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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Under My Skin”

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” I’ve been popping pills for years, what changed?” House  asks Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) as he tries in this week’s episode of House, M.D. to deal with his intensifying visions of Amber. So much in House’s life has changed over the course of this season, and with Kutner’s death, lack of sleep and medicating himself even further with Vicodin just to try keep the demons at bay, he seems to have only unleashed them — or rather her.

Here we are boys and girls, down to the last two episodes of the season. Hugh Laurie and Anne Dudek turn in Emmy Award-caliber performances once again “Under My Skin.” Wow! What a ride. House and his team try to treat a prima ballerina who collapses during a performance in New York. As her skin sloughs off due to an extremely rare antibiotic reaction, and she is in danger of losing her career and her life, House, too has his own thicker veneer stripped away, exposing him. The ballerina, at the prime of her career nearly loses everything: her love, her feet and hands, career, her very life to an STD — something she indirectly caused. Something for which only her lifestyle choices can be blamed: gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, which she contracted from someone other than her boyfriend. (And then passed on to him.) And by the end of the episode, we wonder too whether House’s descent into madness has been at his own hands after years of Vicodin use (and refusing to seriously consider alternatives—except for radical treatments).

House, like the ballerina, is at a “turning point.” No longer functional as the prima diagnostician he has been, House is staying home, taking a personal leave day, away from where he can do damage to patients and colleagues. The entire episode, driven by Hugh Laurie’s tour de force performance is a breathless journey into House’s mind, his heart, and his soul.

What is it that we fear? The monsters that live in the closet, going bump in the night? What happens when those demons, who live in the dark recesses of our troubled pasts assert themselves, inserting them into our conscious thought. They are our fears, our terrors.

We think of our skin as being a tough outer layer, protecting us from things that would harm us from the outside. But in reality, skin is paper thin, nearly transparent: a fragile covering without which we would be exposed, raw and bleeding. So it is with our ballerina — and so it is with House.

House has taken a personal day, unwilling to insert himself into a new case, filled with self-doubt and remorse at Chase going into anaphalactyic shock at his bachelor party in “House Divided.” House is certain that he should have realized that the stripper he hadn’t seen for years used a strawberry body butter and that Chase is allergic to strawberries. (That in itself is being unreasonably hard on himself.) With Amber at his shoulder, goading, taunting and outshouting everyone else in the room, House doesn’t trust himself to do much of anything but sit in front of the television.

When Foreman comes to tell him they have a new case, he declines despite Cuddy’s threat to fire him if he doesn’t show up to work on the high-profile case. Not believing that Cuddy would fire him for taking one personal day, Amber, hovering at his shoulder asks him how many days he’s willing to hide in his apartment until she simply goes away.  Filled with self-doubt, distracted and exhausted, House returns to the office.

With Amber always there, a constant and intrusive presence in the foreground of his mind, House tries to ignore her, refusing to listen to her diagnostic ideas, sane or not. But when Amber suggests that dehydration might be hiding an infection, House knows that’s true, despite his self-doubt, and takes the seemingly safe course of treating the ballerina with antibiotics.

But unable to decide when he should listen to his “Amber voice,” House finally confides to Wilson that he’s hallucinating. House can’t tell him it’s Amber that he’s seeing and hearing. “It’s Kutner,” he lies, when pressed. That spooks Wilson enough to take House very seriously. But House resists being admitted for testing and asks Wilson. Saying that he can’t practice medicine so impaired, condition, he tells House he needs to be admitted.  House confesses that he cannot trust his own instincts and  asks Wilson to sit in on his differentials and essentially supervise his work. “I need you to double check everything I do.” House believes that he may have sleep apnea, and why, despite a good night’s sleep he’s still seeing visions.

A skeptical Wilson sets up the sleep test, but suggests that any number of other things might be causing the visions. But despite even the goading from his own mind that it’s not sleep apnea (which would be simple to treat), House clings to the idea, because everything else is very scary and much more complex to deal with.

Eliminating sleep apnea, House comes up with several alternate explanations: infection, trauma, schizophrenia… or pills. House has written these competing diagnoses on the back of an envelope, having omitted “pills” from his written list. I wonder if the possibility that finally it may be his Vicodin use that has pushed him over the edge of reality is simply too scary a notion for him to write it down. Even scarier than MS or schizophrenia.

Drug use/overuse is the simplest explanation, and may in fact be much higher on his internal list, but it’s the last thing he wants to know. “An infection is treatable. Means you still got a job; you still have a life. It’s a nicer diagnosis — doesn’t make it a better one,” taunts Amber as House tries not to listen to her voice.

When the patient’s skin starts to shed in transparent layers, House blames it on an extremely rare reaction to the antibiotic, something that no doctor could have foreseen. He blames himself for treating without first confirming the infection, which in itself is unreasonable, since it’s common for a doctor who suspects infection to start treatment while confirming. Even Wilson is confused about why House feels so responsible. “You prescribed antibiotics. You just did what any other doctor would do.” House knows it doesn’t make any sense for him to feel so responsible for the ballerina’s condition, something he attributes to possible damage in the limbic area of his brain, which would indicate MS.

But, unsurprisingly, it’s not MS. As Wilson continues to sit in on House’s differentials, Foreman grows more and more suspicious of Wilson’s presence, wondering if Wilson has been assigned to supervise House’s work. Between Wilson’s presence and House’s decreasing ability to ignore Amber, all of the fellows begin to wonder what’s going on with House. “You’re making him oversee your choices. You don’t trust yourself. Why?” asks Foreman finally.

Backed into a corner and unwilling to open himself up to the team, House sends Wilson from the room. But Wilson’s presence in House’s space seemed to have relegated Amber to a safer distance, and when he leaves Amber jumps intrusively back into the forefront of House’s mind.house_cuddy courtesy FOX

 Grabbing an Exacto knife from House’s desk, Amber relentlessly taunts him with his future, knife to her wrist: “Severe mental illness and drugs are the only things left,” she mocks. “Mental illness means you can no longer practice medicine. Vicodin means detox, which means pain for the rest of your life, which means you can no longer practice medicine…” These words — his own subconscious laying out in stark relief what lies ahead, hits House hard.

No longer engaged in the differential but caught up in his own bleak thoughts, House watches in horror as Amber takes the knife to her arm, slicing it elbow to wrist, the blood pouring from it. What is she goading here? To end it now? Or face a life worse than death? It’s over for him, no matter what the diagnosis. Is this House’s suicidal inner voice telling him that he’s crossed the line between living in misery and dying in it?

Suddenly snapping out of it, House takes Amber’s act as a signpost to treating the patient. They need to kill her to cure her: stop her heart to take an MRI. (House did something similar back in “Autopsy,” another Lawrence Kaplow script.) Uncertain about the rationality of this dangerous step, House consults Wilson, suggesting that “she” thought of it. A major slip, Wilson now knows that it’s not Kutner House is seeing, but Amber.  

By now realizing that the only things left on the table in House’s self-diagnosis are Vicodin or schizophrenia, House clings to schizophrenia, continuing to ignore the possibility that it’s overuse of opiods causing the hallucinations. Reminding House that he won’t be able to practice medicine on the sort of psych meds used to treat schizophrenia, he would need to receive Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT, shock treatments). “You’d prefer ECT to rehab?” Wilson asks incredulously.

“I’d prefer something that works,” retorts House, who is certain that rehab would never work for him. Not a big believer in drug rehab, House has tried it before (“Words and Deeds,” season three); he believes he stands a better chance if he has even severe mental illness. Not like he has a choice, or anything, in the final analysis.

House is nothing if not (at least subconsciously) very self-aware. Schizophrenia would mean treatment, but he could continue to survive and practice medicine (one and the same to him). He realizes that with rehab, he’d backslide too easily from simple pain relief back into overuse. The idea that he has to live with hallucinations while being on the only drug that seems to work for him is much scarier than having ECT.

Wilson understands that House is terrified of living a life in pain, but cannot believe he’s more afraid of that than the risk of seizure, stroke, and all the other side effects of therapeutic shock therapy. But Wilson hits him with the one potential side effect that is worse (for House) than death: “you live but you destroy your rational mind, the only thing you care about.”

 It’s enough for House to reconsider the drug abuse theory. But still insistent that it’s schizophrenia causing his symptoms, House administers himself insulin, a chemical form of shock therapy, only (according to Wilson) only slightly less dangerous than ECT. Finding him on the floor of his office in convulsions, Wilson is upset at House’s recklessness. But the insulin seems to work, and Amber has disappeared.

Feeling more himself, he comes back into the case, diagnosing gonorrhea with an epiphany based on putting together the clues from observing the dancer and her boyfriend. Momentarily elated, House celebrates alone in a restaurant for having rid himself of his demons.

But, in a scene that simply took my breath away for its creepiness, Amber reappears with a vengeance to terrorize and torment House from inside his own mind. The dawning recognition that he hasn’t rid himself of Amber is stunning on House’s face as he turns to see her smirking at him from the pub’s bandstand.

“Enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think,” she croons the 1949 Guy Lombardo hit, evilly smiling at him. “Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink.” She laughs him cruelly, in a subversion of the song’s upbeat message. A terrified and traumatized house, at the very end of his emotional rope calls Wilson, deeply shaken, his voice trembling. I had a flash back to last year’s finale when we learn that House called Wilson back then from a pub, asking him to rescue him. But back then, it was Amber who answered the call, dying for the effort. Is this then, Amber’s revenge? The torment House has felt for a year, eating away at him until this?

courtesy foxAs Wilson drives House home to pack for rehab, Amber sits in the back of the car smiling at House with an evil sweetness. Defeated, House, a shell of his former self is ready finally ready to go to admit himself to drug rehab.

Packing his clothes, unsure of himself and his future, House tells Wilson he inexplicably doesn’t feel scared. “Why don’t I feel scared?” House asks, confused.

“You don’t know what you’re feeling at this moment,” Wilson explains believing House is too dissociated from reality — or too drugged out — to  know what or how to feel. House is terrified for his future, his mental health, but not of the rehab.

“What do I do if it doesn’t work?” he asks, afraid of failure.

“You don’t give up.”

“It’s either this or electroshock every six hours?” House’s resignation and low expectations are heartbreaking. He realizes that when the going gets rough, he’ll be able to scam his way out of rehab. Even though he doesn’t want to, he will try when it gets too difficult to handle. In House’s state of mind, he believes that only Cuddy knows him well enough and is under his skin enough to help him through this: to say “no” and mean “no.” But someone who he trusts implicitly to see him in his deteriorated condition.

Having hidden from her the fact he’s been hallucinating, Cuddy is not especially keen on listening to him when arrives in her office as she’s about to go home. “I quit,” he says simply. Not looking at his face or into his eyes, Cuddy assumes this is another mind game, and she’s not in the mood.

As hard as it is for him, he finally admits he’s been suffering visions. This stops her in her tracks. Not sure whether its Vicodin or something else, he needs to know — and he is ready to bare his soul to her. This scene is a bookend to season two’s “Skin Deep.” In that episode, House comes to Cuddy in intractable pain, asking her for morphine, revealing the horrific scar on his leg; asking her if that’s not “real.” If his pain isn’t real. And here he stands once again as emotionally naked as he was physically without pants back then, telling her he needs her and this is it for him.

And, as House goes though his dark night, his dancer patient learns the infection has spread and she risks losing her feet and fingers — who she is. Just as House is in Hell, in the throes of withdrawal, and in grave danger of losing himself and his mind.

As contracted as it is (Hey, it’s television!), the withdrawal sequence is breathtaking for its intensity. We’ve seen House detox before, but this scene is so heartbreaking to watch, because he wants it to work, tries to work with Cuddy, and works through both the withdrawal symptoms and horrific pain that must bring back memories of the past. Cuddy’s quiet strength and support relegate Amber to a safe distance as Wilson’s presence had earlier, enabling House to ignore Amber (or at least lessen her influence) through her taunting and goading.

At his lowest point, House tries to make a feeble grab for a lone discarded pill on the floor, as Amber berates him as pathetic. Cuddy beats him to the pill, flushing it down the toilet. House, broken and miserable sitting on the bathroom floor looks at Cuddy with an expression borne of complete desolation as she keeps physical contact with him, her eyes telling him he’s not alone.

With the light of morning, things look better for the dancer and for House. Amber is nowhere to be seen. Having shared the intensity of the night, House’s feelings for Cuddy (and hers for him) finally come out honestly and without the filters, sentries and castle walls normally between them. Admitting she had been into him as far back as her undergrad days (yeah, let the commentary begin over that interesting bit of timeline fodder), something Lisa Edelstein spoke of during her conference call (actually in response to my question!), Cuddy confesses that it’s not only his professional assets that interest her. One thing leads to another and a tentative kiss leads elsewhere.

So? Did it happen or was it yet another hallucination? Has House actually woken from the insulin-induced coma? Is this the end of Amber or will she be back for the finale?

And what does Amber represent in House’s mind? Is she merely a manifestation of long-term Vicodin use? Is she a reflection of House’s feelings of guilt? Is he going to dismiss the hallucination now that he seems to be feeling better? What is the relationship/continuum from Kutner’s death? How has he been dealing with it? Really? So many questions and only one more episode to go!

I've gone on long enough, but I can't end this review without a word about the acting. Hugh Laurie (Yeah, I know I'm always blown away by his acting.) was simply superb, giving an emotionally raw, but never over-the-top performance as the deteriorating House. Heart-breaking and heart-stopping at times, Laurie gave us complete access into his heart and soul. Anne Dudek, too, was mesmerizing as House's tormentor Amber. Just wow. 

Not to change the subject, but what about Chase and Cameron? Cameron keeping her dead husband’s sperm even through marriage to Chase? Should Chase make for the hills or let Cameron keep the “liquid pre-nuptial agreement?” Lots to discuss. And I’m working on a new poll for over the weekend.

The season five finale airs next Monday, May 11. I will be chatting with Doris Egan, finale's writer the day after it airs. So stay tuned! In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter. Let the discussion commence!

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About Barbara Barnett

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

    Best episode of the season, hands down.
    I’ve been waiting for a little backstory on House and Cuddy for quite a while. She’s the one who’s known him the longest – and perhaps who best knows him – and yet we had nothing on their past but that one night stand they supposedly had. I thought the scene was real and honest. Lisa and Hugh are fantastic together.

    Speaking of real, count me in among those who believe that hot make out session of theirs was real. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise, in my opinion

    Cameron… don’t even get me started.

    I also think we’ll be seeing Amber again and I have to admit that her singing “Enjoy Yourself” had a whole David Lynch vibe to it. Simply brilliant.

    I can not wait for the season finale – as well as your interview with Doris Egan.

    Lovely review, Barbara.

  • barbara barnett

    There was so much to say, and I wanted to keep the thing under 3,000 words! I will have further things to say in the comments of course. The review was really my first impressions after two viewings 🙂

  • nc

    I think Cameron is just as guarded as House, but with far less willingness to understand why. She’ll let herself get two feet from the altar with Chase and then back away. At least House doesn’t get that close. I don’t blame Chase if he runs for the hills instead of letting her indulge in that much ambivalence about her supposed beloved.

    Given Fox’s total willingness to use preview footage to mislead and misdirect, I can’t tell what to make of the season-finale promo. Cameron in tears. Cuddy in tears. House boasting about his “conquest” like a teenager. Wilson shaking his head. I think the pill vial comes from the POtW’s hand, not House’s. No one looks particularly happy, do they.

    I think everything we saw between House and Cuddy in 5:23 really happened to these characters. It wasn’t hallucinatory or delusional. It was perhaps the most self-revealing moment they’ve ever shared. Whether or not it will go further is anyone’s guess. My guess is that even if it eventually does, it will be two steps forward and three steps back, thanks to House’s ambivalence about being known and being happy.

    As far as I could tell, not only did the 5:23 “Huddy” promo contain footage which I believe did not air in the actual episode, but unless I’m completely mistaken, Cuddy’s wearing the same shirt in some of the 5:24 promo’s intimate moments that she’s wearing in the 5:23 scenes. The color treatment of those scenes in the 5:24 promo seems to suggest they’re recollected or something like that.

