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TV Review: House, M.D. – “The Dig”

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When archeologists work on a dig, they carefully peel back layers of civilizations searching to understand what lay beneath. Along the way, they encounter clues, surprises and the occasional precious gem. House, M.D.’s 150th episode, appropriately called “The Dig” follows several parallel story lines. While the team tries to uncover the background of this week’s patient through his morbidly cluttered home, House (Hugh Laurie in a great peformance) tries to uncover the “why” behind 13’s (Olivia Wilde) six months in prison after pleading down to “excessive prescribing.” And Foreman (Omar Epps) digs for the secret of Taub’s (Peter Jacobson) new lover, who turns out to be none other than…Rachel Taub (Jennifer Crystal Foley).Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde

The patient’s wife, it turns out has a genetic disorder, which caused multiple miscarriages. The emotional impact of the miscarriages led to sobsessive hoarding, and the hoarding exposed both her and her husband to an illness. Martha Masters’ (Amber Tamblyn) zeal in treating the couple’s home as an archeological dig where they can piece together the story that’s not being told leads her to the crucial puzzle piece.

Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde in House MD The Dig

But the real excavation work is done by House trying to ascertain why 13 has been incarcerated for six months—and what had she been doing in the six months previous to her imprisonment? Greeting her as she is released from prison a year after she disappears from Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (in last season’s finale) with a martini (complete with olive), House persuades her to help him beat a rival in a spud gun tournament. Their journey to the tournament provides a great backdrop for House to figure out 13’s big secret. It’s a puzzle “too good” to share with anyone, including his team.

But along the way, House also reveals parts of himself that he’s been trying hard to push away since the breakup with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) in “Bombshells.” There is no doubt that House is still hurting pretty badly, but this week, the over-the-top antics of the past couple episodes are gone.

House is clearly trying to get on with his life in a less self-destructive way, but its equally clear that his grief isn’t far beneath the surface. His emotions almost get the better of him each of the three times Cuddy comes up in conversation, whether it’s the acknowledgment of their breakup, the wistful recognition that it would have been their first anniversary, or in the very painful emotional slap down of 13 telling House that “it’s no wonder that Cuddy dumped” him.  His efforts to deflect, when he tries at all, are ineffective.

Over the course of the episode, 13 lets slip that she has a sibling—a brother also with Huntington’s Chorea. Dying, his muscles and even his sanity fading, his last request was for 13 to euthanize him. This is the final clue House needs to put the puzzle together.

She fears now, that with no one left, she will die a slow and painful death, with no one to do for her what she has done for her brother. She has no one to ask, no one she can ask to risk what she has risked—to lose months of her life and her medical license. Her act had been one of ultimate sibling love: selfless and compassionate.

But solving the puzzle of 13’s disappearance doesn’t make him happy. There are no smug grins; no self-satisfied “I was right.” Instead, House is simply stunned silent. He doesn’t know how to respond, what to do—what to say. Although 13 reads his stunned silence as lack of caring, and the inability to make any sort of human connection, I think it just doesn’t know what to say or how to make this sort of grief better. He is without resources and in an emotionally-devastating situation.

But in the end, House does react, and in a way that as much stuns 13 as it doubtless will have shocked many viewers. In a simple act of selfless friendship, House essentially returns 13’s life to her after a year in hell. First of course, he offers her a job—even before her medical license is reinstated—and to pull a few strings to expedite things with the medical board. It can be read as not so much a nice thing as it is rational (and perhaps even self-serving). House believes 13 adds something to his team of diagnosticians, and it’s logical to have her back at the white board.

But then House incredibly offers to euthanize her when the time comes—to do for her what she has done for her brother. Now that House has worn himself out with hookers and monster trucks, leaps from balcony railings and two self-pitying weeks of dissipation, is he internalizing the lessons of the breakup?

There’s no practical aspect to the proposition. It’s a simple, straightforward (and very Housian) promise. “I’ll kill you.” It is an amazing moment for the characters and for the series, made even more spectacular for the beautiful and understated acting of both Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde.

There is nothing in it for House. It’s a pure act whose only possible intention would be to comfort a scared young woman and ease her pain. It’s lonely where she stands, and with House’s promise, she is a little less alone. Wow!

The two characters seem to understand each other in a way others cannot. House has always had a protective streak for 13 since early in season four. He sees 13 as a tough-as-nails, hard living woman. But House sees beyond her guards. He pushes her and prods her, but has also protected her from the worst in herself. In her he sees a bit of himself. And whatever he does with his own life, he never wishes his misery on anyone else.

I believe 13 has always seen herself reflected in House, and it scares her in a way. I also think that she has always hoped in her own way that he would find some sort of peace, because in so doing it would give her some hope. Like House, she has always poked and prodded, often at the risk of ticking him off. Unlike others on his team, 13 has no real fear of House; she’s also not romantically interested in him. But I’ve always felt that she “gets” him in a way that neither Wilson nor Cuddy can. I’ll never forget that final scene in “You Don’t Want to Know” when she suggests to him the reason he is always seeking answers is that “when you run out of answers, you run out of hope.” It’s an astute observation, but one she might as easily ascribe to herself.

Random observations:

The rivalry between House and his spud-gun rival Harold Lamb is a cyberpunk cowboy’s delight! Spud gun is a sport for physics geeks who like the great outdoors, I think. I loved House’s hopelessly lame spud gun complete with barbeque lighter. I also loved that 13 really seems to get into the spirit of the tournament until House ruins it by guessing her secret. She is quite the geekette. Let’s hear it for the geekettes of the world! The Sergio Leone vibe between Harold Lamb and House is a perfect homage. Loved it.

Masters has such a crush on Chase. Who else loved that House calls her “Harriet the Spy?”

I thought the patient story was probably the strongest of the entire season—best since “Help Me,” last year’s finale. I love that it was fundamentally a love story about a woman devastated by her loss and terrified to share it with the one person who would share her pain. She was so afraid to lose the person she loved that she nearly destroyed him and herself in the process. There are echoes here of House’s own fears of abandonment and what it’s done to him. He pushes away those who love him and who sympathize with him rather than risk rejection.

I may have more to say later in the week either here or on my personal blog (depending on the heat of the flames). So stay tuned.

New episode airs Monday night, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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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.
  • Dmckoy

    I’ll be the first to say it, I liked this ep! Barbara thx for the getting the review up so quickly. I will read it in it’s entirety tomorrow, but just had to say I appreciated this ep. I’ll have more comments soon…

  • Celia

    An enjoyable episode, although I had already solved the ‘mystery’ and guessed the euthanasia theme.

    Only HL can make “I’ll kill you” sound like the biggest Valentine.

    Lucas must have been a lousy PI back in S5 when House had him dig up personal info on the Team. 13’s unknown brother was a bit Deus ex machina, no ?

  • Jacksam4eva

    I have minor complains like the fact thta I can’t believe House would actually have missed Thirteen had a brother (it’s just something he would know) but the rest of the ep was great. I don’t think the end (House offering to “kill” her) was that surprising though, that’s just House’s version of “doing the right thing”.

    However, it actually was one of the best eps I’ve seen in a long time, but maybe that’s because I really missed 13. House is still terrific and DS is still making great storylines, no matter what everyone seems to think. I’ve been sick of the haters lately. I love this show and I love this season. I loved the Huddy break up more that their actual relationship even though I do consider myself being a Huddy. This is great. And I can’t wait for next episode.

  • dvbfan

    I really loved this episode . It is one of the best episodes I have seen during this season . It has everything, drama ,tragedy , comedy ,everything .
    Personally, I did not surprised of what House said at the end of the episode . This is House we know and House who always do the right thing for people needed help but not for himself .
    Finally , Hugh Laurie once again shows how great actor he is with his amazing talent in acting .

  • Eloise

    Fantastic episode, really wonderful acting from both of them, made me cry as you really feel House’s pain and as you said Barbara he is just so raw. I am so fed up with people doing down my fav show I hope but doubt this stops some of it.

  • http://gagascorner.blogspot.com Jessica aka JLCH

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between House and Thirteen last night.

    I was actually CHEERING when he pointed that spud gun at Harold! Then they broke to commercial and you just KNEW what he was going to do!!!

    I thought it hilarious when he was trying to convince Harold that Thirteen was a Russian physicist, then she fires the gun, shatters a windshield and falls on her ass!

    House was incredibly subdued, sans Vicodin, and full of emotion, expressed in only the way House can express it…silently. When he mentioned Cuddy…oh you could FEEL how much he misses her and how much he desperately loves her without him saying it. The tears that welled up in his eyes when Thirteen, with her back turned to him, told him what she had done, was so beautifully done. It was such a gutwrenching scene when she turned to him, expecting his usual snarkiness only to find silence. When she told him “now I know why Cuddy broke up with you” I nearly cried when he turned and walked away.

    Nobody understands House because there are so many layers to him, he runs so deep. Given the walls he’s put up around himself for so many years, it isn’t surprising that it’s so hard for others to understand him when he’s actually trying. I do feel like he’s come to a realization and wants to do better. He wants to dig himself out of he hole he got himself into and this was evident last night. House’s “Dig” wasn’t just about Thirteen, it was about himself too.

