After the sucker punch of last week of Kutner’s (Kal Penn) shocking suicide last week’s House, M.D., almost any episode that immediately follows is going to pale by comparison. But after viewing the episode a second time, there is much to savor in this week’s “Saviors,” episode 21 of House’s fifth season. Appropriately for the forthcoming Earth Day, House and the team treat Doug Swenson (Tim Rock), a Greenpeace-like environmental activist who collapses at a coal mine sit-in. Equally appropriate to the episode’s proximity to Easter, Swenson has a Messiah complex that eclipses even his marriage and family.
The case is brought to House (Hugh Laurie) by his former fellow Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who postpones a vacation with Chase (Jesse Spencer) to do so. Although she tells both Chase and House that she is simply returning a favor for a colleague in Philadelphia, Cameron’s motives are immediately suspect. Chase wonders why this case, at this particular moment in time, essentially blowing off a much-needed holiday that he has planned for a week. Does she want to get back on House’s team after Kutner’s death has provided an opportunity? Worse, is she interested in getting close to House on a more personal level? It’s a completely understandable question, one I am sure has lingered in Chase’s mind since they first got together in season three (not counting the one-shot in season two’s “Hunting”).
But Chase isn’t the only one curious about Cameron’s renewed interest in diagnostics. House and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) also consider that Cameron once again is interested in being back on the team—and close to House. Cuddy asks her directly whether she’s still in love with him; so does House (in his own way).
At first, House believes that Cameron either wants back on the team because she misses the hunt, or still is interested in him—or even to provide some “pre-emptive grief counseling” to him and the team after Kutner’s death. House dismisses it as being a week too late. Although it may not be Cameron’s real reason for hanging on to House’s diagnostic group, it makes sense, even if it’s a week past Kutner’s death. During an LP (lumbar puncture) procedure, Cameron asks Foreman how House is doing (and not how he, or any of the rest of the team are faring). She is clearly worried about House, who internalizes everything and expresses very little. She never says that, of course, but it’s there. And it provides her with a solid excuse for hanging on to the team.