    House is so darned good at doing what isn’t good for him, and at refusing to do what’s in his best interests, that it’s dangerous to conjecture his next move.

    It was very, very late before I could sleep, that was for sure. That episode stuck with me like glue.

  • Wow, what an episode, and wow, what a review. The scene in which House and Cuddy race for the toilet was breath-taking and heart-breaking. As you said, the withdrawal was drastically compressed, apparently taking place overnight, but it lacked no impact for all of that.


  • I also noticed the parallel between the scene House comes to Cuddy in this episode and back in season two’s “skin Deep.” It amazes me how willing he is to open himself up to her unlike anyone else.

    I don’t think this was a hallucination at all…but I do think that the worst is yet to come as far as what House is going through right now.

    There is so much to say about this episode, but certainly in my mind it was one of the series’ best.

    Wonder review.

  • i can’t believe it! Manu, on the very first comment, you said EXACTLY what i had in mind: David Lynch! Creepy, dark, unearthly -simply mindblowing.
    The bar scene is simply a work of art. As good as tv will ever be. The atmpsphere, the feeling, the acting. Anne Dudek’s voice and posture – Hugh Laurie’s eyes and voice, so charged with emotion.

    In one word: FANTASTIC episode.
    Barbara, thank you. 7 pages and i could go on reading you for another 7.
    I’ll rewatch it and probably come back for more.

  • barbara barnett

    nc–agree about Cameron entirely. Chase has some serious thinking to do.

    Phillip–thanks! Laurie (and Dudek too)deserves every award in the book for this one.

  • Wnkybx

    Thank for the well-written review, Barbara! It was truly, truly wonderful. I am glad you got it out early so that the discussions can begin in anticipation for the finale!

    I absolutely loved this episode. Lots to think about. I don’t have too much to add since you already eloquently distilled the highlights of the episode for us.

    Although I didn’t find the POTW herself to be all that interesting, I found her situation, disease, and hospital course very nicely tied to what House is going through. You mentioned House’s “own thicker veneer [was] stripped away, exposing him.” I also saw the dancer’s external unraveling of her epidermis to parallel his own internal unraveling. Although most of House’s patients usually flirt with death during their hospital stay, I found this POTW’s hospital course particularly messy, not only because House wasn’t at the top of his game, but also because it reflected what a mess House’s life is at the moment. When she ended up with near-necrosis of her fingers and toes from the dopamine (a common thing you see in ICU patients on vasopressors), I was struck hard by how both she and House are struggling to hold on to their careers, which define who they are. As a sidenote, I found it interesting that Taub took control of the patient and came up with a solution that worked, and I found it an interesting writing choice not to tell us exactly what the limb-saving surgery was.

    Which leads to the interesting choice on the writers’ part to have House list schizophrenia higher up on his differential on himself than Vicodin abuse. I think House was fixated on the schizophrenia diagnosis, despite its improbability, because it exonerates his choices. If he’s truly schizophrenic, he didn’t bring Amber’s hallucination on himself. Schizophrenia occurs in 1% of the world’s population, and it would just be his bad luck to fall within that 1%. It would have been an easy excuse to avoid real rehab, which would involve re-examining his life and his life choices as part of the program.

    To the question of what Amber represents in House’s mind: I always thought that House despised Amber on some level, maybe he saw the rougher elements of himself minus his soul in her … she could be a manifestation of both guilt (as the obvious) and his own self-loathing. He genuinely seemed to like Kutner, and although he and Kutner did think similarly (and hence Kutner would be a great choice for his own internal differentials), House liked him too much for him to represent a part of House’s mind, if that makes any sense.

    Did House wake up from the coma, or is this all in his head, like in “No Reason”? I think he did wake up from the coma. Everything else, besides Amber, seemed too realistic; and the fact that we saw the ducklings thinking independently for themselves rather than as House’s mental tools suggests that the events did occur outside House’s mind. I would feel cheated if his attempt to detox was just in his head, and I would feel doubly cheated if his conversation with Cuddy was also just in his head. I would feel triply cheated if the writers recycled the idea of “an episode that occurred completely in House’s mind” from season 2. He did seem too “okay” in the morning, status-post the initial detox phase, but as I have discovered repeatedly, we really have to suspend our medical disbelief for the sake of creative choices.

    If the evening with Cuddy really did occur outside House’s mind (and I hope it did), I am glad they laid out their feelings for each other. But as Hugh Laurie once said, “things are bound to go pear-shaped” in David Shore’s world. I would suspect that Cuddy would be the one to shy away from a relationship at this point because now, when House is trying to get clean, would not be a good time to begin a romantic relationship.

    A final note: I loved Wilson and Cuddy in this episode! Their support shows how deep their respective friendships with House is, and I love that.

  • sjoes

    Yeah, the scene in the restaurant with CTB starting to sing… WOW!. Great piece of writing that!
    The detoxing and subsequent Huddy was contracted but maybe that’s because these issues and Laurie’s acting have become too big for a 45 minute time span. However, as you metioned, HL never goes over the top. He’s taken TV acting up a notch.

  • barbara barnett

    That bar scene was incredible. The range of emotions that went through House in that short scene. And how creepy was Dudek singing that little upbeat ditty. By the end House was literally trembling with fear.

  • sjoes

    “A final note: I loved Wilson and Cuddy in this episode! Their support shows how deep their respective friendships with House is, and I love that.”

    Yes, indeed! The three musketeers. Great chemistry!

  • barbara barnett

    wynkbyx–I couldn’t agree more regarding Wilson and Cuddy. They both came through for him so he was not left alone to suffer this by himself. Good comments.

    sjoes–the whole episode was a master class in dramatic acting. He could not have been more perfect.

  • sjoes

    I’ve always admired Laurie’s comedic timing and his tremendous screen presence especially as Stephen Fry’s sparring partner. It took me 4 seasons to get used to and appreciate his House. Yesterday’s episode convinced me of the man’s huge range in dramatic acting. A master class in how to work the medium of a TV series indeed! Kudos.

  • XJK

    What an episode! Negative out the way first – I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who though the detox was incredibly short, and House didn’t appear to be in pain in those last few moments when he walked Cuddy to the door – and he should have been in more pain than we’ve seen before. I’ve been wondering if I should read that as a sign that he’s fallen deeper into his hallucination, or whether, as Barbara says, it’s just television! It’s just that it was so short that it was incredibly noticeable, and usually with House if something strikes you as being odd, there’s usually a reason (I’m thinking of things like House’s changing vicodin habits, and especially his limp which lets you know how bad a day it is for House – it wasn’t really evident in this scene where he should be really struggling through the pain which, as Amber says, could stop him practicing medicine). I’ve not seen the promo, given their penchant for creating completely different episode from the clips I probably won’t watch it, but it sounds like it was real… Let the speculation begin (without meaning to make a spec out of Lation, wherever he is).

    Amber’s reappearance in the bar absolutely blew me away, her rendition of “Enjoy Yourself” was chilling – especially following the wrist cutting in the DDx. Wow! What an insight into House’s mind and deepest fears we got. Brevity aside, I agree with Phillip (4) that the detox scenes were heart breaking, his confession of his secret stashes is the one that stands out for me, Hugh giving a performance that took my breath away.

    As for Cuddy’s reveal that she went to House’s class because she thought he was an ‘interesting lunatic’ even then; that, for me, wasn’t a ‘I’ve been in love with you for 20 years’ confession. House was the most vulnerable he’s ever been, and reached out to her for help – this act by the man scared of letting down his defences lead to Cuddy, who is much the same, reaching back, and letting him know how much he means to her by showing him a feeling from 20 years ago. Much safer than revealing a feeling from the present! That’s just my take on it, it was a lovely scene beautifully acted.

    All in all, a brilliant episode, huge kudos to the actors, especially Hugh, Lisa, Anne and Robert. And Hugh. I know I said him already, but seriously, making us Brits proud!!

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi Barbara and fellow commenters,

    I was so blow away by this episode last night that I just couldn’t go to sleep. And I’m happy to see that I wasn’t alone in that.

    My mind was like a roller coaster car, and as soon as I watched, I watched it again. Record of re-watchs in 24 hours for me (ended up with 4 so far).

    “Tour de force” performances by Anne Dudek, Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein. Give this people an EMMY!

    The whole background on Cuddy and House was my dream come through. She audited his Endocrinology class and ended up becoming and Endocrinologist. He cheated off of her on a test (House who doesn’t believe in cheating). I could just see the flirtation going on. And the way they both were in the scene, the looks, it was a trip down memory lane.

    Another moment that caught my eye was in the bathroom when he sees the pill and Amber (or should I say himself) says to him “If you want the pill, just send her home. But you can’t because that would be admitting defeat to her. Now, this is interesting. If you take the pill, you don’t deserve her. If you secretly take the pill, you don’t deserve anyone.” That was just so telling of his feelings for Cuddy, of her role in his life and in his need to be whole.

    I kept double taking: why didn’t he pick Wilson, his “official rescue man” to watch him detox. Why Cuddy. I think, besides the obvious trust that he places in her, that her presence there would force him to go through with it, his need to not fail before her.

    I’ll be back for more. I want to read even more comments. Great review Barbara, thank you so much and great comments everyone.

  • XJK

    Forgot to say, thanks again for a brilliant review…

    Flurry of posts since I started mine!

  • Luisa Borges

    Remembered two other things:

    1) Second week that House was not the one to cure the patient. The team is stepping up to the plate, I liked Taub’s tenacity.

    2) I did suspend my disbelief on so many levels in this episode, that’s how great it was. So things like ECT not being treatment for schizophrenia (but for severe depression), schizophrenia not being a valid option, you can’t test Vicodin blood levels (or hydrocodone levels) but you can test Acetaminophen levels (the other Vicodin component) and high levels of those might cause liver failure, the rapid detox, the rapid insulin coma (takes about 15 min for most insulin types to kick in), and so on.

    BTW I don’t think House was hallucinating his involvement with Cuddy.

  • Becky

    Hi Barbara, LONG time reader, first time poster.

    What a tremendous episode! I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. As a Huddy fan, I was so excited for “the” scene. I must say, I was a little disappointed based on what Fox released last week. But it was still amazing, nontheless. The entire apartment setting was so good between House and Cuddy…HL blew me away with the detox!

    I was surprised upon reflection that the non-Huddy scenes spoke to me more than the Huddy ones! The bar scene…there are no words. I literally held my breath when he saw Amber. You can FEEL the pain in House! So heartbreaking!

    To answer a few of your questions…I am convinced that the Huddy scene DID take place. The entire season finale would have to be in his mind too, since it’s brought up so much. I have no doubt that tonight’s episode was the highpoint for them for a long time. As LE said, House and Cuddy don’t do happy…he WILL screw it up, she WILL put her guard up. It’s how they work. I think Chase did the right thing in stepping back. Cameron is not ready to commit, and that’s not fair to Chase.

    Thanks for all the great reviews!! I LOVE reading your thoughts and feel it completely enhances my viewing of House 🙂

  • nicole.o

    My favorite episode of the entire 5 seasons, hands down! My only discrepency is that they made the worst of the vicodin detox only last one night. I helped detox my father from a horrible vicodin addiction two years ago that portrayal was not realistic enough with the time factor. He would not have felt goo enough to get it on with Cuddy, not even close.
    I don’t think they’ve given any indication that the sex was an hillucination. And next weeks promos don’t look like it at all so I think we can luckily discount that as not true. I’m a little bummed they didn’t show all of the huddy scene in the episode though. It cut short and looks like there will be flashbacks next week. I was do wanting to see the whole thing….bummer.


  • Stacey

    This was definitely the best episode of the season, and not just because House & Cuddy finally got together, though that was definitely a bonus. ;D

  • Stacey

    Oh, and Lisa Edelstein needs an Emmy for this season, or I will be very angry.

  • nc

    Hey, XJK, did you notice that Cuddy said “an interesting lunatic _even then_”?

    That’s very present tense to me.

  • Shaz

    Great article as usual, I loved this episode, though slightly less than the previous one but only because the previous seemed to be more coherent . My thoughts:

    – Amber: House’s hallucination is supposed to represent his subconscious mind. House clearly believed Amber was the female version of him as he tells Wilson in one of the episodes that, in dating Amber, Wilson was in effect dating House. So who better to represent his subconscious than the closest person that represents him – Amber

    – I don’t think the House/Cuddy interaction in his apartment was a hallucination. But even if it was, House’s subconscious chose Cuddy, not Stacy/Amber etc, to be the woman whom he kissed and took to bed. So even as a hallucination, it shows that House has deep feelings for Cuddy

    – the Cameron/Chase interaction was strange – it was totally left field. It just seemed to be just there so that that mini-storyline could be developed further in the next episode. But for what its’ worth, I think Foreman was on the right track when he once eluded to the fact that Cameron is only ok to commit for short periods of time. She married her first husband knowing he had a terminal illness. The thought of a forever with Chase (or anyone else) scares her and she just wants out – whether she’s conscious about this or not. I know this sounds strange when she seems to be doing the opposite, asking how anyone knows for certain that relationships can be forever. If you don’t believe a relationship will last, you start off immediately on the wrong track

  • Shaz

    Oh one last observation. I think Cuddy has lied to House recently. In Birthmarks didn’t she give him the injection that knocked him out so Wilson could take him to his father’s funeral. She told him it was for bird flu or something similar

  • Sara

    “Even though he doesn’t want to, he will try when it gets too difficult to handle. In House’s state of mind, he believes that only Cuddy knows him well enough and is under his skin enough to help him through this: to say “no” and mean “no.” But someone who he trusts implicitly to see him in his deteriorated condition.”

    This is such an eloquent yet concise description.

  • XJK

    nc – hi! What I meant to say is that I think its an old attraction thats rekindled recently. I am the hugest Huddy shipper, the chemistry between them is so obvious, and yes, present tense, my comment was simply noting that I don’t think that it’s 2o years of unrequited love, rather an attraction that has led to love over the years. I personally don’t like the idea that Cuddy, a very strong female character, has been waiting for him all this time with something like a school girl crush, and I think (as Barbara hinted in her article) that others may not like the idea either, so wanted to put my take on the conversation forward.

    Sorry for lack of clarity in original post 🙂

  • barbara barnett

    Thank you Sara! I loved how LE played Cuddy in her scenes with House. Cuddy played well off of House’s despair, feeling every emotion with him. then House responding to Cuddy’s gentle touch even after the incident in the bathroom left him no dignity. He let her in to see his pain and anguish. Gaah.

  • Donna


    This episode is a perfect example of why I love House. Usually I wait a few days before I re-watch a House episode. Just finished a second viewing this afternoon. I was absolutely absorbed from the opening scene (loved the ballet rehearsal) through to the last one. POTW story paralleled w/House’s psychological roller coaster ride was masterfully executed to we viewers. I admit to being emotionally shaken myself and on the edge of my seat beginning about 20 minutes into the ep., thanks to the performances of HL, AD (you know she had to have really enjoyed playing this twisted, devious and dangerous version of House/Amber!) RSL and LE.

    Luisa- agree w/you about Taub. He has begun to solve cases esp. since the loss of Kutner. And lots of credit to Chase and Taub who were determined- and did get a successful resolution to the ballerina’s case- when Foreman said it was over.

    Does anyone wonder if Chase will have more involvement on House’s team either temporarily or as an ‘as needed consult’ next season to fortify it’s diagnosis abilities?

    Another great review Barbara. Can’t wait to hear more of your and other readers insights over the next week. BTW, I’m not done re-watching either!

  • Twinkie

    Hello Barbara–great review, thanks! I wonder what happened to Wilson? He was taking House to rehab and then House turned to Cuddy for help. Why didn’t Wilson come along, why didn’t he stay at House’s apartment, too? Any thoughts?

  • barbara barnett

    Twinkie–I think Wilson probably touched base with Cuddy during this time. Wilson’s and knows he’s in good hands. Maybe Wilson enjoyed having not to deal with House’s issues. And he could go back to his practice.