    I have hope for House, I really do. TPTB need to give House a real chance to find himself and find some happiness. Last night was a nice beginning. Underneath it all he is fragile and breakable but he wants to both give and receive love too, he just doesn’t know how. I want this to be a beginning for him to get his life together. I would like to see him be able to finally open up to Cuddy, who has known him longer than anyone else, in a way he’s never been able to before.

    Hugh and Olivia shined. Hugh’s performance last night was brilliant, nobody else pulls it off like he does.

  • Janice

    Powerful, moving episode. Loved it. Wonderful review, as always, making me think about the episode in ways I hadn’t thought of, yet!

  • Committed

    Thank you this review and the many others that preceeded it Barbara. I think I finally get the “tragic” nature of House’s relationships but it took this episode to really figure it out.

    House loves best from a comfortable distance and he always has. Cuddy’s grandfathers book, the desk for her office – moving and loving, a statement, but distant. Same for this. He can’t comfort 13 at the moment she is in need but he finds another, maybe more important way to show her he cares . In a way there was nothing surprising at all about this episode. It was a return to and confirmation that House, despite all he has been through, has not changed the way he can show love. Safe but at a distance. Beautiful yet tragic.

    I still hold out hope that someone in his world will see that, accept it and be able to love him all the more for it.

  • Jackie

    Great review as always. “The Dig” was an excellent episode. I had read that there would be three words towards the end of the episode that would be said, but given the dialogue earlier in the episode, I thought House would have said, “I’ll be there.” The utterance of “I’ll kill you,” was exactly what 13 was hoping for. House’s expression when he said that and when 13 responds that she will be at PPTH on Monday, was so reminiscent of his expression in the photo that Emma took in “Fetal Position” (season 3) – where Cameron, Chase and Foreman look at the photo and Cameron said, “It looks as if he’s caring,” just prior to House snatching it away from her.

    House as beautifully acted by Hugh Laurie will always care, but his emotions and feelings are so well hid that a dig for his inner thoughts has been taking place for well into seven seasons and we’re not home yet. I don’t know that we ever will be. It’s been an interesting journey along the way though, and will be until those final series credits roll.

    Wishing you and yours a Happy Passover.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    Committed 8

    “House loves best from a comfortable distance…”

    What a terrific way to put it! I loved this episode and HL and OW performances were spectacular!

  • RedTulip_Ana

    Dear Barbara, you were right! A fantastic episode! Which big fan of House would not like the episode of last night? I just read your review, is simply perfect!

    I want to do my own thoughts about this episode:

    – First, I would like to justify all those who refused to watch this episode. Frankly, those who refused to watch it because the absence of Wilson and Cuddy, I do not think they were angry about these important absences (Wilson and Cuddy were not in all the episodes and nothing has happened before), nor I think they don´t like 13 (Why did they hate 13? Not sense)…I just think that after the bomb of Bombshells, and the last two episodes, these fans had lost faith in HouseMD. But now, I believe, they will come back. “Pain happens when you care”.

    – Well, about me, really, I loved yesterday’s episode. I am a big fan of House. I have watched and rewatched all the episodes…until Bombshells. The only episodes that I have not been able to review were the latest three. But today, finally, I have to say I’ve seen The Dig for three times already. This is great in my life. I’ve been crying for a month and a half, thinking that House had become a sad thing in my life. Today I have regained my faith.

    – About the absence of Cuddy in yesterday’s episode. Who says that Cuddy did not appear in The Dig? C’mon people! Cuddy was yesterday at the best place a character can take in this show. Cuddy was present throughout the episode. She was in the mind and heart of House. Is not that a privileged place?

    – The POTW and the whole development of the episode were witty and very interesting: secrets about secrets, secrets to hide. Everything was perfectly paired. Great, great … What more I can say? … Secrets based on fear of losing the person you love the most. Wow, Barbara, I agree with you completely, comparisons with House and his fears of losing him loved woman and being abandoned.

    – About 13 and his secret. I can´t really say I’m surprised about this story. Already, in advance, I figured that would be due to something. But I always thought that her victim would be the girl she met when he started the experimental therapy. Totally unaware that she had a brother.

    – About House. I will highlight only a moment. When 13 tells House: “No wonder Cuddy broke up with you”…Ooh, this was a tremendously painful moment but led to a tremendously emotional moment. This moment brought back to me memories of two episodes: “Joy” (Why do you have the need to negate everything?) And “Help me” (What do you have in your life, House? You’re alone!). Remember those moments? Remember the first reaction of House at those times? He had the same reaction yesterday: House froze, not knowing what to do or to say. But, as in these two episodes, that moment brought the best of the whole episode! In “Joy”: House kissed Cuddy. In “Help me”: House convinced Hannah to cut his leg. And in “The Dig”: House said 13 “I´ll kill you. Please, Who can say that House is a jerk who has no humanity?

    – The episode in general: Simply brilliant! I think that now, House begins his most important journey … As you said, “Boy loves girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl … boy struggles to bring back the girl.”

  • spoilerchicka

    Barbara, very good review and so darn speedy too! Kudos on both counts. I agree with you abt the friendship btwn House and 13 and their needs for Hope. I can hope these two continue to help push, pull, prod each other into living their lives as fully as possible. Perhaps 13 will help House to better articulate his feelings. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t House’s inability to express himself fully that’s truly behind his mantra “its not what you say, it’s what you do.” House is truly an actions, not words, kinda guy. Unfortunately, words matter especially in relationships and he has to work at it…unless they find out he’s somehow saddled with an inability either through Aspergers or Autism or who knows what.

    I do want to ask you to think this question over and let us all know your thoughts based on your take of House’s history and the 150 episodes so far: Do you think House’s fear of abandonment and inability to risk being hurt emotionally (Cuddy/Love) stems from his childhood abuse as a sort of Post Traumatic Stress disorder OR from something completely different?

    For some reason I presume David Shore will explore the child abuse and its long lasting effects on this misanthropic character as the core problem. Of course, I could be completely wrong. Just some thoughts. Please let us know your thoughts as you are our go-to-person for all things Housian!

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

    Mornin’ everyone. Thanks for your lovely and thoughtfull comments. Spoilerchicka: I think the psychologist I intereviewed for Chasing Zebras really summed it up best when he said he believed House has an “attachment disorder” (among his other emotional problems). This is something that stems from infancy as I recall, when a parent fails in making incredibly important eye contact and bond between parent-child. He explained (again as I’m recalling) that people with an attachment disorder learn not to trust at a very young age: the world for them is a series of traps.

    I don’t know if the creators of the series had this in mind at any point in writing House (I would sort of doubt it), but it’s clear House doesn’t trust and that has led to his terrible inability to form attachements/to risk attachments.

    I’m not a psychologist, so if he’s right, then, yes, House’s problems go back to his childhood. There is no doubt that House’s pysche is fragile (not that he’s fragile flower), and that comes out in a whole lot of ways.

    I’m not sure they will explore the abuse issue; it would certainly be interesting, but I’m not sure they’ll go there. On the other hand, they’ve so beautifully explored so many psychological issues to give them awareness…it’s possible of course.

  • Sneaky Microbe

    Barbara, I’ve come to realize that I now look forward to your reviews (and discussion) more than the actual episodes. While I didn’t love this episode, it was a significant improvement over the last couple in many ways. 13 has always been a boring character to me, but now I see her differently. And I have more respect for OW’s acting abilities. It helps to see how much House is hurting over the loss of Cuddy.

    Two things:
    I was disappointed that we never got to see the actual spud gun competition. Silly, perhaps, but I keep wanting House to succeed at something.

    I fear the season finale. It’s going to make or break this series for me. (NOT a spoiler, just speculation) I fear the loss of Wilson and the potential loss of Cuddy more than anything. Without their support of House, the show will be severely weakened.

  • josie

    I was curious in the scene where 13 says to House, “No matter Cuddy dumped you,” what did she say to House before that?

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

    Sneaky: He didn’t compete all the way through. He was dealing with 13. He never finished it (in my opinion). He was pulled into 13’s problem and as much as the competition meant to him, he chose to follow her.

    josie-she essentially reminds him what an emotionless bastard he is by having no reaction at all to what she told him.

  • josie

    Barbara, did 13 see the tears in his eyes or was her back turned to him during the entire scene?

  • ruthinor

    I enjoyed this episode, especially the interactions between House and 13. House has always liked 13, from the very beginning. He likes her “spunk” and the fact that she will be snarky with him, as opposed to the others on the team who are more afraid of him (except for M3). I suppose when you know you have an awful disease that will lead to an early death, why be afraid of House?

    I think it was interesting that the POW (the wife) had a problem similar to that of House. Both screwed up their relationships because they were afraid of losing the person they loved.

    A couple of things did not ring true to me. House has investigated the lives of his team to the nth degree, with the help of Lucas. How could he not know that 13 had a brother? And for his disease to be so advanced, wouldn’t he have to be quite a lot older than her? It’s like House not knowing about Cuddy’s early marriage. Just not consistent with his character as written through the years.

    Always enjoy your reviews, Barbara!

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    RedTulip_Ana 11

    I love the examples you sight that when House is faced with overwhelming emotions, it paralyzes him. I so hope the writers pursue this. It would be wonderful if in the end his best friends came to understand this and better appreciated the friend they have always had in House. Yes, he can be a full time job – but in the end, he’s worth it!

