Hugh Laurie stepped behind the camera for last night’s House, but that was hardly the only departure for the episode: Shocking returns! A crazyass lockdown that gave everyone a mini-Breakfast Club story! A moment of emotional decency from House, and an actual flicker of an interesting human being from Thirteen! Everything was upside-down and backwards in “Lockdown.” And I kind of loved it. This was the best episode in months.
The big shock: Cameron was back, but just long enough to show off her extreme blondness and serve Chase with divorce papers. Poor Chase, still getting strung along by the overly righteous Cameron. Of course the former lovebirds got locked in together when a newborn baby mysteriously disappeared somewhere within the hospital, and Cuddy called for a Code Grounding, where everyone had to just stay put. It’s been done to death on hospital shows before, but usually it’s a matter of quarantine and not kidnapping; Cuddy’s superserious “we’re in lockdown” just screamed Kerri Weaver to me.
Taub and Foreman were stuck in the hospital’s archives, amid all the patient and personnel files that had yet to be digitized. Escandolo! Reading each other’s files wasn’t all that revealing — Foreman has an inferiority complex? No kidding? — but the doofuses decided to get inside House’s head by gobbling down some pilfered Vicodin. Their shenanigans quickly devolved into a scene from Thirteen, with the two fancy doctors whose hands are worth millions punching each other in the face. Just make out, you two!
House’s lock-in buddy was David Strathairn, playing, er, Deathbed R. Murrow, a guy inches from death who had, once upon a time, asked House to take his case. House had declined lo those many months ago, and he acted shockingly snippy about it — yeah, we know, House is a grade-A bastard, but DRM was hours from death. Was snark really the way to go? Mercifully, he softened a bit over the course of the ordeal, eventually confiding in the patient that “”I like being alone. At least I convince myself I’m better off that way. Then I met someone, in a psychiatric hospital of all places. She changed me, and then she left.” Whoa! For a second, I really thought House was talking about Stacy. Instead, it was his more recent heartbreak, and I’m still struggling to see how exactly she changed him. Still, it was an unusually candid moment for our always-guarded antihero, made possible only because he knew DRM was definitely about to die. House convinced him to reach out to his estranged daughter, which he did, and then Deathbed took House up on his offer of a gently fatal dose of morphine. It was sad, yes, but also matter-of-fact.
Our last locked-in duo was Wilson and Thirteen, who proved to be more fun together than I could have imagined. The unthinkable happened on this episode: Thirteen was fun and interesting! She was humorous, and open, and had multiple facial expressions, and wasn’t a robo-grouch sent here to distract us with impressive cheekbones. I guess Wilson really can bring out the best in everyone. The two played a round of truth or dare, which Thirteen filled with lies and Wilson filled with endearing stammers. He revealed that he’d just started sort of seeing his first ex-wife again (which a lot of us knew already [spoilers]), and he dared Thirteen to flash Taub. (Asking her to flash him seemed exploitative, natch. Awww.) I want these two to become buddies — Thirteen is sort of House-Lite; mysterious, sarcastic, and unpredictable, but without the emotional abuse and drug problems. (And with better hair.)
Chase and Cameron’s denouement went for the ultra-obvious: She doesn’t know if she ever loved him because she’s so broken inside, etc, but they had some fun times, didn’t they, so let’s have some muscular farewell sex, okay. So they did! If you have seen any show ever, you saw this coming a mile away. It was nice to see them all cuddly I guess, but I just wanted to grab a bullhorn and shout “get some therapy you two!” Get some therapy for reals, though. Help helps!
Cuddy solved the Great Missing Baby Caper with a one-two punch of diagnostic acumen (“hey, nurse lady is having a weird kind of seizure!”) and outrageous micromanagement (“hey, I know how many laundry carts there usually are right here“). Ah, happy endings. Like Thirteen flashing Taub on her way out.
The Latin phrase engraved on the building, “omnes te moriturum amant,” apparently means “everyone loves you on your deathbed.”Did you love “Lockdown” on its deathbed, PopWatchers?