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House, M.D. goes on winter break, leaving us with an intriguing tease of episodes yet to come.

TV Review: House, M.D. – “Perils of Paranoia”

Of course it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you. I had to say that, given the episode title for tonight’s House, M.D. episode “Perils of Paranoia.” This week’s patient is a nice-guy lawyer who appears to be poisoned, but by whom? And why?

Searching his home, Park (Charlyne Yi) and Adams (Annable Odette) discover a secret room—a bunker really, fully stocked with enough firearms to stock a small revolution. Is he paranoid, or does he have a point? The answer is “yes,” the guy is seriously paranoid, but the gun stockpile provides a pivot point for a playful game of wits between House and Wilson, which then inadvertently circles back to the diagnosis, helping House arrive at his inevitable epiphany.

Spouting off about firearm ownership and his patient, House vows that he doesn’t possess a gun, something that would assuredly land him back in prison, at least according to Wilson. Of course, Wilson doesn’t believe him, and the game is suddenly afoot. Wilson searches House’s house for evidence of said firearms, and House does his best to thwart the search, all the while insisting he doesn’t own any.

But that’s not quite true, as Wilson discovers, unearthing a handgun, which House insists is an inoperable trick weapon used in a magic show. But House is lying. Why? Is he just screwing with Wilson, or is there some other explanation?

To me, the best thing about “Perils of Paranoia” is the intriguing ending to House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson’s (Robert Sean Leonard) little cat and mouse game. We do discover why House might lie about the gun, but only in the end, and the answer is worth the short wait.

As House almost lovingly replaces the gun in an elaborately inlaid box at the top of his hall closet, it finally becomes clearer. House doesn’t want Wilson to know anything about this particular gun; it’s a very personal, private secret. And sitting next to the gun box is a beautiful sword in a scabbard—it’s his father’s. Clearly, both weapons belonged to John House, who has been dead since early season five (“Birthmarks”).

I can think of a couple reasons why House would keep the real nature of the gun from Wilson. Part of it may be fear, of course—fear that Wilson will force House to give it up or give it away. I also think that House would not welcome the series of probing questions with which Wilson would undoubtedly hound him.

What unresolved issues does House carry with him regarding John—and his biological father? I think we all know the answer to that, of course. But perhaps House doesn’t want to be pushed and probed about his parental issues, at least not by Wilson and not just now. Does he think that Wilson will harangue him about it? Very possibly.

So where are the writers going with this? Cleary, it will be a major story arc to propel the narrative forward once the series returns in January. Will House embrace the fact of John’s parenting, keep the good (as revealed in season six) and forgive (or at least let go of) the horrible?

Will he seek out his biological father, with whom he’s already anonymously corresponded? And will he at long last confront his mother, whose infidelity (and passivity) has caused the greatest harm to Gregory House, bearing the brunt of John’s wrath, and forcing him further outside the circle than his intelligence and personality already made him?

“Perils of Paranoia” leaves us with only a very small, titillating taste of episodes to come after the hiatus. A surprising finish to a fairly standard stand-alone episode, it presents a hundred questions without a word of dialogue, and in the series’ best tradition.

The season thus far has been solid, with a very strong echo of seasons one and two, but season one and two stand-alones. Since the great season premiere, none of the episodes have really packed an emotional wallop, something I really live for in my House obsession. The final moments of “Perils” suggest the slimmest hint of the sort of emotional resonance I believe the post-hiatus episodes may bring.

The best thing about House (both the character and the series), to me anyway, has been his journey. Granted, he’s recovering from serious prison time, but I’d like to see that internal struggle and the compelling journey he’s been on for seven years back in high gear.  I’m looking forward to the resumption of new House episodes in a couple of months, when I strongly believe we’ll be back on that path.

So? Where do you think the series is headed post-hiatus?

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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