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House reacts to the break up with Cuddy while the team treats a bull rider with a neurological problem.

TV Open Thread: House, M.D. – “Out of the Chute”

I’m going to be adding an extra House feature weekly, so that you all don’t have to wait to express your opinions about each week’s episode. Part of Blogcritics new “TV Open Thread: For All Your Rants and Raves” feature, I’ll be posting a short episode summary write-up to start the discussion. I’ll follow up a day or two later with something longer and hopefully more considered “End of the Thought Process” piece as well. I hope you like this new approach; so let me know what you think! Now on to “Out of the Chute.”

In the aftermath of his breakup with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), everyone is worried about House (Hugh Laurie). Having cleared out his bank account and checking into a hotel, House seeks to bury his pain in a bottle of Vicodin and with a series of hookers. We know that House can be self-destructive, especially when things go badly for him. And Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is right to be worried about him.

What is House seeking in sinking into a such a dissoulte and decadent adventure? Realizing that her breakup was badly timed and unfair, and acknowledging that House was acting out of fear and did his best in a terrible situation, she knows he loves her, and that she still loves him. He deserves another chance, but as she tells Wilson, she cannot go backwards. 

Worried about his best friend, Wilson insists that House is on the brink of self-destructive disaster, but despite the fact that he’s back on Vicodin and consuming enough alcohol to poison a small animal, House insists he’s not being self-destructive. But Wilson has been here before with House, watching him fall apart in the aftermath of a bad breakup (Stacy). Have House’s coping skills improved since then? The hurt is still too new to really know.

In the meantime, the team treats a bull rider who is attacked by an animal. House tries to diagnose the case from the comfort of his hotel room and poolside (and in the midst of a bubble bath). And despite the booze, broads and Vicodin, House comes up with an elegant and brilliant diagnosis.  

But in the end, it’s not enough—just like the long line of hookers, champagne and room service meals, it seems. Nothing excites him; there is no real joy left, despite appearances. And from within his turmoil, House realizes he’s depressed—aware that neither medicine nor the dissipated pleasures he’s been enjoying. This is a bad sign.

This dawning realization leads House to the balcony of his hotel, considering how, or even whether, to cope with the loss of Cuddy. In the end, House wants to know he can still feel—can still experience something that can take his breath away and excite him. The way he goes about it is completely insane, which only speaks to how messed up he is right now. Wilson and the entire team have good reason to worry in the aftermath of House’s leap into a pool from his hotel balcony. 

Tommy Moran and Larry Kaplow’s script delivered on some interesting parallels between the bull rider patient and House, and Sanford Bookstaver gave us a great teaser sequence that echoed through to the ending. The evocative music gives viewers some insight to what’s happening inside House’s broken heart, while to all appearances he’s having a ball. 

I realize this will be as controversial an episode as “Bombshells” (if not more so), but please keep things civil and respectful, whether you loved or hated the episode! Don’t forget, I’ll be posting a longer essay later in the week with a closer look both at the episode and my take on House’s considerable humanity—and how it’s plays out from the series’ first episode through tonight’s “Out of the Chute.”

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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