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TV Review: House, M.D. – “The Choice”

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In some things we have choices, in others not so much. We are who we are born to be, yet that doesn’t mean that at some fork in life’s road we can’t “choose” to take a different path than the one upon we seem destined to travel. “The Choice” explores the role of choice and its consequences in a beautifully written, acted and directed episode of House M.D.

This week’s patient Ted has made a choice to live a lifestyle (or a lie, depending on your level of cynicism) that may not be who he really is. But his choice effectively removes the choice of his fiancée to know who she’s really marrying. Not that it will change anything necessarily, but it’s a pretty big secret to keep from the woman you’re about to marry.

Weaving together an interesting patient story with several character threads involving the entire cast, David Hoselton’s lovely script is the sort of complex mix of compelling character drama and procedural that is the House signature. Perhaps more importantly, it pulls our central character back into center of his universe, where he should always dwell (and which has been forgotten at times this season).

Ted and Nicole are about to tie the knot in a big church ceremony. But just before the “I dos” Ted faints, gasping for breath and unable to speak. Is it just the jitters? Is it as House insists (after obtaining some pretty damning evidence) that he’s faking to get out of the marriage? Or something more mysterious?

In the ER, Ted is prompted to protest when House pricks him with a needle. “Faking it” seems a logical (albeit simple) explanation for Ted’s syncope and aphasia. It makes sense until the same thing happens right outside the hospital after being discharged by the ER.

So what can mimic “faking it?” House wants the team to start back at the beginning to understand Ted in the usual invasive way: including breaking in to his old house. Who knows what toxic substances (or secrets) lie in the nooks and crannies of his previous dwelling?

And it turns out that House is right. Ted is faking—but not his symptoms. He’s got a big secret of which he’s in steadfast denial. Ted was involved with a man for three years: was it sex while drunk as he insists—or did they have a relationship? Ted says it was only one time; the boyfriend begs to differ. Of course this puts an entirely different cast on the case.

Ted has made a choice with his life: “I’m not gay,” he insists as if insisting it over and over will make it so—like going into homosexual “rehab” as he did. “I’m as straight as any of you!” he decries in 13’s presence (hmmm—of course 13 is not straight at all). Ted underwent “conversion therapy,” an intense “treatment” to make him not gay: a dangerous cocktail of aversion therapy, testosterone injections and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, or shock treatment). Ted’s “choice” has come back to haunt him. Ted has a congenital condition that has caused most of his symptoms. That plus the ECT accounts for all of them. Surgery will fix this problem, but with Ted now outed, his horrified fiancée wants to end their relationship, no longer sure of her relationship.

“I believe we get to choose how we live our lives,” he pleads. But his fiancé also gets that choice, and her choice is to walk out.

Everyone has choices to consider in “The Choice.” House has woken up in the apartment next door, so drunk that he went into the wrong apartment and so hung over the next morning, he’s wearing sunglasses. He admits to Cuddy that he woke up in the wrong bed; it’s a unusually truthful admission from the usually deflecting House. Maybe he’s concerned enough about it that he wanted her to know. Cuddy is worried that House is drinking, something he should not be doing—and certainly not enough to get fall-down drunk.

But House isn’t “okay.” Right now House is an unwanted third wheel in his current living arrangement; and with no other ties, he’s probably alone a lot more than Nolan would want him to be. It’s too easy for him to fall back and he’s probably a lot more fragile emotionally than he’s letting on.

Wilson is worried enough to pay House’s team to ask him out to dinner or to just hang out. Taub, 13 and then Chase and Foreman. Wilson fears that House’s drunkenness is the result of loneliness and depression creeping back—the feelings of isolation that he can no longer obliterate with Vicodin.

Rather than refusing to play along with the outings and denying that he needs or wants the company, after Wilson admits that he’s done it out of self-interest to preserve his nascent relationship with Sam, House agrees. “I’m worried about you,” confesses Wilson. This is House’s way of helping. He’s willing to try—for Wilson’s sake. But Wilson has good reason to be concerned.

House has been holding back his feelings for Cuddy, choosing to act against his natural inclination and be a grown up about it. Likewise, he trying to be an adult and not interfere with Wilson and Samantha. He’s trying not to act out, but there is a personal cost for him.

The pain is worse (likely exacerbated by his internal anguish—and he looked pretty down for most of the episode), and the ibuprofen is probably irritating his stomach (anyone notice how he was holding it when he went to speak to Wilson?). It could also be his liver, but off Vicodin, it’s not likely that.

But House’s choice to play along with Wilson is a good one and he proves to himself that he can actually have a civil social night with 13—and with Foreman and Chase. I loved the scene in the lesbian bar with 13. She has had his number since season four. He doesn’t intimidate her or put her off. She is more direct with House than anyone else—but never from a disdainful or nasty way like Foreman or Taub. Likewise, House has mentored her and protected her since the beginning. I don’t see them at all romantically involved (as he says to Wilson, he can’t sleep with her—she’s his student!)

I also liked the karaoke bar scene with Chase taking the lead on “Midnight Train to Georgia” with House and Foreman singing backup. Jesse Spencer has a nice voice and the choreography (which I understand they did themselves) was delightful! It was nice seeing House have a purely for fun diversion, kicking back with two people he’s worked with for six years. None of them have chosen to be with each other, having either been paid or (in House’s case) persuaded into it; but the manipulation seemed to work and divert House from his sadness and pain.

And then there was House playing relationship fixer with Taub. Great stuff and classic House to do something nice in the most convolutedly annoying way possible.

But in the end, although House has fun with them, he can’t change who he is, no matter how much he might want to do that. House is a loner even in a room full of people (“House Divided,” 5×22). “Wisdom is knowing the difference between what you can change and what you’re born with,” House argues, just before he gets his patented epiphany moment. He can be friends with he fellows: it becomes a valid choice for him—but what prevents him? House defeats the idea before it can hurt him. But Wilson counters that House is being a coward by “labeling what you don’t want to change as being innate.”

I think that’s being a bit unfair to House, who does want to change. But his fear of forming ties is so long-standing; so much a part of him (and has hurt him over and over), this is probably more difficult for him than giving up Vicodin. Maybe it’s choice and maybe it’s not. House would not “choose” his life (and so often he’s made it possible for his patients to “choose” something better).

Case solved, patient cured, House sits alone in his office aimlessly playing poker on his laptop when Cuddy comes in. Like those solicited by Wilson, she asks him to dinner, broaching him carefully with small talk. But Wilson hasn’t paid her. She has chosen this moment to soften her season-long chilly relationship with House.

It is the first time since the fall (that we’ve seen anyway) that Cuddy has come offering an olive branch. But House still hurts; the expression on his face shows that he is still not doing well with her relationship with Lucas. He doesn’t have a choice. He’s trying to be an adult; trying to cope and let people make their own choices without his meddling.

Surprising Cuddy, he quietly declines dinner, telling her he’s not hungry. She’s caught him at a very vulnerable moment and he’s honest and open as he can be. Tired, unguarded, depressed. Cuddy wants to “be friends.” But things can’t go back to where they were.

House bares his soul to her (some of which was involuntary) in season five and in "Known Unknowns" this season; she knows how he feels. And friend is “the last thing” he wants of her. He doesn’t need “a friend.” House has made a choice both by his refusal of the invitation and by honestly revealing what's on his mind. For House, that's a courageous step.

