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Many questions still dangle after this week's House episode, "Locked In." Will they be answered by season's end?

House, M.D.: Playing Out the End of Season Five

Monday night’s House, M.D. episode “Locked In” left fans with several unanswered questions (so what else is new!). In what was a great opening episode in the season’s final quarter, Dr. Gregory House (the ever-amazing Hugh Laurie) treated a patient with “locked in syndrome.” Although the patient (played by Mos Def) was cured and sent home to his wife Molly and his two kids, things are far from settled for House and the entire team.

So, as we prepare for the last five episodes of the season, here are the questions left dangling after the events of “Locked In” and the other questions raised earlier in the season that might be addressed before the finale in May (which is, by the way, provocatively called  “Both Sides Now”).

Note: I am deliberately staying away from the various rumors and spoilers swirling 'round the 'Net.

How did House manage to crash his motorcycle? The episode began with House already in the New York emergency room. He had a large abrasion on his left forearm and a bruise on the left side of his face. But why did he crash the bike? Is it significant to the ongoing story, or simply a setup for this week’s episode?

House is a very experienced biker, and he’s had that Honda since the beginning of season two. It is clear that he was the only one involved in the crash, although I suppose any police investigation might have occurred off camera. Is his pain getting worse, so that even riding his bike has become a problem for House? I don’t think it was drugs or that he was high, because I’m sure the attending (who had quite a distaste for our hero) would have made some sort of remark about it.

Is House having neurological symptoms related to long-term narcotics use? Or due to the deep brain stimulation procedure done on him in last season’s “Wilson’s Heart?” Or is the emotional strain getting to him finally? He’s had so many losses this year: first Wilson, then his (hated) father; the threat of losing Cuddy, I wonder if it’s all taken its toll. I don’t think House has completely processed Amber’s death and his (indirect) role in it. I’m curious as to how this will play out in the final act of the season. My guess? It will be one House plot device…er…mystery we’ll never hear about again.

Why was House admitted to Middletown General Hospital overnight? Anyone catch the fact that House was admitted to the hospital? He’d left the ER and had been admitted to a room (with a roommate who snores). With seemingly minor injuries from the motorcycle accident, why admit him? It doesn’t make much sense unless there’s something else going on. Were they concerned about head injuries? Did they see something on an X-ray or in another test? I’m tempted to think it was another plot device to further the story, but I’m equally tempted to believe there’s something more that is still to be revealed. What say you?

What was House doing in New York…really? House had lots of diversionary lies to explain his little road trip: buying Greg Allman’s Gibson (which would be totally in character for House); tattle-taling to Wilson’s ex-wives about Wilson’s undisclosed lecturing income (which would be out of character for House without an ulterior motive); visiting Foreman’s brother in jail (House looked totally sincere, and I really believed him.  It would be very like him to do something kind or needed anonymously), and spying on Wilson’s newest girlfriend. But the final — and correct — answer is that House is seeing a shrink! Wow. The guy who refused to attend therapy after his leg injury, calling it useless, is seeing a therapist. What would motivate House to take such a huge (and seemingly desperate) step?

Is life finally catching up with him and has it unnerved him enough to take the risk? Is he trying to make positive changes in his life? For himself? For Cuddy? He told Wilson in the end that he was stopping, dramatically erasing the psychiatrist’s contact information from his cell phone. I think that House isn’t quite ready to give up, but needs Wilson off the scent. Some people have been speculating that House is seeing Dr. Cate Milton from last season’s “Frozen.” In a way, that would make some sense, since she seemed to understand and accept House for who he is, but I don’t think it’s her. Primarily because Wilson has already spoken with her and knows who she is. If he tried the phone number in House’s dialing history and got Cate or her answering service, Wilson would have said so (and not pass up a chance to taunt House about it.)

What happened in the last moments of the episode as the elevator doors closed? That does seem to be the big question coming out of this episode, doesn’t it? In the very last moments of the episode, Wilson warns House that he’s going to end up alone if he doesn’t make some changes (C’mon Wilson, House is trying: methadone? Therapy?). House was very clearly unnerved by Wilson’s words and as the elevator doors close on him, House’s vision blurs, making Wilson seem almost surrealistic. Many fans have suggested that the blurring of House’s vision is a metaphor for his “locked in” state of mind. Like his patient, House is “locked in” to the vicious cycle of his misery. It’s an unusual directorial device for the series, which uses lots of unusual photography, but never (if I recall correctly) to explain House’s state of mind. But I could be wrong (and it wouldn’t be the first time, as you all know). So if it’s not a metaphor, then is there really something physically (or emotionally) wrong with House? Does it connect to the motorcycle accident or why he was admitted to the hospital? On the other hand, knowing the series, none of these things, including the blurry vision, might have any sort of deep significance. We may never hear of them again. (Although I doubt it.)

House wears reading glasses? This one isn’t a big deal. We’ve seen him wearing specs a lot over the last three seasons. As far back as “Half-Wit” or even earlier in season three. And here I thought Hugh could not look sexier, those reading glasses just do something to me (not to get carried away or anything). Fox Mulder (on The X-Files) did the same thing to me when he wore his reading glasses.

Wilson has a new girlfriend? It’s been a year since Amber, and Wilson has started dating his brother’s caregiver. Caregivers make their careers on the neediness of their patients (and most have the patience of saints). So maybe Amber did break the pattern for Wilson and allow him to seek non-needy women. Of course, even caregivers can be needy, can’t they?

Are House and Cuddy already involved? My last question, and it’s on everyone’s mind (OK, not everyone, but most fans’ minds). It’s clear that Cuddy and House are headed somewhere (even the patient, Lee, saw that). So my question is:  how, when, where, and under what circumstances are House and Cuddy going to “be together?” Or are they already involved? And, what might we expect in the way of fall out? Your thoughts?

OK. Just one more. What did you all think of the promo for next Monday’s episode “A Simple Explanation?” The official site has posted four clips on the main page. Have a look and…let the speculation begin…

About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books.Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."

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