This week’s House on FOX, “The Confession,” gets things back to normal, as Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Taub (Peter Jacobson) rejoin the team. The patient of the week is Bob (Jamie Bamber, Battlestar Galactica, Law & Order: UK), a beloved hero in his small town. But Bob needs a new liver, and he insists on confessing a bevy of wrongs against everyone who shows up, turning his friends against him. Luckily for Bob, Chase goes above and beyond to figure out that Bob’s “confessions” are lies, and a symptom of an illness that the team can heal.
It is fantastic to have House settle back into the things that make it great. The titular character has his full staff back around him, giving much better balance than just the awkward interaction of two newbies. “The Confession” is mostly a mysterious medical case that holds interest and seems fresh, not to mention features an awesome guest star. Plus, House (Hugh Laurie) is back at his little games, needling a couple members of the staff, and making them feel like things have returned to normal. They haven’t quite gotten back to where they are last season, and they probably won’t. People move on, and life evolves. But it’s still comforting to see that some things never change.
Bamber is perfect in the role that he plays in “The Confession.” He seems sincere, both when being a jerk, and when being a trustworthy man. Viewers know that Bob commits at least one wrongful act, cheating on his wife. Yet, it’s hard to fault Bob for sweeping it under the rug, along with the false confessions, when he does so much good for the community. Does being a great man excuse some faults and betrayal? This is a moral quandary, but there are certainly shades of gray that could be explored here.
Chase had taken a long vacation from medicine while House sat in jail. “The Confession” marks his triumphant return. Adams (Odette Annable) is confused as to why Chase hadn’t worked the past year, but he replies that he had faith that House would return along with his job. For Chase, regular medicine just doesn’t hold the interest it once did. After working under House, chasing the zebras for so long, nothing else is nearly as exciting. It is no wonder then, given these motivations, Chase is the one that really sinks his teeth into the new case, relishing being back in the job that he loves. Also, after so many bumps in the road, it’s good to see Chase so happy.
Taub is set on by House right off the bat in “The Confession,” but he, too, finds this job more rewarding than his old, plastic surgery, which he is practicing again when House calls. This is apparent as Taub investigates the scene of the medical emergency with Park (Charlyne Yi). Of course, House will not let Taub bring his two daughters, both from different mothers, to work, and gives him no time to make other arrangements. So Taub sneaks them into the building, and finds a poor SOB to stick them with. Yep, you guessed it: Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).
House sees through this immediately, but one gets the sense that Taub never intends anything other than such. House and Taub have long been engaged in a back and forth, and neither reacts much to the easy bait. It’s merely an opening salvo. The real contest is House manipulating Taub into checking the paternity of both babies. The entire goal of this exercise seems to be to prove House can still push Taub’s buttons. To his surprise, Taub only temporarily rises to the bait, destroying the results without looking at them. Perhaps fatherhood has made Taub a more centered man.
Foreman (Omar Epps) has a much bigger struggle than Taub. Promoted to Dean of Medicine, Foreman is waiting for the other shoe to drop in “The Confession,” now that House is out of jail and back in the hospital. Foreman wants to keep House from going back behind bars, but likely because it would be an embarrassment to him, rather than any concern for House’s well being. After all, if Foreman can do the almost impossible by keeping the brilliant mind of House working, bringing prestige to the hospital, without becoming too much of a liability, he will win great praise from the board members and the medical community. It’s personal, and plays to Foreman’s frequent weakness: his ego.
Foreman immediately seeks allies in his battle against House, repeating the mistake of assuming that everyone else wants to get the better of House as much as he does. Wilson, who had been Cuddy’s (Lisa Edelstein) ally during her tenure, refuses to play back into the game. It seems Wilson truly has learned his lesson. Or perhaps just doesn’t have as much affection for Foreman as he does for Cuddy. Chase and Taub refuse to spy, as that would put Foreman in a superior position over them. Technically, he is their boss, but they are already used to blowing off his superiority complex, and it’s no sweat to do so again. Which isn’t to say that Chase won’t be his friend; they go way back. But Chase also isn’t going to be his sidekick.
House, though, knows all of this, of course, and he comes up with what might be his smartest scheme ever: behave. Yes, it serves Foreman’s purpose, but Foreman doesn’t realize that. He’s too blinded by his own certainty in “The Confession,” that he can’t see what’s really going on. It takes Chase, acting as a calm outsider, to point out that House is screwing with Foreman by not screwing with him. This comes only after Foreman doesn’t leave the hospital for four days, while House hangs out in his remodeled office with a big screen TV and martini bar. This round goes firmly to House, as will, likely, just about every other one. Foreman will never be in charge of House the way that Cuddy was. But House respects Foreman enough he probably won’t go off the deep end without extenuating circumstances. Which will likely arise eventually.
Random Question: How long before Foreman feels left out, since he’s no longer a part of the “fun” team?
House’s final prank of the day in “The Confession” involves his best friend, Wilson, with whom things are just beginning to normalize. House makes the wall between his office and Wilson’s movable. One may read into this as a metaphor for House’s desire to be close to Wilson again, as they once are. And it’s not impossible that those feelings play some role. However, the main goal is to be silly and annoy Wilson. Not only does House accomplish this, but this sets up a bit that can be used over and over again, and milked for much funny in the future. As such, it’s one of House’s best gags, and may end up being greater than the sum of its parts.
Is romance blooming? Between Adams and Chase, it seems logical. After all, Adams is a lot like Chase’s ex-wife, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), in her judgmental, bleeding heart ways, and she’s newly single. It seems less likely that a hookup will happen between Taub and Park, but they do have some fun interaction, so that should be enough for them. Though, one never knows.
Watch House Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.