I am reminded of the scene in Jane Eyre near the end of the book when Jane has returned to Thornfield Hall to find that it’s been burned down and Rochester is a blind, lame shell of his former self. He has been thinking of Jane in dreams—seeing her in drunken fantasies as he neared despair. But now she is back, and treading lightly, she offers friendship. “I will be your friend,” she offers. “Your helper.” Rochester turns angrily toward her telling her that this is not the destiny he foresaw. He neither needs or wants "a friend."

“Let’s be friends,” is among the most hurtful things you can say to someone who has strong feelings towards you. It’s a knife plunged into the heart. “Funny,” House say, seriously and contemplatively. “Friends is the last thing I want to be.” Juan J. Campanella beautifully lit and shot this intense scene. The closeup on House at the end reminded me of the final scene in "Daddy's Boy" as House, depressed from his visit with his parents, drives off into the night on his (then new) motorcycle. Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein were great in this scene conveying every bit of subtext in their eyes and body language.

He has friends: he can hang out with his team if he chooses. Wilson is his closest friend. What he feels with Cuddy may include friendship (and he’s certainly shown it), but is essentially romantic. Being friends would be a pretense; it would be pretending that his deep romantic feelings for her don’t matter and can be compartmentalized while watching her be with Lucas. House can’t do that. It wouldn’t be authentic—and it would kill him (or send him running back for the shelter of narcotic numbness). Where this is going, I’m not sure. But I’m very sure the next couple of episodes are going to be of the breathtaking variety.

Next week: “Baggage,” written by Doris Egan and featuring a return performance of Andre Braugher as House’s therapist. Remember, I hopefully will be speaking with Doris Egan sometime next week after the episode airs, so if you have any questions for her, please be sure to let me know!

And finally an FYI for a very good cause: New York Times bestselling novelist Brenda Novak hosts an annual literary auction on behalf of diabetes research. Please do check it out—and pay special attention to this item featured especially for House fans.

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About Barbara Barnett

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

    Dear Barbara,

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your thoughts on this episode. And how beautifully you’ve put them together. Thank you.

    I cannot believe that I am the first to comment and here I am bravely taking this first step:) The episode elaborates on some of the ideas broached in the past three weeks: about facades, appearances and oscillating identities. We can make ourselves think that things are certain way, that we are certain way, but we ultimately and always revert to our nature. People don’t change which has been House’s mantra since day 1. The parallel between House and the patient was clear, the two of them wavering between the at least two identities they have chosen for themselves. At the end they were both displaced, had no place or someone to go to (well, House does but it is more in theory than it is in practice)

    I absolutely loved the last scene between House and Cuddy. It was so powerful in its simplicity and so foreboding. There was something in the choice of showing the characters’ profiles: first Cuddy, than House, than Cuddy. As an art historian I could not help but think of Pierro della Francesca’s famous double portrait of the Duke of Urbino Federico da Motefeltro and his wife Batista Sforza, both shown in profile, both intended to be seen and experienced together. Was this a veiled reference to renaissance portraiture? I do not know, but why not. There was something so poignant about the artistic choice that made me think about the importance of the face, and especially of the one better, or bad, side or half, we tend to show in photography, literally, and in life, metaphorically. The face is also our façade, and in the case of House and Cuddy we literally saw only half of theirs. What is on the other side? This is the question that plagues me. Is it pain and depression for House, and pretence of happiness and fulfillment for Cuddy? Was the fact that House was playing poker when she walked into his office significant? Should we, the audience, think that House has assumed a ‘poker’ face—one that reveals almost nothing of the true story?

    I am surprised that after watching, and re-watching every episode of House shown, I still have no idea where all this is going. I have to admit that I am dreading the last two episodes, because I have a feeling that the “Knight Fall” might be a nightfall. Which is never good.

  • rsg

    Barbara thank you for your review! You have become essential to my House experience.
    I was so happy viewing this episode! Even though I have enjoyed this season, I felt like the House, (show and character), I know and love had finally returned. I’m sorry to know that the season is ending so soon though.

  • marykir

    This episode really got me to thinking about the difficulty of writing House episodes. It was very well done; I enjoyed it; and it all felt very, very familiar. The writers could easily have written 130 “classic” House episodes like this over the last 6 seasons. But if they had, would viewers (and former viewers, for that matter…) still be so invested in the show? Or would if just be one of those shows you sort of half-watch while folding your laundry or paying bills because you more or less know what’s going to happen?

  • Meena

    Barbara, thank you for your great review.

    And Byzantine, thank you for the Duke of Urbino reference! I always learn something from the show, and certainly from its astute viewers who are so kind to share their knowledge here. I remember studying that painting in college, now that you mention it (but that was some distant and faded memory:) ).

    I feel I need to watch this episode again to digest it – but speaking of profiles, one thing I did notice was that the bride at the very beginning was also shown in profile, framed from a distance. It felt to similar to how House and Cuddy were framed at the end, with a certain air of quiet mystery.
    I think weddings, too, are a time of putting on a facade – not saying that weddings are false, but there is the act of presentation, of trying to control how one is perceived. Still thinking this one through…

  • Michele1L

    This episode reminded me of why “House” is such a great show. Well-written, well-directed intricately weaving several arcs together, using all of the characters and especially, bringing House back to the center of what should always be his universe.

    Barbara, great review. – I think it may be House’s liver and I fear he may be destroying it. What I’ve learned about subtlties on this show is that they cannot be overlooked — and I, too noticed House rubbing his upper right abdominal area — which I believe is the liver area. Perhaps, though, you’re right and it is his stomach. Ibuprophen can cause stomach bleeds. If it were his liver, the writers would have an opportunity to bring House’s biological father into the picture, if House were to require a transplant, because, being a drug addict, he would never get on a transplant list … but, of course, I’m just speculating.

    Pathetic and sad as it was, I loved the scene between Cuddy and House at the end. I have felt from the last three episodes that Cuddy has been reconsidering her decision to get involved with Lucas rather than giving House a chance. I believe it was inspired by Wilson’s renewed relationship with Sam. I don’t believe Cuddy simply wants to be House’s friend — I think it was a “safe” thing for her to say to him, because I feel in a lot of ways Cuddy is as much the emotional cripple as House. It’s difficult for her to just come out with her feelings for him. I believe her asking him to dinner was about taking baby steps toward what might be possible between them beyond the hospital. In my view, he should have gone –Lucas or no Lucas. It’s not as if she’s married. He had no problem trying to pry Stacey, who was married, away from Mark — or having relations with a married-with-child Lydia. It’s so interesting — he went out with all of his team — initially with resistance, but the one person he really longs for, when she genuinely reaches out to him, he refuses. (sigh) As much as he says he no longer wants to be miserable … he has become so comfortable in his discomfort, he insists on remaining there. I feel so bad for this character. I both fear and look forward to the future, and I know the final episode of this season will have me dying for the Fall to come.

  • tigerfeet

    Thank you Barbara, for yet another great and insightful review.

    I loved this episode, much to contemplate. You and the above commentators have already eloquently expressed my concern for House’s current frame of mind. It was lovely to see a long awaited “Huddy-moment”, and I am delighted that he again has expressed his feelings for her. It’s important that Cuddy know. Hopefully this will lead to more interaction between these two next season. I almost don’t care what type, as long as there is some! (Here I define “Huddy” as anything going on between them, not necessary a romance.)

    On a lighter note, “Pottery by Taub”! LOL. And it was great to see a rare smile from Foreman at House’s joke ”You should be a doctor.” I also absolutely loved the scene around the table where House was about to drink the coffee with the patient’s breast milk in it!! Superbly acted by Hugh and the rest. Of course he was only screwing with them, he never intended to drink it (imo). So even if he seems to be more and more depressed, he can still have some fun. Like the karaoke – what a fantastic trio they made!

