but it wasn’t why this patient died), he’s lost patients before, miserable or not, but if he follows his logic, it’ll bite his a** the next episode. Then he’ll have to confront the possibility of losing her anyway if he isn’t on his top, or if her attending decided they wanted to be rather happy than try and save Cuddy, to hell with the patient!

    He is in his journey and it’s a thin line between being happy and still being a great genius, or just being one of the two. I guess he was genius before, while he was together with Stacy. He just needs to snap out of it and find his mojo again, find the fine balance. I guess that’s what his journey will be this season, the ‘main story’. This time, for the first time since we know him, he’s willing to try. I hope he’ll see next episode, that he can an needs to do both: obsess over the current patient AND be happy. He can do that, and next time he might get the big incentive to do so.

    I love this character development, because it means he is opening up and learning, he is getting more mature. It’s like HL said, you can only keep a character on edge for so long, before the viewers start sheering: Jump finally, we are fed up! Gregory House is going another route, and it takes a lot of bravery to face the challenge. I hope Gregory House, the character and DS & Co are up to the task.

  • Sheryl

    I really liked last nights ep. I liked everything–all of the stories were so interesting to me, from the POW feeling he needed to hide the truth from his wife to Masters figuring out that the blunt truth may not help get what needs to be done, done. Taub and Foreman, too, seemed to be figuring out how much is too much when it comes to their relationship.

    I liked especially the way so many characters assumed the worst about House, based on “experience”–and that Wilson finally saw that his own assumptions were way off.

    Finally, I was amazed at House’s admission to Cuddy. Just amazed that he would make that choice. And now I find myself thinking that this is it. That’s the happiest you’ll see him; it’s all downhill from here. Cuddy’s reaction, I think, is the key. She seemed happy that he chose her at first, but then disturbed. I can’t help but think back to the first episode, and her claim that she didn’t want House to change. Well, something has. Now the doctor she’s been amazed with–because of his mind and abilities–has admitted that he’s okay with not being perfect anymore, because of her. Somehow, I think things will go downhill, but ironically not because of House . . . because of her.

  • Sheryl

    Just one more thing: I don’t believe he’s a worse doctor–that’s just House thinking that way . . .

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I don’t think House will ever give up solving puzzles or trying to save lives. What I saw him as saying here is that he will not obsess over the cases and the aftermaths like he used to. He has accepted that he makes mistakes (some because of Cuddy, but some because of other distractions) and he has learned to deal with this. I don’t think House would ever deliberately choose Cuddy over the welfare of a patient, but I do think that he has realized that his relationship is more important than risking his life and obsessing over puzzles.

    And to be fair, House did not ever say the words that he would choose her over his patients. He said that she was worth being a slightly worse doctor. He’s still brilliant, he just has a distraction now that may detract his full attention away from cases. But IMO he would rather have Cuddy and miss a few than get them all and be alone again.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Yes, of course he’s not a worse doctor. But his thinking that is part of his mindset. He’s always been in denial about how much he’s affected by a patient death–blowing it off as “I solved the puzzle” but we know that’s not him :) It’s part of what redeems the a** part of him

  • Abby

    “For Dr. Gregory House, the events of “Recession Proof” are a turning point for him, a significant barrier at last addressed—at last surmounted.”

    I don’t know about surmounted but I agree that this is a turning point. This is no longer the character of House I watched the show for. As you point out, he has always defined himself by being a great doctor, now sacrificed for Love of Cuddy. The essence of who he was is gone.

    If you have to change who you are to be in a relationship with someone, it’s not real love. And not the right person.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    By the way, I’ve read a few posts on several other boards that have insinuated that House actually took the conniving way out of ending his relationship with Cuddy by deliberately making her feel guilty for being with him, knowing it would implode at some point in the future.

    I have to say that I disagree with those assessments. I think House genuinely meant what he said to Cuddy, that she was worth everything he had to sacrifice. That may have made her feel somewhat guilty based on her facial expression at the end, but I never saw that as his true intent. If he wanted to end it, he could have done it during this episode or the one from last week, but he wants to stick this out. I think Cuddy may feel worried and a bit overwhelmed about House saying that she was worth it and possibly also concerned, seeing how much House really wants to be with her (nothing else has ever made him accept the death of a patient). Perhaps when he left the bar, he was intending to break it off, but somewhere between the bar and Cuddy’s couch, he realized that was not what he truly wanted as Barbara noted in her review.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    Hey – just a thought – Foreman has been better lately, seemingly appreciating House more, etc. But he resorted back to his chip-on-both-shoulders ways again when he told Taub near the end of the episode that he didn’t “want to end up like House.” I swear, I just want to grab him by the lapels and shake him, shouting to him that he would be lucky to be half of the man that House is. Moreover, even Wilson irritated me with his earlier comment that House “never does anything unless it stands to benefit [him].” On the contrary, it wasn’t that long ago that House nearly fried his brain and put his own career on the line, respectively, for the sake of his best friend. House was right: “Three failed marriages can leave a man twisted and bitter inside.”

    Those are my final thoughts for the moment, folks! Hope to be back later today.

  • Dmcky

    Barbara, as always excellent review.

    I really enjoyed this episode. The closing scene was gold. I agree that we witnessed a major turning point for House. But only House can make a woman feel like the only girl in the world, but also like crap all at that same time. So charming..ish! I mean I love that he loves Cuddy like he does, mariachi band and all, but knowing who Cuddy is (someone who likes to take care of people), how can she move forward in this relationship happily knowing that she may be contributing to people dying?? Now rationally this will not be the case, but we also know from Cuddy over the years is that she takes what House tells her to heart. His words have weight, which is normal and realistic. She cares about what he thinks about her. And I cant help but wonder if down the line that weight wont prove to heavy on their relationship. Interesting to say the least…

    Elsewhere in the ep, love 3M’s growth, tho “baby –steps” to quote House. She ‘s finally beginning to join us in the real world..Tuab and Foreman, I’ll say what a lot have said already, I kinda like them. Never really thought about a bromance there, but you know what, why not?? Keep it up..

    I am sooooo ready for next week. This episode is sure to be full of conversation inducing details and revelations..love it.!!

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    The last scene in this episode was truly breathtaking. HL was brilliant, as always. The raw emotion, stark honesty, and vulnerability in his admissions to Cuddy were stunning.

