House recap: Polar Opposites
The good doctor is attracted to a deathly ill psychiatrist (guest star Mira Sorvino) trapped in Antarctica; plus, Wilson turns out to be dating an ostensibly unsuitable woman
It was Christmas last Tuesday, but for this post-Super Bowl episode of House, our patient was stuck near the South Pole, so Santa couldn’t help her. In what was probably the show’s coldest cold open ever, the psychiatrist played by Mira Sorvino revealed herself to be a medical MacGyver by closing a frozen colleague’s severed thigh artery with glue. I knew we were in for a challenging 40-some minutes.
In fact, I was worried that the plot device of using video conferencing from Princeton to the remote antarctic outpost, coupled with the limitations of being trapped in the middle of freakin’ nowhere with scant medical supplies, was going to be too gimmicky — especially when House unloaded the cardboard box to reveal to his team the tools Dr. Ice Princess had available to her. I was afraid Tim Gunn would pop into the frame and tell the docs they had to make a paper gown for the patient using FedEx envelopes and duct tape.
But instead the ”ripped from the headlines” story evolved at a cool pace, with enough gross moments (as well as an awesome soap-opera final twist) to make me love the entire episode.
It was good to find House in lust with a smart woman who could go toe to broken toe with him. And yes, the payoff of a broken tootsie was a little weak. What’s more, the I’m so grateful to be alive ending deprived us of seeing Mira’s helpful ice-capades partner get into a fight with her at some later date and scream, ”I drank your urine, and all you had was a broken toe!”
Ah, love. And ah, drilling into a coworker’s head to relieve cerebral pressure. (Remind me to tell my EW colleagues to never drill into my head ever even if I have cranial fluid squeezing out my eyeballs.) Thankfully, the director deprived us of footage of that makeshift urethral-catheter procedure.
The computer-sex bits with House were McSteamy, once again making me feel sad for the guy because he is so stilted with women. Mira Sorvino seemed like a good match for him, and I would have loved to witness her psychologically take down House’s walls, but there was too much else going on, and the actress has only signed on for one episode. Still, it almost counts as a psych consult. In my fantasy programming, House would end up on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.
Meanwhile, the Wilson subplot was such a surprise. I thought his new girlfriend would turn out to be Cuddy, since that is what House was thinking, too. I did not see Cutthroat Bitch as the logical lust object for our oncologist sidekick, and still don’t, but then the preview for the next episode spelled out the attraction. C.B. is sort of House in a dress. So I’m now sucked in with another reason to watch this Tuesday.
The ”House wants cable TV” subplot was a little go-nowhere, but it did remind me of how important writers are to this genre. House said that he requires premium channels because the stuff you get on basic cable sucks. (Could he mean Fox? But then he said he was all set for Tuesday nights.) Anyway, there were so many great lines tonight, delivered with that delightful evil glee (and I’m talking Wilson here). After House made derogatory comments about psychiatry, Wilson said, ”Never before has a profession been so derided by someone who needs it so much.” House responded by saying, ”The hooker profession.” Earlier, referring to the South Pole doc, House said, ”She’s a really great psychiatrist: One session and I got shrinkage.” It was as if Don Rickles had whispered these words to House in his stethoscope.
Finally, I have a question: Scientific folks doing sciency stuff in the South Pole have Dell computers?
What do you think? Would you like to see Mira Sorvino’s character pop up in Princeton? How long will Wilson and Cutthroat You-Know-What last? And was this episode a little too family-unfriendly for the post-Super Bowl slot?