    So, in this episode House is wearing his watch again. What connection am I missing?

  • http://twitter.com/housiandaze HousianDaze (Jo)

    I love that House is so screwed up that he can’t put his arm around 13 or find words to comfort her but he can offer to kill her and she knows that the promise is air tight. Although it wasn’t a surprise to me that he offered, I found that final scene one of the best [H]ouse moments ever.

    I’ve really missed 13 this season and I was so happy that she solved the case.

    Just like a POTW, I often think that [H]ouse is nearing the end of it’s natural life, when suddenly a fresh diagnosis is made and all we need do is take some nabasynth, get regular check ups and we’ll be fine for a good while longer.

    One final word on Olivia Wilde’s performance: WOW.

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

    I really liked the episode!! It was one of the best if not the best of the season so far IMO.

    Barbara, I find myself at a loss of what to add to your wonderful review. You perfectly summarized what I think of the episode.

    Thirteen and House always had a special connection indeed and I feel that tonight they deepened their bond in a very fascinating manner. It will be interesting to see how they will interract from now on and how this bond will (assuming it will) play out in the future.

    It was also interesting to see how House didn’t take any Vicodin in this episode. He also seemed to limp less. After spending the two last episodes reminding everyone that his leg hurt more I think it was interestingly weird. Is this the sign that he starts to get better? We’ll see next week I guess.

    I also liked the patient and his obvious connection to House.

    My only complain is that as much as I was surprised to see Taub reuniting with his wife I don’t think it fitted well into the episode. (Also, wasn’t Rachel supposed to be in a relationship with the guy she “met” online?).

    For the people who find it weird that House didn’t know about Thirteen’s brother, remember that Thirteen always been the most mysterious of the candidates back in season 4. House always had a lot of trouble to figure her out. He didn’t know why she was interested in his”recruitment experiment” while she said she didn’t want to get invested in the whole thing. He also didn’t know about the Huntington’s until she told him even if he suspected a disease.
    Yes House investigated his team’s personal life but I don’t remember him ever discovering something important about her. Apparently she always managed to remain the mysterious girl we met in season 4. In last night episode House was surprised to discover she had a brother but I think his surprise came from the fact that he missed that. I also think that this is part of why he likes Thirteen so much. I think he is impressed that she can still hide such important stuff from him like that.

    @Ana (#11) I like the reference to past episodes you made. Nice catch!

  • Jill

    Thank you Barbara for your great review. FIrst off my moan!! I really do feel that they are going all out to cater to the 18-40 male demo these past episodes. Monster Trucks, Hookers, spud gun contests. We all know that House loves his monster trucks, but being in a spud gun contest the last four years???
    However that said, I loved this episode, for mostly one reason. That being the depth of Hugh Lauries performance, its him and him alone that keeps bringing me back every week. He could stand there and read a phone book and I will be in awe! I never thought I would say it, but I also loved the depth of Oliva Wlides performance. Doing movies has really devolped her, she was great in all her scenes with Hugh. House really does have heart and soul, he really does care about Remmy (time I think to move away from the 13 name) he cares enougth to help her when things will get very bad for her. That is not being a jerk or an ass! that is human. He really does deserve better out of life. I really did not miss Cuddy or even Wilson last night. I do like the way that Foreman and Taub have almost become the new House Wilson bromance. Although Foreman should fumigate his apartment now! LOL Even TPOTW touched me, I had watched a show regarding horders last weekend, its so sad to see how these pople are, and how much help they need. I am back to looking forward to where they are taking us with the remaining few episodes this season.

  • Michele1L

    Really nice episode. I have always loved House’s relationship with 13 and am so glad she’s back. I really missed her. HL’s performance was masterful. He is one of the best actors at communicating so much without uttering a single word. I love the subtlety of his acting — and it’s a relief ater all of the overwrought behavior of the last few espisodes. It was clear House felt for 13, both when she told him about her euthanizing her brother, as well as when she was crying in their motel room. He just can’t bring himself to translate his feelings into the physical — a touch on the shoulder, an embrace. He’s too afraid of it. Can’t wait ’til next week.

  • Heather

    ‘But now, I believe, they will come back. “Pain happens when you care”.’

    It’s entirely true that pain happens when you care. However, I think it’s fatuous to believe that people aren’t watching merely because they were upset with Bombshells. I believe Bombshells was more of a straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back as opposed to an isolated incident that folks reacted to.

    It seems unlikely to me, anyway, that people got so enraged about one ep entirely due to its own (de)merits that they staged a boycott! I find it equally unlikely that all these folks are going to tune in again after one good episode with good acting.

    Just my $.02.

  • housemaniac

    Great review, Barbara.
    But I’m going to be a bit of a spoiler here (not that kind of spoiler!). I liked this episode more than many others this season, but, truth be told, I didn’t love it. I have to agree with some of the comments on the rant thread that the ep was kind of boring. The interesting question is: why?

    I actually thought — with the exception of House trying to figure out why 13 had been in prison — that the episode lacked drama. The patient(s) did not almost die; nobody got in trouble at the hospital, no relationship was about to implode, and House was simply subdued, and in a not-very-interesting way. In addition, many people had guessed the euthanasia angle that I found even that anti-climactic when we finally did learn the truth. (I’m curious for those of you who did guess it why you were so certain of this– it never crossed my mind.)

    I would imagine that those people who don’t read the blogs as obsessively as I do might have enjoyed the episode more. I have to admit that it has made me rethink how much I want to keep up this obsession. Maybe when someone is going to offer a prediction, it too should be labeled “spoiler”, especially if the predictors continue to be so good at it! :)

    But the biggest reason why the episoide lacked drama for me –and I wonder if anyone else felt this way — is because I thought the euthanasia story was a set up. As soon as 13 complained that she would have no one to do for her what she had done for her brother I *expected* House to volunteer immediately. That is quintessentially House’s character, as I understand it, and I was surprised when he didn’t say anything. So when he finally volunteered to “kill” 13 at the end of the show, I was more relieved than surprised. (I was relieved that House was still reocgnizable to me as a character.) At the same time as I was relieved, however, I was also a little bored. I thought there were a lot of set ups in this episode that made it unsurprising and undramatic, and even a bit predictable. Besides the there-is-nobody-to-help-me set up, I thought 13’s line to House to the effect of “You always get what you want” was an obvious set up for his “not always” and then a sad face and a reminder of the lost Cuddy relationship. Anyway, I need to read more of everyone’s comments and think about it some more to figure out why I found the ep less-than-dramatic, but I will end by saying I certainly preferred this to monster trucks, a green-card wife, and a hasty break up of a fascinating relationship. Next week looks like there could be some real tension in the ep (with Masters), so I’ll cautiously look forward to that.

  • Koji Attwood

    Terrific review! Hopefully this episode will somewhat quell the hyper-critical House peanut gallery doomsayers for at least a week or so.

  • He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best

    Ratings for HOUSE 04/11/2011.

    If the Hookers, Monster Trucks, Balcony Rail Jumping, Remote Control Helicopter, and Potato Gun stunts were supposed to draw in the 18 to 49 year old viewers…… HELLO, it isn’t working.

    House slid, down 6% to a series low of 3.2 million adults in the 18-49 rating. The total viewers were 8.504 million.

  • Katherine

    @ Eloise #5-

    I understand what you mean about haters. I love the show too and very much want it to do well. But this shouldn’t be simplistically blamed on “haters.”

    I’ve been reading around and I want to say that I firmly believe “Dancing with the Stars” and the hiatus effected the numbers. This isn’t about haters. Most fans (haters or not) online still watched they just weren’t that excited about it. They pimped out this episode with *tons* of promotion and still they got a 3.1/3.4, averaging into a 3.2. The few people who are blaming haters should see that TPTB are banging their head against a brick wall with 13. There weren’t a lot of comments from anyone on Twitter last night. The ones Solether did get (I counted around 14-15 people) were a couple of Hugh fans and a very small smattering of Huddies. If anyone else had loved it, say the Hilsons or the Jesse fans, or just general “House” fans, they could’ve easily tweeted, but they didn’t. 13’s okay but most people who are “House” fans aren’t as drawn to her as they are to Hugh, Lisa or Robert’s characters-at least online. That’s just a simple truth. And that is reflected clearly in the ratings last night. Hiatus or not, DWTS or not, the numbers still weren’t great and that’s because the people at home didn’t watch (not because of fans online), even with all the *heavy* 13 coming back promotion. You can’t force people to be interested in a character they aren’t interested in. 13 is just another member of the team, no better and no worse.

  • READ

    5 REASONS ITS TIME TO PULL THE PLUG ON HOUSE, BY A NY MAG WRITER ( A TRUE CRITIC)

    READ

  • Eileen

    26 – Koji Attwood – You said, “Hopefully this episode will somewhat quell the hyper-critical House peanut gallery doomsayers for at least a week or so.”

    I guess that I’m one of the ones in your so-called “peanut gallery” as I have been vocal about my frustration about this show this season.

    Don’t worry…I’ve been quelled. I hope this makes you happy.

  • Eileen

    And it’s not because I liked last night’s episode, it’s because I’m done.