    I strongly disagree with those who say that these developments are out of character for House. Since the beginning we’ve watched House battle with his demons, but never completely give up on being happy. For me from the beginning, this story of House and who he is would not make sense without exploring a relationship with Cuddy. It’s been a long time coming and unavoidable. I think the chemistry between HL and LE has everything to do with that. Their history and journey together have been compelling to watch.

    House is an emotionally fragile soul and Wilson and Cuddy understand that. (Although they have often misjudged House’s motives and actions.)

    With regard to Cuddy’s expression at the end, we have often taken the bait (e.g. Locked In) and read too much into something the director leaves us with in the end.

    For me, the end left me thinking how freeing it must be for House to step away from the walls he’s built for himself, take off his battle armor, express his feelings in his own inherent manor, and rest contently in his loves’s lap.

  • Dmcky

    yeah I gotta add, House’s head in Cuddy’s lap left me with a huge smile on my face..that was incredibly adorable…and then in true House fashion “my head is on your vagina”..Cuddy: “go to sleep House”…GOLD!!! how can you not love Huddy?!

  • Orange450

    Thanks for a great review, Barbara. As happens occasionally, your review did more for me than the episode did. Not that I disliked the ep, but as pivotal as the ending may have been, the ep didn’t hit all the bases for me. While I appreciated the echoes of previous eps and seasons, I couldn’t help but feel that the way the ending considered House’s balancing of his happines vs. the razor-sharpness of his incisive edge was a bit hackneyed.

    @ruthinor #5

    I absolutely agree with your take, and I would push the position even a bit further. When House began to tell Cuddy that he was choosing her and happiness over his medical edge – the first expression that passed fleetingly over her face was gratified joy. But it was only visible for a brief moment. Then it was replaced by that look on her face that you refer too. I thought it likely that as worried as she had been for him, she might also be wondering wondering whether it will always be this way with House – will his choosing her always come at *her* expense? Will he always have to break so many eggs to make his omelets? Will he always have to screw up her big night? Will there always, always be some fly in the ointment, some cloud in the sky?

    As much as I’m rooting for them, I think it’s inevitable that at some point, she’s going to do her own painful considerations of love vs. effectiveness.

  • Orange450

    I’ve got to add a high point of the ep for me – Masters’ nonplussed expression as House was hugging her. Amber Tamblyn did that so very well! And the way she looked up at him right before she confessed that she hadn’t confronted the PoTW for his lies… It was pure genious on her part. Great wordless acting at a very mature level.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    A larger than life moment there, the final scene of this episode. Giving this romance its just cosmic proportions and marking an incredibly significant point in House’s journey.

    I believe that his perception of the negative effects this relationship has had on his medical skills is a typical exaggeration, even though his focus on something other than strictly medicine did have a visible effect this year.
    It reminded me clearly of “The Softer Side”, in season 5, another memorable House-Cuddy scene, in which the same theme is played, but with a very different outcome – House determinedly and desperately refusing to let go of “the one thing he’s got, his intellect”, firm in his believe that being an extraordinary doctor is the one thing he cannot live without, thus willing to pay any price to maintain his genius unharmed.

    So, for House to acknowledge the diminishing effect happiness has had on his medical genius (even if based on a partially distorted perception) and accept living with it, giving himself the gift of happiness while accepting to risk the gift of suprahuman genius, is simply monumental. Epic, epic evolution in him, the man who used to base his worthiness, self esteem and right to live exclusively on his ability to save lives.

    His honesty (even if while drunk, House has a too well adjusted defense system, he is not the type to speak the truth unintentionally just because he’s tipsy) to her and his full admission of love, need and happiness are another turning point of huge proportions. “I will always choose you” (over saving lives, over “being right”, over the one thing that i defined myself by for nearly my entire life) means more than “i love you”, means more than “i can’t live a day without you”.

    It’s the expression of a dramatic shift in the way House perceives himself and his destiny (he would hate the word:))). He simply came to the point when he defines himself as “the man with Cuddy”, rather than “the man with the answers” and suprahuman powers.

  • Sasha

    Barbara

    I always enjoy your reviews they are very insightful, but I disagree on one point in your review of this episode. I think Cuddy was pissed at the end of the ep, I don’t see how she couldn’t be. What House essentially said was that for every patient he manages to save, he’s a genius. For every one that dies–for as long as their together, it’s all her fault. She’s crippling his intellect, but he loves her and doesn’t care.

    I love House and I love Cuddy and I love them together but I’d have kicked his ass back out in the rain for that one.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    Delia_Beatrice #20

    I could not agree more! And thank you for reminding us of Wilson’s remark in Both Sides Now – brilliant observation!

  • Dmcky

    @Sasha #21:

    LOL, exactly! it was one on of those “awww he’s do sweet…hey! wait a minute” moments..of all the backhanded compliments..i don’t see how she could be OK with that…but like i said, interesting..

  • vicpei

    The way I see it, House is effectively (and maybe, despite the drunkiness, deliberately) guilting Cuddy into this relationship. Knowing her tendency to guilt, he lets himself go in her lap, telling her that, from now, she is all he has. If she dumps him now or ever, he will be lost. How could she do that, now? In his convoluted, scheming mind, she can’t end this now. Now, he is safe.
    He is sincere, I think, but also playing her weaknesses. It is a big turn for him, but he is asking her a lot, too. I think she understands very well, and this is why she looked so much concerned.

  • Dmcky

    ooooh, good take vicpei, and just slick enough to be so House..

  • Housefan

    I know I am not the only one not buying into the premise of House being in love with Cuddy. No way have I ever seen that in this show, And a man in love=including House doesnt act like this,Sorry just not buying it which is why something is really feeling “off”. Im convinced someones in a coma somewhere. No one I know is liking this season at all.

  • Sheryl

    For those thinking that House’s behavior is out of character, consider the ep (don’t remember the title) with Stacy, where he decides not to pursue the relationship with her–because he doesn’t want to lose what makes him special (Barbara mentioned it better than I in her review). This final scene is House making the different choice–he clearly doesn’t want to make the mistake he made before, no? That seems like perfect continuity to me . . .