  • Lentils

    In the bathroom scene when House was crawling towards the discarded pill, Amber said that if he took the pill, he didn’t deserve Cuddy, and if he took the pill behind Cuddy’s back, then he didn’t deserve anyone. Yet House still reached for the pill anyway. This kind of self defeating behavior is astonishing…just goes to show how intolerable his pain is and how he honestly believes that he didn’t deserve anyone. He also believed that the reason Cuddy was there was for the sake of the hospital, and not for him. Aww House… 🙁

    Maybe I’m sadistic, but I really really enjoyed the scene where House is detoxing, and I wish it could’ve gone on longer. Hugh Laurie is absolutely amazing beyond words. Loved the Amber restaurant scene, too.

    I also don’t believe that the Huddy scene at the end was a figment of House’s imagination. If it is, I’ll be really angry haha.

    Oh and btw, ECT can be used to treat schizophrenia as well as depression. Even though schizophrenia usually manifests in early adulthood, drug-induced schizophrenia can occur later in life, so it was a legitimate (if not very probable) possibility.

  • Kit Sum

    Great review, Barbara Barnett. I have always loved reading your reviews.

    This episode is superb. I cannot decide which one is better- House Divided, or Under My Skin. Breathtaking performance by Hugh Laurie, as always, Anne Deduk, Lisa Edelstein (I love her), and Robert Sean Leandro. Hugh, Lisa, and Robert have great chemistry together. Anne. Just amazing. She should have a permanent role in the series!
    Hugh, Lisa, and Anne totally deserve an Emmy just from this episode.

    My favorite scenes in this episode are Huddy in the office and all the scenes showing House detoxing. They are heartbreaking. House asking Cuddy for help really shows his feeling for Cuddy and what he thinks about her. Like Barbara and other people said, House needs Cuddy because she’s the only one who knows him well enough to put up with him and to support him. Now to the detoxing scene. I don’t know how Hugh manages to do that, but seriously, he really seemed like he was detoxing and going through a lot of pain. That haunted me. Also, the face Cuddy had when House was holding her hand saddened me. Cuddy was/is really worried about House. Beautiful scene played by the two of them. That would probably glue to me for the rest of my life. Same thing goes for the bathroom scene. I had tears in my eyes when I watched it. Someone brought it up in her/his comment about what Amber said when House tried to take the pill. Great observation. House actually hesitated a bit. I loved that. Thank God Cuddy beat him and flushed it into the toilet! I love the college talk and the line “I haven’t lied to you in 20 years.” That was soooooo sweet. I’m so glad that Cuddy, or the show, finally reveals some past history of Huddy. Cuddy was into him when she was an undergrad, and she is still into him. However, I don’t know what’s changed in Cuddy that made her “confess.”
    Now, to the made out scene. That kiss Cuddy gave House was very sweet. IMO Cuddy wanted to tell House he would be okay and she will always be there to support and to help him. I also think that House was actually expecting a peck, but instead he received a very sweet kiss from Cuddy. He looked a little surprised and shocked afterward. Then one thing lead to another. You know how it goes. Anyway, I really love how House closed the door, pushed Cuddy to the wall and they kissed. That was hot. It’s totally different from what the kiss they shared in Joy. I love both though.

    I was a little thrown off when Cameron and Chase talked about the sperm and stuff. It just didn’t fit the episode. However, I’m sure this little thing would lead to a bigger and more significant action between Chameron in the future. So I don’t really mind!

  • Kit Sum

    Oh. I forgot to mention that I don’t think the last scene was an hallucination. There’s no clue (at least to me) in the episode that foreshadowed that was an hallucination. Also, I read LE’s interview. She said that there would be a big change between Huddy in the finale. If House and Cuddy really didn’t have sex, how was that going to change anything?

  • Patann

    Please, can Hugh Laurie have his Emmy now?
    He deserves it after that mindblowing performance last night, so intense, edgy and the ending – wow.
    Barbara, I’ve been reading your reviews on House every week for a long time and this is the first time I’ve added a comment here. I’m always eager to read your insightful views of House, they are so well written and express what makes the show spectacular (most of the time!).
    Can’t wait to read your review of the season finale!

  • barbara barnett

    Patann and all first-time commenters: welcome! Just so you all know, the RSS feed link now work for the comments sections again! Thanks too for all of your kind comments about this space. I’m as excited as everyone else about the finale.

  • Sera G

    Amazing, Barbara!
    That applies to both your review and last night’s episode. I think this season has just gotten better and better.
    Many people already said so much of what I was thinking, and some things I had not considered.
    Chase and Cameron…what to do about her? She is so guarded and puts barriers in the way of her own peace of mind. Who does that sound like? I would like to see these two find happiness, but Chase deserves so much more than the crumbs she allows him. I hope the crying in the promo is her telling him she has been an idiot and wants a total commitment between them. Chase is so sure of what he wants and his patience is admirable. Who would have suspected that from the spoiled brat playboy from season 1.
    Others have used the word, but it is the only thing that fits; chilling! Amber’s scenes were just chilling. I thought they couldn’t top the strawberry allergy, but they did. She is an amazing actress. I wondered if TPTB regreted letting Anne Dudek go and keeping 13. Sorry fans of 13. However, she has been so much more effective as the manifestation of House’s darkest fears. Kudos to her!
    Now, on to my favorite subject. I LOVED the whole detox sequence. The fact that House went to Cuddy shows, as has been said, his unstinting trust in her. She knows, values and cares for him. Those emotions are evident in all the seasons. Just as House can read her, Cuddy knows him and he can’t get away with faking this time. I loved her patience, comfort and stability. Lisa is terrific. She and Hugh are incredible. Together they are magic.
    As Barbara said, House went to Cuddy with his leg pain and now with his mental anguish. He knows that he can count on her. After all, she has proven it over and over. I won’t recite all of the examples but; protecting him from Vogler, trusting his extreme medical solutions, perjuring herself and now staying with him through a horrible detox. That is more than friendship.
    I must repectfully disagree with XJK that Cuddy dragging out a 20 year memory was not a declaration of love. I found that scene very emotional and telling. Here is a woman who became intrigued by the “legend” and put herself in a position to get to know him. She audits the endrocrinology class and is doubly rewarded; finding her future specialty and the man who is THE MAN for her. The look on Cuddy’s face and then on House’s made me think that she was telling him, in their ‘code’ that she has loved him for 20 years and will love him for 20 more.
    I do not believe that the kiss and subsequent love making (not calling it sex. I’ve waited 4 years and 23 episoded for love making!) were a hallucination. That would be too much of a cheat to make his agony, the baring of their feelings, the passion they poured out in this kiss, (even more than in “Joy”) just imagination. That is my hope anyway.
    What is ahead? Those darn promos are quite clever at making things appear as they are not. I hope that Cuddy’s tears are not disappointment that he has slipped with the Vicodin (she could handle that, probably even expects a long time addict to relapse) or anger that he confided in Wilson. I am going to pretend that he tells Wilson because he feels so happy. Yes, I used the ‘h’ word in the same sentence with House. Why can’t he be happy for a little while? I know that there are troubles ahead, but it would be fun to see a little relief for House/Cuddy and Wilson after all they have been through.
    I speculate that Cuddy will be the one to pull away from her feelings, either because it is too soon after the detox to trust House’s emotional state or because her 20 year ‘dream’ just might be coming true. She has a bit of a problem with happiness, too. I would love to see House pursue her and convince Cuddy that it wasn’t just sex (or hormones as they show in the promo).
    Sorry I went on so long. I could probably go on further, I have been anticipating this episode and it didn’t disappoint me.
    It will be great to look back at this season as a whole over the long, long, long summer.
    Barbara, looking forward to your interview with Doris Egan. Again, many thanks for this wonderful place to put the House pieces together.

  • Debbie

    Excellent review, as always, Barbara!

    Best episode of the season. Period.

    It was chilling, compelling and haunting.

    And as far as Chase and Cameron, Chase deserves someone better than Cameron. He’s been incredibly patient with her, and she does not appreciate him.

    I would love to see you do a character analysis on Chase as you did with Cameron!

    Can’t wait for the poll!

  • barbara barnett

    Sera–I also hope that’s what Cameron’s crying about. I think Chase is one of the best written characters on the show. Chase has consistently grown and matured during five seasons, as you say, from playboy to a good surgeon and a patient, loving man!

  • Peachie

    Well, I think this was a dream. Remember House going to sleep in the sleep room at the hospital.. They never did play that up correctly. It started with House going to bed and the next scene was him coming into Wilson’s office and Wilson asking if the sleep helped. That scene just did something to me… it didn’t seem right. The other part was Cuddy going after House. First, they would not have been in the same class. House was a senior and Cuddy (a freshman) would not have been able to audit the class if you were not accepted into Med School. I hope its not true, but in my soul I believe that House hallucinated all of it. Plus, are you going to tell me that Wilson wouldn’t have gone and told Cuddy that House was hallucinating…. Or Foreman going to Cuddy and telling her that something was wrong with House..

    As far as Chase and Cameron – sorry fans, but I really don’t care for them. I always fast forward past those two. I think its just Cameron though. I like Chase. Plus, I see Cameron and Wilson together for some reason. I know I’ve written that before, but for some reason, I think they have a secret relationship that will be revealed later.

  • Jenn

    Hi there Barbara. Wonderful and insightful as always. Just out of curiosity, how many times do you view an episode before writing?
    I am very glad I rethought my viewing process for the end of the season (in terms of seeing the last 4 episodes as keys on the keyring of Simple Explanation, unlocking various locks for House), because I really enjoyed this episode, even more than I did with House Divided. Each new ep builds on the previous one. None of these can stand on their own. From the beginning I was enthralled.

    In particular:

    -Hugh Laurie is…just….I mean…holy crap. I have never seen the like before. The man is an acting phenomenon. We knew he was good, even exceptional – we’ve seen it plenty of times – but did we know he was THIS good? Examples: The most painful detoxing House has experienced yet, bring him to the point of tears, which HE ACTUALLY ALLOWS SOMEONE ELSE TO WITNESS (the other times he has detoxed on screen for us, people have seen it, or parts of it, but he has never been that vulnerable); the gorgeous simplicity of his utterance “Wilson, come get me” – so quietly said, and perhaps the first time we have ever heard genuine fear crackle into House’s voice. If he doesn’t get an Emmy this year, then there is something seriously wrong in the universe and I am busting out the torch and pitchfork and storming Hollywood – it could get ugly.

    -Anne Dudek – as the demon on House’s shoulder, we have passed from the little insinuations to outright taunting. I knew she wasn’t gone for good after the insulin incident, and when the humming began, I thought “uh-oh.” Forget shows like Supernatural or Lost or Fringe or whatever, the song at the restaurant was perhaps one of the most sinister moments I’ve ever seen on television. I got chills at that moment. Also, thoroughly creeped out by the arm-slicing thing.

    -Robert Sean Leonard – Wilson, for all his nosiness and well-meant scoldings, proves what a true friend he is. His concern for House when hearing about the hallucinations (and not massively freaking out when finding out it is actually Amber he is seeing, not Kutner), the bolting from his seat to House’s side when he realizes House has injected insulin into himself, the subtle sitting-in on differentials (and not tattling to Foreman or the others that House is losing it)… This is why we love this relationship.

    -Lisa Edelstein – beautifully played. Ready to dismiss House as a jerk (I’m thinking of the “bas—- child” comment) and yet, when hearing what he’s experiencing, she is willing to work him through it. These two really know each other, from her knowing where to find his stash of pills, to the early morning bickering about “breathing too loud…” And then there is the kiss. Say whatever you want about various ships on this show (personally the only ones I will acknowledge out loud are Taub/wife and Kutner/Me!) the passion is obvious between House and Cuddy. There’s no ulterior motive – just raw desire from two lonely people whose lives have intertwined more intricately than they’ve even realized. Their relationship is now a big knot – regardless of what happens in the bedroom or in the boardroom, these two are never going to be free of each other.

    -Taub! I really think that Taub has been stepping up lately in a significant way. We’ve seen him volunteer to grow a cancer in order to treat it, get the right answer with sarcodosis, and in this ep find a way to restore viability to a dancer’s hands and feet. I can’t help but think Taub knows that he got a second chance, thanks to Kutner letting him take credit for the locked-in diagnosis – something he apparently did not get to acknowldge or thank him for – and he wants to make that last gift from him count. For the sake of his friend’s memory, he doesn’t want to be afraid anymore. Good job, Taub, and while you’re at it, knock Foreman down a peg or two. 🙂

    -Cameron/Chase – wait, what? Didn’t we already do this, with the doubts and such? I’m sorry, I really like this pairing, but I just feel like this C plot came from the friggin moon. Are they broken up? Is the wedding postponed? What’s going on? For some reason I feel like there was an episode between HD and this one that I missed. All I can say about these two today (while both acted great, especially Jesse Spencer) is HUH?

    Just my two cents…Oh who am I kidding, this post is so long, it’s at least $3.50. Sorry :S

  • mk879

    Barbara, thank you so much for your thoughtful review. I got hooked on House in February and have since watched every episode (most of them more than once!). Fortunately, I stumbled upon your reviews after Unfaithful and check your site relentlessly till you post the review. If it weren’t for your reviews, I think I would be lost – your insight and cogent analyses add many, many levels to my understanding of the House character and the show itself. I get too sucked into Hugh Laurie’s performance that I can’t analyze the episode and all its many parts. Your readers’ comments are very helpful too and I find myself nodding and agreeing with many comments.

    Now, last night’s episode – WOW. I have little add to what others have already said. I think this is one of the best episodes of the season. When I watched House’s Head for the first time a few months ago, I don’t think I blinked or breathed throughout the entire episode, my heart was pounding. I found myself in the same state last night (except during the interminably long commercial breaks). Hugh Laurie’s performance was absolutely amazing and breathtaking.

  • carolyn

    Dear Barbara,

    I can’t thank you enough for getting so excellent a review up so quickly. And I’ll be happy to read any 7+ pages you want to post!

    I am still in awe of this episode. Hugh Laurie blew me away. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. If he doesn’t win an Emmy this year, I’m going to storm the ceremony in protest. Anyone care to join me?

    I’ll never be able to express my jumbled thoughts as eloquently as so many other commenters, but here’s my attempt . . .

    “I always want to kiss you” finally articulated House’s strong feelings for Cuddy, something many of us have long reasoned to exist but he had yet to state outright. He let down his last barrier to her, after she had supported him in his most vulnerable state. All the agonizing moments in this relationship throughout the season can now be seen in a new light, as we know for certain that House has been suppressing his passion in every instance. The cold, jerk-like remarks – the missed opportunities in so many episodes – stemmed from a deep and highly guarded insecurity, one which could only be said through a revealed bit of House’s subconscious: “If you take the pill, you don’t deserve her. If you secretly take the pill, you don’t deserve anyone.” He even remarked that she was just with him to protect the hospital. I have to say, it’s this unguarded House whom I love the most. Your empathy senses can’t help but go on overdrive when you see him so revealed : )

    The sheer intimacy House and Cuddy share is profound and moving. Even my friends, who thought they were so awkward together, are die-hard Huddy fans after this episode. That they are perfect for each other seems obvious on many levels.

    On the one hand, I loved the raw emotion in the very last scene. All this pent up passion, from certainly this season – if not longer, just boiled over: voracious is the word that comes to my mind. It was so sweet too, with House’s sincere voice (the same one he used when he said he wouldn’t miss the baby naming ceremony “for the world”) to that first little kiss and House’s subsequent face, with those eyes like, “I can’t give her up again.” But then again, that promo from last week is killing me! Why did they cut it short?! Sigh. Maybe outtakes on the DVD, or the clips in the finale preview suggest that it’s going to begin with the same scene or there’ll be a flash back. We can only hope . . .

    As two quick side notes, I thought it was funny that Cuddy was reading a real estate magazine the night after House’s detox. David Shore poking fun at the fact that they’ll never be a white-picket-fence sort of couple, perhaps? I also thought it was cute how House ordered onion rings with extra onion.

