It’s just one example.
In a novel, a page of narration would describe what House is going through. In a television show, it is but a brief moment of seeing into the soul of a character through the actor’s craft (Chasing Zebras, “Writing House).
In another actor’s hands, House would not be nearly as sympathetic as Laurie makes him, infusing him with a gravitas (when necessary) and a pathos that viscerally connect with us.
So is what we’re seeing just the performance and the idiosyncratic interpretation of the character by a few of the series writers and directors? Do we as viewers put too much of our own interpretation and our predisposition to like House, and see him as a sympathetic character, when he’s not intended to be one? I would disagree with that assessment entirely. As Liz Friedman told me, she writes, but it’s up to us to interpret intent. And that is true of any art, whether writing, music or painting, etc.
So here we are, heading into the final seven episodes of the season. House has hit bottom after finally opening himself up to the possibility of love and having it fall apart.
The final scene of “Out of the Chute” is chilling for what it says about the level of despair House is suffering. Teetering shakily on the balcony railing, House has hit a point where he’d do anything to feel anything. Nothing is working for him—nothing gives him pleasure or joy. “My body is a cage,” says the song playing over the final sequence. It’s a brilliant choice, and it allows you to interpret House’s cannonball dive into the swimming pool eight stories below that railing in several ways.
To House, everything goes back to the leg: the drug use, the trust issues, his inability to open up. It’s the origin of both his physical and emotional pain. If he can find an answer to overcome that, life would be better. (I still remember the final scene of season one and House trying—and failing—to take a normal step, hoping that if he could be “normal,” life with Stacy might be possible.) Can successfully diving into a pool from eight stories up provide him with a clue that he can overcome his pain? That is the most optimistic way to interpret that scene.
More logically, House, who is only going through the motions all through the episode needs to know that he can feel. Even the things that would thrill him, aren’t. Does it take a life-risking jump into a pool for him to feel anything at all? That’s a scary thought, and doesn’t bode well for him. He will live life on the edge, taking greater and greater risks just to feel “normal.” Does that also mean the ride will get even bumpier?