  • Delia_Beatrice

    I didn’t have time to write about the negative side. Which is, IMO, that House is still working on the unworthiness premise – he still feels that he is inherently unworthy of being happy, so he believes in the cosmic qui pro quo, of trading infailable medical genius for love, because he cannot possibly be worthy of having both…

    On other topics discussed here: I absolutely do not believe that he is guilty-ing Cuddy into the relationship. I do agree that his twisted perception has made him load an unfair burden of guilt and responsibility on Cuddy, but i did not feel that he did so deliberately, but rather as a result of his dramatic inner struggle to reach acceptance about his huge shift in identity and priorities.
    Also, it was a typically housian manner of delivering a romantic speech, it reminded me of his playful “Because of you!” in “Masage Therapy”, when saying that he no longer had sex with Randy (or was it Brandy, i still don’t know). He was abrupt and harsh about it, but very honest, very raw and very much himself.

    In regard to how much of himself he has put in her hands, thus making her responsible for his very life, i actually find that natural. I think she should know of the meaning and power he has invested her with, i think it’s natural that he expresses the essence of “i cannot live without you, i will never be able to live without you”. It’s something i have always believed to be true in his case (hers too, by the way), it’s something that needs to be expressed inside such a profond union.

    I do not interpret her blank expression in the final scene as a bad sign, but rather an artistic trick of the director/writer, in order to leave us hanging for her true reaction, next week, when she’ll get a chance to examine her relationship with House in full clarity and probably give a resolution of her own.

    PS: @BigHousefan (#22): thank you:)

  • ruthinor

    Dmcky: what a great word for House “charming-ish”.

    D_B: I agree with you that House is not intentionally trying to “guilt” Cuddy into ending the relationship. (Also, it should be pointed out that in the last scene Cuddy actually thought he was going to break it off and was upset about that before he got to the main part of his speech). I think she knows him well enough to know that this is a theme that has run through his life, i.e. happiness vs. great doctor. Cuddy has an extremely stressful life being a single mom in a high-powered job. She is also somewhat of an A-type personality. House loves and needs her, but in doing so he has added immeasurably to her stress level by making her responsible for his happiness. That’s quite a burden, and in many ways, it places her needs on the back burner. I think her face is saying “now what?” We also don’t know whether or not she is as yet aware of circumstances that will occur in the next episode.

  • BeeJ

    I have to say I have really enjoyed this weeks comments! You are ALL so freakin’ smart lol. It’s great to see the board back to insightful comments about the MATERIAL the writers have put forth, and NOT a bunch of “negative nancies” trying to find gotcha or OOC moments while claiming the show is horrible and should end. Okay…off my soap box haha!

    If last week I said I was indifferent yet slightly positive about “Two Stories,” then this week…I just witnessed my favorite episode of the season! I really loved it. The feeling after viewing that last scene was one of having just witnessed a HUGE moment in this series’ history. I mean, WOW! Barbara hit it on the head. For 7 years we have seen House always choose his genius and the medicine over anything. So, to see him finally surrender (in his mind at least) any part of that is…a monumental moment and huge pay off for the viewers.

    As for Cuddy’s face at the end, I know some have already brought this up, we might be reading too much into it. I simply read her as being a bit shell-shocked. She was probably ready to have it out with House. He had her worried, upset, and sad. Then he dropped that bomb on her, and she just needed a moment to stare into space and digest it. I think if we could have seen the rest of that scene. We would probably see Cuddy lighten up her mood and affectionately put House to bed.

    If I have one “impending doom” thought for the future, it would have to be this theory I have about House needing Cuddy just a little bit more than she needs him. The feeling that he has replaced his vicodin addiction with a “Cuddy” addiction. The latter being just as destructive for him in the long run. We’ll see!

    On a lighter note, just wanted t say…I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT EPISODE 15!!!!

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    I do think that Cuddy was pissed and disappointed that House missed the gala and went out and got drunk. But she also learned during the evening that House lost a patient, which is always a cause of concern for her and Wilson, who both know he beats himself up over those things (and is far from a manipulation–I think he hates that patient deaths bother him so much and tries to deflect and disguise it). So I do think she may cut him a bit of slack, knowing that.

  • Leodie

    I agree with most of you here (Sheryl, Ruthinor…). I think that House is sincere in taking this big leap. But that wasn’t what Cuddy was expecting and by the look of it she doesn’t quite know what to do with what’s just been thrown in her lap. She having a black belt in guilt, that can’t be all good. Like Delia B brillantly demonstrated, House thinks he doesn’t deserve to be happy and therefore wrongly believes that his happiness will cost him his edge as a genius doctor. What will she think of it ? After all she fell in love with him partly because of this side of his personality.
    It’s also feeding into her fears of House being with her mostly because he needs her. House’s pain is very real and persistent. He might have gone back to vicodin if she hadn’t shown up at the end of season 6. The threat will always be there. If she gets insecure she might start to wonder if she is not acting for him as no more than a vicodin substitue. Someting that dulls his pain without the risk of drug abuse. Maybe that would be a good occasion to explore Cuddy’s insecurities. We have seen enough of House’s lately and i do believe that Cuddy could hold her ground on that territory.

    And now the million dollar question. Are there two toilets in Foreman’s appartment or did the food poisoning thing end up with a big disaster ? I am enjoying that Bert and Ernie arc more than any other relationships Foreman or Taub have had so far. If there is something that TPTB know how to write on that show, it is bromance. Don’t get me wrong, i am a Huddy shipper and i don’t believe that House and Wilson love each other in that kind of way, but i still think that they are THE couple on this show.

    Kudos to HL who once more did an incredible acting job in this episode, especially at the end, (bar and at Cuddy’s). In the mexican band scene he reminded me of Louis de Funes. Good episode this week.

  • Michele1L

    Great review, Barbara. I especially love that you mentioned the very episode and very scene in “No Reason” that my mind conjured up when I viewed the last scene of “Recession Proof”, where House basically said his brain is all he has got. While I believe House was being sincere in his feelings for Cuddy in that pivOtal last scene, I also believe he was being typically manipulative, and I disagree with others who say it was unintentional. House is far too intelligent to not realize the sting of the words, ‘you make me a crappy doctor’ and adding that if being in love with her means a loss of more lives, so be it. I believe the expression on Cuddy’s face says that she was burned by the remarks. While in a drunken stupor he admits more than once being in love with her, which for me, now, is affirmed, (I wasn’t convinced in “Now What”), he still needs to make her feel guilty about it, which to me, is not his attempt at guilting her INTO the relationship, but guilting her OUT OF IT. Why would she want that burden? As much as he wants the relationship, he still fears it and, at every turn, does/says things in an attempt to sabotage it.