    I too wonder about House’s rapid recovery. You would think he’d be in more pain in the end . . . and what’s going to happen next episode? Will he go back to the Vicodin? He can’t be over five seasons of pain in one night. Hmmm. And as for what exactly Amber represents, I’m also at a lost for an original suggestion.

    (As a warning, you might not want to read my next sentence if you want to be totally spoiler free, as it talks about a scene in the preview for next week.)

    Did anyone else notice after House says, “Her words say no, but her hormones say oh my god yes?” there’s a short clip of what looks like a heat-sensitive picture of Cuddy on House’s desk, with a file open? It’s 0:27 in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfSfPxCBlAo&NR=1). Any speculation? (but not informed spoilers : ) )

  • carolyn

    oh yeah, sorry I meant to say sorry my post was so long, and Jenn great minds think alike so far as storming the Emmys with pitchforks : )

  • Kit Sum

    Re: carolyn

    I saw that promo. At first I thought that was a heat-sensitive pic of Cuddy too. But then I was confused because in that promo, there was a girl who got slapped right? She looked a lot like Cuddy too in that moment. So I was thinking that might be a pic of that lady instead of a pic of Cuddy. I don’t know LOL. We will find out next week!

  • DebbieJ.

    Last night’s performances by Hugh, Lisa, Anne and Robert were just nothing short of brilliant. Especially Hugh. Would Emmy please just hand him an award already. If last night’s performance doesn’t do it, nothing will.

    I love House at his most vulnerable, whether it’s in physical or emotional pain and last night was a whopper! (God, what does that say about me!) The emotions I felt for him last night were so intense. My heart broke for him during his detox. My daughter and I squeezed each other’s hands during it, it was so raw.

    Anne Dudek was simply spine chilling; I will forever have the singing in the pub scene ingrained in my brain.

    My only complaints of the night were 1) that the detox was over by morning. I guess it was just for time’s sake, but they could’ve allowed us to believe that more than 12 hours had passed. And 2) I didn’t appreciate that they teased us with the promo for last night’s (finally) hook up, only to get a smidge of it and then have to wait another whole week for the rest!

    This episode is by far my favorite of the season (I said that last week, too) and my second favorite of the series, right behind Three Stories.

  • barbara barnett

    Jenn–I watch an episode twice before I begin to write. First time either on DVR or as it airs (although I despise the commercials). I get an idea as to angle or the hook upon which to hang the review. Second time through I stop and start and get the structure of the episode down and then I write. Sometimes I write after a first viewing, sometimes it takes three, but usually two. Then after it’s up I watch it just for pure enjoyment.

    I have a pretty thorough knowledge of the series, so the connections happen in my brain pretty organically, although I occasionally forget a name or mess up an episode title.

    Sorry to be “meta,” but that’s the process.

  • barbara barnett

    Peachie–here’s how I see the school thing. House went to Hopkins for medical school. that’s established fact. I would think he was a grad student or taking a summer school course or something at UMich for that endocrinology class. Endocrinology is not nec. a medschool class it could be a graduate/advanced undergrad biology class as well. Auditing rules are very different than taking a class for credit. Cuddy would not likely have had the prerequisites for it, but might have audited it without credit, to check it out. I’m of the belief that House went to graduate school (my personal feeling is in Chemistry) between undergrad and med school.

  • Ana

    Best episode of the season. To finally be able to watch House and Cuddy express their mutual feelings, without any interruption, any double meanings, their bare souls, their true sentiments, was celestial. Hugh and Lisa are amazing together. Best chemistry I have probably seen in my entire life. Those performances last night were perfection. Hugh, Lisa, Robert and Anne were again at their best.

    Please, give Hugh and Emmy already!

    And I can’t even talk about the makeout session. Undeniable real, and really proud of loving them together!

  • Becky

    Kit Sum – I respectfully disagree that Cuddy’s kiss was “sweet”. I have watched it several times (don’t even ask how crazy my husband thinks I am!) and I think she was saying A LOT in that first kiss. He leaned in just for a peck. No real mouth opening, no arms/hands, just a kiss. Cuddy moved much further to House than he moved to her (though, of course House initiated it). Then, when they got close, she intentionally opened her mouth. And when she looked at him afterward, you could FEEL the heat coming from her eyes. I feel like she was saying in that kiss, “If you want me, I’m yours.” …Just my opinion, though.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, you wrote an amazing review for an outstanding episode. You captured everything there was to capture in it. I’m running out of superlatives for your articles and for the entire season. I think S5 is the best season yet (if I leave out S1, which I think will always be my sentimental favorite), and this was one of the best – if not *the* best – of S5. Yes to everything you said. And to all the comments that followed, too.

    I’ve been fixating on why House’s mind chose Amber ever since she appeared (was it really just over 2 weeks ago?? Seems like she’s been back forever!). When she first appeared, I had thought she might be one of his saviours. And now, even though her behavior was certainly not what one would expect from a conventional “savior”, I think she may have had that kind of an effect on him, in the end.

    I had the same reaction that everyone else did to Anne Dudek’s star turn in the pub. My blood ran cold! Her cruelty shocked me. And then I thought to myself – so does House’s, sometimes. Very often, in fact! Yes, Amber was the one flaying House alive, taking his skin off piece by piece, exposing his deepest fears and insecurities – taunting him, mocking him, forcing him to stare his problem in the face, recognize it, stop denying it, and take the action that finally helped him solve it (for the time being, anyway.) But it was a series of behaviors that we’ve seen House manifest many, many times. Only usually he does it to others, and this time, he was doing it to himself. It’s a significant component of the way he teaches people. (It’s very like the way he acted towards Taub just recently. Pushing Taub to what looked like rock bottom. But Taub was able to resurface, and I was so happy that he got to take home the final epiphany in this episode!)

    I think House may have been applying his own method to his own problem. Granted, his subconscious was taking it over the top this time, but we know Amber had a similar mix of cruelty and caring in her, too. Remember how she messed with 13 in “Guardian Angels”? Remember her line to 13: “There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. If the ghost of a man you killed doesn’t screw with your head, there’s something wrong with your head.” (And we know there’s really nothing wrong with House’s head!) Could this have been a foreshadowing for House’s hallucination?

    So now I’m wondering. When and if his own cruel impulses come to the fore again, will he recognize them for what they are? Will he think twice before he flays someone else? Will this experience make any difference to his relationship with those around him? I really do hope we get to see some sort of reaction.

    Hugh Laurie deserves his Emmy. There’s no question about that. But if Anne Dudek doesn’t get one for this recurring role, I’ll be really disappointed. She was just about as good as he was. And that’s saying a lot.

  • simchasd

    I know that I am in the minority about this, but I can’t help feeling that there was something a little odd and stilted in the last scene between Cuddy and House. Cuddy is putting on her jacket when she casually says something like, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He responds with an intense, “Thank you.” Doesn’t anyone else think it’s a non-sequiter for Cuddy to reply, “Do you want to kiss me?” Doesn’t this seem out of left field? Isn’t she putting herself “out there” again? Well we will see where all this leads to next week. Thank you for the great review as always Barbara.

  • Kit Sum

    Becky – Thanks for your disagreement. I have always loved argument even though I’m not good at arguing! (Don’t say I’m crazy LOL.) I understand your point of view because I actually saw that in the kiss too. However, to me, the intention of supporting House is a little bit stronger than then intention of Cuddy giving herself to House. I don’t know why, but that feeling just stood out to me.

    p.s. If I get a penny for watching it once, I would be very rich now LMAO.

  • Kit Sum

    I just re-read my comment. I can’t believe I typed the wrong last name for Robert Sean Leonard. What the beep was I thinking when I wrote his name?

  • Luisa Borges

    Barbara, thanks for the heads up on your process in writing the reviews.

    Your powers of association and cross reference always amaze me (I’m a big, big fan). And I was kind of wondering if you had a big white board yourself.

    Loved the bit of inside stuff. Thanks!!!

  • Jaim

    I don’t think anyone has brought this up, but I was struck by what House said to Cuddy in her office about her daughter: “Go home to suckle your bastard child if it makes you feel better.” The look on Cuddy’s face was so wounded. What I think is interesting about this scene is that she rightfully tells him to screw himself, and is all but willing to leave him, but the moment he says he’s hallucinating she is back by his side. This is very telling of how much they’re willing to forgive of each other. However, I think that this could be a problem for Cuddy in the future. She is a mother now and while she has a nanny to watch her kid, I’m sure she doesn’t want to always place Rachel second to House.
    I think she’ll pull away from him in the next episode because the detox and the sex opened her up to being even more vulnerable with him.
    I think that the next episode will begin where this one left off. They’ll show the rest of the sex scene. I definitely think it took place because in the promo for next episode House seems to be pushing for Cuddy to acknowledge what happened, whereas she is putting distance between them again. I actually think this tryst has renewed something in House and he really wants to see what could happen between them now, but he’s forcing the issue in all the wrong ways i.e. shouting it over the hospital balcony or telling every one of their colleagues about it.
    The Cameron thing is just irritating. I really don’t get why Chase is in love with her. I like Cameron usually, but never in regards to her relationship with Chase. She is always testing(maybe unconsciously)Chase, and much like House, she is trying to find out what will finally make this relationship break. I seriously think it’s time for Chase to reconsider her as a life mate. I actually really want to see him with a new love interest next season. Maybe she needs to really lose him for a while to realize that she’s acting irrationally.
    Did anyone else find it ironic when Foreman said Cameron had issues because she married a dying guy? He seems pretty serious with 13, risking his career for her in the past episodes. She even voiced to him in “Big Baby” that she wanted to have kids. So, does he ultimately have similar issues to Cameron’s, considering 13 only has a few years left to live as well and they seem to be committed to each other? Or does this mean that he’ll never officially commit(marriage) to 13 because of her fatal illness?

  • barbara barnett

    Luisa–just inside my head (well, I actually have a gigantic white board in my office nearly six feet long and four feet high. But I don’t use it for my writing, just for teaching. )

    thanks everyone for your contributions. We may all think this is HL’s emmy submission, but we haven’t seen the finale yet. So I’ll wait till after that airs to give my opinion!

    I noticed on re-watch how much the team was concerned yet said little. House looking in the other direction (at the non-existent Amber) and paying no attention to what was being said. He was really down the rabbit hole during much of his Ddx sessions.

  • Johnna

    I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t already been said…this episode was breathtaking. The detox scenes were my favorite, they are simply sublime. I don’t know how Hugh Laurie does it…the man simply astounds me with his dramatic range.

    I agree wholeheartedly that House at his most vulnerable is an incredible gift. I love how Hugh Laurie and the writers can combine such confidence and vulnerability by turns into one character.

    I can’t wait for next week! I see these last two episodes as two halves of a whole, like the season 4 finale last year. With that in mind, I don’t feel confident giving my opinions on these last few episode arcs until I see the conclusion next week. Thanks to Barbara and everyone for a wonderful discussion experience, week after week!

  • sdemar

    Barbara, I think this is one of your best reviews. They are all fabulous but this was perfect.

    There was so much to love in this episode: storyline, writing, acting. Before I knew it the hour was over.

    What I especially loved was how House relied on the two people that mean the most to him and they, in turn, were there for him. No game playing or manipulating. Unconditional love from both Wilson and Cuddy. I especially loved the whole apt scene between House and Cuddy. It was heartening to see them both open. Even Cuddy’s face showed a gentleness to it as all barriers were down.

    I do believe that hot and erotic kiss was all in House’s mind and that is why we didn’t see the whole scene that was on the Fox forum or any of the sex scene. It didn’t exist. To show it would have made it real. I think that was David Shore’s “real cool way” to show that House and Cuddy had sex. I do believe all the other scenes preceeding that were real though.

    What can you say about Hugh’s acting? Never ever ever over the top acting but instead perfectly played. Hugh has such beautiful facial expressions.
    God bless him.

    And kudos to Anne Dudek. I don’t ever want her to sing to me. Creepy. I wonder if it was Anne’s suggestion or the director for her to do the ballet steps when she was walking down the hall with House. She had such fascinating gestures and movements throughout the episode I couldn’t help but feel most of them came at Anne’s direction.

    I believe Cuddy and Wilson will realize the seriousness of House’s delusional state when he insists he had sex with Cuddy. And I am confident Amber is going to come back and that will be when House takes the final spiral downward. I’m so nervous for him.

    I was thinking about the vicodin. This year House seemed to really have his addiction under control. There were several episodes where he didn’t take any pills. Perhaps it was laying dormant and the shock of Kutner’s death brought the addiction back to front and center again. How tragically sad that he was hiding the pills in his shoes. Like an alcoholic that has bottles hidden all over the house. I am curious when all the dust settles and he is back to himself, will he try to change his habit?

    How does Hugh do it and keep himself mentally OK? Acting in a normal series is one thing, but playing this character who has the mind stuff going on like House constantly does, is Hugh able to simply walk away and call it a day when filming stops? It would be an interesting question to ask him.

    One more episode and season 5 is a wrap. What an incredible ride it has been.

  • Kit Sum

    sdemar – your comment made me believe that actually the sex scene was a hallucination for a moment. However, if the person in that heat-sensitive picture was really Cuddy, and with House’s line “your lips say no, but your hormone says OMG! Yes!” it could be possible that House and Cuddy really had sex. OMG. IDK. Evil David Shore and FOX. Always misleading the viewers!

  • Marisol

    This is only the second time I post a comment, although I really enjoy reading the reviews and comments of the readers. Just a couple of things:
    Assuming that the detox and time with Cuddy are not hallucinations (I don’t think so), I think that the fact that Cuddy audited endocrinology because House was taking the class is very significant. Of the many specialties that she could have chosen, she ended up being an endocrinologist. I don’t think this takes away from her being a strong woman. Very often a person will make career decisions based on their admiration for someone both from a professional and personal point of view. Also, a high IQ can be a very powerful aphrodisiac for someone like Cuddy. I don’t think that this can be just discarded as a silly crash of a school girl and I also don’t thing that her ending up as an endocrinologist is pure coincidence.

  • sandra

    As one of the comments before pointed out, Cameron is not ready to commit, and especially not to Chase because she still has feelings for House. And she know he has feelings for her too. Yeah, all the Huddy fans out there don’t like to hear it, but he does, just like he has feelings for Cuddy, Wilson or to cut it short: his inner circle. I just can’t wait to see what TV Guide’s Matt meant with “former lover” 😀
    I’m rather annoyed by Cuddy’s stalkerish confession. If I ever hear anyone complaining about Cameron still having a crush on House I’ll scream. Cuddy having a crush on House for 20 years and thus behaving like a lovesick girl around him in the current season is so much more annoying.
    The detox… wow, I really suffered with House, it felt so real! Hugh Laurie really deserves an award for such brilliant acting. I doubt he would have been able to perform the morning after though, but I guess it was like “Let’s give the Huddy fans something to shut them up” 😉

    “I kept double taking: why didn’t he pick Wilson, his “official rescue man” to watch him detox. Why Cuddy.”
    Easy, I doubt it actually has something to do with Cuddy being Cuddy but with House being not so sure if he and Wilson are already back to the point to ask him for help like that. Especially because he is hallucinating Amber. Anything else is shippers’ interpretation.
    It was a good episode, not the best but in this season one of the best (which is not hard, after all it is a weak season if you’re looking at it from a non-Huddy shippers POV). Can’t wait to see what the finale will bring. I guess it will end with House being admitted. Highly doubt it will end up with House and Cuddy actually being together (as in being a couple), that’s more something for fanfiction and not mind-blowing enough for the finale anyway.

  • cj_housegirl

    An absolutely terrific review as always Barbara. I loved this episode and have already watched it multiple times. It is riveting.

    I too thought back to Skin Deep upon viewing this episode. It is interesting to note how and under what circumstances House confides in the two people he’s closest to.

    In Skin Deep, with breakthrough pain wearing him down, House goes to Wilson for a medical consult. Wilson gives him an MRI and a lecture. House doesn’t tell Cuddy. In Under My Skin, House goes to Wilson for medical treatment and much more again. He also doesn’t tell Cuddy.

