Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most powerful of them all? This excellent character exploration of Gregory House, MD (played by the always-compelling Hugh Laurie) was served up as frothy as the peppermint mocha latte that I’m sipping while I write this episode commentary. “Mirror, Mirror,” House, MD episode 4x05, treats us to glimpses of the fellow candidates, the three graduates of House’s diagnostic fellowship as well as Wilson and Cuddy.
The patient of the week has a condition called Giovannini’s Mirror Syndrome. The relevant manifestation of this condition is that the sufferer, having no memory or sense of himself, mimics those around him. Wilson suggests, based on his own reading into mirror syndrome, that the mirror patient mimics the dominant personality in the room. All of this, and the ultimate diagnosis of the cause of the mirror syndrome, is less interesting than the underlying narrative in this clever, fast-moving, and very densely packed episode written by House, MD veteran David Foster. Foster has given us such wonderfully revealing episodes as “All In” in season two, another deep and dense episode gift-wrapped in game-playing and fun.
As the doctors in House’s sphere have their encounters with “mirror man,” they learn a few truths about themselves, which are (of course) shared with us. Neat way for the viewers to obtain background on the remaining six candidates without a lot of unnecessary exposition. And we also learn that all of them are insecure enough (understandably so) to be affected by the patient’s mimicry of their traits.
Amber, aka “Cutthroat Bitch” knows that she is unlikeable. But knowing that, she has a need to always be right. If she’s always right, it doesn’t matter that everyone dislikes her. Hmmm. That assessment sounds awfully familiar to me. It sounds quite a bit like the good doc, himself. It is House who feels that being “right” is his ticket into society. Being “right” trumps being a “freak” or an outcast (as House sees himself). That reveal echoes back to last season’s “Son of Coma Guy,” in which House so eloquently expressed this integral part of his psyche in his Buraku story.