On a very special ''House,'' the doc opens up to a rape victim about his father's abuse, while a dying cancer patient pours his heart out to Cameron

By Michelle Kung
January 31, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
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After a three-week hiatus with the screech-fest portion of American Idol, I was fully prepared to lose myself in the crazy dramatics of Princeton Plainsboro. Instead, I nearly fell asleep. Clearly, the writers were angling to use House’s forced (and predictably unsuccessful) rehab to structure a Very Special Episode about the origins of his nastiness, but their entry of choice into his deep, dark memories — a young rape victim — came off exactly as it was designed: a plot contrivance.

Now, I’m all for subtle character development, but between Cuddy admitting to House that she was hoping more clinic work would make him more humane and the rape victim, Eve, telling him that he ”looked hurt too” (never mind the cane he uses to help his limp), the episode was, to borrow a House-ism, more after-school special than genuinely moving. I completely recognize I’m supposed to care, but the actress playing Eve — who looks amazingly like Scarlett Johansson from certain angles — simply didn’t convince me with her uneven performance. (Hugh, as always, shone and rose above the material. Did everyone see him at the SAG Awards on Sunday? ”I’m British — which accounts for the reason I’m so smooth!” Sigh. He’s the reason more awards shows need to be created.)

Also, anyone who’s seen more than two episodes of the show could see the anecdotal ”twist” about his childhood abuser actually being his dad instead of his grandmother. It’s a frustrating development: While Laurie deserves new material to sink his teeth into, giving House an abusive dad is a bit clichéd. I’d actually be even more fascinated if House had a reasonably normal childhood and was just a snarky SOB for the heck of it.

Speaking of plot contrivances, what was going on between Cameron and her homeless lung cancer patient? Yes, she of the bizarrely styled bangs was married to a terminal cancer patient and doesn’t like to see people suffer — but that’s nothing new. I don’t feel as if we learned anything from her subplot or from the total lack of medical mysteries this week in general. I applaud the writers for trying something new, but if you’re going to mix it up, at least entertain us! Plus, seriously, is Omar Epps even still on this show?

The one aspect I did quite enjoy were the few-and-far-between House and Wilson exchanges. Easily the best line of the episode: when Wilson said, ”Are we role playing? Am I you? Because I don’t want to be you.” Please, sirs, we want more quips like those!

Overall, I found the episode extremely polarizing. What about you, TV Watchers? Did you love it or hate it? Does House still ”owe” Cuddy? Do you foresee a new arc featuring DaddyHouse?

Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein star in the hit medical mystery series
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