    Yet, in both episodes, once he has run out of options and is at his most desperate he goes to Cuddy. He is able to be vulnerable with her. She sympathizes with him but doesn’t cave in to his demands either. Wilson can be harsh toward House when it relates to House’s drug dependence. He tends to get impatient and frustrated with House and goes the tough love route. Cuddy is much more able to deal with House’s drug dependence without giving into him or giving up on him. Wilson has shown that he can do both, give in and give up.

    While I may question the way Wilson sometimes handles House’s dependency and misery, there is no questioning his loyalty. Robert Sean Leonard was excellent in this episode and Wilson was a strengthening presence for House. I just loved the scene where he took off from the cafeteria table after House told him about the insulin shot.

    I agree with everyone else in regards to Amber’s chilling singing in the diner. It made my skin crawl. It’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen on TV, and House’s face just fell. The shock, then realization, and the fear on his face were devastating to watch.

    I also adored the Cuddy and House scenes but so many people have already talked about them that I won’t go too much further, except to say LE was wonderful and Hugh Laurie was frighteningly good.

    I’m hoping LE gets an Emmy nomination this year. She so deserves it, as for Hugh he deserves to win it! Good God. I keeping thinking we’ve seen the best of him and then we get this!

    I can’t wait for the finale!

  • cj_housegirl

    Oh I forgot. I did want to talk about the Cuddy confession about auditing House’s class and her admission that she thought he was an “interesting lunatic” even then. That comment took me back to Humpty Dumpty when Cuddy told Cameron that she knew House when she was an undergrad and that he was already a legend; plus her admission in Joy to the World that she has terrible taste in men.

    My view of it is that Cuddy heard about this “interesting lunatic” at her school and had her curiosity piqued. She decided to check him out by auditing one of his classes. I don’t see that as anything more than harmless school girlish behaviour.

    What’s interesting though is that House had no clue! Then or now. He didn’t know she chose that class to check him out. He also didn’t even know she took the class as an audit and not as a credit. Whatever feelings Cuddy had for him them, she obviously kept them well hidden from House. I’m not sure if this is when they had their one night stand but I tend to think it happened later.

    I think that both Cuddy and House went on with separate lives and only re-united when she hired him after he had been fired four times and couldn’t find a job. Like she told Cameron, the big question is not why is hasn’t fired him, but why she hired him in the first place. Cuddy still had a soft spot for the interesting lunatic. I don’t know I just find that rather romantic on Cuddy’s part. She’s also proved how smart she is by not confessing anything to House. But House now knows, and that was a courageous if not an out right dangerous confession by Cuddy. I’m definitely interested to see what happens between them now.

  • Wnkybx

    Re: #61 Sandra

    I respectfully disagree about Cuddy being a lovesick teenager. I love her character and feel a need to defend her a bit, all in good fun, of course! 🙂

    I still see her as a strong woman; we’re just getting to see a different side of her that wasn’t developed in previous seasons. She’s no longer just his foil who shoots down most of his requests for absurd tests, and I love that she is no longer one-dimensional. I don’t consider her choice to audit the endocrinology class as stalkerish: an ambitious, brave, young woman saw something she wanted and went after it. If a guy did that for a girl, we may consider it romantic. She must have been an intelligent pre-med (for House to cheat off of her) and knew the class would give her a leg up on med school, with the added bonus that she gets to hang out with the “interesting lunatic,” even if it was just to be inspired by his brilliance. Auditing that class definitely had its academic perks, so she was smart to do it. If she were purely stalkerish, she would have just stalked him at the library or bars … no reason to suffer through an extra course to do so. As for her behavior this past season since “Joy,” I see her as becoming familiar once again with her potential for passion (that kiss unleashed so much between them) and going after it, even though it wasn’t a successful attempt. Some viewers have labeled her as pathetic for chasing after him, but hey, she’s an alpha female! She’s the boss lady! And she doesn’t necessarily follow society’s expectations for how male-female courtship should go. She wanted a wildly successful and prestigious career, went after it, and got it. She wanted a baby, went after it, and got it. She has realized her feelings for House after Joy, went after it … well, TPTB will determine how that sentence ends. 🙂

    As a sidenote to those who don’t believe that House and Cuddy have chemistry: I watched this episode with a friend who had never seen a single episode of House. I didn’t tell him anything (except that I thought Hugh Laurie is a fantastic actor), and his only comment about the episode (before the kiss) was, “Wow, look at those two! You can cut the sexual tension with a knife.”

  • simplethings

    I was eagerly awaiting the review this week, and as always it was worth the wait.

    I have seen this episode an embarrassing amount of times, but I’ve seen the last 15 minutes or so of House in detox at least twice the last embarrassing number.

    Every line in this episode was twice as powerful because House is never like this. We never see him not deflect, we never see him let others into his pain, and most of all, we never see him so complete ripped apart.

    I loved this episode for the simple reason that it showed us House’s insides without the road blocks of his deflections. While I typically love reading between the lines in a typical House episode, it was so refreshing and startling to be handed House’s thoughts on a silver platter.

    It was frightning to be let into his thought process, especially when he couldn’t trust it anymore, and the whole episode I was waiting for him to turn to Cuddy.

    Even the words, “I need you” completely took my breath away because it is so highly unusual to see him put himself out there in that way.

    To me, the heart of this show is the trifecta of House, Cuddy, and Wilson. What I noticed about this episode were such clear parallels with other past episodes.

    Take DNR from season 1. That episode showcased a POTW who was losing his “one thing,” his ability to play the trumpet. It was all he had and without it, he was alone, and basically rendered himself useless and life wasn’t worth living.

    This week’s ballet dancer similarly was losing her beauty, her hands, and her feet, extensions of her true talents. She wanted to choose death over losing these things.

    My question is, what parallel does her gonorrhea (sp) infected boyfriend play within House’s life?

    Another parallel, and this one more clear and already mentioned: House’s Head and Wilson’s Heart.

    In this week’s ep, we see House at his worst relying on Wilson to come pick him up at a bar. We then are later taken to House’s detox with Cuddy, where she takes his hand, fully aware of how much he needs her, just like at the end of Wilson’s Heart. However, in “Under My Skin” House is much more aware of how clearly Cuddy wants to be there for him and is in fact choosing him over Rachel.

    Even the next morning, we see her with the same blanket in the same chair as in House’s Head, but this time, we finally get some truth telling out of her as to why she stayed with him, unlike before where the viewer had to draw their own conclusions.

    Finally, in House’s Head, House fantasizes doing a differential diagnose to a stripping Cuddy. He wants her intellect and body, but we don’t get any real results.

    Well, here we are at the end of “Under My Skin.” Inside a doorway interestingly enough (someone a long time ago commented about how important doorways are to this show and how being in one, outside/inside is significant). After a seemingly impossible night of exposing his physical and mental vulnerabilities to Cuddy and for her baring her thoughts to him, to me clearly wanting to say to him, “You’re mine and you have been for years,” they kiss.

    Both defenses are down, this is a time where they can finally cut through the crap and with Cuddy, I felt her longing and 20 year build up to be with House. She’s loved him (IMHO) for 20 years now and her hopes and fantasies of being with this man are finally being realized. I saw that in the way she kissed him and saw in House the appreciation that someone who saw him in the state he was in the night before would actually still be there in the morning. I also saw love, but I don’t want to get my head ripped off by anyone who hates their relationship.

    Wow. A lot of rambling.

    This show. The tight writing. The amazing acting. The philosophies behind it. I’m just stunned on a week to week basis that this show isn’t getting more credit than it receives.

    Thanks for reading my ramblings (if you did). And thank you Barbara for a setting in which I can share them comfortably.

  • Shaz

    Sandra: If you were referring to my comment then no I did not say Cameron could not commit to Chase as she still had feelings for House. I believe the only people she allows herself are those who she can do so for short periods of time (her husband). By extension if I thought she wanted House, I would conclude it was because he’s unattainable or the relationship would not work either.
    I also disagree with comments that Cuddy is acting like a lovesick child. If anyone has been acting that way towards House, its been Cameron – as clearly shown when she blackmailed a date out of him etc. Also, if Cameron did have personal feelings (and she could have) for House, it is clearly not reciprocated. House has not shown much love, as oppossed to professionally-related, interest in Cameron. His racier hallucinations have been of Cuddy and he has been shown to have initiated kisses /pursued sex with Cuddy (Joy etc) and Stacy (I did like the Stacy arc by the way). The only kiss with Cameron is one she clearly initiated, and that was only to distract him so she could get a blood sample off him
    I do not hate Cameron – I like the fact that she has been shown to have matured through the years. But she is flawed in the commitment area. But all the characters in House are flawed in some way… and at the apex of the pyramid is House, the most flawed of them all.

  • Shaz

    Actually I am about to contradict myself in part, as I just remembered how irritated I was with Cuddy in “Let Them Eat Cake” and “The Greater Good”. She did act up in those two episodes.

  • simplethings: “I have seen this episode an embarrassing amount of times, but I’ve seen the last 15 minutes or so of House in detox at least twice the last embarrassing number” haha ditto!

    so many great comments, had to read some of them diagonally, due to the lack of time at the moment. sorry in advance if someone has made the some observations.
    just to add another 2 cents here (if we had a piggy bank around, wouldnt we be rich by now).

    on why House chose Cuddy to look over him, and not Wilson:
    Amber is there to explain us why. The only way for House to not try to cheat, is when he has something to prove, to someone. Uusually, when he comes up with the radical ideas, he has someone to prove his intellect to: his rational self (we know how much he cherishes his medical genius), as well as the other doctors around. Now, with the detox, we can see he has hit rock bottom. He is filled with self loathing. He doesnt believe in himself, there’s nothing left to prove to himself -he has lost faith (when he is packing with Wilson at his apartment, his mind (Amber) knows it’s not going to be done. There is no challenge). So he needs someone to chalenge him. Someone to whom he can prove he can do it.
    Amber expresses it perfectly: “if you want the pill, just sent her (Cuddy) home. but you can’t, because that would be admitting defeat to HER”. She is a woman. She knows him. He probably has some feelings for her. She challenges him. She always looks up to him –He always has to prove something to her. She always expects the best from him, even in his darkest times.
    With Wilson, it’s not exactly like that. House doesn’t need to prove anything to him, he can go as low as he wants with him, Wilson knows him the good and the bad way (and doesn’t always expect the best from House, beacuse he has seen his bad side again and again). So it’s not that Wilson wouldnt be there for him, or that he is too kind not to be able to stop House (Cuddy is also kind and guilty and could be manipulated). It’s that, exactly because she is a woman, exaclty beacuse there is this tension betweet them, that he will restrain himself and try to prove that he can do it. “Now this is interesting. If you take the pill, you dont deserve her” -there it goes. Verbally expressed. And then, the whole: “if you secretly take the pill, you dont deserve anyone”.

    Watching House detoxing was literally painful. Give him his Emmy already!!

    also, i loved the directing in the House-insulin shock scene/ballerina wake up on the MRI. Great editing.

    Anne Dudek is pure genius.

    also, loved the “Um, would you want to check with Wilson?” “Good one” House-Foreman intercation. In general, the team is doing a great job. As someone above observed they practically solved two cases all by themselves during the last episodes, with great ideas and have achieved good chemistry between them.

    PS. Saw House detoxing? That was me during the summer hiatus.

  • Grace

    Barbara and all, I have no words. I started watching HOUSE on the first night…after AMERICAN IDOL I think. I didn’t know Hugh Laurie or any of the cast. I probably would have changed the channel, but there was nothing I wanted to watch, so I thought I’d watch this new show for a few minutes.
    Well Hugh had me totally mesmorized before the end of the episode. Those few minutes turned into 5 years and counting.
    I have no adjectives to describe my feelings for Hugh Laurie or his talent. My only wish is that when Hugh gets all of these awards and compliments, that he would truly believe his worth as an actor and as a human being.

  • nc

    A couple of other things I noticed or wondered about.

    The magazine Cuddy is reading in House’s apartment is Fishing.

    House says he cheated off Cuddy in the endocrinology class she audited. Strikes me as more likely that he pretended to cheat in order to check out the gorgeous brunette next to him.

    Cameron’s brinkmanship strikes me as a clever way to show that relationships can’t survive the burdens of ambivalence.

    Anyone else think it’s ironic that the dancer’s problem is revealed when she’s dropped during a lift? That whole dance sequence looked like it was under water, too.

    And yes, if HL, LE, and AD as guest star, don’t make the Emmy noms, then the awards have no meaning whatsoever. All the season finale can do is reemphasize their worthiness.

  • Tourmaline

    Thank you for an excellent review Barbara. It’s getting close to 24 hours since I saw the episode, and I’m still completely floored by Hugh Laurie’s brilliant acting. As a long-time fan (since the mid-1980s) I’m so proud of him – let’s hope the Emmy people finally take notice!

    It’s good to see Anne Dudek back too, I must admit to being a bit sceptical of the storyline when I first heard that she’d be returning, but she’s such a fantastic actress – funny, too in this episode – I’ll miss her when she’s gone.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks everyone, for your comments. Tourmaline, HL has come a long way from the “Georges” and Bertie, hasn’t he? He’s a masterful actor. There was a time in the early 90s when he was cast in some serious roles: All or Nothing at All, Pin for the Butterfly, even Peter’s Friends (he really had the only dramatic role of the males in the cast). He showed real flashes of incredible range and a lot of dramatic ability in those films.

    I’m really glad that we get to see him really at his prime in House. I was thinking about the range of emotion he had to express in Under My Skin. He knows the medium and how to use it. I think in this episode, he took us into places within House we’d never before traveled. We’ve seen him in a lot of emotional states before, but his panic in the pub was striking. And in the bathroom scene, he was a wounded child as he looked up into Cuddy’s eyes after flushing the pill. Phew!

    Any one of the last several episodes would have sufficed as a season-ending cliffhanger. I do wonder what’s in store next week. And I am incredibly excited to be interviewing Doris Egan to discuss the episode the day after it airs.

  • Jen

    Thank you Barbara! Yet another excellent review! I so look forward to it.
    The House/Wilson scenes…The House/Amber scenes…The House/Cuddy scenes…the entire episode! Emmys all around if I have my say…watched it 2x already and have already put it on my ipod for later at lunch! HL is just so sexy no matter what, and I felt so bad for him during detox and revealing all his trauma and that he couldn’t get Amber “out”. Can’t wait for Monday! This has been so much fun reading the posts for the last half of the season!
    Thank you all!

  • JimR

    I HATED this episode. There were parts that were good (House losing his mind, the bar scene). But there were other parts that were obnoxious and insulting (insulin shock, complete detox and hot sex with Cuddy all in a single 24-hour period? Yeah, whatever.). And Chase and Cameron have become just plain annoying.

    But it was the rapid detox and Cuddy sex scene that bothered me most. You don’t detox in one night. And after the first night, you’re definitely in no shape for some hot sex. And we’re supposed to believe Cuddy just went along with that? Give me a break. The writers really dropped the ball here.

    The show hasn’t jumped the shark yet, but they are on the ramp…

  • Elianne

    I don’t understand what the writers are doing with Cameron, she was a strong character now she’s just a weak plot device. I think there’s still so much more we can learn about her character but all we get are glimpses of her dysfunctional relationship with Chase, scenes that defy continuity (this is the third time the writers have changed their minds about her poor dead husband storyline), and creepy lines (“I have my husband’s sperm”).

    Could someone explain to me what Cameron wanted from Chase as a prenup? Did she want Chase to agree to keep her husband’s frozen sperm just in case their marriage failed or a sperm sample from Chase? Why does Foreman know Cameron better than Chase? I’m just glad that Chase has finally realized that Cameron is not ready to marry him, IMHO if he can’t be patient with her he should leave her. I just hope that Cameron crying in next week’s episode isn’t because she agreed to get rid of her husband’s sperm. But enough with the drama.

    I’m very disappointed with Jacobs and Shore, back in January they sounded quite excited when they said they had finally found a way to integrate Cameron and Chase into the show, I just hope there’s something more than a marriage for them, so far all Cameron does is playing Chase’s confused girlfriend, she’s a doctor, it should be easier to write in a doctor in a show about doctors.