    Marykir # 3 – I follow you completely.

    Looking forward to the last two episodes, but also sad that it’s almost over for now…

  • PH

    Again, thanks for the review Barbara. You always point out aspects that I hadn’t considered.

    I loved the scene of House waking up in Esteban’s bed. Alongside a police escort, his one-liner, “I met the neighbor’s”, was CLASSIC and had me ROFL.

    I love the extra dimensions that the writers put into each episode.
    Something as simple as showing House playing online poker lets us delve into his psyche even further. His self-induced isolation has not only changed his relationship with Cuddy, but has even cut him off from Drycleaning Man and Bus Stop Guy.

    As Nolan has pointed out to him, isolation breeds depression. But House has had a narrow focus this season. Cuddy. His socialization skills/practices have suffered.

    With only 2 epi’s left for the season, we will soon learn where this destruction takes him.

    Just one peeve for TPTB… Wilson & Sam need to brush or gargle before their early morning trysts. I couldn’t stop saying Ewww.

  • simona

    Thanks for the review Barbara.
    This time the writers did a wonderful job!
    [H]ouse speaks directly to my stomach, some episodes more than others and this is one of these.
    I state that my personal popularity rating with House is “shed tears” and this time I paid a lot. Huddy’s final scene was really heartbreaking and made palpable the profound House’s awareness, House who always anticipates all perceptions to what is happening. But mostly I was struck House’s gaze, the look of a man who sees “beyond”, a man who already knows the answers to the questions. His eyes spoke throughout the episode. And in the end he had the look of one who has chosen. This time he chose to be honest with himself first. He has become the questions and was given the answers. And he answered everything about his situation, looked himself without screens, helpless.

    Cuddy: Your patient will go home tomorrow
    House: he has never a home

    Cuddy: I just wanna us to be friends.
    House: Funny. That´s the last thing I want us to be.

    And throughout the interaction with Cuddy, House never looked down, he always looked straight in her face with a direct and disarming gaze. He looked down, exhausted, only after she leaves the room.
    Here, I think that Cuddy as she went away has felt helpless and equally exhausted. I do not think that her proposal for a dinner was only an offer of friendship but it concealed a deeper, unspeakable and unconscious need. The need of House.

    About the other events I need to see the episode again, and again and again :-). So much stuff to think about. Actually I can only add that the karaoke scene saddened me, I have not found it funny, House seemed resigned and sad.

    @byzantine: “face is also our façade, and in the case of House and Cuddy we literally saw only half of theirs”.
    Very interesting thought…

  • nc

    When House woke up in the neighbor boy’s bed and saw strangers’ faces looking back at him, I thought he was hallucinating. The scene certainly played out to give that first impression.

    And that line in the chorus of “Midnight Train to Georgia”: “I’d rather live in his world than live without him in mine.” Yikes! That could apply to every one of them. House regarding Cuddy (and vice versa). Chase (perhaps) about his life with Cameron. Et cetera.

    I feel equal measures of dread and anticipation, waiting to see what lies ahead and feeling certain that if good things spring from these remaining two episodes, they probably don’t “pay off” during this season. Quite the contrary.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks for a great review, as always. Thanks also to David Hoselton for doing a masterful job of gathering up several critical threads introduced but left dangling in recent episodes, and weaving them into a tapestry which is starting to look like the lead-up to a season finale. And especially for infusing House with the deep humanity which has been a little less evident lately, especially in last week’s episode. In fact, there was something so vulnerable about the first sight we had of him last night, sprawled fully dressed and fast asleep on the neighbor kid’s bed, that I actually said “poor baby” out loud. Not what I usually say when I first see him! (For a moment I actually thought that the rocket ship sheets were his own. It wouldn’t have surprised me :))

    After the initial reference to his drinking too much (I guess Sam is having the same effect that Amber had on House’s perception of his relationship with Wilson, and House is falling into an old pattern) I waited the whole episode for that theme to be picked up again. It was worth the wait, with the interaction with Cuddy as the emotional cause of physical pain, the low cross-view of the ibuprofen bottle, and then the shot of whatever he was drinking. His “choice”, in a way. What a brilliant way to forge all the elements into one incredibly evocative scene!

    It seems that faith in the writers is its own reward. I finally get it that we’re experiencing a brillaint contrast from the lead-up to S5’s end, when it was obviouse that House’s world was falling apart. Then, every episode saw the tectonic plates crack a little more, and finally we watched him fall into the abyss. During much of S6 things have seemed to move right along (what with the nice new apartment and all) but as you point out – all is not well under the surface. No coincidence that the past few episodess have focused on surface relationships masking deep truths quite different from what’s immediately apparent.

    The lack of self-worth referenced with William of Knight Fall, (whose Lady Fair is committed to someone else who is “better for her”, so he’ll step aside – for her happiness – and let the “better” guy have her. Shades of Cuddy and Lucas?) gives way to Ted’s self-loathing. Poor House! How sad was it when he asked Wilson how much had to be paid for his fellows to hang out with him??

    I’d definitely felt that Taub’s fidelity issues just aren’t interesting enough by themselves for so much attention – only if we’re gaining insight into House. But last night began to justify the time spent. Choices. OK, you are who you are. You get to choose how you live your life, but to what extent can one successfully struggle against the innate? And how do we learn what is innate and what isn’t? It’s all about House – delicately layered in narrative about Taub and the PoTW. David Hoselton composed an intricate fugue of an epsiode – tossing the melodic lines lightly from one voice to another 🙂

    That was a great line from 13: “ok, so my self-pity is optional. What about yours?” No matter how sorry Hugh Laurie makes me feel for House, he deserves that line. (I’d almost forgotten about the Huntington’s.) I also thought that “Get them all in the same room and get the truth” seemed like good foreshadowing – but of what? Taub, Rachel and paramour? Cuddy, Lucas and House? Wilson, House and Sam? All of the above? Many possibilities.

    When House commented that Ted has no home to go to – I was afraid that was a foreshadowing too. And not a happy one for House. I can’t wait for next week! One good thing about an upcoming season finale is that we won’t be in suspense about all of this for too much longer.

  • DebbieJ

    I loved the issue/topic the POTW faced, how it wasn’t black or white but such a shade of gray. So many points of view on the subject of an individual’s sexuality. And the whole debate as to whether being gay is a “choice” or being born that way. I have to say I loved 13’s expression in the patient’s room when he declared “I’m as straight as any of you”.

    I again found 13 integral to the story and thought Olivia did an okay job (which is an improvement from previous seasons). I do enjoy her scenes with House.

    House waking up in his neighbor’s son’s bed was funny, at first. Until you realize what had transpired. I was wondering what in the world was going on when I saw the rocket ship bed sheets. His grunt/growl when he realized he wasn’t in his own bed was so funny, made funnier by Wilson’s own grunt/growl when the cops brought House back to the condo.

    Love how House “almost” drank the coffee with the breast milk a few times and the looks on the team’s faces! Then the look on his face after they left! LOL

    The karaoke scene was adorable, although a bit indulgent on Fox’s part. Still enjoyed it, though and am glad that House realizes that he *could* be friends with Chase and Foreman outside of work. (baby steps)

    Loved how House manipulated Taub into being faithful to his wife, which really is pathetic that it is necessary for him to do so. Just love the Housian spin.

