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House tries to fix his leg while trying to heal a boxer's washed-up career.

TV Open Thread: House, M.D. – “The Fix”

Note: Deadline Hollywood is reporting that FOX and Universal are near a deal to renew House, M.D. for an eighth season. “Imminent,” is the word used. Now, back to our regularly scheduled Open Thread.

I love the promo monkeys (I use that term with only great affection). Their job is to mislead, obfuscate and otherwise cause waves of torment among the hardcore House, M.D. fandom. So when we see House (Hugh Laurie in a great performance) apparently shooting up heroin in the promos, we all know there must be some logical explanation, right? Even when the title of the episode is called “The Fix,” and the team is worried that their boss is even more off the wall than usual—even when what House is actually shooting into his veins is at least as dangerous as heroin.

House avoids this week’s patient entirely, completely disinterested in what happens to Wendy, a bomb maker, leaving her case completely to a frustrated team. Cajoled into a boxing bet by Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), House instead focuses on why a young previously unbeaten boxer has suddenly lost five matches in a row. When Foreman complains to Wilson about House’s disinterest in their bomb maker, Wilson suggests they solve the case without their boss.

Wilson is less concerned with the patient than happy that House is actually interested enough in something. Since his breakup with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), House has done insane things just to do insane things; he’s not been interested or passionate about anything. But now, the game is afoot, and House is pursuing the boxer’s ailment. Wilson couldn’t be happier, thinking perhaps that House’s heart is on the mend.

But there is something else afoot. House believes that most of his problems are tied up in that disfigured right thigh (“Detox,” Season 1).  And since the end of Season 2, we have watched House occasionally grab desperately at straws in an attempt to heal himself—to be finally rid of the pain, and perhaps regain some strength in his right leg. House has considered some insane things since we’ve first met him, from Ketamine to brain implants to transplanted nerve fibers. If he can turn back the clock, make the leg not matter so much, perhaps it’s not too late for some happiness.  

And in the aftermath of his breakup and the acknowledgment that he’ll never be “normal” enough to really climb out of his misery, House’s desperation has taken a dramatic uptick. That it’s under both Wilson’s and Cuddy’s radars, makes this a dangerous game. Driven by fear of the Vicodin use sending him back to Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital, and desperate to find some peace, House uses himself as a lab rat, experimenting with a drug that’s apparently only in Phase 2 (animal) testing trials. 

House is out of his mind. Seriously, completely out of his mind. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever said that about this character. I don’t fear for his sanity, because it’s fled him. Right now I’m still processing the impact of this episode and where it will take House as the season ends. Writers David Shore and Tommy Moran have sent House into a very, very dark place. And unlike the darkness of Season 5’s delusions, this is a nightmare of House’s own making.

I will have much more to say about this episode later today or tomorrow, but I wanted to give you all a space to talk in the aftermath of “The Fix” and the aired promo for next week’s “After Hours.”

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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