    Barbara, I heard that you’re going to interview Doris Egan, would you be so kind to ask her if they have the intention to bring Cameron or Chase back into the fold next season as doctors, anything so that their fans would have something to look forward to season 6? I’m very worried about it and quite hopeless, perhaps it’s time to stop watching the show, nearly two years of waiting and I don’t think this is goig to change. Thanks

  • Melanie

    I was stunned by this fantastic episode and I am still haunted by it. I don’t care about the script’s improbabilities (cf the one night detox) as long as the emotion is there… and it was !

    Just like many other commentators, I was deeply moved by the portrayal of House’s detox. The first scene, when he’s in serious pain but still able to tell Cuddy where he hid his pills and to fight Amber’s bad influence… Wooow !!!! Congrats to Hugh and Lisa… They were fabulous ! Amber says to House something like « I don’t recognise you anymore », and neither did we in a sense : a scared, then vulnerable House allowing Cuddy to witness his mental and physical weakness is a very rare and precious thing (especially for us Huddy Shippers) !

    The hookup scene… was just perfect ! A brilliant moment of truth and passion between the two characters. Too short though. Five seasons of patience could have been rewarded with a little more (I curse the previews !). A lot is left to our romantic minds…

    Although I’m very much looking forward to the next episode, I am a bit worried that it could go back to the usual bickering between House and Cuddy, both returning to their usual roles. Arrrghh… I wish we could enjoy more tenderness between the two ! As you say, Barbara, this episode could have been a cliffangher, it could have ended the season…
    I don’t want the season to end on a sad note… but it’s probably heading towards this… (chews nail, then bites entire hand off in nervous anticipation…)

  • barbara barnett

    “I don’t understand what the writers are doing with Cameron, she was a strong character now she’s just a weak plot device. I think there’s still so much more we can learn about her character but all we get are glimpses of her dysfunctional relationship with Chase”
    Elianne–I don’t think she’s a plot device. She’s a character as messed up as the rest of them. I think the fact that Cameron’s kept the sample all these years tells us something about her–(and I think her line about not knowing her husbnd would die is a throwaway line in her litany of “don’t knows”). She got the sample because she knew he was going to die. Maybe his cancer wasn’t necessarily terminal at the beginning. If I recall, it was thyroid cancer that metastasized. Thyroid cancer is treatable.

    I think Cameron has had commitment issues since the beginning with Chase and he’s been really pretty patient with her.

    I love the way they’ve used chase (and Cameron too) these last few episodes. I’m not sure what you’re looking for. JM was really excited about these episodes. What would you want to see happen? This is a real issue they’re dealing with regarding the cryogenic sample of sperm. It’s an issue of trust between them–on both sides. Clearly their story is not going to dominate the episodes, but their story was the “C” storyline in this episode as it was in the last–behind House and the patient’s stories.

  • barbara barnett

    Melanie–Too much tenderness and it wouldn’t be House. Dribs and drabs are what we would expect. Steps forwards and back. I think the season is going end on a tremendously sad note. It almost has to at this point. Looking at the first four seasons:

    Season 1: Honeymoon. Stacy is back; he declaration that House has always been “the one” is hollow because of Mark. She’s now close but unattainable. That final scene with House trying to walk normally still haunts.

    Season two: House is shot, and bleeding to death on the gurney, he asks for another chance at a normal life after wrestling with his own subconscious.

    Season three: the team is fired, stunning everyone in the viewership. But House seems fine and pretty nicely adjusted to it.

    Season four: The sucker punch of HH/WH and Amber’s death. downbeat in the extreme.

    Season five: We don’t really know, but I would venture a guess that it won’t be happy.

  • Elianne

    Barbara, I loved Cameron in Saviors, The Itch or Big Baby because she wasn’t just Chase’s girlfriend she was also a doctor and she contributed to the medicine, but in the last two episodes she’s done nothing but getting ready for the wedding. I agree that their story shouldn’t dominate the episodes and I’m glad for it because I’m not watching House for the soap opera drama. The problem is that I don’t see how this storyline is going to bring them back into the fold, because their wedding has nothing to do with House. Cameron and Chase aren’t House’s best friend, they’re not sentimentally involved with him and they don’t work for him anymore, and those three are the only way to get screentime on House.

    JM’s always excited when she talks about House, she’s glad to have the chance to be working on the show, she’s a sweetie, but I also believe that she and Jesse as well would like to be working more on House.

    What would I want to happen? I’d like to see Cameron and Chase working as doctors again and in every episode, not just during the sweeps period.

  • Melanie

    Thank you for this helpful summary Barbara.
    Since I watched the four seasons and a few epi all in a row last october having discovered the show on French TV in august, I didn’t have a clear view of each season closing episode…
    It makes for grim reading. I’m getting prepared.

  • Flo

    Great episode. Not as good as the previous one but excellent nonetheless.

    Hugh Laurie was superb, Anne Dudek was at her tops. The diner scene was really creepy and well done with Amber standing in the light and happy singing vs House sitting in the dark, freaked out.
    The detox scenes were great. Amber taunting House with the pill, is also chilling because of what it means to him. I think Barbara and everyone here talked greatly about that scene so….

    The differentials scenes were also good. The ducklings really were worried but were too scared to say something. Until Foreman (the elder) dare to ask ‘his grumpy old man’ what is wrong with him. I liked Foreman in this story. House couldn’t hide his hallucinations pretty well this time.
    It was great to see Chase again, and to see him taking a part in the differential. I took it as a gesture of loyalty toward House. Chase showed that, no matter what is going on, he is here to help. He does it quietly and without asking anything. Very tactful. It shows that House can also rely on him for the job when he can’t do it properly himself. Chase really has grown a lot these past five years.
    Taub is starting to be really good at this job! Good for him!

    The PotW was interesting with her skin problem. The parallel with House was well done wit some great parallel editing.

    Wilson and Cuddy at their best. Supportive as ever.
    Wilson was great, lecturing House in a good way. The “living but destroying your rational mind” speech was spot-on. He was caring and read House well. Robert Sean Leonard was great.
    What more to say about Cuddy? Brave, strong, supportive and caring as she can be. The scene in her office is really important. House is pleading but she is here for him as usual. I agree with jaim about the horrible comment he says to her (“Go home to suckle your bastard child if it makes you feel better”). She is first (and totally understandably) angry but as soon as he tells her he hallucinates, she immediately forget the comment and is willing to help him. I think Jaim is right to say that it says a lot about their relationship and their capacity to forgive each other.
    I liked the discussion between House and Cuddy in the end. It was quiet and honest. It is interesting to see that House who is (or was at the moment) the guy who always knew everything about everyone, didn’t have a clue that Cuddy was just an auditor at his endocrinology class. Makes me (and possibly him) wonder what else he doesn’t know about her.
    I agree with XJK with the 20 years of unrequited love. I think that confession, says a lot about their relationship and Cuddy’s feelings towards House but I don’t think that she is just in love with him for 20 years and just simply waited for him for that long. I believe it is more complicated.
    I think that by this confession, Cuddy tells house that he should know better, that it is obvious she is not here for “Hospital property”. She basically tells him: “cut the crap, we know each other for at least 20 years, I just saw you break down and throw up all night, you know I never considered you as a jerk hospital property”.
    She tells him the truth. In college, House was probably a legend as ‘the weird, jerky genius student’. So she is just saying that after checking him out, she thought the legend was wrong, hence the “even then”: she thought he was ‘an interesting lunatic’ back then and she didn’t change her mind today. That also says a lot about her capacity to see through him. She already had it 20 years ago.
    Great acting from Lisa Edelstein. I like how she broke eye contact for a minute before the confession, the way she turned her head and touched her shoulder, very self-consciously. Very good. Yes she deserves an Emmy nomination.

    I also agree with shaz (yes I know I agree with a lot of people) about the Cameron/Chase storyline wasn’t really consistent to the episode. It didn’t really fit. Too bad because it good to see Cameron again too. Her insecurities are back in full force and it is interesting. I like her, and how she grew as a character but, in this episode, I really couldn’t care less about her problem.

    Great review again Barbara. So many good comments too, thank you!

    Ps: I really dislike the new site. The adds between two comments are bad. The preview button has to be back!
    Am I the only one who have trouble to have all comments? The 1st, 11th, 21st etc. ones don’t appear on my page. Why?

  • XJK

    #63 cj_housegirl and #64 wnkybx – thank you for more stating the house/Cuddy relationship far better than I could!

    Barbara – thanks for the review of the previous season ends; the scene of him attempting to walk, as you say, is still so powerful. Your mentioning it makes me wonder how he’ll be with his pain in the final episode. Is it Monday yet??

    Another rewatching later (I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one doing that!), and this still stands out as one of my favourite episodes to date (disbelief firmly suspended). The detox scenes keep replaying in my head, him being physically and mentally tormented and assaulted, and it is some of the best television in years. The end scene was definitely hot – and just what I’d been hoping for to bring the Huddy arc forward. I watch to enjoy the ride the writers provide and they didn’t disappoint!

  • XJK

    Flo – glad someone else sees it how I see it 🙂

  • barbara barnett

    Flo–the techies are working on making the comments section more user friendly. I noticed when watching on my computer that in the morning scene, House is still shivering. He has his arms wrapped around himself, and there are a couple of moments where his shivers as if he got a sudden chill. Subtle stuff. Very nice.

    I also really liked Foreman in this episode, challenging, curious, but not snide. All of them were clearly worried about House, who seemed to be zoning out of the differentials (of course we know he was listening/watching Amber) much more than the week before. Amber was much more real and much more dominant than the actual “real.” Only when Wilson or Cuddy were around was House able to (even slightly) ignore her insistent presence.

    I agree with you XJK and everyone who said this was really television at its finest. And acting at its finest. Kudos all round for this wonderful ep.

  • Cinnamon


    Thank you for a nice review, as usual.

    I was wondering what your take on the kiss was? I thought it was truly a beautiful passionate moment and they sure tore in to each other.
    What are your thoughts on why they cut the scene instead of showing what they show in next week’s previews?
    Also, why do you think House seemed to not be in pain at all that morning? He’s Vicodin free??


  • Eve K

    TPTB seem to choose the dark themes of suicide, insanity and madness for this last few episodes of House. That is a scary and brave move, and not so much used in broadcast television I guess. Suicide is said to be contagious, seeing someone go into a psychoses can have a bad effect on some people, viewer discretion is advised.

    Hugh Lauries take on the Houses character in a resent interview is interesting, and much like the way I see him. He says House has never been that stabile a person. I say he has no solid inner core. He survives by deducing everything and everyone around him. And when his deduction skills plays tricks on him, he is loosing it. Laurie also said House is capable of doing great damage. Laurie is an amazing person, and it is an honour to get to see him work with this difficult subject.

    If House have some kind of neurological disorder (his genius), and is subjected to a lot, and I mean A LOT of stress, it can manifest in psychoses or other signs of temporary insanity. (As can all others, but the stress level and the things that are stressful is different)
    Top it of with the Vicodine addiction, and hallucinations is not a surprise? I think hallucinations must be some of the most scary symptoms of mental illness. But the fact that House is aware of it is a good sign. I hope TPTB dare to go further down this dark road in season six, and it certainly seems so.

    Great comments and a great review. NB I do miss the review function on the comment post. My comments often needs editing before posting!

  • bluehue

    First time read for me of a B.B. review – which I found to be
    very measured and heartfelt. A wonderful follow-up for HOUSE fans….THANKS for the meaningful words.
    I woke up the next morning after this latest ep, it must have been under my skin, as my actual first thought of the day was that the awesome “at the door then wall” make out was NOT REAL. Please indulge. In back tracking, it seems that after the (Twin Peakish) “hum” dinger bar ballad by Amber, the now very horror-stricken & shaken House calls out for a Wilson pick up, though he was on the phone with FOREMAN. That is nearly the same fix House was in last season, (as Ms. Barnett says too), except that instead of being out of his mind drunk, he is “just” out of his mind. Everything that occurs after that sad wimper, is less than real to me. Maybe I just think it would be an extraordinary story line to leave House “out there,” in fact, waaaay out there, limping along his inner dark dissociated path – following a only a tiny bread crumb trail back to reality.
    Oh the turmoil – makes my head spin. It’s hard to be a House fan.

  • katie

    Thank you so much, Barbara, for your splendid review. Everything has already been said. Definitely the best episode for me. Brilliant and a superb acting by Hugh Laurie (no surprises there and Anne Dudek. Personally, even though this was a Huddy episode, I don’t necessarily think Lisa was that great. She was good but not outstanding. RSL was almost better IMO. All in all, a terrific episode.

  • KMC

    Thank you Barbara for, as ever, your insightful commentary.

    My one negative with the episode was, of course, the length of the detox..which was extremely unrealistic, and House being in such good shape the next morning…also unrealistic. Also, doing it at home like that, away from medical supervision (which means more than just Cuddy standing guard), was recklessly dangerous, at best.

    That said…I loved how the “ducklings” were shown to be able to take over and successfully solve the case…and why not? They are supposed to be the best he could get in their fields. It’s good to get a chance to see that.

    Chase and Cameron…I’m afraid he’ll always be standing in the shadow of her dead husband…and her never resolved feelings for House.

    That bar scene with Amber was truly chilling, Anne Dudek was giving it all she’s got and it showed.

    As for why House picked Cuddy over Wilson for the detox…well, if you think about it, Wilson, even though he has been trying to get House to explore other avenues of pain management besides larger and larger doses of pain meds, even so far as masterminding the bet Cuddy made with House to go a week without Vicodin (Detox), is still House’s enabler, writing his perscriptions for said pain meds. House probably suspected (or knew) that while Wilson was willing to find the best place for House to detox and take him there, then let the professionals take over, if Wilson had been in Cuddy’s place during the one-on-one detox, he, Wilson, might have folded at seeing House stripped to the bone of everything that makes him House…down to the drug addict…in agony…caring about nothing but his fix. I’m not sure Wilson has the emotional strength to have dealt with that..and maybe neither was House.

    The acting in the episode was outstanding from everyone…and if Hugh Laurie ever deserved an Emmy…which he has…it’s for this performance.

  • magz

    Hello, Barbara. I enjoy your reviews and thank you for the insight they provide. I loved the episode and think HL is just amazing.

    Was anyone else very annoyed by the misleading Fox “for the Huddy fans” teaser? I mean, the teaser said, “that was then, this is May 4th”, and alas, it *wasn’t*. Yes, it makes me look forward to the final episode of the season, but I honestly felt let down while watching on Monday.

    Like many other posters, I thought the pub scene was wonderfully creepy. Was that Anne Dudek singing? If so, she actually has a very sweet singing voice, which was completely incongruent with her demeanour, the song’s lyrics, and House’s very palpable fear.

    A few things bothered me in this episode:

    – Why was he celebrating in the pub? Yes, he was undoubtedly thrilled that Amber was gone but hadn’t he decided that if the insulin-shock drove her away it meant he was schizophrenic? Why would that be cause for celebration?

    – House is packing his shirts so that Wilson can bring him to a rehab facility near Philadelphia, then abruptly says “Good night” and walks out. Wouldn’t Wilson follow him and stay with him after that? Given that House had just called Wilson to come fetch him at the pub, why wouldn’t he stick around to make sure his friend was okay? Or maybe follow him to see where he was going?

    – In several episodes, when House suggests some very radical procedure or test, Cuddy confronts him to challenge his decision. In this episode, she already knows he isn’t sleeping, and yet she is apparently completely in the dark about the patient’s status. Wouldn’t she normally have been involved in the ‘stop-the-ballerina’s-heart-to-get-a-clear-MRI-image’ test risk analysis?

    – Like an earlier poster, I thought there was something a bit off in the last scene, where Cuddy says, “You want to kiss me, don’t you?” and House replies “I always want to kiss you”. I can’t imagine Cuddy would say that, and hardly think that House would answer that way either – I would have expected a snarky answer instead. Admittedly, she practically confessed her feelings for him; when she said, “I am not here to protect hospital assets” as the second part of that sentence (which I posit could be “I am here because I care about you”) went unspoken but was certainly implied. And he never looked so vulnerable as when he dove for that last Vicodin pill and looked up at her with shame at his desperation, expecting her judgement but finding only compassion instead. Still, the tone of that last exchange struck me as not quite right.