    Overall, I think this episode is one of the better ones of this season. Tightly written and well-balanced. — Not so sure I’ll like next week’s though …

  • Laura Saxon

    I loved this episode. I was worried that House took the patient’s death so hard, but I liked the part where he fell asleep in Cuddy’s lap. His bad leg is going to cramp up big time in that poisistion.

  • Sera G

    Barbara, wonderful, as usual.
    There was so much to think about with House/Cuddy. I am glad this review was up so quickly.
    I have enjoyed reading the different reactions to the final scene. When I watched, I was sure that he was going to break up with her. Then when he said that she was “worth it” and he “would always chose her.” I was stunned. To me, that almost echoed Cuddy’s “You will always be the most incredible man I know.” As Delia-B (so glad to see your comments) has said, there will never be anyone else for either of them.
    I never thought that House was trying to put any guilt on her. I don’t think that he wants Cuddy to feel the blame for his loses. I think that he can now accept that it is possible to have more in his life. That is healthy and the fruit of the labor of his year of sobriety and therapy. I hope so.

    The look on Cuddy’s face continues to disturb me, as did the look at the end of “Now What.” It was almost as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. I truly believes Cuddy loves House completely.
    Why do people accuse her of trying to ‘domesticate him’ as if that were a bad thing? Everyone deserves dignity and respect in a relationship, so why is she wrong to want him to show that to her? Of all people in his life, she deserves it the most!
    I then began to think that she was feeling the burden of his acceptance that perhaps he doesn’t have to be a genius with only his “one thing.” I agree with those who say that is unrealistic and only House places those demands on himself. Cuddy knows what he is like, how he feels undeserving of happiness. Maybe that look means that now that he has truly told her what is in his heart and that she will always be his first choice she can accept that a future with this amazing,complicated man is possible. Again, that is my hope. Perhaps she has been waiting for him to find a reason to break up and she is in shock that not only has he told her how vital she is to him, but that he wants the relationship more than anything else. That would be staggering. It was similar to her reation in “Known/Unknowns” when House admitted that he had wanted to contact her to see what could be ahead for them and was then expelled. I still don’t know what I think!

    Of course, it could all be leading up to whatever drama is ahead in next weeks’ episode.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    I just watched the final scene again. Cuddy is upset when House walks in, but she refuses to let him break up the relationship while he’s drunk. Her expression as he cuddles up on her lap is part “what did I get myself into loving this complicated, broken man” and part “what the hell was I thinking” and mostly “I can’t help myself loving him no matter how screwed up he is, and no matter how annoyed I am with him right now.”

  • ruthinor

    Leodie: you had me laughing out loud at your million dollar question. The answer is: I sure hope so!

    Also, did anyone else think that the POW looked familiar? To me he looked like the plumber that house got to fix the leak in his ceiling. It was his scratching himself in the groin area that led House to the solution of the case involving abdominal epilepsy.

    I love that this show is so open to different interpretations. Those who complain about the writers need to compare them to those of other shows on the weekly TV schedule. How many of those shows are as multi-faceted?

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    Barbara #36

    Yep, totally!

    Also, when House says with a smile and a laugh, “My head is on your vagina” as only House can – I think its a bit of an astonished realization “Look at where I find myself in my life right now and I couldn’t be happier.” ;)

  • Sera G

    Barbara, you are right; it was important that Cuddy not let House break with her while he was drunk. No matter how annoyed, worried, disappointed, etc. She still wanted him to have a chance to discuss their relationship when he was rational.
    No one gets him the way she does!!!!

  • Andrea

    Well, this is the direction I was afraid they would go. House can’t possibly stay happy; House can’t be a good doctor and be happy, etc. etc. etc. If I were Cuddy, I doubt I’d be thrilled to hear that she makes him worse at his life’s work. Is he the incredible man she fell in love with if he stays with her? Etc. etc. etc. The next step is for Cuddy to break up with him and tell him it’s no good if he isn’t totally happy with her and happy with his work. Misery for the rest of the season, return to Vicodin, another miserable season finale with House on the brink of suicide.

    I hope that’s not the way it’s going. If I were writing it, it wouldn’t be. I think House is dead wrong here. He’s certainly lost patients before and been less than perfect, particularly when he let his misery and addiction to Vicodin get away from him. If anything he’s been better at making connections to patients and feeling their loss. His emotions have been numbed for so many years that I would guess it’s disconcerting and frightening for him to feel and ADMIT the loss of this patient makes him feel such guilt and sorrow. But there’s no guarantee that he would have saved the man when he wasn’t with Cuddy.

    I wonder if the upcoming episode is the one where he considers adopting Rachel. If he fears Cuddy is dying, he might consider it rather than see her orphaned.

  • hwl40

    How can a relationship work when one party says to the other “I am giving up who I am to be with you”? If I were Cuddy, I would be terrified because the center cannot hold.

  • DebbieJ

    Loved this episode! I agree that the final scene was indeed a pivotal moment, a turning point in House’s journey. But, I agree with Delia (welcome back!), that House needs to realize that he doesn’t have to trade one for the other (being happy vs. being super doc.) After all, he has lost patients when he’s been strung out and miserable. I also didn’t get the impression that he was trying to guilt her, intentional or not.

    On a completely frivilous note, I’m curious to what was the fascination with the name Bert in this episode. Of all bromantic couples throughout history, House calls Foreman and Taub Bert and Ernie. The POTW’s name was Bert and was spelled with an E, not a U. Then we see the name of the bar House is in is called Berta’s. What’s up with that? ;)

  • Val

    I enjoyed the episode and agree with those saying that it was monumental.

    The only thing I’ll add is that her expression at the end of this episode reminded me of her expression at the end of ‘Now What?’
    I believe she knows this is huge…for House to admit this and, really, change his priorities. She is perhaps a bit scared and unsure how, ultimately, this decision could affect him (and them). I think she realizes (as he likely did) he is really serious and committed to her–and by extension, Rachel. That reality, that was literally laying on her lap, would certainly give cause for her expression.

  • Ren

    That’s not a worm, that’s a live octopus tentacle. It’s a Japanese delicacy.