    And the last scene with him and Cuddy was so, so….. damn, I wish I could describe what it made me feel. A complete turn on for sure. His reply to her “I just want to be friends”, was so sensual and so haunting at the same time. “Funny. That’s the last thing I want us to be”. The way he looked at her, almost willing her to respond. Or cower. But the look of pain/regret/sorrow in his eyes when she left was just heartbreaking. And then he goes into the drawer for his liquid pain killer 🙁

    Glad to see Dr. Nolan back again next week. House definitely needs a visit with him.

  • barbara barnett

    Great to wake up to so many comments, and for the first time in months I have time to savor them and respond (the final edits for the book have been turned in–except for season six, of course).

    Byzantine–congrats on being first to jump in! People don’t change which has been House’s mantra since day 1. The parallel between House and the patient was clear, the two of them wavering between the at least two identities they have chosen for themselves. At the end they were both displaced, had no place or someone to go to

    House has tried this season (particularly in the second half) of fitting himself into a hole into which he doesn’t fit. And it’s been eating away at him. He tries (for Wilson’s sake–and maybe his own as well, but unsaid) to be social. But he’s still wary of that sort of socializing. I think House is the sort of person/character who forms a tie and is dedicated to it. If the tie is involuntarily broken, there comes a void which leave him adrift.

    He enjoyed being with F and C. Clearly he had a good time. But what happens in the end game of that relationship? Is it reliable? House is doing the math and coming up with “they’ll leave and I’ll be alone anyway, so let’s cut to the chase and skip the heartbreak.” Obviously he didn’t say that, but it may be his calculation.

    I caught the line about the patient being without a home. The way he says it it’s clear that it’s something that resonates with House, who is feeling displaced from his comfortable home with Wilson. I find it interesting that when everyone expressed their concern about him, he didn’t deflect. He sort of went along with it. Is House concerned himself that he’s slipping backwards? Or is it that he’ll accept whatever people say and then make whatever choice he wants: a facade of acceptance that falls away when people have left him alone? Just a thought.

    Marykir–you raise an interesting point. I think that yes, this was a House “classic” sort of episode. Well written and nicely interwoven A, B,C and even D plot threads. It’s the House signature. But what makes House great is the classic left turns and break-the-formula moments. Episodes that challenge and force you to put down the knitting. It always frustrates watching the show with my daughter who knits while we watch. She’s only catching half the show and missing the nuance.

    I can’t help but compare House to Miami Medical, which I’ve caught several times because I adore Jeremy Northam. It’s entirely predictable and everyone is so good and altruistic, I was actually shocked the first time I ran a comparison in my head between the two shows. This has been a season of “different” on House, which to me it’s felt somewhat transitional. Then again, this is a transitional year for the character of House too.

    Michelle said: I don’t believe Cuddy simply wants to be House’s friend — I think it was a “safe” thing for her to say to him, because I feel in a lot of ways Cuddy is as much the emotional cripple as House. It’s difficult for her to just come out with her feelings for him. I believe her asking him to dinner was about taking baby steps toward what might be possible between them beyond the hospital. In my view, he should have gone –Lucas or no Lucas. It’s not as if she’s married. He had no problem trying to pry Stacey, who was married, away from Mark — or having relations with a married-with-child Lydia.

    I think Cuddy wants to believe they can “just be friends.” Another take on this is that she shares Wilson’s worry about House, and feels some guilt about causing it. Back in Known Unknowns, House scoffed at the idea that he was so fragile emotionally that Cuddy had to keep Lucas a secret. But after months of accepting the relationship, he is very clearly not over her. Maybe Cuddy realizes that (it’s just another interpretation of why she would choose now to approach him).

    But House isn’t letting her get away with settling for that. He doesn’t want companionship (especially fueled by pity). He wants her romantically and sexually. He can’t have that with her, and nothing else is going compensate for it.

    nc: I had the exact same thought. I was going “Uh-oh” is House hallucinating? And I can totally see him with rocket ship sheets (but his bed linens at his apartment were always very standard issue and not childish).

    Orange–The lack of self-worth referenced with William of Knight Fall, (whose Lady Fair is committed to someone else who is “better for her”, so he’ll step aside – for her happiness – and let the “better” guy have her. Shades of Cuddy and Lucas?) gives way to Ted’s self-loathing. Poor House! How sad was it when he asked Wilson how much had to be paid for his fellows to hang out with him??

    Very nice set up between patient and House as the weeks have gone by (for many of the episodes) drawing this line to where are going. House’s self-worth has taken a real hit lately. I’ve also noticed how dismissive of House the team has become from time to time.

    I loved so much about this episode. The Taub manipulation was absolutely classic House, but is was done well. You really never know if House’s manipulations are benevolent or not (this year in particular).

    The final scene I’ve already written about, but I believe that was a bottle of single-malt whiskey (If I read the label correctly).

  • janine

    I loved this episode!! I agree that is was a “classic” House and wove all the stories very well. I am so worried about House and where this season will lead. I have a sinking feeling that House will wind up back on vicoden or some equivilant. In Knight Fall, we saw him popping ibuprofin like candy, and this week that was not strong enough, he had to turn to alcohol. I hope that Cuddy soon makes her “choice” about whether she wants House or Lucas.
    Hallucinations were actually the last thing I thought about when I saw House in the bed, I thought they were his sheets (also side note, spoilers for this episode had said that House would wake up in a strange bed next to a woman, yet another internet spoiler that has been proven wrong). One question though, if House was in the kids bed, where was the kid sleeping?
    You all mentioned House holding his stomach in Wilson’s office, and I agree that that is a sign of something, either liver failure or the desire to give up ibuprofin because it hurts his stomach. But, did anyone notice that when Thirteen was drinking in the lesbian bar, just before the scene ended, her hand shook (very clearly, as if deliberatly done by the actress)and House looked at it shake but didn’t say anything? I wonder if this is a sign of her Huntingtons getting worse. In a recent interview, Katie Jacobs said that one of the characters not named House would be going though some drama that would resonate next season. Origionally, I thought this would be Taub with his marriage, but after this I am begining to think the character will be Thriteen.
    Can’t wait for next week for the return of Nolan and your interview with DE.

  • barbara barnett

    Janine–House explained that Esteban was sleeping in mom’s bed (as he said–“fortunately”). House did notice 13’s hand shake. He saw it while he was on the phone. He probably noted it and filed it. He’ll be watching her much more closely, I’m sure. He looked concerned, but it was fleeting because he was talking to the team about the patient when he noticed.

  • Sarah H

    Agree with all that this was a wonderful return to House at its best. In addition to the other parallels between House and the POTW, I was wondering about how House views his own “conversion” therapy that’s occurred over the past year. Many comments were made by House throughout the episode about the dubious, dangerous and ultimately ineffectual means of trying to change the POTW’s sexual orientation — I couldn’t shake the thought that maybe House sees his own work as equally fraudulent, that he feels being the recovering addict, rejected-lover-but-trying-to-be-mature-about-it and “very nice man” and that Wilson called him a few weeks back just isn’t who he is, any more than the POTW is straight. If so, it makes me look forward to next week with Nolan even more.

    I loved the humor and the quickness of the humor this week. I also finally appreciated how much Chase, Taub and Thirteen have gelled as a team in the scene between the three of them in the lab (when Taub keeps saying that none of them have a reason to look at him). The team hasn’t felt this solid to me since mid-season 3.

    As for Thirteen’s hand shaking, is that about when she was draining the last of her drink? I thought that was to emphasize the drops of water falling off her glass and lead to House’s thought about leaking CSF. Or did I miss something?

    Barbara, I love coming to this site and reading your reviews and everyone’s comments. Thanks for adding to my House experience, and congratulations on the book!