  • housemaniac

    READ #29
    Thanks so much for this link! It’s an illuminating piece that helps me understand my own lukewarm reaction to the show of late, even last night’s supposedly resurgent episode. I SO want to like, no, love this show. I have in the past, and I have tremendous respect for several of the actors, especially HL and RSL. But… I’m afraid the article is right, on two points in particular: “The show has is out of juice” and “There’s no show without Wilson.” On the first, somehow, I keep hoping for a new infusion. But I’m beginning to wonder whether that is possible. I hate to say it, but even HL seemed a bit unspired in The Dig. Or maybe it was just the writing…. On the second, I do expect RSL to come back. If not, I don’t know how they can do this show. He is Watson to House’s Holmes!

    One last thing: I guess I’m a wimp as I still don’t want the show to be canceled. I’m not yet with Eileen, although I completely understand her perspective and those who share it. I think I’m probably in denial!

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

    Read the article, and that’s. It’s no more or less valid than mine. Or anyone else’s. “True critic?” What is that supposed to mean? To be a critic you need to criticize? That’s not necessarily what a critic does. Criticism is commentary and understanding the story’s (and creators’) motives. There are lots of different sorts of critics. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I’m no less a pro than she is.

  • housemaniac

    Barbara,
    I just want to say I agree with you about the ridiculousness of the phrase “true critic.” I didn’t notice that snarky part of the post. Perhaps READ meant that the piece was more criical than yours? Here’s hoping…

  • Drew

    While last night’s episode wasn’t necessarily one of the season’s best, it was solidly written and highly enjoyable, especially those brief moments where House (just) barely contained his angst whenever Cuddy was mentioned and the final scene where he promised to “kill” Thirteen when the time came.

    Here are a few things that I noticed throughout “The Dig” :

    (1) After 4 years of competing and never winning the coveted title of “Spud Gun Champion of Greater Schenectady,” one would think that House had the time, resources, intelligence, and ego-maniacal obsessiveness (“This is serious?” / “Second!”) to construct his own mini-howitzer. However, I honestly believe that he purposely “wimpified” his original spud gun to pique the interest of Thirteen’s inner geekette and get her involved in the tournament as a partial pretense to continue interrogating her. Otherwise, there would’ve been nothing to stop her from ripping off his wallet and calling a taxi company to pick her up or just simply stealing his car.

    (2) IMHO, the final conversation between Taub and his ex-wife(?) gave me a strange sense of deja-vu. Don’t get me wrong, it’s endearing that they seemed to have rekindled their romance in a dysfunctional yet oddly supportive manner that’s a better fit for them than their previously conventional relationship. It’s just that the whole thing felt as if the writers simply changed the names and lifted the dialogue from a scene that could’ve occurred between House and Cuddy if these two had reconciled post-“Bombshells”

    (3) I know that it has already been mentioned, but I still find it unusual that House was never aware that Thirteen had a sibling. Back at the beginning of Season 5, he had Lucas investigate the personal and private histories of his then-team, but the only thing of interest that the PI managed to dig up about Thirteen at the time was that she possessed lousy money handling skills. Unless she kept him at a reclusive care facility well outside Princeton-Plainsboro, having a sick older brother in the advanced stages of Huntington’s Chorea would leave enough of a (medical) paper trail to consume a small rainforest.

    (4) I’ve read some posts elsewhere that found it weird that the POTW didn’t have any gas or power at his place even though he’s a high school science teacher with a salary decent enough to pay the bills. Given the immense amount of potentially flammable and/or toxic materials that his wife had collected over the years, he may have been trying to prevent his house from going up in flames like a Roman candle on the Fourth of July. Love may leave you blind, but it doesn’t necessarily rob you of all common sense, at least not all the time.

    (5) I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but Damon Lindelof, the co-creator and executive producer of Lost, played the guy Thirteen kneed in the groin in retaliation for cheating on her cellmate. I wouldn’t have even known to watch and look for him if not for his tweets.

  • ruthinor

    Although I liked last night’s episode, I agree with much of the article in NY Magazine, particularly the way story lines are dropped w/o much thought.

    My interpretation of what READ said is that a “blogger” is not a “true critic” while a “magazine writer” is such a creature. Kind of silly. A writer is a writer and is free to praise or criticize as is their wont. And as a reader, I’m also free to disagree with the writer, as I have been doing more of lately, Barbara. But I really thank you for providing the space to do so!

  • Only_Time

    I got up and saw the numbers today and was surprised and a little saddened.

    I agree about Thirteen not being a big draw. When Thirteen left at the beginning of the season the numbers stayed at the same average from last season. There was no drop. When she came back, even though heavily promoted, there was a drop. I think it’s pretty plain that people can take or leave Thirteen. I don’t think she hurts or helps the series. I’m not saying I wish she was gone, I don’t, I’m just saying I’m surprised TPTB really seem to think she’s a more important character than she is. Maybe they like Olivia so much they want her character to be as popular as their main three characters: House, Wilson and Cuddy. She is pretty and Olivia seems smart and nice on her Twitter. But on the show what matters is the character. She’s a so-so actress and her character is alright. And hanging around the HOUSE fandom you can see that she doesn’t have the loyal fans that H/C/W even Chase or Cameron (still after all this time) have.

    I wanted this episode to do well though, for Sara because she seems like a pretty great person and I really like her. For her, I’m sorry about the numbers. Also for the show because I do like it.

    Barbara, you seem like a very nice woman and I love your examinations of the series. Please ignore the haters.

  • Susan

    I didn’t care for this episode either, but maybe the low ratings are because the show was repeats for a few weeks. From comments on Facebook’s House website it seems the casual viewer has no idea when it’s on anymore. And after next week’s episode I believe there’s another rerun.

    MHM and Eileen – don’t let me be the last House/Cuddy fan(atic) on this blog!

  • Koji Attwood

    So what exactly does “done” entail, Eileen? Clearly you’re still watching despite your oft-stated frustration.

  • Only_Time

    Susan, I’m a Huddy fan and I’m not abandoning ship. The series has good and bad episodes but it’s STILL a good series. It’s rough sailing right now but I think, or I hope at least, that things will get better.

  • The Other Barnett

    Susan, thanks for the overview. I agree, House and 13 have always had an affinity toward each other no one else can have. While Cuddy, Wilson and Chase try to live in the light….13 is willing to at least roam more freely in the dark.

    A great episode, even if it was something of a departure from the House classics that focuses primarily on the POTD and the puzzle. The opportunity to see a healing House (maybe it just took someone who was new to what had taken place to help him gain perspective) was a good one and no one but 13 would work.

    I share some of the other’s sentiments though that the brother revelation does come out of nowhere. Whether through the PI or through his own employee file fumblings, House should have known. Once again this is an example of the writing team probably looking back (in the 13 folio) and seeing nothing that suggests that there was not a brother. The notion of her euthanizing her brother…..a very logical and clear story to fit into this re-entry of 13 to the show. The question now is how much of a fight does House and Cuddy engage in to bring Remy back in the fold?

    May I suggest an episode that would totally work for the critics and the House followers? Call it “Two Rooms” and have it focus around House’s office and the adjoining team room. Cuddy is so mortified by 13’s actions with her brother, but cannot say no to House on this either – so she keep 13 only to the two rooms. So, 13, in theory will be able to spitball with the team on diagnostics and also serve as something of an assistant to House (grunt work that Cameron usually did when she was around). In this period of time, we see her interact with Taub (“I thought we were friends, why did you not contact me?”, Foreman (“I miss you, more than professionally”), Chase (“So, you fancy a night cap later tonight?”), Masters (“So, I hear you are bisexual, what is that like?”), Wilson (“You need to be prepared for the Huntingtons when it does come on”)and Cuddy (“I don’t care what you think about how I may have hurt House.”). I just think that Olivia Wilde has not been given the chance since ‘Last Resort’ to really show what kind of dramatic acting she can do. Furthermore, it could always serve as something of an acting try-out for those in the cast whose contracts run out at the end of the season. Anyone have thoughts on that?

    _Only Time – I agree that 13 is not the same draw as the big three, but it makes sense tha, since her contract is not over after this year, maybe she should take on some more prominent role. she has not been given the chance to really show her acting chops much. I say give her a chance.

    I still see some kind of push by the producers to fix up House and 13…..

  • housemaniac

    Susaan:
    Like Only_Time, I’m still around too!

  • Lauren

    I think the drop in the ratings had more to do with the fact that “Dancing with the Stars” is now on…plus, its Passover, plus baseball has started. I think a drop at this time of year is actually pretty common.

    Furthermore, despite the heavy marketing, I know a lot of people who had not realized that 13 was coming back, nor had they realized that after 3 weeks of reruns, it was finally a new episode.

    I would be interested to see what the DVR ratings are. I think they will be quite decent.

    I for one, really enjoyed the episode, and am really happy to see 13 back. I also think that OW was fantastic last night.

    I haven’t been nearly as interested in this season–I’m not a big fan of ‘Huddy’, and I quickly realized that I had really been missing 13. That being said, I recognize that other fans appreciate other aspects of this show, that I am not necessarily invested in, and so I respect what has been done this season, and I have certainly still watched.

    Now that 13 is back, and after an episode as fantastic as last night’s, I am stoked about the rest of the season…and (hopefully) onwards! I also haven’t talked to anyone who was anything but happy about 13’s return–those people are family, colleagues, etc. who don’t ever post online (the people that tend not to be accounted for). I also know that a couple of them opted to watch something else, and will be watching ‘House’ on their DVR.