  • Wingka

    I thought the final moments were pretty sad.
    Sad in a sense that he has to give up what he values so much to be with Cuddy. House is such a brilliant doctor and for him to say that, it nearly felt like him saying “I’m quiting”. While I don’t believe House’s logic of being happy makes him a crappier doctor, but if I were Cuddy I would be quite upset to know that being in love with her in a way makes him “miserable”.

  • Boeke

    Did that octopus tentacle figure in the diagnosis? I missed part of the episode.

  • Monica V

    Well, I’m sorry but I have to disagree with the last part of your analysis. At the end of the episode, when she’s sitting on the couch, stunned, with his head in her lap it wasn’t because she was just perplexed by his declaration. In my humble opinion, she wasn’t entirely pleased with what he’d said. Actually, she was probably far from being so. I’m sure she loves that he said he’d choose her, but that was really the only part of that she loved. He flat out told her that she was making him a bad doctor and that because of it he would continue to lose patients. People would continue to die because of his relationship with her. How was that supposed to make her feel? Certainly not good. Cuddy has morals. They’re twisted, and they’re ofttimes surprising, but they’re there, and as the episode ends you can see the conflict on her face. She hates how the death of others is somehow validating her relationship with him. She just hates the death of patients, period. And now House has drunkenly planted the seed in her mind that she is to blame for it. This episode was less happy ending, less stun and perplexity, and more inner turmoil. I’m wondering if it’s going to play out more at all in later episodes.

    Nice article as a whole, though!

  • Monkalicious

    Hi guys – I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been reading the excellent analyses and discussions taking place here.

    I was wondering if anyone has thought of a more simple reason for Cuddy’s look at the end? We have all seen that she has just as many (if not more) issues with commitment in her own way. I would imagine that for a person with a fear of commitment, getting involved with someone that is non-traditional like House, a person that everyone expects to keep one foot out the door and to behave erratically in a relationship, would almost feel safer to her.

    In virtually any breakup scenario between them, it used to be (nearly) universally assumed that House would eventually be at fault for somehow screwing the relationship due his own spectacular brand of hubris and carelessness when it comes to dealing with real emotions. She would occupy the high-ground, and tell herself that she did everything she could to keep them together, but he was just too dysfunctional. But as the relationship has progressed, we have seen instances where House has confronted her about her behavior and her commitment to him and to the relationship, and each time, it has shocked her that he noticed and even cared. For example, when he confronted her about her initial reluctance to introduce Rachel to his presence (and vice versa) and then later about her mishandling of her mother’s illness, respectively.

    I think that Cuddy expected to have to deal solely with House’s screw-ups, erratic behavior, and over-the-top shenanigans. What she has been surprised by, and I think also made uncomfortable by, is his earnest willingness to work hard at the relationship, albeit in a chaotic manner of course. I think that going into this new love affair, she had a mental picture of their relationship, with her being the mature partner, tolerant and understanding of his foibles and faults, while House would be the childish one, doing everything he could to turn the whole situation topsy-turvy.

    But over and over, he has shown his willingness to try to be a mature partner, although he hasn’t always succeeded as we’ve witnessed thus far. I see her behavior over the season as showing her level of discomfort with the altered dynamics of their relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I do think she loves him; I just think she had expectations of the way this would go, and his behavior has blown those up, and made her nervous and wary.

    She has thrown up barriers in an effort to protect herself, and each time, instead of making an absolute mess of things, House has (eventually) considered what she’s asked for, and has taken a (mostly) mature step forward in the relationship. I think that a part of her, the part that is terrified of fully committing, is totally freaked out by him at this point, and now, he shows up at her house and basically tells her that he loves her more than he loves his intellect and his work, the only two things that have kept him tethered to reality during some very dark times.

    I think that she is running scared, because if House has stepped up to take a mature-ish turn towards commitment, then she has no more excuses to hide behind, and that is seriously worrisome for her.

    By the way, I personally agree with the idea promulgated by other posters that he was sincere in wanting to be there at the award ceremony and wanting to make it special for Cuddy. However, it is bothering me (and I am sure it was bothering House) that no one believed that he could do a good thing. That included Cuddy and Wilson. I know House is still prone to taking missteps in his personal life, but there is still a big trust issue here with his past always being held over his head like the Sword of Damocles. It is going to be hard for House not to be right about the past being the best predictor of his future if very few people have any faith in him and his continued improvement. In fact, I think that played into his brooding at the bar.

    But that’s just my 2 cents worth!

  • Leodie

    And a worthy two cents Monkalicious !
    I’m with you. Let’s see Cuddy’ jitters for a change.

    I’m not so sure that nobody believes House could do something nice. Experience just demonstrates that either he won’t be nice or the odds he will end up screwing up one way or another, even in his nobles but often misguided attempts, are high. However, I am a little bothered by the fact that Foreman who has been around since day one won’t put 2 and 2 together (like Taub who’s been around for not so long has) and realize that there is more to House than 100% jerk. We know he can be judgmental but he is also very smart. I would expect him to have somehow evolved since his “I don’t want to end up like House” of , was it season 3 ? Yet here he is saying it again 4 years later. Him being so dense doesn’t seem very convincing to me.

  • marian

    I agree with Monkalicious.

    Furthermore House has been disappointed and hurt when Wilson and Cuddy, his only real friends, don’t understand that he is capabable of positive and mature actions, like going to the charity event. They sometimes have assumed that he does things just to be contrarian or destructive. An example is his rejecting Stacy (back in season 2) “because he insists on being miserable since that’s what makes him special” when the real reason was because he knew it wouldn’t work out based on past experience with her. Ultimately he made the kinder decision for himself and Stacy.
    Another example is when Cuddy and Wilson assume he’s taking heroine for his pain and he’s that he’s only in a good mood because of a heroine high (he’s actually taking a legal drug to try to get rid of his pain. He’s disappointed that they would think he would take heroine.
    In season 5 Cuddy and Wilson play mind games with him so he won’t attend the Simchat Bat (baby naming ceremony for a gir), because of course,they assume he will ruin it. In reality, Cuddy wants him there and can’t express it. She shows immaturity here.
    I actually think that House was a little hurt that Cuddy would again include Wilson, this time in a plot to get him to go the the charity event because he needs a selfish motive.