  • byzantine

    You are right Barbara and you put it so clearly–House puts up a facade of acceptance, but that is all. I agree with Simona (#9) that he seemed resigned in this last episode; he went through the motions but I did not perceive sincere enjoyment. The change he has undergone so far has been on the surface, like changing costumes, as in Knight Fall.

    On Cuddy going to him at the end–I think she is trying to avoid the grand disaster of last season, when she seemed aware of his condition but did nothing to remedy it. She is the queen of guilt. However, this does not dismiss the fact that she took the next logical step–he ‘took’ her for coffee in the previous episode by buying her the espresso machine (I cannot take credit for this idea, this was someone else’s ingenious interpretation) and dinner is what one would expect to follow. I think that she was dishonest when she told him that she wanted them to be just friends and he caught her–he was his true self at that moment. This was the raw honesty that he uses to reveal the true motives for other people’s actions.

  • sheryl

    Such wonderful insights here so far. I’ve been an avid reader of your reviews, Barbara, but this is my first post.

    I can’t help but think back to this season’s “Wilson” episode–and in particular the scene where House pushes Wilson to express some anger. Wilson says something to the effect of, “You can’t change a table,” to which House replies, “Sure you can. You just have to be willing to use the can of paint,” or something like that. I was always struck by that, because it signalled House’s new acceptance of the idea that he himself could change. That early in the season, he was much more optimistic like that.

    Now, that comment strikes a new chord with me. Painting a table doesn’t really change it–it just changes its appearance. Seems to go nicely with the idea of facades that we’ve seen woven into the recent episodes.

    One more quick comment. I used to follow one other newsgroup on House, but I’m finding it hard these days, as the posters there are so consistently negative. “Not enough X!” “Too much Y!” “Nothing’s happening!” And yet there’s such a richness in this season’s threads and themes. This is the only place around where posters look more closely at the eps. There’s a lot there, even if some of the stories this season (just most recently) have been less watchable. I chalk some of it up to poor scheduling, and too many hiatus, and of course, all of the thoughtful things already mentioned by Barbara and this crew.

    Thanks for letting me share!

  • xinyuActor

    Great review again, Barbara, thank you.

    Michelle-I’m all in with you about the Cuddy pretty much like House issue. When something got emotionally, they both will much likely screwd it up.

    I’d rather believe that the House’s stomach (or liver) stuff in Wilson’s office will turn out as nothing more than a casual action of Hugh. Still remember the blur scene at the end of “Lock-in?” We’ve guessed over and over AND it was really a nothing! = = But I could be very wrong, could I?

    And I cared the very last scene of this ep (I mean the booze scene) a lot. I’ve been thinking through this season about, after vicodin free, what would be next? And the answer finally goes: alcohol! We’ve learnd about House’s bad alcohol habit before, but never have drunk like this ep. And at this point, the liver can be more convincing.

    Particularly, after this episode I get a feeling back to season 2. It was soo House. Everything whatever, was all around House the character, and whatever happy things went along with him will ended up a sad, depressed House. Bad for the man, but hopefully good for the show.

    I’m a none-English speaking fan from China, so hope I can at least made my thoughts clear. 🙁

  • simona

    Re-watching the episode I was particularly struck two times:
    1 – “I don’t need a temporary, I need a permanent” (beginning of the episode, Cuddy said by phone when House comes to PPTH). Reminded me to Known Unknown when Cuddy told to Wilson that she needed “someone you can count on every day”. But at this point…. Who is really the one she can count on every day?
    2 – “One night I was drunk and went to bed and he came into my room …..and one thing let to another”. (Ted speaking with Nicole about his gay-story). So, again Known Unknown, said by House to Cuddy during the breakfast about the beginning of the relationship with Lucas and mostly during the dance scene (unforgettable!)

    I am always surprised about the authors’ attention to details and how they can, eventually, compose the mosaic. I really think that there is a very significant link between all the individual episodes, a bond that probably will emerge only at the end of the season.
    Actually the alcohol abuse together taking ibuprofen could cause serious damage to House. This is why there is a link to “Wilson” that worries me, when House said: “I am your friend too and I might need a piece of your liver…..”
    God! this should not happen, please

  • janine

    thanks for clearing up the bed thing, I didn’t catch that the first time.
    LOVE you’re reinterpritation of the table quote from Wilson. that quote always resonated with me too, but I never thought of it they way you said. House is trying to change, but he can’t change what is inside, like the patient.
    @Shrah H
    I also agree that the “new” team has gelled quite well in the last couple of episodes. They are quickly becoming my favorite team combonation, and I really hope none of them leave (many speculate they will because the three years is almost up, but since Chase and Foreman are still there I don’t think that rule really applies)

  • Ferejohn

    Barbara, your essays, as always, are eloquent and huighlight bits I missed. One small complaint: How about adding a spoiler alert for the Jane Eyre reference :-}

  • Frerejohn–

    I would never have thought to do a spoiler on Jane Eyre! Sorry if I spoiled it for you.

    Read it anyway (or watch it–I recommend the Timothy Dalton BBC version)

  • Val

    Barbara, lovely written review. What an addition to such an intricate script full of depth. I will have to take another look at the episode.

    As everyone else, I can’t pass on commenting on the final scene. Beautifully written, directed, acted, lit…what else!? Just about everything. House’s (show and character) mantra–that people don’t change–was illustrated to a tee. While it was a poignant and telling scene it was also very Housian and very on-character for each of them.

    My thoughts went straight to the roof scene with Stacy, when House had also made the choice of pursuing her, a married woman. “The prescription for his heart condition…” he had said. He had made his choice. For him, it was simple and he told her so. Again, the choice is simple for him. He can no longer only be Cuddy’s friend: it’s all or nothing, as it often seems to be in Housian logic. Perhaps that is where the poker comes in…being ‘all in’ or ‘folding’. In his simple statement and intense eye contact illustrated what play he is making. He is making the same play he did in season 2. He hasn’t really changed, it only seems his approach is a bit different.

    I am a fan of 13 and I continue to enjoy her involvement as a mirror, and even as an opposite from House. Her talk to the PotW at the end reminded me of House’s, except a bit more gentle. She is honest and even blunt, but not as harsh or even cynical as House. The more 13 reveals herself, the more Housian she seems…even more than Amber’s CTB persona. Conversely, the only other person at PPTH that rang with familiarity was Cuddy. The few times we’ve seen Cuddy interact with patients (typically, it seems, with expecting women) it was with a similar kind of approach, I think.

    House’s nights out with the team were great! In season 3, we were never really sure if House opened that door to see C, F, and Cameron. We now see he has taken that step…that was a big one, indeed.

    Am I the only one to think that maybe this season won’t end in gloom? The season started off quite hopeful. How crazy would it be for them to end on a (semi) hopeful note. That is certainly a state we’ve have not seen from House (show or character). Maybe?

  • Jacquelyn

    @byzantine – THANK YOU for the Pierro della Francesca reference! I could see that painting in my head as the scene played out; I just couldn’t place it. It was also echoed in the very first scene with the fiancee about to walk down the aisle.

    I, too, was literally left speechless and breathless at the final scene. I thought House’s comment about the patient not having a home was intriguing. House, too, doesn’t really seem to have a home. I’ve said this many times, that even though Wilson is House’s best friend, there are so many times where his actions belie him. Paying the fellows to go out with House? What kind of friend actually DOES that? And I find it even more off-putting that the fellows would *accept* Wilson’s money.