    I find it interesting that initial reviews of this episode were very positive, and then once the ratings came to light, some critics slightly changed their tones. A drop in ratings does not necessarily mean a drop in quality…it also doesn’t necessarily mean that people were boycotting the show. It just means that other stuff was on TV.

    I have always loved the dynamic between House and 13, and Barbara, I really agree with everything you have said in your review. The House/13 relationship has been my favourite thing about this show for a long time, and I have been waiting for a moment like the end of last night’s episode for a while.

    I can’t wait for more!

  • Linda

    To all of you hoping and still sticking to the show for it to get better, you still don’t get do you, a former fan quoted,
    “THE SHOW IS NOT A JOURNEY, IT’S A LIKE A DOG CHASING IT’S OWN TAIL”..Also from what the creator says he’s making it clear House is not going forward. If you are still interested in this. it’s sad. The show has fallen into a pit, after watching last night’s episode and reading the NY article, I’m breaking up with it. It’s going nowhere…also listen to spoilers, they’re going to explore the family of the stupid hooker House married…yet they couldn’t properly explore a relationship they built for 6 seasons (was never a fan of the relationship, but they could have explored it realistically). I am not interested in the foreign hooker who is evidently written to be likable, in fact she is pathetic. Things will not get better; it will get worst, the sooner you depart, the better. funny, they wrote last night episode thinking it would be so great to redeem the show, clearly not, not even close and I predict other episodes to come will also not.

    HOUSE MD HAS DUG IT’S OWN GRAVE AND EVEN THE GREATEST FINALE WILL NOT MAKE UP FOR IT.

  • The Other Barnett

    About the story written in NYpost
    Those who wish House to be at its Season 1 (or 2, 3, or 4) best wants to ignore that time changes. One can enjoy a fireworks display, but it eventually grows stale. The best bite in a well-made dish is always the first one. after that, you do not know what you have truly enjoyed until it is finished. House (and the people that orbit him) has changed, thus things get less intense in most cases.

    I agree the stories have been underwhelming this season…even to the point of making me angry (though the last three have been getting better – I liked last night’s episode alot). I think the writers are trying to write Emmy-award-winning stand-alone pieces without thinking about the viewers or the consistent storyline of the season or the series. Instead they are like a microwave dinner…possibly tasty, but mainly filling with little satisfaction. I could only hope this settling that has taken place is a buildup to a shock to the system – a murder of a main character, a firing, a hook-up for House with 13?

    I have to disagree with the Wilson lionization. Wilson is as much (if not moreso) a one-note character as House is accused of being. Wilson has a form of emotional OCD, expecting of others what his moral standard dictates. Maybe his departure would make the show seriously different and force the writers to step it up. Maybe even asking Lisa Edelstein to take a break like Wilde did would work, too.

    I’d also have to say to the author that the points she has used kind of interweave and fold over each other. The “hold on to a story” kind of meshes with “out of juice”, though I could understand if she did not want to attack fellow writers. ” The other three points kind of gets to the heart of what makes this show so long-standing and popular. House will never change, except when we see glimpses of change all last season and this season. Wilson is the heart, except when we have such great pieces as “Last Resort” , “Help Me” and the 2 hour “Broken” when Wilson is at best in for a minimal amount of time. And the notion that House will never meet his match…..so what! I am watching the new Superman movie to see how he wins, not how much he has to go through to win. House is Superman….he is supposed to be only vulnerable to the green kryptonite that is his inner-self.

    This piece had to be written, but why not write about how to re-energize the show?

  • The Other Barnett

    Linda, WoW! I need someone to review Glee to make my neighbor cry, would you mind throwing in your two cents?

  • The Other Barnett

    Barb, you are more a pro than th NY post chick….it read like someone who was wanting to go off on a rant on a phone call with a buddy while doing her nails….not real analysis.

  • Exfan

    44-
    I agree with you Linda. Like the article says, “nothing matters in this show”. If this great love, of 20 years, between house and cuddy was skimmed over so carelessly and vaguely, then, what is really going to matter? People come and go, they get replaced… There is nothing that we can invest in caring about that they don’t already have a plan to destroy! I do think that the only way to stay sane is by not watching anymore. The more we look the more disappointment it brings. Just feel badly for the actors and everything they’ve invested in this to have it come to this. I really loved this show.

  • Tess

    Best House I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you God, for Olivia Wilde! The relationship between her and House, as well as 13 being on the show, makes all the difference in the world. Please, please bring her back as a regular. Pay whatever you have to pay.

  • Exfan

    This is the worst that can happen!!
    ” a hook-up for House with 13?”

    I wouldn’t put it pass them. Totally flatline the show!!

  • Only_Time

    The Other Barnett-

    Let’s be real here, I don’t think after three seasons it’s merely about fans giving Thirteen a chance. I gave her a chance and she’s alright, but nothing to write home about. Basically, after all of these seasons it’s not about people giving her a chance or being unfair; it’s just that somehow, for some reason she hasn’t really caught on in a big way with the HOUSE fans. That’s just the way it is. I have nothing against Thirteen but if she were going to catch on, it would’ve happened already. The show is in its later years, it has an established fanbase that loves those three characters. They should work with them and use them to help the show. If they cut back on them then I think it will hurt them with the established fans of those characters. They should do what they want, though. If the people like it, they will come. I’m not trying to be mean about her or anything. Just being honest about what I see.

    If they did something like that with Thirteen and House I would stop watching. Not many things would make me leave the series, but that’s one of them.

  • rbrown205

    Although I agree to an extent that there is some truth in each of the reasons, I don’t think that they are reasons to end House.

    1 Hugh Laurie is still amazing, and I can still point to many moments, even in this last episode, that establish that fact.

    2 The characters are still uniquely complicated and very realistic.

    3 There is still a tremendous international following for this series (65+ countries), which are not accounted for in the national ratings.

    4 Even if last night’s episode had uncharacteristically low ratings, It might be noted that at least 8 million fans find it anyway, despite DWTS’ overbearing influence over that time slot. And then there is the recording audience.

    5 Although IMO it was a mistake to cut out both Wilson and Cuddy last night, (and I think that this was the first time that this double deletion has happened), the real mistake was to replace them with Hadley in this or any episode. Not criticizing the actress, the character is no Cuddy, and certainly no Wilson. As long as these three remain, House, Wilson, and Cuddy, and there’s a good chance that they will, the awesomeness will remain.

  • ruthinor

    The Other Barnett: It’s NOT the NY Post…It’s NY magazine. If you lived in NYC (I no longer do, but I grew up there) you’d realize that the two are vastly different and with different reputations. Second of all, I found the critic to be reasonable, not an over the top basher by any means. She just disagrees with you. So do I. I think her points were very accurate and in fact mirror the thoughts of many of the folks who generally post here.

    I’m still a fan of the House-Cuddy relationship, and I still watch the show. I think it’s still better than most of the other shows on non-cable TV. But I really regret the fact that the writers put H and C together and then tore them apart, in such a putrid way. It would have been better to keep them apart and still retain their previous relationship. They delved deeper into the Taubs than they ever did with H and C. Too bad.

    It’s also interesting to me that so many people excuse House’s behavior because of “child abuse”. I just never bought that theory. Chase’s father abandoned the family and left a young teenager to cope with an alcoholic mother. Now THAT’S child abuse. Chase hasn’t turned into a misanthrope.

  • ruthinor

    Sorry, just a couple of other thoughts. It was interesting that House and 13 shared a room, yet it never seemed at all sexual, at least to me. Also, the fact that 13 assumed that it was Cuddy who broke up the relationship with House, not the other way around. Do you think she came to that conclusion from House’s face when he first told her about the relationship?

  • Dmcky

    So, I still see we have very interesting and varying opinions about the current season of House..Like i said in the 1st comment, i liked this ep, but more then that i appreciated this ep! I didn’t care for the 2 that preceded this one, but im a die-hard and i keep coming back..

    i actually laughed out loud several times during this ep at the dialogue, and i havent done in quite some time with House..and finally we get to see House feeling the pain of losing Cuddy, like Barbara said, no antics, just feeling..there’s hope for you yet Gregory House..

    and most surprisingly to me, i enjoyed 13. dont get me wrong, i never had a problem with the character, in fact, i would say ive always been indifferent toward 13. this ep however made me care about her, probably for the 1st time in her history..and bigger then that, it made may care about her relationship with House..

    i wont go on for too long as u guys covered most of it, but kudos to the House team, once again u reminded me of why im a dedicated fan.. you cant keep a good show down!

  • Dmcky

    @ruthinor:

    Yes, love the completely non-sexual vibe i get from these 2..very pure, and dare i say it, father/daughter? i think 13 deduced that he was the ‘dumpee’ based on his face yes.. try and try as House does, he doesnt have the poker face he gave 13 credit for..

  • UrdyGurdy

    Barbara thank you for this blog and all your great reviews!

    I really really enjoyed this episode.

    House seems at his wits end emotionally since none of his recent antics have done anything to lesson his pain so what great timing to bring 13 back since they have always connected on an emotional level with being the two damaged characters that they are.