  • dvbfan

    Dear Barbara,great review as always.
    I really like this episode. It had everything,tussle between lie and truth and being happy or unhappy .
    I think this season is a journey for House to know himself again and finally finds out,does he can change and live happily ?
    Missing a patient is not something new for House but in this special case,it seems new for him . House is in love with somebody and because of that he is pay more attention to Cuddy rather than to his cases.
    House should make a decision that what he wants to do in the future and he must find a balance in his life.

    I think , in this particular situation , Cuddy should makes a decision too.I think she has mixed feelings about House.one side of her loves him but the other part has doubts about keeping this relationship.

    And finally , I can not wait for upcoming episode “Bombshell” .Should be an interesting episode.

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    Hello everyone.
    Barbara your review covered everything that I thought so for once I have nothing more to say.

    But just for the heck of it and because I know it wouldn’t be the same here without my comment (who said I was a megalomaniac? LOL) I’m gonna give my two cents on the last scene.
    I agree with Barbara (#36) and all that I don’t think House wanted to hurt Cuddy intentionally. However, Vicpei (#24), Michele1L (#33) and Monkalicious (#48) all have a good point.
    Since House still doesn’t consider himself totally worthy of being happy and is afraid of it, it is entirely possible that he unconsciously tried to sabotage the relationship. Remember the masseuse episode? House certainly knew that the girl would ran into Cuddy at his door & he knew how Cuddy would react. He denied that he wanted to sabotage anything when Cuddy confronted him with the idea but I think in an unconscious level, he was. He always testes his relationships, I mean ALWAYS.
    I believe he meant what he said and I believe it is indeed a huge step forward for him. But it is true that the specifically way he told her this led to a bitter reaction on Cuddy’s part. Perhaps the “you have made me a worse doctor” is not meant to hurt her but perhaps, unconsciously, it is another way of testing what they have and maybe keeping a way out just in case.
    Alcohol disinhibits people and if House said those words it is because it was in him. I don’t think Cuddy makes him a worse doctor and I believe House was talking more about the happiness that he feels with her rather than about her specifically but it is said. House knows her very well and knows how to push her buttons. Now they’re gonna have to live with this admission.

    On another note, I loved Chase in this episode. Little by little, he becomes more and more a great future successor of House. I felt like he mentored Amber a bit like House mentored the naïve Cameron in the beginning of the show. That was really great to see him like this.

    Also who are Bert and Ernie? I didn’t get this reference at all.

    Interesting comments. Thanks for those.

  • Boeke

    Bert and Ernie are a comical pair of muppets.

    I think I understand Cuddys perplexity. There’s no good reason to believe House’s statement that his love of Cuddy would reduce his professional effectiveness. House is lying, in advance of scapegoating Cuddy, IMO. He is not only a liar (his constant proclamation that everyone lies will lead you to apply “it takes one to know one” that we all learned in grade school), he is also endlessly manipulative, as we see in the cases where his intricate plots anticipate everyones reactions.

    In fact, a deep and satisfying love improves human achievement, as anyone who has had such a relationship will attest. I once asked a famous football coach about a practice that then existed of coaches sequestering team members for days before a Big Game and he said it was counterproductive. “If intimate relations are a part of a players life then he should continue as normal”.

    So House is either anticipating failure, or he is planning failure, which starts to make him look sinister rather than playful.

    I predict House taking a very dark turn, and the previews of “Bombshell” reinforce that feeling.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    Flo #52

    Bert and Ernie are from Sesame Street. Its a cute reference.

    Monkalicious #48

    Wow! I appreciate your comments, as House would say, ‘it fits’.

    After watching again, this episode as well as ‘You Must Remember This’ had an old House episode feel to it and I liked it. IMO these two new writers write like fans of House.

  • Sheryl

    Monkalicious: “I think that a part of her, the part that is terrified of fully committing, is totally freaked out by him at this point, and now, he shows up at her house and basically tells her that he loves her more than he loves his intellect and his work, the only two things that have kept him tethered to reality during some very dark times.”

    Well said! And I agree. I think this is what we haven’t had a chance to see much of yet: Cuddy’s own insecurities. We’ve had glimpses. But yes, now that House has stepped up once again (in spite of others still assuming the worst about him and his intentions), we’ll have to see if Cuddy is as brave. I think she’s used to having the upper hand, as you’ve said, and I think she doesn’t tend to see herself as in the wrong. The ep with her mother as the POW was great in that respect–we saw Cuddy’s sense of who she was in her own family called into question. And that episode too, had House calling Cuddy out for kowtowing to Mom. So again, now that House has stepped it up, Cuddy will either find a way to follow suit–or she’s gone . . .

  • ruthinor

    I disagree that “House has stepped up” and now it’s Cuddy’s turn. Remember, this relationship would not have happened at all if Cuddy had not stepped up big time, cancelled her engagement and gone to House’s place to profess her love. That was the biggest step of all. I agree with Boeke and others who feel that even though House loves Cuddy and needs her (more than I think she needs him), he’s still manipulating her. That’s who he is and Cuddy will either accept him on those terms or realize that she can’t handle the responsibility of her job, her child, and making sure that he stays happy in their relationship. I DO agree that House has come very far, but telling Cuddy that he can’t juggle his career and his love for her puts all the onus on her and is very unfair. Even though there’s no proof that House can’t do both, that’s what HE believes, so it’s his truth. He should have kept it to himself.

  • Sheryl

    I do see your point, ruthinor. And I agree that Cuddy did have to do alot to even set the relationship in motion. But I do think that House, in his own sloppy way, told her he was absolutely committed, and I think Cuddy has been more timid on that front . . . more skeptical. But rightly so, given her career and daughter.

    But I still think Cuddy sees herself as in control–and I’m curious to see whether she can ever truly trust House. I don’t even know that she *should*, mind you . . .

  • Delia_Beatrice

    You have all posted such terrific comments, a lot of food for thought.

    @Ruthinor, Leodie, Sera, Debbie: it’s always such a treat to be here and “talk” to you fine people:)

    I only have time to throw in one single cent, in regard to House’s perception that he needs to trade infailable genius for love: it’s been said here and there that this is a too heavy a burden to throw on Cuddy’s guilt-prone shoulders & that House himself is building the relationship on a frail and dangerous premise, that of sacrificing the most important part of his identity in order to have Cuddy and his chance at happiness.