    And the exchange between House and Cuddy. That was simply beautiful. The words, the angles, the lighting. What else could Cuddy do but walk out? What could she say to House? And you’re right, you really can’t say “I just want to be friends.” The damage is done here – and House’s statement has finally put the ball in Cuddy’s court. I thought it was interesting how when she came into his office, he was playing a game of poker – alone – a nice contrast to last week’s game between Wilson and Sam. Now House has laid all of his cards out on the table, and Cuddy will need to make the next play. He’s All In now.

    There were also a lot of great little quotes in this episode – the POTW on being as straight as anyone with Thirteen in the room, Thirteen’s comment to House about self-pity (which reminded me of the exchange between House and Amber in Wilson’s Heart; “Self-pity isn’t like you” “No, well, I’m branching out from self-loathing and self-destruction”), the Greek references (with a dead-on accent!), and more.

    I think it’s going to take a third viewing before it all sets in – pretty remarkable how an episode that didn’t quite catch my attention at the beginning (I was really tired on Monday night) had, by the end, done a complete 180 and has given me much to think about.

    P.S. – Barbara, I’m starting to look forward to your reviews as much as the episodes themselves. Too bad I’ll be out of the country for the last two episodes, but I’ll be eager to see them/read your thoughts ASAP!

  • Orange450

    Barbara, at the risk of spoiling Jane Eyre a little more, I have to comment on your description of the “friend” scene. Regardless of what may have happened in the various movie and TV productions of the work – in the book itself, Rochester’s response is not angry at all. It’s: “Ah! Jane. But I want a wife”. Prefaced by Jane’s remark “he helped me”. It’s Jane who’d like to be more than a friend, but isn’t exactly sure how Rochester will take to the notion. I’ve always loved that scene – so calm and gentle, yet so deep and true.

    I deeply hope that in the fullness of time – and well before we have to say goodbye forever to our characters – House and Cuddy will come to a similar place of peace and understanding between them!

  • OK… Rochester isn’t angry at anyone but himself. He’s been despairing and feeling unworthy of Jane’s love and certain that he’s lost her. And then she hears his spirit call out to her…
    And then she’s there. Is she real? Is she in fairy form?
    Yes. he says “I need a wife” but it’s not until they go through the friend thing (IIRC)

    I’ve read the book (and seen the BBC prod) so many times they get confuzled in my head.

  • Michele1L

    Sarah H. – I thought the hand shaking was about the leaking as well, but maybe it has double meaning and is a foreshadowing of 13’s Huntington’s taking hold.

    Barbara – thanks for the alternative interpretation of why Cuddy asked House to dinner. I still strongly believe that she doesn’t just want to be his friend. If you go back to the episode following “Broken”, after House walked into her office and resigned, she came to his condo wanting answers. She wanted to tell him she was going to miss him — but that clearly was not all she wanted to say — but was all she could muster. She also asked him, “what am I to you?” and received the deflective reply from House, “not the reason I left” — which clearly disappointed her. She wanted him then to tell her what he seems to be willing to tell her now. They never seem to be on the same page at the same time. Every opportunity Cuddy has had to tell him how she feels about him — why she was willing to risk her job on several occasions, lying for him, protecting him — risking a position she had worked so hard to earn — she has always used the hospital as a buffer. In some ways, she is just as bad at emotional revelations as he is.

    Also, forgot to mention that I enjoyed 13’s ease at breaking the glass in the door of the groom’s old apartment (as House would). There is an interesting level of “Housian” acceptance going on within the team, which is a natural progression. Despite my disappointment with how some of this season has gone, the one thing I have always been impressed with is how well these writers illustrate the growth of these characters. You just don’t see that kind of progression over time on any other show on television.

    By the way, for anyone who may be interested, the bride in this episode is Susan Sarandon’s daughter. (She’s got those same eyes, hasn’t she?)

  • Orange450

    The book and the various productions are very different animals. I know the book by heart, and know very little about the productions (except for one of the most ridiculous ones – a musical verion on Broadway, if you can believe that. We saw it and we couldn’t believe it!)

    In the book, Rochester’s despair and anger are not connected to the conversation about Jane’s “friending” suggestion. I agree 100% that that sort of thing can be extremely hurtful and frustrating (as it was for House), but that wasn’t the context in JE. I’m just sayin’ 🙂

  • OK..so maybe I was projecting. Actually the 6-hour bbc production is very faithful to the book (except that Timothy Dalton is a bit too handsome for Rochester). I know the two aren’t connected to the Friending thing. Not what I was saying. (Or maybe I was saying it badly–entirely possible).

    In a way, Jane is teasing Rochester with the friend stuff (Cuddy is not, of course==at least not in the same way). She is of course still completely in love with him and is trying to provoke him from his despair.

    House isn’t in despair (at least not yet) and Cuddy isn’t teasing or trying to provoke a reaction from him (or have a little fun with him). Jane’s provocation is calm and gentle (and lighthearted).

  • Orange450

    No, Barbara. Go to Chapter 37 and read from “Absolutely, sir! Oh, you need not be jealous!”. Jane was teasing Rochester with the St. John Rivers stuff. Not in the conversation that follows, which is where our discussion is centered. Jane isn’t teasing Rochester with the friend stuff at all. She’s trying not to embarrass or compromise Mr. Rochester; very different from Cuddy’s intent (which is also not meant to be cruel, as you say – only unwittingly, it is.)

    I don’t mean to harp on this, or to beat a dead horse. But I have to admit that my passion for this book goes deeper even than my passion for House – after all, I’ve known the book for far longer, and have spent far more time developing the relationship. 🙂

  • Jacquelyn

    Barbara and Orange450, you have me intrigued. I’ve always felt House/Cuddy acted like characters from a Victorian novel – but it’s been years and years since I’ve read BritLit, and that was only begrudgingly in high school English. So, should I start with Jane Eyre? It’s sounding good!

  • hwl40

    Did anyone notice the three or four drinks lined up in front of 13? Any significance or did they belong to someone else?

    Midnight Train to Georgia: Neither House nor Cuddy seem to be able to take the train to the other’s world. Or am I stretching it? The writers usually have something to say with every piece of music and this is pretty front and center.

  • hwl–I think I’d heard that Jesse, Omar and HL picked the song themselves.

  • Orange450

    Jacquelyn – you can’t go wrong with Jane Eyre.

    I’ve often felt that in many high schools, the Engish lit curriculum is tantamount to a crime: “Murder in the first degree – killing the love and appreciation of Engish literature”. Definitely, revisit Jane Eyre!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Splendid episode and a review to match! Thank you, Barbara!

    I kindly disagree on House’s reasons to play along in Wilson’s little plan: he pointed out Wilson’s selfish reasons because that’s what he does, but he accepted to give it a try because he was aware of how desperately he needs to try something, anything, that might help his despair and loneliness.

    There were many interesting and significant choices made in this episode (Taub chose to try not to cheat on his wife, House hinted at Thirteen’s choice of focusing on the immense good fortune of her brains and beauty, instead of the horrible genetic illness she has, the patient choosing to run away from his innate traits, his bride running away from a life of possible deception). But House’s choices were impressive to an extent that moved me to tears.

    Every single thing was significant and telling of his immense effort to change:

    The fact that he gave in to his depression and drunk himself into oblivion, but then reached out to Cuddy and told her about it, in an unprecedented open manner and as a disguised cry for help.

    The fact that he chose to agree to Wilson’s plan of “buying” him a social life, even if he read Wilson’s real selfish intentions. Trying to be friends with his team is something that we have never, ever seen before, and it must have taken such huge determination and also despair to get him to do it, because House is so fully aware of the fact that, even if he cares for them and mentores them and helps them, he can never use any of them to fill the void in his life, that only Wilson can fill as a friend.

