‘House’ recap: The good doctor
This episode of House, about a lonely, anhedonic, and coke-addled sleepwalker who suffered unexplained blackouts, ended with a scene so shocking that I felt like House had jabbed my heart with a needle full of epinephrine. And I am not talking about House making up with Cuddy by making out with her in the hallway of her home after she lost her would-be adopted baby, Joy. (Sad — she lost her joy, not unlike the main patient in the episode.) I’m referring to the moment when Cuddy asked House why he had to negate everything and he uttered the words “I don’t know.”
I don’t know if I can recall House ever confessing to not knowing the answer to any question — generally he remains silent, lost in thought till he can figure out the truth, the way he did while pondering Patient Sleepwalker’s medical mystery in Wilson’s office. Despite House’s typically on-point diagnosis, it was Wilson who really called it during that scene when he pointed out House’s infatuation with Cuddy: “You’re doing this because we no longer have inkwells and Cuddy no longer has pigtails.” House then took a bite of Wilson’s apple and retorted, “Why do you think I did that?”
Ah, the poison apple. One bite and only the kiss of a loved one can wake this man from his own unfeeling somnolent trudge through life. Nicely done. Also well played was House’s staging of a quick exit after giving his boss voluntary mouth to mouth. (We shouldn’t be surprised that the show knows how to do a cliff-hanger — we are generally treated to one before each commercial.) If House had played doctor with Cuddy and spent the night, we’d have less anxiety about the intention behind his kiss. Instead we are left to wonder what the kiss meant. And, sadly, I watched the preview, so I know that House is going back to his cave and denying his lust for life and for Cuddy. Frustrating!
But you know that is how it has to be because resolved discontent, at least as it relates to TV romance, pretty much ends the show (see Sam and Diane from Cheers and Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd from Moonlighting — God, I am old.) Tension keeps the thing moving along and rejection is the heart’s challenge. You can even see that in the music world — Miles Davis famously played with his back to the audience because he knew that it would only make us want him more.
NEXT: House’s version of comfort
So, we see that House is the emotionally stunted infant in Cuddy’s life, as he tests her throughout the episode to see if she’ll take care of him. (His relationship with everyone involves testing limits and seeing how much crap they can/will take before they’ll reject him. He fears loss and so he tries to stave it off, as the doctor who takes on death each week.) He tossed baby puke onto her sweater and broke her lamp. Yet, despite House’s tantrums, she turned to him for advice on whether to save her possible baby or its dying mother. And for her trouble House told her, “Some part of you doesn’t want this baby and that part of you wants to tell her to kill it.” Yikes.
I loved this episode and was riveted from the start. The opening sequence was shot with X-Files eeriness and precision. The cold green-blue color palette was wonderfully filmic and similar to the way the bus-crash sequence in last season’s cliff-hanger was shot. And I appreciated that the subplot of Cuddy’s adoption overtook the usual game of symptom whodunit. There was also Thirteen’s feistiness during the differentials, and that passionate frustration with House’s slap banter finally gave her a third dimension. She really seemed to let loose a little more. When she and Taub went on the coke buy to determine what else was in the dealer’s product, Thirteen boasted, “I’m just a bitch who knows what she wants.” Whoa. Score one for the personality upgrade. Nice!
Another great line of the night came from House when they discovered that the seemingly wide-awake snoozer patient was hooked on blow: “Sleeping Beauty has a jones for Snow White.” And yes, it was sad that Cuddy didn’t get her baby once Meth Mom decided that instead of narcotics, she’d use the tyke to reach for happiness and love (hated that idea), but the broken-up doc seems to have gained a bigger baby. One who spent the entire episode warning her that she could not take care of him.
Hearing the beautiful song “Fire,” by Daniel Lanois, which played during this sorrowful sequence, reminded me how much I loved that entire album, 2003’s Shine. Check out track 2, a beautiful duet with some dude named Bono. It’s called ”Falling at Your Feet” and it sums up the end of this episode nicely, I think.
Was the Huddy kiss all that you hoped it would be? Did you find Thirteen more interesting this week?