    I think this episode is also proof of how much House has grown emotionally (in the past year) since he did not deflect in telling or showing her his hurt even though she was either wary, trying to comfort him or just uncomfortable with almost everything he said on an emotional level because she is not used to him being honest and exposing himself to the extent he did.

    I really felt for him when she says “No wonder Cuddy left you” but she was in pain and venting her frustration and he was shocked at the declaration and emotionally powerless to give an opinion. One thing about pain that the show has always stayed true to, is that House cannot stand others -especially those within his circle- being in emotional pain. He lives with both physical and emotional pain day in, day out but he cannot stand to see others suffer.

    The ending was one of the most beautifully poignant moments i have ever seen on this show and i loved her shock at him revealing this completely selfless promise to her, we the audience have seen these moments on rare occasions (portrayed brilliantly through Hugh Laurie’s facial expressions) but there it is “in spoken words”, she should feel very very special for that personal reveal.

    Other bits:

    Really liked the parallels between each of the stories.

    Liked Master’s delving further than any of the others were prepared to go, even though it was 13 who got the correct diagnosis in the end, it was Master’s who bothered to delve. House needs to kick the team into shape a little more they are getting lazy.

    Enjoyed the patient’s of the week’s stories and the surprise it was the wife hoarding and who was really sick due to severe depression from several miscarriages

    My only qualm: What was the point of the Taub story? (i understand the parallel with the digging lol) but that character gets far too much episode minutes as it is and now they are backtracking again with his wife.

  • Byrdman

    I come from a little different perspective about last nights episode. I am a HD at risk person, so the 13 and House dynamic on this subject is of particular interest and personal nature to me.

    The first thing i have to say is the writing of the characters on this subject matter is way beyond good tv – it is a real mirror to the complexities of how people have to deal with such an overwhelmly difficult life coping disease.

    What i also find interesting is very few people see how brilliantly the writing staff have used such a difficult disease to show the complexities of the characters of House and 13 and the core of their humanity.

    Yes, House is always trying to solve the puzzles of disease and human condition of disease (although he professes not to believe in psychology as a science). Yet, on every occassion that 13’s exposure to HD intertwines with his mental puzzle solving, he immediately knows that this is not a medicial puzzle he can solve, it is a fundamentally cruel hereditary condition, that can only be “coped” with psychological outlook. He is fascinated with 13’s coping with this condition, as counterpoint to his own personal pain management coping, which actually can have a real resolution. This is brilliant interplay of human philosophy and very well written and acted. No other show has ever dwelved into the realities of the human condition utilizing the HD perspective as well. 13 has strength of character in face of medical devestation, that House admires and helps him see how to “cope” with his own demons.

    13 is not a medical puzzle to House, she is his counterpoint on how to cope with potentially unsolvable human conditions, similiar to House’s personal human coping struggles. He cannot solve her medical puzzle, he can only learn from her on how to cope. The only resolution he can provide for 13 is deep commitment, even if it means to provide the unthinkable step of ending life at the appropriate time.

    HD is not a subject i willinging subject myself to openly, because the “coping” is always a struggle. But the writers on this show have used that condition so brilliantly to open eyes on human interaction, i always praise how they utilize and portray the 13 and House dynamic to its full life drama.

  • Committed

    I have to disagree with folks that say the ratings are down due to DWTS or any other programming on at the same time and even those that would argue the the hiatus hurt the ratings. Bottom line – if a show grabs you, you will note that it is on and you will chose to watch it over all other shows. 8.5m viewers chose to watch House last night – down from 11m for Bombshells and 10m for the season average. In order to do right by this show, the question should ultimately be why aren’t more people watching House because they really want to?

    To those that feel the H/C storyline was not handled well, I have to agree. You get depth with House and 13 but not with Cuddy? House comes over drunk, professes his love in a backhanded manner and all Cuddy does is look off in the distance? The very next episode/scene, she is calling out for him when she wakes up, she seems to be missing him, they have a playful moment and they end up having a romantic scene but no discussion, nothing. Oh right, then at the end of that episode they break-up. But not to worry, 13 is back. Now is the time for depth and exploration. Really – because I would have liked to have seen that earlier if only in that one scene with Cuddy. Not asking for a miracle but I would have gladly traded the romance for a discussion of what he said, why he said it and what it meant to both of them. I might have understood the break-up better.

    If people weren’t too crazy about H/C they surely couldn’t save it by returning House to vicodin and hookers. It was a step back in time and far too repetitive a storyline for a show with this much talent and reputation for originality. It just seemed like the easy and familiar way to show us that he was in a ton of pain.

    Look, I’m one of the 8.5m that watched last night. I enjoyed the episode and even learned something about House. I love this show and that is why I comment on what I see as the pitfalls. Nothing is perfect, nor can it be expected to be perfect but everything can be improved upon – even House.

  • Lauren

    Re: what ‘Committed’ said—I agree that if a show “grabs you”, you watch it, but in a time of DVR, people don’t have to make decisions about which show ‘grabs’ them more. They can watch their shows whenever they like. DWTS and baseball games are going to get the most real-time viewers because they are live. This automatically makes “House” the DVR choice for a lot of people.

    This being said, I wholeheartedly agree that people like me (and I’m guessing yourself) would never choose to watch something other than House, and I am sure that there were some Huddy fans who opted not to watch at 8pm this week because of the subject matter…..but I don’t think that accounts for 3 million people. Then again, I really don’t know. I’m sure there were lots of things at play.

    All I know is that subjectively, as a fan of the 13/House dynamic (and I agree with other posters that their relationship should never become romantic), this episode was something that I had always been hoping for.

    Objectively (as much as possible), as a fan of the show, I think that this was one of the strongest episodes of the season. Hopefully ratings won’t over-shadow that fact.

  • Lauren

    Just to add….as much as I really do like the character of 13, I think that this unique relationship between them, and the struggles she experiences, are more of a plot device for the character of House. We have to get to know her, through his eyes, and a relationship has to develop between them, because that will make this potential endgame of him helping her die, all the more poignant.

    Also, Byrdman, I really appreciate the perspective you share. The use of HD as a way to explore the human condition is something that has fascinated me as well…however I had not been able to describe the link between 13’s only way of dealing with her illness to be ‘coping’, and House’s coping with his pain, as profoundly as you did. I agree that the writers seem to know exactly what they are doing with this story arc, and I hope that they continue to portray HD realistically, respectfully, and with the complexities that are inherent in real life.

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

    Again, thank you all for your thoughtful observations and insights. Byrdman–thank you for sharing your unique perspective.

    You know it’s interesting, I’ve talked to so many people who are really happy to see things sort of “back to basics.” I have several friends, none of whom were into House-Cuddy things. They felt House had strayed in exploring the relationship for so long. And are uniformly happy that things have sort of “rebooted” (again). Not saying I agree (I’ve like the relationship a lot, as you know), but I’m also all about the struggle.

  • http://www.nor.org bigHousefan

    The fact that House didn’t know that 13 had a brother didn’t surprise me at all. When House engaged Lucas to investigate the team he was looking for DIRT, not siblings. It could have been among the information gathered, but not something House would focus on at the time.

    After watching again, I really appreciated the way this episode showed us how much House is hurting from the loss of Cuddy and how it reinforced the idea that he must be willing to share another’s pain to fully love someone. It suggests to me that the writers might be laying the groundwork for House to learn to do so.

    I loved that House gave 13 no choice but to listen in on the DDX’s which ultimately gave her the satisfaction of solving the case and receive House’s praise!

  • Celia

    I’m putting the lower ratings (which bring [H]ouse is at SECOND for the evening) down to : Passover; Scientologists watching DWTS due to Kristi Alley and regular folk just watching DWTS to see if Kristi takes down her partner again. I mean…even Gregory House would watch that over Monster Trucks………

  • Jaim

    The episode was okay. It was an improvement over the last few episodes. I have always liked Thirteen but it just didn’t make sense that she had a sibling that she never mentioned. Various times she talked about her mother and father during the series, so why wouldn’t she have ever at least mentioned having a brother? It just seemed to me that the writers were hoping that the mysterious nature of Thirteen would lend credence to this storyline, but it just seemed kind of unbelievable to me. I also think that they chose this plot because they wanted fans who don’t like Thirteen, to finally sympathize with her and like her a bit more. It was an anti-climatic episode. I mean, what House promised her wasn’t that shocking, it’s something that I’ve come to expect from him. It would have been more shocking if he said he cared about her or he missed her. Some open emotional declaration from him usually is much more shocking but always interesting to see. I think that this episode was more solid than most of the previous ones of this season.

  • Tea

    I really enjoyed Monday’s episode, much to my own surprise/delight. The previous two left me feeling quite ambivalent, I’m glad we’re moving away from the, to me, painful extremes of those two episodes.

    Barbara, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your reviews these past few episodes. I wish I’d started much sooner, but not being a fan of reading reviews in general I’ve shied away even from yours. You’re objective, yet it’s easy to tell you enjoy the show. This is what really pulls me in. I really appreciate the opportunity to read something so eloquently written, fuelled by optimism rather than the opposite for a change.

    However, I wish the people who’ve decided to no longer watch the show would do just that. I respect the decision and understand where they’re coming from, but to be constantly beleaguered by complaints and what seems to a rally to get people to join their ranks is getting tiring and frustrating. Like Taub & Rachel’s relationship.