    The fact that he chose to decline Cuddy’s dinner invitation is a spectacular indication of his new found maturity. With Stacy, as well as with Lydia, he was not bothered by the fact that they both were married to somebody else. With Stacy, he played his games around it, insinuating himself in her life with the desired official title of “lover”. He wanted an affair, he bathed gladly in the promiscuity, hoping to get her to change her mind and leave her husband after all. But this time, he said a clear and loud NO to all of that. He does not want to play games with Cuddy. He does not want to try and insinuate himself around her relationship with Lucas and try to break it from inside, he refuses any compromise, any promiscuity and any uncertainty.

    He chose that he does not want the sincere compromise of friendship, either. He has come to accept and embrace his deep feelings for her fully. He was incredibly brave and strong all throughout the season, boiling in his own pain of lost love and not acting upon it at all. He does not want anything that is beneath the depth and the intensity of his own love for her – he wants the real deal, a true and complete relationship, acknowledged as such by both of them.

    The fact that he told her the truth is also beyond impressive. He could have felt just like he did, but still deflect, avoid her, disguise his pain in anger or rudeness or silence, like so many times before. He did not – he chose to speak the truth, to finally articulate the truth about love and pain and loss and loneliness.

    Also, the fact that he only sought comfort in alcohol now is also significant. He used to be a heavy drinker. He went through many challenges and a lot of pain this season, but it took the final blow (the partial loss of Wilson) to push him to seek the illusory comfort of drinking. He was strong and brave and he fought so hard, but he just can’t do it anymore. He is desperate.

    Another thing on Cuddy: i think she came to his office because she was worried about him – his drinking scared her. Also, the great wall of China with armed sentries every 20 feet that had built up between his pain and her avoidance this season started melting down ever since “5 to 9”, and there were little things that showed that they are starting to take babysteps towards eachother, the most obvious being the fact that they started coming into each other’s offices for little talks again, which they had not done ever since “Known Unknowns” (House) and “Teamwork” (Cuddy).

    Also, i indentified the patient’s story and his final line (“i HAVE to marry you”) with Cuddy’s story. She worked very hard at denying a part of her identity (her feelings for House and his role in her life) and at pursuing a more “normal” relationship. She felt like she HAD to be with Lucas, in search of an escape from the complications and the suffering that her attempt at a relationship with House had caused her. All season, there have been subtle hints at how devastating the absence of House was on her: he represents the spontaneous, daring, creative, joyful, witty, playful, sexy and exuberant part of her. His effect on her is visible even to strangers (her date in “Insensitive”: “when you’re with him…”). We all got used to this version of “Cuddy under House’s effect”, and the change this season was obvious: she was made to look tired and weary, less sexy, worried, dark, preoccupied, tense, much less fun, diminished sense of humor, uptight. She lost the sparkle in her, the playful, naughty, witty, seductive sparkle in her, that House brought out in her more than anyone ever could.

    Based on all of this and the promotional and behind the scenes pictures that have been released for “Baggage” and “Help Me”, i expect a sensational and very dramatic season finale.

  • janine

    Totally agree with everything you said about House and Cuddy. You made some very good points that I was trying to say, but you did it first, and better (Thank god too because I just took my AP english test and I don’t think I could handle writing any more analysis today).
    I just hope that the “I have to marry her” isn’t as far as Cuddy is going to go with Lucas, unless its for s short time and leads to some development in the show. I don’t mind Lucas, I actually kind of like him, but I’m nor sure I would want to see him with Cuddy forever.

  • janine

    Edit: I’m also really excited for the final two episodes based on what I have seen. Have you seen the photos leaked a while back for baggage. I don’t want to spoil so I’ll just tell you to go to the spoiler section of tv house watch.com and you’ll be surprised

  • Val

    Yes, I also agree with you. I also think it is significant that, as is House’s character, he told Cuddy the truth. He was direct and pretty blunt about it. And, his choice is simple. What changed was the manner in which the truth appeared. It was honesty.

    I like your point about choosing not to interfere in her relationship with Lucas…as he did with Stacy and was ready to do with Lydia. He has matured, but has still kept an important part of his character.

    Nice thought!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Janine and Val, thank you for validating my thoughts, it feels good to know i’m not imagining things:))))

    Janine, i don’t think Cuddy would marry Lucas. Perhaps in fall, yes, she might have considered it (even if she did not seem to be carried away with passion for Lucas, as to get married after a very short relationship). But now, the doubts and the thought of House are already very present in her mind, and from the looks of it, they’re gonna be a lot more present after the final two eps. I don’t think that a simple “yes” would be anyway near the answer she would give Lucas, even if the illusion of normality is still probably very appealing to her.

    I saw the pictures from both “Baggage” and “Help Me” and it all looks sensational.

    Val, yes, i agree to you agreeing:)))) I am impressed with House’s evolution in more ways than i can say. It is an amazing development for this beautiful character. The fact that this spectacular man has kept his wit, his irony and self-irony, his cynical awareness, his unforgiving, uncompromising brilliance, but has managed to learn how to accept his feelings and his pain, how to be brave and strong, how to express himself and put himself out there emotionally – it’s just superb. And i wish the best for him and i hope that this season finale doesn’t drown him in despair…

  • DebbieJ

    @janine (#37) Do you have an exact link to the spoier photos? Thanks 🙂

  • janine

    This is the direct link for the pictures for “Baggage”

    And here are the ones for “Help Me”.

    If you click on Spoilers there are more clips (I don’t watch clips before hand, they reveal to much IMO) but nothing else too spoilery that would ruin any major plot points, as far as I know, but I didn’t click on too much stuff for “Help Me” because I only like to see one episode ahead.
    I don’t think CUddy would marry LUcas either, but with this show you never know. I have a feeling that if there is a proposal it will be a Yes, followed by a quick change of heart, a direct no or a cliffhanger that results in a no (this is just speculation, I have no idea if Lucas is even going to propose, its just a theory I have heard thrown around different sites)

  • rsg

    Wow. Thank you so much for your lovely interpretation of Cuddy’s character this season. It rang so true for me and made me appreciate the season even more, and in a different way than I had before.
    Thank you for the picture links. I usually don’t look ahead- spoilers or photos, I enjoyed them!
    Also, thank you Barbara and all the rest of you that take the time to do such great evaluations of the episodes and series. I am always left with feeling that you all put into words exactly what I was thinking , or introduce subtext I knew was there but couldn’t quite formulate. Awesome.
    Can’t wait for Monday.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    RSG, thank you very much. There has been a lot of negative talk of Cuddy this season, and even if i understand why House’s pain over losing her is bothering people, i don’t think she changed and i don’t think she did anything to hurt him on purpose, so i try to explain my vision of her openly – in an attempt to both better understand her and defend her. She went through some very painful and difficult stuff too, last year especially. She was always a complicated person, she is emotionally imature and she has a lot of trouble handling relationships, but all in all, i think that in regard to House, she did very little wrong. Her protectiveness of him and her loyalty to him were still there, even as she tried hard to pursuit a more “normal” relationship with Lucas is a healthy one for her personally, it was not intended to hurt House, and i think she learnt a great deal from that relationship and she now feels more capable to handle that part of her life, which had always been an issue for her (“i screwed up every relationship i ever had”). These improvements in her self confidence department are good things and there’s no reason to hold it against her for trying.