    I think, as we all do, that his perception is terribly distorted by his inherent feelings of unworthiness. I also think that Cuddy is well aware of this, too, and, even if what he told her is disturbing, it is not, in any way, reason for guilt. I think Cuddy is way too familiar with House’s inner struggles with the concepts of happiness and worthiness, not to realize that the only thing his rant should get her worried about is his distorted perception of himself and his worth, and in no way can she take it seriously that she would be partly responsible for his professional shortcomings.

    In regard to House “sacrificing” the core of his identity for love, i believe that, again, we are only dealing with his distorted perception of his own worth and identity. House’s medical genius is an inherent part of him that will never, ever go away, and neither will his love for puzzles and his determination to do anything to save his patients’ lives.

    I interpret his speech as a half-way sign in his journey. He has spent years denying any part of his identity, except for his professional one, and now finally, he has managed to integrate his emotional and romantic self into his perception of himself. As he did with his medical genius-identity, he is now exaggerating, in believing he has to decide between the two.

    I appreciate the symbolic value of his speech and i really don’t fear the premises it sets for their future. Compared to the House we saw at the beginning of the season, who doubted the remote possibility of happiness with his whole being, “Recession Proof” House is not only convinced that he can be happy (that he actually IS happy), but he is also determined to pay whichever price in order to maintain his love and happiness. He is in no way accepting the possibility of ever, ever going back to his secluded, emotionally torn life. Good news is, no price is actually necessary, and in time, he can walk the extra mile to understand that.

    After all, the goal of such individuation journeys is to reach whole-ness as a person, which in his case would mean to unify the two sides of his identity and self, which are in no way mutually exclusive, except in his distorted perception.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    PS: on Cuddy’s final expression, i have thought about it and i share Barbara’s conclusions (#36).
    That looked like the classical exasperated Cuddy to me, plus a bit taken aback with surprise and under the effect of having been worried for him and very angry with him that night.
    The gesture with which she lowers her hand onto his head or shoulder screams “exasperation”, which can be easily explained, IMO, by her hearing him deliver an amazingly romantic speech, which would be sensational for a woman in love to hear, if only it weren’t based on what she knows to be the false premise of his distorted and very wrong perception of himself and his own worth.

  • ruthinor

    D_B, very interesting. I guess a lot hinges on how much Cuddy believes that House can come to understand that his view of himself is actually distorted. I find it interesting (and frankly strange!) that House believes he can be happy w/o being professionally at his best. Can he truly believe that? Or does he actually know deep down that his choice between brain and heart is a false one. I have to watch the end of the episode again, but my recollection of the last scene when Cuddy reaches out to touch him as he rests in her lap, she almost wants to hit him, but refrains and goes with a gentler touch. I think both of them are insecure in this relationship, but House more than Cuddy. And he shows this by continuing to test her with his inability to do the small things that make her life easier. He’s great at the grand gestures, but life is largely made up of the small things!

  • ruthinor

    BTW, D_B, I had not read your second entry until I had posted my reply. Interesting that we both saw something in Cuddy’s gesture at the end.

  • The Other Barnett

    Ruthinor….#56, “house should have kept it to himself”? Really? Really? House keeping something to himself? Drunk?

    No, House unloaded his stream of conscious thoughts/emotions because of the heavy nudge of Jack Daniels. He has probably been doubting himself the whole season because of this Huddy situation. What he expressed may be unintentionally manipulative…..but it is not the same as the major screwing that he did with Cameron and Chase at the end of their relationship.

    It is as simple as a broken man (who feels that his whole recent life has been defined – to the point of it being a badge of pride – by his disability, his pain, and his brilliance in diagnostics) discovering that he does not have to be defined by this anymore. While “3 stories” suggests that House has always been House, we have no idea what House may have truly been like before his operation. Maybe we see, as he is resting his head upon Cuddy’s lap, the true House coming out….unfiltered. This does not mean that he does not rebound to some other House-ian personality, but maybe it is actually waht it is….and not manipulating.

  • ripzu

    I agree with the posters that see complications flaring up between House and Cuddy. Her expression after House tells her that he chooses her over his medical mojo was frightening to me. It foreshadows some high drama. I want the best for them- but I’m feeling uneasy. What might come across as corn still contains the kernels of Gregory House. However, I’m still trying to be an optimist.

  • MissWhit

    After re-watching the last scene, the music really jumped out at me. The lyrics go along the lines of “When love is a crippled dream, that’s where you’ll find me, saying I’m not afraid… When love is a barricade, that’s where I’ll find you, saying we’re already made” (Fyfe Dangerfield’s Barricades).

    Maybe it’s being too optimistic, but I’m hoping that it’s mirroring what is going on inside of House’s head – that he’s accepted that this relationship is truly “it” for him, much like Cuddy’s reaction in “Now What” (“I’m hoping this is the beginning of it”).

  • AJP

    #59 Delia_Beatrice

    From what i saw she WAS relieved initially when he said she was totally worth it after him saying she made him a crappy and worse doctor and people are going to die because of it since she thought he was breaking up with her.

    House’s next statement of “If i had to choose between saving everyone and loving you etc” was when her expression changed into worry, confusion, sadness etc.

    I can add 3 more to her change in expression that could all be plausible and added to the brilliance of the multi-layers of each episode of this show.

    1.) I don’t think she realised that in his mind he feels he has to choose one or the other when he has seemingly been doing so well with the balance and since a patient of his already died this season with no fallout whatsoever.

    2.) House pushed her into her default guilty persona and she is thinking she is sacrificing his gift.

    3.) With the words House said, he is effectively holding her responsible for any further deaths of any of his patients.

  • ruthinor

    After viewing the final scene again, I think Cuddy’s final emotion appears to be resignation. Now she has to decide whether or not she is willing to continue in a relationship with someone whom she obviously adores, but who is clearly damaged, difficult and ultimately perhaps a great risk.

  • fatOlady

    Personally, I have mixed feelings on this episode. Ms. Barbara I can see your point of view and your blog was great, but my heart is having trouble accepting it. It’s like a situation where 10 people see an accident and all 10 have different versions. Perspsective is subjective.