    The show has been a constant in my life for so long I can’t even imagine stopping now. So what, the past couple of episodes haven’t been all that (in my opinion), but to stop now, so close to the end? No matter what happens, I can’t picture myself leaving the fandom at this point.

    I’d like to say though, in regards to people who won’t watch just because Cuddy/Wilson aren’t present – I find myself strangely offended. It’s perfectly normal to have favourites, of course, but isn’t the show as a whole what we should be enjoying and looking forward to? Calling it a waste of time – those kinds of comment really leave a bad taste in my mouth. I relished in their absence on Monday, mainly because it means House got some time to reflect without Wilson’s badgering and Cuddy’s just being there. Don’t get me wrong, I love those two characters. But I find that focusing on different people every once in a while brings more to the table. And with Wilson possibly not being there for Season 8, well, I can’t help but think of it as an opportunity rather than a show killer.

    It seems I really needed to get that out of my system.
    Sorry for the rant 0_0

  • hazel eyes

    I enjoyed the episode more than I thought I would. I am not a 13 fan and this episode hasn’t changed that. I think though giving her a brother, from out of “thin air”, makes me feel insulted that the writers think that longterm fans wouldn’t remember earlier episodes where we were made to think 13 was an only child been brought up by her father who she wasn’t close enough to tell that she is bisexual,where the truth was that she had a brother so wasn’t on her own, going through her disease on her own, so begging the question why is she so cold towards people and making out that she is just like House, who truly is on his own in his pain.

  • Committed

    @Lauren –

    I see your point regarding the DVR thing but to some extent that is always happening. I just know that you also need to watch trends and use care when looking at them – it’s helpful now and then to look inward and not dismiss things too easily.

    Now I am off to work to watch my own numbers. Look forward to reading everyone’s posts at the end of the day.

    Have a great day all.

  • Sneaky Microbe

    Regarding the Taub/Rachel line: Many have observed that couples always break up on House. Now, suddenly we have a couple who thought they were meant to go separate ways but have found each other again. Is this foreshadowing? Yes, I like to get my hopes up. Otherwise, I honestly don’t understand the Taub/Rachel stuff thrown in to the story.

    Whether you like House and Cuddy together or not, they were a big draw. Just two years ago, seemed like everybody was excited to talk about “last night’s House” episode. Now? I don’t have ANY friends who watch it. Especially after Bombshells. They’ve totally lost interest. I’m trying SO hard (like, by reading positive reviews!) to stick with it. The show did have much more going for it than House and Cuddy, but the medical stories are really weak now. Plus it’s sad to have watched House make such progress over the last few years, only to have that yanked away from him. I kinda feel like I’ve been kicked in the teeth.

  • Lauren

    @Committed

    I think all of us could find a reason behind the ratings that suits us…I’m not trying to do that. There’s no need for me to look inward in this case. I’m not thinking of reasons (beyond content) for lower ratings, to alleviate my own cognitive dissonance and make myself feel better. I liked the episode, so that’s all I really care about.

    That being said, I am most certainly sharing the more optimistic perspective for those on here who are seriously concerned about the future of the show. I thought I was relatively balanced with my comment in that although I only went into detail with the more optimistic view, I in no way insinuated that that was the only, or definite meaning behind the ratings.

  • RedTulip_Ana

    Honestly, I do not share the idea of not seeing a TVshow (you’ve loved for years) because you do not like the current development of it.
    BUT I do understand that someone stops watching the show if he cries when he sees it. That is, you watch a film because it entertains to you, if you suffer with it stop to be an entertainment. The ENTERTAINMENT becomes a SUFFERING. I know there are people who support this, even look for these stories (great tragedies, suffering, fear…), but this is not my case. I watch House because I think it’s a SMART SHOW and I enjoy it. It is difficult for a show gets so into you (like House did) until you get to suffer when the character suffers, loves when the character loves and laugh when the character laughs. House has gotten that. The feelings we have with House are very strong. For that reason, I misplaced the TPTB (which have been excellent to get this) could play with the feelings of the viewers. I mean, if you see someone crying offer him/her a tissue, do not give him/her more reasons to mourn (not necessary, he/she is crying). Perhaps, we found easy to watch The Dig because, why once you hit rock bottom…now you can only back up. And I really hope this is so, I don´t want more hookers, alcohol, vicodin or absurd marriages on House. I took the botton yet with BBS, OOC and FFG…no more, please.

  • Dmcky

    @69 – Sneaky Microbe
    Regarding Taub/Rachel, you make a good point, it may be foreshadowing. I also like the reversed situation, Taub “cheating” on a younger woman with his ex-wife. I love the notion of such a strong bond..hopefully this is the writer’s way of paralleling what’s to come for H & C, at least that is my hope. They don’t necessarily have to be dating for us to see that they have an unbreakable bond, and a deep love for one another. Im really hoping this what we will see moving forward. we know that they have a physical connection, we’ve seen that,. I’m ready to witness something deeper between them, as couple or not..

  • Michele1L

    Lauren(61)I totally agree, 13 is used as a plot device in this episode. Their whole storyline was really about House’s inability to “step up” when it involves people he cares about who are in pain or suffering — and in the end, we see he committed to doing this for her.

    I too agree with many others who say that the House/Cuddy arc was mishandled. Every once in a while the show handlers throw an odd, inexplicable wrench in things when they feel the need to change things up, stave things off, etc. The strangest ones have both concerned the relationship between Cuddy and House. The first wrench was the sudden introduction of Lucas as Cuddy’s boyfriend. (David Shore all but mentioned this was a staul tactic that wouldn’t last) and now we have the abrupt, inexplicable (in my view for many reasons) break-up of a relationship developed over a period of six years (longer than that if you count how long the characters have actually known one another — which I do.)

  • Ratings

    1) After 8:30 the show gained a million and went from 3.1 to 3.4

    2) All the other show had bad ratings, HIMYM went from 9 mil to 6 mil

    3) during this season and before BS, House had worst ratings than HIMYM, it was beatean twice, and went lower than 9.5 mil of viewers so the whole “ratings are down because people want huddy” is just a statement from delusional huddy fangirls.

  • Fallen

    House will NOT be renewed for an 8th season.

    You can see the actors are no longer NVESTED, they just say their scripts

    It seems one of the main producers, Katie Jacobs is GONE.

    Season finale Predictions: Title “MOVING ON,” meaning House will leave NJ and the hospital and that will be the end.

    The IGNORANCE and ARROGANCE of the producers, writers and creators to critics, fans and disrespecting viewers has proven it has cause the show’s downfall.

    The show made their own MESSY bed, now they can lay in it.

    Sad to see actors who have invested in a show for 7 YEARS to now realize apart from money, those 7 years was a waste and a distraction.

    As the Ny Mag said, “Once upon a time, House WAS a great show.”

    I wasted 7 years of my life in the show, NEVER AGAIN

    Good riddance.

  • Sneaky Microbe

    Please address me as “DOCTOR Delusional Huddy Fangirl”, #74 Ratings. Show some respect. :-)

  • Betty

    Thanks for the article. Barbara, gave me further insight as usual. I liked this ep and like 13 as a character and will stay optimistic for the rest of the season, still having faith in the writers. Maybe there is a method to this madness as someone had commented earlier, and we need to be patient until May 23rd!

  • Dmcky

    @ Fallen,

    it aint over til the fat lady sings as the saying goes..Only when FOX announces that there will be no 8th season can we be sure of that, and only then. Watching the season finale and seeing House leave NJ, is the only way we can be sure that will happen, and only then. Its ok if you’d like to move on and no longer watch, that is your choice and i respect that, but there are those of us that still enjoy the show on some level, and still want to watch, and still hope for an 8th season, and i hope that is respected as well. Lets not try and predict a future that is impossible to predict at the moment..respectfully..

  • fatOlady

    78 – Dmcky and Fallen – I can assure you that I have not started singing (and I don’t really think you want me to), if you know what I mean. LOL

  • Committed

    #70 Lauren –

    I am sincerely sorry – I certainly didn’t intend my post to mean you should look inward. My point, though not well communicated, was that TPTB should look inward. I am awfully sorry about that. It is never my intent to make this personal. This is a forum to comment on the show – I would never want anyone to be upset about anything I write.

    My apologies.

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

    Fallen, taking your points one at a time:

    House will NOT be renewed for an 8th season.
    You have no knowledge of that, nor any evidence.

    You can see the actors are no longer NVESTED, they just say their scripts
    Maybe you see that. It’s not a fact. How could anyone have watched “The Dig” and believe that Hugh Laurie (and Olivia for that matter) were just “saying their scripts”???

    It seems one of the main producers, Katie Jacobs is GONE.
    She’s not gone at all.

    Season finale Predictions: Title “MOVING ON,” meaning House will leave NJ and the hospital and that will be the end.
    Predictions are your privilege.

    The IGNORANCE and ARROGANCE of the producers, writers and creators to critics, fans and disrespecting viewers has proven it has cause the show’s downfall.

    The producers, nor anyone else attached to the show (with the possible exception of Greg Yaitanes’ snarky tweets) have shown no disrespect, arrogance, etc. to the fans. This is their show and their creation. If you don’t like the show anymore and think it’s a waste of time, stop wasting your time and do something that doesn’t.

