Spoiler Alert: some details of Monday night's House episode revealed toward the end of this article.
Since Season 2, we have seen Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) flirting with trying radical fixes for his leg. For all his cynicism, rationality and skepticism, House has always been gullible and unbelievably naive when it comes to The Leg. As much as he would mock, deride and ridicule patients who have tried all
varieties of snake oil, House is just as prone as any of his last-resort patients to false (and not-so-false) hope.
The question is, “Why?” What is it that propels House to take risks with his health and well being? Why self medicate? Why not just visit a pain specialist and trust the process? What does he have in common with the last-resort patients who come to him, willing to be berated and mocked to have a chance at his medical mojo?
“The Fix” revisits this familiar House themes (particularly explored in Season 3), but now after the enormity of the events in House’s life post-Mayfield. At the beginning of Season 6, after his release from Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital, House seems a changed man. After months of in-patient therapy at a psych hospital, he is released with a new lease on life—and a new outlook.
On antidepressants, ibuprofen and undergoing therapy, House embarks on trying to live a somewhat normal life. (By the way, I do not believe we are ever meant to understand that House’s pain is completely controlled by the any combination of distractions, therapy, antidepressant drugs, which are also used to treat chronic pain), and Motrin.)
His pain ebbs and flows, exacerbated when he can’t find enough distraction to keep it at bay. Distraction and therapy—and increasing amounts of ibuprofen (and not a little alcohol), along with the terrible fear that going back on Vicodin will unleash the demons in his mind keep House away from narcotics. His main distraction for nearly two seasons has been Cuddy: the pursuit, trying to be a better person (for her) all help to keep House’s mind from the chronic pain.
But by the end of the last season, with Cuddy now engaged to Lucas, and a patient with whom he has connected in a very visceral way, now dead, House returns home at the end of “Help Me.” His leg in agony, his life in tatters, his last (he thinks) chance at happiness has vanished. House is only rescued from despair by Cuddy’s 11th hour declaration of love.