    First let me say that I love House (it’s my favorite show EVER and I’m 51 so that’s saying something). Also, I love Greg House the character. That said, I have to tell you…..the last 2 scenes of this episode made me angry. I was so angry I wanted to reach into the TV and throttle that man (sorry Hugh, I don’t mean you). I was angry because House professes to love Cuddy. Then with all the romance of a snake, he let her down in a very public and most likely very humiliating way even though the writers chose not to show us the fallout. She would have been hurt, angry, and worried about his saftey. And she would have been embarassed that EVERYONE she works with knew she had been stood up by the biggest jerk at PPTH.

    Cuddy was counting on this man she had given her heart to, and he let her down. House told Cuddy that she could count on him, he told her he would be there for her. For all of his Byronic hero accolades, a man of honor would keep his promiss and cry in his beer later. And…because of that I felt like he let me down as a viewer.

    I love House and Cuddy together. I think Lisa Cuddy is the best if not the only character that House could hope to have a chance for a future with. But……. we are talking about Greg House here. House ALWAYS has to win, he physically HAS to be right. If he isn’t, “well” there must be a reason (and a reason that is not his fault). The character of House is so arrogant that he can’t just “make a mistake”.

    “Of course”, it must be that he has let SOMETHING or SOMEONE get in his way, get in his mind, heart, or whatever and steal his medical mojo. Heaven forbid that he should let anyone be important to him and ferret away any of his attention or focus. This was his excuse for screwing up. Plain and simple.

    House can’t accept that he simply isn’t GOD and sometimes (like ALL humans beings) he messes up. He has messed up before and he has lost patients before. Has it EVER been his fault???

    Then when he told Cuddy that she made him a worse doctor he had his out, he made it all her fault. Another cheap copout. I saw this same thing in Family Practice when House deliberatly got Arlene to fire him. Then hours later House, Cuddy, Forman, Chase, and Taub are in Cuddy’s office trying to figure out what to do after secretly switching Arlene’s medicine and it backfires on them. They are talking about making another switch, this time with antibiotics that could kill her and again without the attending physican’s knowledge.

    Cuddy tells House, “I don’t think I can let her take a risk like this”.

    House yells at Cuddy, “Then you shouldn’t have let her fire me”.

    So he has no responsibility, HIS actions are HER fault. House has always been selfish and egotistical but I have never seen House in this light before. He selfishly chose Cuddy in the last scene but not completly for the reasons discussed. For House this is a win/win situation and it all makes logical sense. Yes, in his twisted way I believe he loves her so he gets the girl, gets an open invitation for sex he doesn’t have to pay for, gets a job that he loves, and now he never has to take responsibility for a mistake. House has an understandable and even endearing excuse that absolves him from all responsibility. I have read reviews in this discussion thread that said House looked “free, like a weight has been lifted”. I guess I would agree since not having to take responsibility for your mistakes might make someone feel that way.

  • susan

    Why does my favorite show have to depress me every week? I agree with ruthinor that Cuddy’s look at the end of the episode was resignation. BUT my hopelessly romantic self still wishes that she not dump House. He is a jerk like #67 said, not showing up at her award dinner – after reading what she wrote I’m more likely to blame House for Cuddy’s miserable expression, but House has still changed so much. That he actually admitted to loving Cuddy more than his “medical mojo” (#63) and symbolically lay his life in her lap, that was a sigh worthy moment. I don’t know who to blame. I feel that Cuddy has been nasty for most of this season. She’s always frowning. And House is really trying. He’s always apologizing (sometimes too much, it’s getting annoying already) and the scene where he takes the toothbrush out of his pocket, he has such a poignant expression on his face. I can’t help it. I have to side with House and hope that Cuddy stays with him. I feel like he’ll die without her.
    On another note, I was thinking that all the relationships in House have been ended by the woman (Cameron, Rachel Taub, 13, Sam, Stacey (the first time). Hopefully that trajectory will not continue with Cuddy.
    As usual, I’m writing a very garbled post, but I’m just blowing off steam and angst, and now I’ll go about my day!

  • Leodie

    fatOlady (nice pen name ;-)

    You’ve written : “For House this is a win/win situation and it all makes logical sense”. We know that very logical Doctor House becomes, like everyone but more than everyone, very illogical when it comes to his feelings and relationships. This breakthrough came to him in a moment of emotional fragility, when he was struggling with unwelcome feelings caused by his patient’s death. This is him transcending his “logical sense” and admitting at last that he is entitled to happiness.
    Yes he stood Cuddy up (what else is new ?) and unburdened quite unfairly on her. But i don’t think he was scheming anything. Like you said, he isn’t God, just someone at last willing to try and not succeeding on every front.
    On a side note, happy people tend to be nicer to be around than depressed and bitter one which is good news for Cuddy. But let’s not worry, this is House (the show), i’m confident that his demons will show up again, one way or another.

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    This debate is really great.

    Because House is feeling down, because of the amount of alcohol he drank and because of an enigmatic last look on Cuddy’s face there are a lot of interpretations going on here. What is so great is they are all valid. You all have very good points.

    fatOlady (#67), I like your “car crash watching” comparision. You’re right and that’s why it is so fascinating to me.

    You make an interesting point by saying that lately House seems to have avoided to take responsability. However, for the “you shouldn’t have let her fire me then” in FP I think he said that to try to make Cuddy understand that she needed to confront her mother Arlene.

    Here, for this last episode, we can also argue that he wasn’t expressing himself very well and that he meant that it was the happiness that changes him and not her specifically. It would make sense since he always defined himself by his genius before and he always believed happiness was sort of a curb to it. Also it was made clear in previous episodes that he still thinks he is not worthy of this happiness.
    Personally, like Leodie (#69) I don’t think he was scheming anything either. I think he spoke in the moment, in a semi-drunk spontaneous way. So I don’t really believe that he wants to burden Cuddy with guilt, not consciously anyway. Nevertheless it could happen and you have a valid point.

    It is all interesting. I guess it’s wait and see now.

  • Mirna

    House’s genius is not a fragile thing…really wish the writers didn’t have him thinking of himself as being unable to multi-task where his personal life is concerned. He’s never going to be HAPPY, but he can be less miserable and still remain a bang-up doc!

  • Celia

    What every woman longs to hear:

    ” I love you. You diminish me.”

  • DebbieJ

    @ Celia – #71 – LMAO!

  • Nickel

    This is the sacrifice that ends up destroying House and Cuddy’s dining room. He was willing to give up who he was for her….and in the end she tossed that in his face as yet another failure.