I suppose this commentary might be titled: “Why I Didn’t Hate This Week's House, M.D. Episode.” But it’s not my job to offer a defense of a series, even one that has fed my obsession for nearly seven years. Each person has to decide for him or herself whether the series is what you bought into whenever you began watching; whether it’s better or worse; whether you still enjoy it or it aggrieves you to watch it. For my part, I’m on this ride for the duration (or until I’m not). I may not like every minute of that ride, or where the driver is taking us—but I won’t know until I get there (or get off).
This week's episode "Fall From Grace" ups the ante on House's (Hugh Laurie) increasingly out-of-control behavior. Last week, nothing seems to ring his bell until he jumps from his balcony into a swimming pool, leaving Wilson disgusted and frustrated that not even he can put a crack in House's newly-constructed (and probably lead-lined) armor.
He's a guy on a high wire (with not much of a net). Bringing everything from a Segway to monster trucks to a bride-to-be into the hospital confines, House hopes to get some sort of rise from Cuddy (Lisa Edesltein). Whether it's a subconsious (or intended) provocation to an argument (and then a finally serious talk about what happened) or simply a way to wound Cuddy as badly as she's wounded him (or a combination of the two), it doesn't really work until Wilson finally intervenes.
I know many people didn't like this episode (and frankly, I thought doing a differential diangosis in a monster truck was insanely over the top), House's behavior here reminds me of how he acts in Season 3's "Needle in a Haystack" and Season 4's "Whatever it Takes." In both cases, House is unsure of how to act; he's out of his element, challenged by someone who refuses to enter into the wild vortex of House's insanity. In "Fall from Grace," while he's not really being challenged meaningfully by anyone, he is in such dire straits that he's just grasping at straws. He's lost, and without the healthy coping mechanisms he had internalized when under Dr. Nolan's (Andre Braugher) treatment.
Stevie Nicks wrote a song in 2001 bearing the same title as this week’s House episode “Fall from Grace.” In the aftermath of “Bombshells” and the following two episodes, the lyrics seem to me so poignant and appropriate that I wonder if John Kelley, the episode’s writer, had them in mind while crafting this week’s script. The song could easily serve as narration to the story of House, Cuddy and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) at this juncture.