In the opening hook for the House fall finale on FOX, "Perils of Paranoia," a lawyer (Vincent Spano) collapses. Upon searching the patient's dwelling, Park (Charlyne Yi) and Adams (Odette Annable) discover a secret closet arsenal that the man's wife (Amanda Foreman, Parenthood, Private Practice) knows nothing about. This gets everyone thinking about paranoia, especially after the lawyer insists his collection is just a safety net for the very real possibility of the U.S. government collapsing. It also spurs House (Hugh Laurie) to play on Park's own manifestation of that titular emotion in how she is treated by her co-workers.
How can one judge paranoia? Everyone is afraid of something, and everyone has a different justification into how much fear they allow into their lives, or in how they choose to cope with that fear. Is it silly to plan for the worst, when the chance of the worst happening seems remote to most people? Should the government actually collapse, this man will be hailed as a hero for having the foresight to predict and prepare. Maybe he is more aware than most. It's hard to decide where the line between paranoia and caution exists sometimes, and "Perils of Paranoia" plays up a threat that many Americans today feel is very real. Which just makes the definition of paranoia all the more elusive.
House, of course, does not feel confused. He loves to poke fun at inferior people, and he considers everyone inferior. This patient provides an excellent opportunity for House, though he is too busy messing with his employees to take much advantage of it. In fact, House has been letting much slide lately. Did prison change him forever? Certainly not, as he still engages in plenty of shenanigans, including a delightful contest of wills with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) in this week's episode. But House is more mellow, and doesn't use every single weapon in his cruel arsenal anymore, and there might be something more there than meets the eye.