    On the spoilers issue: i have been keeping in touch with the spoilers that fly around and i do watch the promos and sneak peaks and promotional or behind the scenes photos of each episode – and never, ever have any of those spoiled the essential, important and surprising things that happen in the ep. They are all very carefully considered, so that they give tiny, tiny hints of what it’s about, but nothing important and big can ever be detected based on what is released before the episodes. So, no reason to be afraid, in my opinion. The magic is still there every time, whether having seen the sneak peaks or not.

  • janine

    I feel the same way abou spoilers, although this year screen caps of the final three episodes were leaked online. and I read the one for “The Choice” after it aired and it was VERY accurate and would have spoiled al if read beife

  • janine

    edit” before hand

  • DebbieJ

    @Janine (#41) Thank you for the links. I am usually a big spoiler phobe and hate when I run into something accidentally to spoil it for me. I usually don’t go looking for it. But for some reason, after last episode, I just had to take a peek ahead! I only looked at the ones for Baggage, but disciplined myself into looking any further for Help Me.

    Thanks again 🙂

  • janine

    I did the same. I saw the photos for “Help Me” but refised to watch the clips. I was afraid that if I watched them,I might know how some of te events from “Baggage” end.
    I needed to look ahead too because I just have no idea how this season will end and I’m so excited!

  • simona

    First thanks to everybody for all the comments so significant.
    My further thoughts (delirious) about House. During this season, he led a “monastic sexual life”, what do you think? Am I wrong?
    This episode also revealed even more clearly that he has a very delicate side, generally defined as “female” and for this reason very “intriguing” (at least for me): in this season, especially, became evident that for him “can not be sex without love or emotional connection” and I perceive this feeling very….Housian.
    Well, and having thought about this now I’m sure I couldn’t love him more than I already do…..

  • Flo

    Okay, sorry, I didn’t comment earlier.

    Great episode, great review Barbara, as always and great comments all of you guys!

    I liked the fact that House took a shot and spend some time with his fellows outside of work. It was quality time for all of them.
    House even spend a nice time with Foreman and Chase singing “Midnight Train to Georgia”. It was unusual to see him like this, enjoying music in public and not in the private solace of his apartment.
    I also loved the scene with Thirteen in the bar. She is very housian and it was interesting to see someone playing “House” to House. Her comment about self-pity being optional was great.

    House was indeed honest and without a mask in this episode which is even more unusual. He is clearly miserable and doesn’t care to show it anymore. The changes he made in his life didn’t have the results he hoped for.
    He needs his friends more than ever. The thing is, Wilson is trying to move on with his own life which takes time away from House. Cuddy can’t be here as a friend because as he told her, he doesn’t want that from her. He is tired to pretend.

    The last scene is very dramatic but I like how it mirrors the first scene between them. In the morning, he comes to her to uncharacteristically admiting he is not in a good place right now. Cuddy is concerned, of course, so in the evening, she comes to him and asks him to dinner, thinking that he shouldn’t be alone (drinking) and that he needs a friend to help him. She is right on both account but is wrong to think that she can be this friend even for one evening.
    It’s time to come clean. It’s a huge step for him but, unfortunately, it won’t make him feel better. Right now, he just have is flask of whiskey and his ibuprofen.
    So I agree with everyone, there is no way this going to end well.

    Can Foreman, Chase and Thirteen help? Will Cuddy also come clean with her choice of life and about her complicated relationship with House? Will Wilson find a way to balance is friendship with House abd his new relationship with Sam or the second one will definitely be an obstacle to the first?

    The end of the season sounds more than promising. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see the last two episodes.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Simona: yes, i think he led a “monastic non-sexual life”:). My guess is, it’s not that he thinks that sex must absolutely have an emotional, affective side (he has proven this idea wrong many times in the past), but it is his personal choice in this phase of his life, not to use sex as a distraction or as a substitute for drugs or as a substitute for real emotions.
    I think that the experiences of his hallucinatory sex with Cuddy and the real sex with Lydia were both highly emotional experiences, loaded with significance, and both these experiences touched him deeply. He learnt it the hard way that it’s ok to admit to himself that that’s what he wants – not just sex, but emotions and connection and affection.

    The down side being that he learnt it too late… Apparently, things don’t go well and won’t go well for him in the near future. This is literally breaking my heart, because i have been very impressed with his tremendous efforts to change and to express himself, and i find it immensely sad that he got so very little in return. So far, at least.

    @Flo: better late than never, welcome back:) After i watched the teaser for “Help Me”, i am convinced that everything you said is right. We’re in for an emotional rollercoaster that will make my poor heart jump out of my chest…

    However, i also think that you are right on the helping issue. I don’t think that any of the team members have the power and impact on him, to actually help him when he is in such a vulnerable state of mind. I am convinced of it, he is on the edge, falling back into an ocean of misery, loneliness, pain, addiction and depression. I hope with all my heart that, before he hits the bottom, Wilson or/and Cuddy will finally reach out and ease his fall. Another person that can help is Dr. Nolan, and i am very proud of House for asking for his help instead of drinking his sorrow away. But Wilson’s and Cuddy’s powers are sort of magical, and i hope they’ll be there, because he deserves it so…

    I know this is not “Cinderella”, but i hope, i do hope that his fall won’t be complete. Not all can be good – out of all the things he wants and needs (Wilson’s devoted friendship, Cuddy’s love, easy management of pain, power to resist the addiction), he can’t have all. But in my opinion, he can’t have none, either! Something’s gotta give, please, give him something, he deserves it SO!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    PS: in what complete opposition this season’s monastic House is with the season 2 House, who numbed his pain over losing Stacy in the arms of prostitutes… How mature and noble and healthy of him, accepting his love for Cuddy together with the impossibility to have her, and dealing with this tormenting combination without the help of drugs, booze (up to last week) or meaningless sex…

  • maineac

    Havent read all the comments but just wanted to say the only point I disagree with in your review is that House had “fun” on the evenings out iwth the team. HL is careful not to crack even a hint of a smile during all those scenes, even the karaoke one, and makes it clear, to me at least, that he is making an effort and while the socializing isn’t awful, it is not something he’s actually enjoying. A very careful performance on Hugh Laurie’s part, and an important distinction.

  • bakerstreet blues

    Barbara, you made an excellent point in the fact that Cuddy wants to be friends and that House cannot go “Backwards”. This is a lesson I truly wish that House and Cuddy would have remembered. Cuddy tells Wilson that exact same thing in Out of the Chute after breaking House’s heart. Cuddy should have realized that at any time during Moving On when she kept hounding House to talk to her. He did NOT want to be her “friend” in the Choice and that will never change….oddly enough it never did. This is a lesson I learned back in high school. Time moves forward, not backward. I completely saw how this relationship was going to erupt during this episode, it never crossed my mind that these two complex characters could possibly make it. I also knew that it would completely destroy House and Cuddy would move on to screw up some new relationship, since according to her own admission…”she screwed up every relationship she ever had”. (Joy to the world). Too bad Wilson did not have the same conversation with Cuddy that he had with Cameron. I guess Wilson’s meddling or lack of it ended a little too soon. However he didn’t have much trouble taking sides when the train finally did wreck…oddly enough he came down on Cuddy’s side of the fence, which surprised me. I guess he thought “buying Cuddy’s loft to punish her for betraying House’s confidence during a vulnerable time” (like I don’t know, losing his mind) covered the whole breaking his heart by telling him she loved him just the way that he is (oh yea, let’s not forget…..”it’s YOUR choice if you want to go back on drugs”). Maybe Wilson should sign the deed of his Cuddy Loft over to House to make the whole thing even.