Note: A full review of "Nobody's Fault" is now live.
The manner in which Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) runs his practice has come under fire a few times in the series run of House, M.D. His diagnostic team is trained to be cut-throat competitive, risk-taking, and even reckless.
The season two episode “The Mistake” in which Chase loses a patient sets the stage for questioning House’s “I don’t see patients” posture. And the back biting between Foreman (Omar Epps) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) in “Sleeping Dogs Lie” over an academic paper, leads Wilson to articulate major reservations about the tone he sets for his fellows.
House provokes, pranks, berates and pressures, and it’s been an issue waiting to really boil over for years. And this week, it finally does, in what is arguably the best episode since “Help Me.”
The episode opens on a patient room; it is a wreck. Blood is everywhere, and scattered bottles, bandages and implements cover the room. Immediate reaction: “what the hell happened here?” Cut to House in a disciplinary hearing facing the investigator Dr. Walter Cofield, played by Jeffrey Wright (Ides of March). Cofield is brought on by Dean Foreman to investigate whatever it was that happened in that patient room..
Cofield is head of Neurology at Mercy, and before that, while still on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, he was Foreman’s mentor. “I’ll be deciding your fate today,” he declares. Roll credits. Whatever did happen in that room, it is extremely serious—enough to put House’s career on the line.
Although House doesn’t really want to answer questions, pushing back in his usual sarcastic way (big surprise), Cofield isn’t biting, using the “parole card” to keep House from walking out altogether. If he is found at fault and is suspended or worse, House will be in violation of he the terms of his parole; he will be sent back to prison—and no one has any power to stop that.
Cofield makes note of House popping Vicodin, questioning his use of the drug during a case; House reminds him quickly that he’s been pretty successful as a doctor thus far over the course of the 10 years since the surgery. “Good things usually happen; bad things sometimes happen,” he says. But that is beside the point as the facts of House's most recent case are reviewed by each member of the team to determine who, if anyone, is to blame.
I don’t really want to spoil the episode for you (yes, I’m that evil), but what unfolds examines the hyper-competitive methods of House’s diagnostic team as each member recounts the event leading up to the incident in the patient room. I can’t (well, I could, but I won’t) tell you what happens, but I can tell you that it’s very serious with ramifications extending beyond this episode and perhaps through the remainder of the season. The events of “Nobody’s Fault” weigh very heavily on House’s heart and conscience, and are not likely to disappear by next episode.