    The show made their own MESSY bed, now they can lay in it.

    Sad to see actors who have invested in a show for 7 YEARS to now realize apart from money, those 7 years was a waste and a distraction.
    Yeah, a real waste. Just what have they wasted? Acting is a job. For which they all get paid (a lot). I don’t believe any of the actors on the show feel that way.

    As the Ny Mag said, “Once upon a time, House WAS a great show.”
    Every season has its ups and downs. Raise your hand if you complained about Vogler? Stacy? “Who’s Your Daddy?” Tritter? The hiring story arc? The killing off of Amber? Foreteen? The departure of Cameron? Yeah, those were the glory days. I forgot. Except for all the people who bitched and moaned about those arcs too.

  • fatOlady

    Barbara, I love you. If I every get as far off the track “and forget who really OWNS this show” as Fallen, you have my permission to tell me where to go and how to get there. You have a wonderful way with words that can weave a fantastic story or review but you can also tell someone where to go and make them enjoy the trip. BRAVO!

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

    fOl–thank you. I’m pretty much live and let live; sometimes I feel I have to respond to an especially arrogant commenter.

  • fatOlady

    Point taken; however I still feel you ROCK. BTW I have now watched the epi and laughed and cried. I will NEVER be able to walk away from this show as long as Hugh Laurie is doing what he does. No man alive can say what he can and NEVER open his mouth…AWESOME!

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

    I agree with you totally.

  • http://www.nor.org bigHousefan

    Barbara 81

    I’ve been re-watching season 4 (which I’m very fond of now, but wasn’t when it originally aired until Frozen!) and went back to read your reviews and fans comments. Wow, deja-vu! You said then be patient and we’ll be rewarded and you were right. How soon we forget we’ve been frustrated before – then before you know it, we get something awesome like The Dig.

    Thanks for your response to Fallen. I feel much better now!

  • RedTulip_Ana

    @81 – barbara barnett
    Thanks Barbara for taking your time to answer that post. I think you’ve spoken clearly and it was necessary. I hope that if ever “I go out of tune ” you make me react and I “invite”to leave (oh, I also hope never that moment arrives, of course). Sometimes is necessary that someone raise his voice!

    @84 – fatOlady
    Dear friend! I’m glad you’ve finally decided to watch the episode. I knew you would cry and laugh. It was a great one, I said you!

  • Eileen

    39 – Koji Attwood – For me, being “done” meant no more comments from me about this episode or about my frustration with the show (at THAT moment). I obviously ate my own words (at THIS moment)in order to reply to your comment directed at me.

    @Susan – being “done” did not mean I would not watch until the end of the season. For some reason this morning, I woke up with renewed hope for our favorite couple!

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

    Just to let you all know, I’ll be appearing on BlogTalkRadio (Across the Pond’s “A Book and a Chat” this evening 6:30 ET. It’s a call-in format after the interview. I’ll be on for half an hour to talk about House, M.D. Book and a Chat

  • Paula

    Great review of an episode I have already watched several times and thinkmthat is not only one of the best of the season, but it joins the ranks of those which are among my all time favorites.

  • Zaze

    Good episode (but not exceptional) and it would have been better without Taub’s life! Please can they stop with this boring storyline? (2 years that we endure it)

  • Eileen

    Barbara, I just listened to your chat and enjoyed it a lot!

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

    Eileen–thanks so much!

  • morphine, a violin, a friend, and a mystery

    i couldn’t find who wrote the post that first mentioned the lack of sexuality between House and thirteen. I was wondering if they were going to go down that road and i think i would prefer that they don’t.

    I think their relationship might be more of a brother/sister than father daughter.

    i hope house never goes off the air.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Kiwein1 Kiwein1

    Nice review. I must admit I didn’t enjoy the episode very much. I guess I read too many spoilers and this showed me I just should stop doing that.

    My main problem this season is that lack of constancy. House seems to change nearly every episode. Out of the blue Cuddy tells House it’s over. Taub is off and on with his wife. And Foreman and Chase – well, we hardly see enough of them that it might change anything. Even Wilson’s behaviour I can’t predict anymore.

    I loved House – the grumpy man. I loved House – the “I love Cuddy”-man. But I really don’t know what he is now? Floating on air or drowning maybe? I really have no idea where the writers will take us in the season finale. Somehow the second part of season 7 feels like a bad dream I want to wake up from.

    I agree with those saying that as long as we have Hugh Laurie everything will be fine. The way House looks at 13 saying “it’s not a big deal” (regarding the break-up) is just priceless! House is still very hurt and definitely did not overcome a tiny bit of it.

    And I am surprised that I am glad Olivia Wilde is back. I thought I didn’t miss her, but I now I think I did. She’s just great doing what she does as 13. I hope she stays another season – in case there is another season.

    So what do I do now with my undetermined feelings about House? Any help out there?

  • Michele1L

    Kiwein1(95) I am frustrated as hell with the way this season has inexplicably turned, but I will watch this show until its last episode, no matter what. Hopefully, that will be May of next year or beyond and not this year!

  • Heather

    When do decling ratings mean that there are other things on TV (Dancing with the Stars)?

    When do declining ratings mean people think the writing has declined in quality and decided not to watch?

    I just see different people interpreting the fact of declining ratings with whatever color goggles they have on. It’s interesting.

  • Megs

    I can’t understand why anyone would want to watch dancing with the stars over any other show that would be on at the same time as it. Maybe this is because the Australian version is not that great.

  • DebbieJ

    Like a lot of the commenters here, I’m in it for the long haul. I care way too deeply for this character to abandon the series now. Yes, I was shocked, felt sucker-punched and was angry during the previous three episodes. I was actually relieved when they had a 3 week hiatus. It gave me time to step back, take a breath and absorb everything.

    I enjoyed The Dig very much. I admit I didn’t like 13 at first, thought she was a bore, but I realized I missed her during her absence. I love her relationship with House. She seems to be the only one that understands him on a level that is unique to them. (Does that make sense?)

    Although his offer at the end wasn’t a surprise, it still left me reeling because of Hugh Laurie’s execution. Man, does that man slay me.

  • LizzieE

    #99 – I won’t abandon the series either but have become curiously detached from and significantly less invested in the show recently, more akin to a casual viewer. With this season’s plotlines, TPTB have managed to suck all the passion I once had for House from me (I’ve lost my Housian high). Unfortunately, I don’t think that, regardless of how the series progresses, I can ever get that same degree of passion back. As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy.

  • housecomelately

    Re: the H/C relationship lasting almost one year as relayed by House to 13–I know there’s such a thing as artistic license, but adding the months from May 2010 to September 2010 to their relationship (i.e., the end of season 6 to the beginning of season 7) just doesn’t work because “Now What” picked up exactly where “Help Me” left off time-wise.

  • SayHey2TheEarth

    first off, you barbra are prob the best reviewer that i have seen (or rather read) second, I really like how there are plenty of NICE and well though comments here *props to you commentors for keeping the comments not too full of hate (for the most part)

    going back to thirteen and house’s relationship, I don’t think anybody has exactly pinpointed what it really is. it’s not exactly daddy daughter, nor brother/sister but not exactly best friend like wilson. she is the closest to house on a different level than wilson or cuddy. 13 and house do not laugh and have fun the way wilson and house do. he is not romanticaly attached to her like huddy is. and it is not forced, awkward, fake, or weird like hameron. she is able to feel his pain in a way that none of the rest of the characters could. they share the bond of pain. I don’t even know what to call this kind of sweet relationship. it’s kinda like a father/daughter thing only it’s like the dad really wants to help and protect his daughter but, he had just gotten custody of her and he is not exactly sure how so react to things. (think of a pair of divorced parents, that separated when the daughter was only a little girl, and then the mom dies and the dad suddenly gets full custody of an emotionaly hurt teenage daughter, plus the dad has no expirience but wants to do the right thing though he’s not exactly sure how, while the daughter is trying to be strong and hide the hurt but the only person she is able to show that pain to is the dad, and the pair have those rare moments of affection,) or an adult older brother taking care of his teenage sister. once again, no expirience, both are hurt, neither know exactly what they’re doing, but both have a great bond between eachother and share a lot of pain. the older brother just wants to take good care of his younger sister but his affection is very crude and raw. that’s the kind of relationship thirteen has with house only thirteen is not his daughter or sister, nor a teenager. It’s incredably complicated.
    also, as someone here had also stated
    I find that the fact that they are able to share one hotel room proves that there is no romantic relationship between them and that they are completely comfortable around eachother

  • SayHey2TheEarth

    oh and I almost forgot, did anybody else catch thirteen blinking away tears when house mentioned her mother? It was really sad! People are always bringing up things that would definatly remind her of her trajic losses and harsh expiriences. This was the first time we see thirteen react to it in front of people. She is as hard as rock. nothing, out of everything she’s been through, has been able to truly break her. she is still able to pretend like nothings wrong. like house said, she’s got a great poker face and she’s really tough but I’m beggining to see some cracks in her outer walls. I don’t know how much more she can take before it all comes down on her. Most people going through her kind of greif would prob either be in a loony bin, commit suicide, or push people away like house. she chose option D which is to keep everything inside and pretend like she’s completely fine when she’s clearly not. if that pressure keeps building up, someday its gonna burst, maybe before she dies of her huntingtons