There is a scene at the beginning of the season three House premiere, “Meaning,” that reveals a healed Gregory House (the brilliant Hugh Laurie). Graceful and quick, he runs through a park, free of pain and the shackles of disability. It is but a brief glimpse, and by the end of the episode, we know that for House, it will be (as Wilson will say by episode two) only a taste of what is not meant to be. And by midway through the season, House will have crashed and burned, reaching the depths of despair.
Throughout “Meaning,” House struggles with himself and his colleagues to find his sense of self in his new reality, having gone through dual life-changing events: being near fatally shot and attempting a radical therapy to rid himself of pain (and get himself off of pain killers). Convinced after his fevered hallucination in the season two finale “No Reason” that he lacks humanity, House accepts a brain-damaged quadriplegic cancer patient for the sole purpose of helping him with pain, almost daring himself that he can find “meaning” in normal “doctor stuff.” But he can’t quite figure out how to react when the patient’s family thanks him. In House’s mind, he’s done nothing; he hasn’t cured the patient or done anything significant. Confused, House believes he should “feel” something, and he doesn’t. He confesses to Wilson: “I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to feel."
Wilson tells him, rightly, that House doesn't have to do or feel anything different, but should appreciate it for what it is. He need not change anything. It's a matter of perspective, he suggests by his words. He believes that House is trying to force himself to be something that he is not, and that it's not necessary. Wilson tells House that he simply has to learn to appreciate what he already does for people. I like this Wilson, who was on the right track for that brief moment, before he went on to tell House to work his “caring” muscles; “the feeling will come.”