The episode plays out as a therapy session during which House tells Nolan about his week. Like season one’s “Three Stories,” and season two’s “The Mistake,” “Baggage” unfolds as cuts from narration to flashback, sometimes non-linearly. “Chronologically we go from Wilson’s place to the apartment where we saw Alvie and then to the ER, but the way House tells the story, he starts in the ER.” It’s not a place where House usually hangs out so Nolan stops him, asking what he was doing there. “Then we go back to Wilson” where House reveals that Wilson has asked him to leave. “We thought about doing the whole thing non-linearly,” Egan said, “but we thought it might get very confusing.”
Although we have some evidence during the season that House has continued with his therapy, in “Baggage,” we learn that House has maintained weekly appointments with his psychiatrist.
“We had talked about whether House was still seeing Nolan and came to the conclusion he was. We didn’t necessarily think way back at the beginning of the season that we must have an episode where we see them together again, but we were always open to the idea of getting Andre Braugher back.” Egan added, “who wouldn’t be?”
The result in “Baggage” is stunning. A perfect combination of writers, a director and two powerful actors in Braugher and Hugh Laurie makes for an incredible series of scenes between brilliant shrink and brilliant patient. “I really loved watching this episode shot,” Egan noted.
In last season’s “Both Sides Now,” House doesn’t believe that rehab or therapy will help him. But by the end of “Broken,” he begins to believe that he can be helped. “I don’t know how far he would have gotten in therapy with someone else,” suggested Egan.
But is Nolan House’s “House?” I asked. “I think he is to an extent,” Egan commented. “He certainly doesn’t hesitate on calling House out on any of his bullshit and where House diagnoses physical illnesses, Nolan spends his day diagnosing the way people are thinking. I think it’s very fortunate for House that Nolan turned out to be his therapist.”
As we are flies on the wall during House’s therapy session, we learn that for this therapy session House seems to come in with more “baggage” than usual. Nolan notes that he’s late (something Nolan says is rare--interestingly--in the chronically late House), and has failed to comment on a new piece of art in the waiting room.
“House notices everything and normally at that point, he might say something critical or annoying or just generally Housian, but instead he says he was in a hurry and just didn’t notice it. This is what Nolan really picks up on." Egan explained that "House does notice things. He may not talk about everything he notices, but he does notice them.” Nolan, who is as perceptive as House, realizes that something is very off.