    Yeah, I know, I am nit-picking. I think the show is great and enjoy the surprises the writers bring about every week.

    I am looking forward to next week’s episode, but wonder how I will get through the summer without my Monday night addiction….

  • Ellen

    Excellent review. I’ve lots of guesses as to what will happen in the finale, and how that will change our perception of “Under My Skin,” but it’s “spoilery” so I shall not elaborate. I’m just loving the hallucinations (and Anne Dudek’s GREAT acting) and how they reveal House’s deepest, most repressed feelings and fears.

    I think next week is going to be very upsetting, leaving us distraught over a fictional character for the summer…AGAIN!

  • Jackie

    Thank you Barbara for the excellent analysis. I’ve rewatched this episode three times already from start to finish and then watched from the diner scene through to the end. It was really interesting to hear dialogue and medical techniques culled from previous episodes from seasons 1-4 popping up in this one. Cases in point: “I need you” (House to Cuddy in “Half-Wit” season 3), the stopping the heart (little Andie in “Autopsy” season 2), the Wilson “Come get me phone call” from season 4 and calling Wilson prior the the insulin injection – just like paging Amber before the knife went into the outlet in “97 Seconds” – season 4. Even the Wilson car ride after the diner scene put me in mind of the drive to House’s father’s funeral in Lexington. I took notice also of the rainy weather outside the diner – reminiscent of so many times where House has commented about rain and a somber mood.

    What has me thinking now is the White Bus scene from “Wilson’s Heart” (season 4’s finale). Now I could be totally wrong here, but in my opinion Amber was never on the White Bus as Amber. She was House’s subconscious in that episode as well. I am replaying that conversation between the two of them and this is what I am taking away from that moment.Maybe I’m hallucinating now!

    Now regarding this past Monday night’s episode. If Hugh doesn’t win the Emmy for this episode he never will. The diner scene was so powerful (detoxing also) that when Hugh was finishing his converation with Foreman and then heard Amber’s humming leading into “Enjoy Yourself” – talk about an actor showing fear/panic/horror in two seconds flat, I also noted his shudder when he closed his eyes after he called Wilson to pick him up and the couch scene in the morning. He is subtle. I remember watching the end of “Kids” when Cameron and he are discussing terms for her returning to PPTH and when she said “A date,” Hugh (I think it was at that moment) moved his head ever so slightly but it was discernable. That’s the genius of Hugh Laurie. It is a tribute to the acting and writing that this review as well as those generated on other sites have spawned enough comments so that the viewers are kept guessing until the finale credits roll for this season on Monday night. It will be interesting to watch to see how this all plays out.

  • barbara barnett

    Hey Jackie, I noticed those two shudders as well. He was doing better by the next morning, but all that much better. He was cold, and had his arms wrapped around his middle. That little bit of the chills, though much lessened was still there. Beautiful subtle moments.

    But that moment in the diner. WOW! What a powerful, chilling, disturbing scene. The dawning recognition that all was still not well for him.

    House was celebrating his victory over Amber and having gotten back to himself. Diagnosing the dancer and himself, curing both.
    What brought the hallucination back? It was the recognition that he wasn’t back to himself.That triggered it.

  • Debby

    Great insight into the character of House and his interactions with his colleagues and Cuddy. I taped the show but need to watch it again. I am very nervous about the finale and worry about what the shocker will be!

  • Debby

    Oh, if Laurie, Lisa and the show don’t win an Emmy this year, I will be disgusted. Thay have turned in very powerful performances, especially Laurie, this year and especially in the final episodes!

  • carolyn

    Re Kit Sum (45): yeah, you’re right! but check out the outfit Lisa Edelstein is wearing in the video in Barbara’s interview with her last week – doesn’t it look just like the person in that picture?! You can see the shorter hair, suit jacket and shirt coming up to the neck . . . not that it would really help us at all anyway, what could a heat-sensitive picture of Cuddy even mean anyway? : )

  • carolyn

    oh, and I’m sorry to comment again, but I don’t think Cuddy’s line, “You want to kiss me don’t you” was out of place if you think about it. She opened the door, put on her jacket, clearly intending to leave – and he just stood there blocking her way. How could she respond snarkily to his heart-felt thank you? Maybe she could just see it in his (expressive) eyes.

  • Kim

    Hello everyone!

    Great episode and great review. I have watched the episode twice and the Huddy scenes embarrassing times ; ).

    When we first (S1) met House characters. We saw them working at the Hospital, where they were self-confident treating patients. They know how to do it and they do it well. Patient comes, patient goes. No emotions.
    The time goes by and we start to learn more about them and that means how they are and what bothers them. We witness their emotions, feelings, fears……etc.
    So, I don’t get why the people think that if a character shows his/her feelings to sb/sth make the character a weak person. They become vulnerable, but not weak. We get to know another part of the character, that’s all.

    About the Cameron’s death husband sperm.
    Barbara ? “She got the sample because she knew he was going to die. Maybe his cancer wasn’t necessarily terminal at the beginning. If I recall, it was thyroid cancer that metastasized. Thyroid cancer is treatable.”
    When I read this I remembered that Celine’s Dion husband suffered from cancer. He had the sperm frozen before he started having chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer. Chemo and radiation are quite strong and they would like to have kids in future. And I think that was the same reason Cameron and her husband had when they decided to keep the sample. But, why she tells Chase? I don’t know. Maybe, she wants to be clear with him.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, I really hate to be a kvetch, but this new website format is giving me headaches. I’ve been doing my due diligence, spending plenty of time here trying to get used to it, but I just can’t read here.

    Forget about the missing preview ability, the paged comments, and the ads that appear embedded. It’s not that stuff. The font is way too small, there isn’t enough contrast on the page, and the interspersed faint bands of color make it even worse. Granted, my eyes aren’t as young as they used to be, but I spend lots of time reading lots of text on computer screens, and this is the only site giving me such problems. (And I have no problem reading ordinary printed material, but on this site – I can’t even print!) 🙁

    Ninety-eight comments (congratulations, btw! You’ll have the BC record for responses before you’re done.) I really want to enjoy them all, but I can’t. The article itself isn’t hard to read, but I’ve basically had to skim the comments, which is a real shame, considering all the the additional insights and observations that are such a pleasure to find here.

    Please tell TPTB at Blogcritics. I may not be quite the precise demographic that they’re looking to satisfy, but at this rate, readers thirty years younger than I am will be ruining their eyes on this site pretty quickly!

  • stcy

    fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.

  • barbara barnett

    Hi Orange–I am totally with you on this. It’s very hard to get through pages and pages of comments. This is an unusual feature for BC in that it generates a lot of discussion. The politics section is another that gets lots of comments, and people are no happier there. We’ve raised the issue and it’s being worked on.I’m going to forward your comment to the BC PTB(I was kvetching myself pretty strongly last week about this, the RSS situation, and a few other things that need to be addressed)

    So hopefully you can hang on with this a bit longer.

  • Orange450

    Thanks, Barbara.

    Of course I’ll hang on! I couldn’t imagine missing all the upcoming treats you have in store for us – your finale review, Doris Egan interview, and other goodies you’ve promised during the summer. It’s just that I want to be able to enjoy them fully, in the manner that they deserve.

    Makes me wonder what kind of focus groups BC used.

  • Great, great stuff Barbara – I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said in the other comments.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks Mary! It’s one of those episodes that one can’t get enough of. Subtle little things on each rewatch. Finally saw the little Amber dance move, other stuff. Can’t wait till Monday.

  • 60 plus

    Just as we’re running out of superlatives to describe Hugh’s acting and everything else about this episode, it’s also becoming more and more difficult to find ways to express appreciation for your reviews…Just add my thanks to the growing list.

    Although I have not read back through all of the comments, I don’t recall many mentions of the team’s dynamics–including Chase–in this episode. At the end, he seemed to be functioning as a team member. There were glimpses of a different level of confidence and determination in the four, especially after Taub insisted they continue without House and Chase said, in so many words, that if they couldn’t come up with the answer, she would die because they weren’t smart enough to solve the case without House. In the end, of course, they did. (Interestingly, Foreman was the one who wanted to call it quits…)

    I recall that some time back, one of the TPTB (maybe Katie J.) said that the season’s end would bring a shock that would reverberate throughout the hospital.

    I’m wondering if these last team scenes might be setting the stage for what we’ll see at the beginning of Season 6 if House is unable to head the Diagnostic Department.

  • 60 plus

    Forgot to add that I thoroughly agree with Orange450’s take on the new format, lack of preview, etc. The font is not only small, it is very “gray,” making it harder to read.
    Coming to the site is not the comfortable, user-friendly experience it was.
    Not that that will keep me from looking for updates incessantly! 🙂

  • Celaeno

    I was absolutely blown away by this episode. I don’t have much to add to the discussion except for a few thoughts about the Chase and Cameron storyline. I have noticed a lot of people saying that their developments seemed to clash with the rest of the episode. I didn’t get this feeling at all; actually, I felt that their scenes worked very well.

    In this episode, we see (as we have seen many times in the past) Cameron struggling with her commitment issues while Chase waits with quiet patience and compassion. I know this isn’t a perfect parallel, but I think that Chase is devoted to Cameron in the same way that Cuddy is devoted to House. Toward the end of the episode, both Chase and Cuddy say to their respective partners something to the effect of “I love you and care about you in spite of everything”. I just found it incredibly touching, and I laud Shore & Co. for such a consistent piece of character writing.

    I really hope next week isn’t too devastating… I’m way too attached to these characters for my own good!

  • Sera G

    To simplethings, re: #65
    Bravo, ditto and thanks for saying what I have felt (and said, ad nauseum).
    I admit to watching the last 15 minutes many, many times. TPTB could have devoted the entire episode to the two of them in the apartment. (Don’t get mad, just my own little fantasy.)
    I think this time Cuddy knew how desperate House was (finally hitting rock, rock bottom) and she was able to open up to him, knowing that he had made himself as vulnerable as possible. There were no games to be played as in “Let Them Eat Cake”. She could finally acknowledge her 20 year love. By the way, great comment that he thought he knew all her secrets. That was a fun moment of discovery. What do they say? The best marriages are those when the partners still find something new in a person they have known a long time. With these two, there would never be complacency or boredom.
    I am trying not to feel too much dread about next week’s finale. I am staying spoiler free. I want to savor my Huddy moment. The passion, need and hunger in their kiss was amazing. I’ll repeat myself, they have incredible chemistry!

    On a different note brought out by someone, why does this show not get the attention and publicity it deserves? It has ranked in the top 20 (often top 10) most of this season. According to TV Guide it is the #4 DVRed program. You never see mention on the entertainment shows (ET or Insider.) Is this a choice on the part of Fox or the producers? Is fluff (sorry, that was harsh) easier to promote?
    I know that was off topic, but it bugs me when NCIS is profiled every week and never a mention of this phenominal program. OK, I’m done now.

  • byzantine

    Dear Barbara,

    While I am not certain that whatever I have to say is new, I could not help but say it. Thank you for your review and for giving us a chance to express our thoughts and loves (I used the plusar because they have different shapes and forms) for House.

    I have been eager since the second half of this season to see House’s humanity, mostly because Hugh Laurie is so very good at portraying it. I missed the glimpses he allows us into House’s thoughtfulness and concern for other human beings. For the most part House has been mean and arrogant but I thought that in this last episode he was finally more humane or may be even more human. Whatever the reason for it, I heartily approve, as it gave Hugh Laurie the chance to display the wide range of his acting skills.

    House must have been shaken to the core to openly admit to Foreman that he was lucky, rather than rational, in his deduction that the ballerina’s boyfriend gave her the STD (for as it turned out it was the other way around). This was, I think, yet another reference to one of the main themes of the show this year—House’s diagnoses are not based only on scientific evidence or brilliant deductions, they are also products of circumstance and pure luck. House has been struggling with the many clues that kept pointing to him the role of the random and the uncontrollable in his medical epiphanies.

    I am even more fascinated by the fact that House was given an important lesson in human relationships—humans do things for other humans out of love and affection. I suspect he’s been pondering this since ‘Big Baby.’ Jeremy was present at the ballerina’s side because he loved her, not because he felt guilty, as House initially thought. House called Cuddy on her reasons for keeping vigil at his side only to find out that she did not treat him as the hospital’s asset but as a human being for whom she deeply cared. The question is whether House has learned anything. I am apprehensive about the last episode, in fact I am dreading it for House apparently has to remain House, or so David Shore argues.

    On a different note—I thought that the choice of a dancer as a patient of the week was very clever. It played on the whole notion of House and Cuddy relationship as a dance. Their last scene was somewhat choreographed, their embrace, the twirl, and it even seemed as if he picked her up. Several scenes between them in previous episodes were I think made to appear as a dance, playing on the long established cultural metaphor of courtship as dancing. I liked the way in which the physical aspect of their coming together was handled; instead of a culmination it felt more like a door, a stepping stone and a new beginning (and it did happen at the door). I know that some people were upset but I am glad that there was no bedroom scene which would have added to the sense of finality and fulfillment. I am pretty certain that ‘House’ will not suffer the ‘Moonlighting’ syndrome, I am counting on it actually.

  • Meena

    Thank you for your review, yet again, Barbara. In my opinion, and I may have said this before, but you really have a talent for skimming out the general connections and themes of this great show, and yet discerning the important, individual, essential details (very few people are good at both!), put to superlative use in this episode’s analysis.

    I don’t want to tread too much of what others have said…I really love this episode in its parts, but I don’t think it quite gelled as a whole. The Cameron/Chase stuff was just confusing when it didn’t need to be, there was very little acknowledgement by the team as to why House was so off (amongst each other) – it struck me as odd. And, I also was confused by the insulin shock thing until I watched the episode a second time, and I still don’t know why schitzophrenia was crossed off the Envelope Whiteboard if his hallucinations came back later on. What can I say, I hold this show to high standards! (especially after last week, and at the end of the season.)

    OK, with that aside, Amber freaked me out, deeply – and not just the singing, which is creepy for reasons I can’t even begin to figure out. She was so much more active, more violent, using more props (like typical House)…Instead of just being an all-access pass, or even a manifestation of his more dark impulses, she developed into something so much more complex. She should have been the one to say the “ba***rd child” comment to Cuddy, silently, and yet House did out loud – so was that horrendous comment really a deflection? right when he was just about to ask her to help him in a very intimate way? or were they starting to flip positions, or meld in some way that will make it harder for him to extricate himself from her? (if this makes any sense to anyone). Especially in the bathroom scene with the lone Vicodin pill – she became his conscience.

    What acting this episode! When House said “you do” to Cuddy, explaining to her how she was the only one who knew him well enough to put him through the ringer of a real detox, I teared up the most. HL is just simply a brilliant actor, I think the heavy detox scene will be the “money shot” for his Emmy chances, but the way he can take two simple words and embue them with such complexity of emotion, I’m stunned. He got game and then some.

    As for the end, I loved that House had the door open, as Cuddy was about to leave, when she asks him if he wants to kiss her. If they had left, the spell of intimacy would be broken – but without the threat of it breaking, there would be no reason to be so honest (whoever commented on the importance of doorways on this show is a genius). And, true to their relationship, I loved that their kiss was a ‘game’ of sorts – she kisses him a little more than he expects, and then his response is, ‘so you want to play THAT game, huh?’ by slamming the door and kissing her into a wall. Phew.

    Next week could not be here soon enough, I am glad that I have a support team here.

  • Eve K

    Orange450 I agree. I thought the old comment page had a very good design, both fonts and size. And while their at it, what about a kudos-button, or a thumbs up sign? (not allowing a thumbs down sign, that creates bad vibes) I often want to say I agree with a comment, without saying so much more about it.

  • Eve K

    On second though – rating of comments is bad. But if the comments is difficult to read, you have to sort them somehow. So the best thing is to make them easier and better to read.

  • Alex

    Just a general comment sparked by Cuddy’s 20 years time frame –

    I found the script for the House pilot episode and it says there that House is 39, Wilson is 38 and Cuddy is also 38 – now, I believe it was in The Social Contract where Cuddy said she was 38 which makes her 33 at the beginning of the show.

    Cameron wishes House a happy birthday in The Socratic Method, which was the first post holiday season episode, meaning January. That means that House is 40 at the end of Season 1 where Cuddy says he worked at the hospital for 8 years and where we find out that House had split up with Stacy 5 years before the show started and he lived with her for 5 years before that.

    So, quick summery – House split up with Stacy at 35, started working at the hospital at 32, met Stacy at 30, and (I’m not sure about this one) met Wilson at 27 (Wilson said in Birthmarks they met at a conference he went to straight after graduating from Med school, but I don’t know if he meant Grad School or Undergrad).

    We know that Cuddy was the one to hire House after his surgery as she states so in Season 3, which means she was the administrator when House was 32. But if Cuddy is 6 years younger than House that makes her a hospital administrator at 26 – straight out of Grad school.

    And now to this episode’s comment, if she audited House’s class 20 years ago that means she was 18, and he was 24 years old, when she first fell for him.

  • Kim


    I’m going off topic here.

    I want to share with you a link I found it on the net. It’s a Lisa Edelstein NPR Radio Interview. I hope this is ok Barbara, because I don’t want to get you or me into trouble.


    P.S: She mentions HL

  • barbara barnett

    Good timeline research Alex! Thanks. Kim, thanks for the heads up about Lisa’s interview on KCRW.

  • magz

    About the timeline: in “No Reason”, we see a closeup of House’s hospital bracelet after he is shot by “Moriarty”. It says “DOB: 06-11-59”, which shows that TPTB were not consistent with the ages given in the script for the pilot nor with the January-ish birthday. Probably not coincidentally, June 11th, 1959 is HL’s date of birth.

    And yeah, I know, I know, I need to get a life…

  • Kim

    magz–>And yeah, I know, I know, I need to get a life…

    You made me laugh out loud…sometimes I think in the same way…but it’s so hard…

  • Ella

    Also about the timeline: I always thought that Cuddy was joking about her age in “Social Contract”. You know, a “38 forever!” kind of thing.

  • Kim

    Alex, thank you for the timeline.
    In Top Secret, when House and Wilson are in the men’s room. Wilson says that House is 45 years. The exact sentence when he refers to House’s soft parts is “Of course. Just a minor spasm in a muscle
    you’ve been using multiple times a day without any problems
    for the past 45 years.”

    I don’t know if that fits in your timeline.
    And ‘Ella’ I agree with you. I thought that she was joking.

  • hwl40


    I am writing to thank you and all of those who contribute to this discussion for the thoughts and insights which enhance the exeperience of watching Hugh Laurie’s multi-layered portrayal of House.

    I read somewhere that he said, in a somewhat baffled tone, something to the effect that entertainment used to be a punctuation to a week or a month’s work and now it has become all punctuation.

    That may be true for his rock star type groupies, but for you, your readers and contributers and no doubt many others, his performance as House is infinitely more. Like a fine piece of literature, David Shore, the writers and Hugh Laurie have given us a window and a mirror all at once to use as we see fit in our own lives.

    Speaking for myself and perhaps others on this site, I watch Laurie’s House suffer, play, love, work and, almost against his will look into the recesses of his own soul. In watching, I take pieces of his performance into my own experience which somehow expands and I feel and notice what I did not see before at levels heretofore unexplored.

    Perhaps this is why some of us watch amd rewatch this series and wait anxiously for the next episode.

    I know I haven’t expressed this very well and it seems silly to react this way to a television show, but there it is.

  • barbara barnett

    hwl–you articulate just fine–and thank you for your kind words.

    Been thinking about doing a timeline article at some point over the summer possibly. house is Hugh Laurie’s age. (even if the date is wrong either in Meaning or Socratic Method (one has to be wrong).

    I think Cuddy was kidding with the “38.” She’s in early 40s (I think–or 40-ish) House is 49. I’m thinking he took a masters degree U Mich before going to med school at Hopkins. Or he took off a couple of years to do music before starting college.

    My other guess is that he studied music or history (or linguistics) as an undergrad and had to pick up biological sciences classes and chem classes before starting med school–maybe summer session at UMich. And that’s where he met Cuddy. I almost don’t see him as a conventional pre-med kid.

  • I just wanna say “great review, Barbara Barnett!” and try to not forget your name. I remember the pleasure of reading your “wish list for House’s 5th season” almost a whole season ago, but I just couldn’t remember where I read it! After watching the last episode, I wondered what you’d have to say on it… Totally worths the googling!

  • savta

    I loved every minute of this episode.
    I thought the editing was superb; allowing us to see the paralels between the different plot lines and connecting them to each other.
    We are extremely lucky to be able to see such phenomenal acting on network tv.

    I have to agree with MAGZ and KIM about getting a life. I also laughed at their comments. However, I have to disagree with someone who wrote in to talk about how various parts of this show reflect my life. I think it is a delicious escape from the day to day stuff of my life. When I read about various analyses of the lives of these tv characters, I do have to laugh and remind myself that they are fictional. Delving in to the details of these characters is really fun. It is interesting to read the backstory that the writers, actors, Barbara and commentors have created.

    I am surprised that no one mentioned that when Cuddy insisted that she hadn’t lied to House in 20 years, it wasn’t quite true.
    Specifically, in the case of the patient with Addison’s when Cuddy and Wilson either didn’t tell him that his intuitive diagnosis was correct and by a sin of omission kept the information from him and the patient was able to walk out of the hospital and resume his life or outright lied to him so he wouldn’t know that he was correct in his diagnosis.
    Perhaps there are other instances that I am not thinking about now but that one popped into my mind when Cuddy insisted during the show.

  • pawpaw

    It’s so great reading your reviews, Barbara. I was really happy about fnding this site – a community passionate about & devoted to House (including the genius actor who plays him. I particularly find the back stories interesting. Re your comment above, Barbara, wasn’t House thrown out of Hopkins med school for cheating (“Distractions” in Season 2)? I leapt to the conclusion that House was at Michigan to finish med school after he got kicked out of Hopkins, but I can be mistaken. Thanks again Barbara for all the time and work you put into this blog. BTW, I would LOVE IT if you did do a timeline:)

  • JL

    Hi, Barbara and everyone. Just gotten through ALL your comments. My brain is full.

    I could rant on and on about House and Cuddy and Amber and this wonderful episode. But I don’t think I’d be adding anything new.

    So I’ll merely note how much I’ve been ENJOYING this show lately. Sue (?) commented back in mid Season 5 that she wasn’t finding it much fun and I didn’t like to admit that I agreed. I was still appreciating the beauty of episodes like ‘Insensitive’, but not giggling much.

    But ever since ‘The Social Contract’ (and with the obvious exception of ‘Simple Explanation’) I’ve found myself laughing at House again. A lot.
    And touched. And disturbed.
    And beginning to get more involved with the patients again. And laughing at clinic-ites.
    And enjoying seeing all the cast finally starting to be used more effectively, as a team.

    It’s just been getting better and better. This show seems to have found its niche. Again.

    Therefore, it’s officially time for the next Big Shake-Up, as per the ‘Don’t allow people to get comfortable’ rule.

    It’s necessary, of course. I’ll watch events unfold next week with AVID interest. But I’ll really miss the last part of Season 5. Good times.

    Oh, and Barbara – much as I love your review, my favourite thing you said appears in the comments. I truly love that this astonishing episode could bring such a Woman of Words to utter the sentence, ‘Gaah’. Couldn’t agree more. Sums it all up. 🙂

  • nc

    Barbara, I’ve been thinking over and over again about the song which plays under the last scenes between first Chase and Cameron, then House and Cuddy. The show’s always used music as if it were dialogue commentary, but this is incredibly close to the bone.

    The artist is Dawn Landes, and the song is titled “Drive.” If you go to her MySpace page, you can play the song and listen to the lyrics.


  • barbara barnett

    JL–sometimes things just leave me speechless, and since speechless would never do for a writer, “gaaah” just had suffice! I really think you are so right about the series really finding its balance between the characters, the flow–even the dreadful six-act structure forced on the creative team. Season five has greatly benefited from not having a guest arc (if you don’t count Amber). The flow has been seamless between the season’s “acts” and all of a continuum.

    when I inerviewed Garrett Lerner an Russel Friend at the end of season four (they had written the stunning “House’s Head” and “WIlson’s Heart” finale eps), they told me a bit about the season to come (at least the first half of it). They could not have been more correct. This whole season is really the continuation of last year’s ending, and I cannot wait for what will certainly be another end/beginning segue into next season. The show has gotten stronger, the writing just as good (disagreeing with several television critics here, sorry) as ever.

    nc–I will track that down. couldn’t find the actual lyrics anywhere, but I’ll give it a close listen.

  • nc

    Barbara, the actual lyrics aren’t on Dawn Landes’s site. I found a blog on which someone had posted an attempt at a transcription, but I don’t think it’s accurate. If you play the song on the artist’s MySpace page, the lyrics seem very clear. If she’d written the song for those moments of that episode, it couldn’t have been more poignant and revealing.

  • KC

    Hi Barbara!

    I just want to commend you on another fantastic review. I have been reading your reviews religiously ever since season 5 started.

    There’s not much else I can say that others have not. This episode is definitely my favorite of the season (so far). HL and AD gave absolutely riveting performances, and LE and RSL were fantastic as usual. I felt like a (very satisfied) child on Christmas day as I watched the scenes between House and Cuddy, they really couldn’t have been any better.

    Also, a wonderful person on livejournal actually matched the lyrics of “Drive” to what was happening during those last two scenes, here it is:

    You’ve had a hard time living with a hard heart. (Chase says “I can’t do it”)
    You hardly feel a thing and you don’t know where to start.
    It’s all that you want and you want, you want, but it won’t change a thing. (Cameron: “I don’t know”)
    ‘Cause it won’t be long, it won’t be long, it won’t be long, long (Chase: “I’ll wait until you do”)
    You can make it safe. (“No one knows.” “I do.”)

    It won’t go away. It’s coming after you all day, surrounding. (Chase walks away)
    When you look at me that way, I don’t know the thing to say, (switch to Huddy; House says “thank you”)
    But it just found me. (“You want to kiss me, don’t you?”)
    (pause for chorus just as House says “I always want to kiss you”)
    Drive. C’mon, c’mon and drive. Ooh, ooh… (as Cuddy and House lean in to kiss)
    C’mon, c’mon and sail away, sail away… (as Cuddy and House begin to kiss more passionately)

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks for bringing the lyrics over. Does fit nicely. I still think the very best ending songs were for Paternity (S1), Cane and Able, One Day One Room and Half-Wit in season three, and the ending song for season four Wilson’s Heart.

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara and all,
    I wanted to comment on savta’s remark that Cuddy says she has never lied to House. When I first heard it I thought, but she has, the addison’s patient, as savta mentioned, when she challenges House to quick Vicodin and is really covering for Wilson, when Cuddy denies being pregnant, (although since she had miscarried, that may have been true at that point.) When I watched it again I think she is saying, I never lied to you about “us” and I never lied to you that you couldn’t tell it was a lie. That was my interpretation at any rate.
    Glad to see everyone still thinking and talking about it almost a week later.
    We shall see what Monday brings. Thanks.

  • Kim

    Yep! Sera G, I agree with you that she is talking about their personal relationship and not in a boss/employee way.

    Talking about parallels. I think that House asking Cuddy for help, she addressing him to ER and finally taking care of him paralels the infarction episode. I mean, he goes to PPTH looking for Cuddy’s help, some doctors attend him but in the end is Cuddy the one who takes care of him.

    One more thing, Remember that we don’t had a clue of what was doing Cuddy in House’s office in JTTW. Now, I think maybe she was auditing his differential diagnosis as she did with the endocrinology class.

    2 days left.

  • Chris

    Hi all! I just wanted to say thanks to Barbara for the great reviews and to everyone for the very insightful comments. It’s a treat to read the review and comments after each episode!
    One thing that is interesting but I don’t think anyone’s touched on yet was the fact that House told Cuddy he quit. I was wondering why he would do that right before asking for her help? Was it because he wanted her reaction to be personal and not out of professional obligation? Amber’s taunting about Cuddy having no obligation to be his keeper hints at that. Also, I found it interesting that later, during their conversation in the morning, he tells her that’s why she’s there – professional obligation.
    I don’t know if it really means anything but I found that whole exchange very interesting and seemed to really move
    their relationship along, emotionally.

  • barbara barnett

    Sera G–I took the remark the way House did. Yes, she’s lied and she knows House knows. It’s the 20 year-thing that hits him. and leads him to what she wanted to tell him. He knew she was leading him to that question. Its part of their courtship game.

    Chris, I’ve thought about that too. House walks in, very, very unsure of himself. He knows rehab won’t work; ect every six hours is his only option. Neither of these bode well for his future. He heaves a great sigh, and his eyes are hugely emotional when he says it: “I quit.” He’s not being his usual defiant or playing games. I think he sees no other alternative. For him, this is a moment of pure hell (she doesn’t know that, however), and she treats it like his usual mind games, brushing it off.

    Then he makes that hurtful remark, which I think is significant because he knows that Rachel takes precedence of him. And he’s being petulant about that. Wrong thing to say, but that’s House, even at his worst. And a lot of that was feeling sorry for himself, rather than mad at Cuddy.

    He decides to tell her about the hallucination then and only then. His heartfelt plea and sincerity–and his confession that he NEEDS her, strikes at her heart deeply. If nothing else he is a close friend in crisis. I think she finally, really looks at him for the first time and sees where he is emotionally at that moment. It’s as heartbreaking for her as it is for us.

    I do think this is a tremendously signficicant exchange between them. House believes that he has no right to involve her (as his subconscious tells him). She’s not his keeper. He doesn’t know or believe that she cares so deeply for him, and that her obligation to him runs only as deep as her needs as Dean.

    Just rambling here…

  • Jackie

    Regarding the House and his emotional state in Cuddy’s office, I just wanted to mention one thing. At the conclusion of the scene when Cuddy said that she will call her babysitter, House (facing the doorway in full view of the audience), slightly moves his eyes, but he lowers his head/chin. The man has hit bottom.

    The other moment (although there were a few that made me just want to reach out through the tv screen), was in the bathroom when House is by the toilet and Amber is taunting him again. Twice he looks up at her with such a distraught expression that reminded me of his fine acting in “All or Nothing at All” (the scene after his secretary Marion coaxes him down from the roof). The “AONAL” analogy pales by comparison, but I am so totally taken with last Monday night’s performance that each time I watch it (six times already), I am uncovering a new factor in brilliance. It makes it difficult to believe that this comic genius was not a dramatic actor from day one. I’ve seen actors on the silver screen through the years who could not touch his performance in this episode or throughout the “House” series.

  • nc

    Barbara, have you noticed the subtle changes in Cuddy’s expression after House says “We’re alone” and again after he tells her Amber’s gone? Not to mention the galaxy of nuanced expressions which flit across her face when she says “We’ve been alone all night.”

    I fundamentally believe the two of them are right for each other in so many ways that it makes an act of outright betrayal out of House’s all-but-inevitable inability to tolerate anyone being that close to him.

    I’m awaiting Monday’s episode with equal measures of eager anticipation and dread.

  • Donna


    I was struck by that Cuddy office scene as well. Bookended in wide shots of House’s tall figure with the camera/us viewing him from behind at the scene’s beginning and then House facing the camera/us at it’s end as he awaits Cuddy to begin detox. Laurie made us feel his character’s desperation and neediness to go through with House’s final hope to come out of this sane and intellectually intact. And you’re right about the brilliance of Hugh Laurie’s acting here in UMS (and in other eps too). A very layered, heartbreaking and intimate portrayal that reached many of us beyond the ‘wall’ of our television screens. A slam dunk performance by an actor at the top of his game!

  • GLR

    Just wanted to ask, who sings that song? “drive”, i guess? 🙂