Welcome to Dissecting House: a blog dedicated to the television show House MD, where analytical reviews of season 8 episodes are posted weekly.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

'Perils of Paranoia' Episode Review

Perils of Paranoia begins at trial. A lawyer aka our POTW is interestingly prosecuting someone with a false alibi, which could be interpreted as a very subtle link to House and the story of the prop gun (of which more later on). So things are not as they appear. Our POTW thinks he's having a heart attack but it's something much more diagnostically difficult to solve, of course. He shows signs of psychosis via hallucinations but a level of paranoia is discovered when Park finds an arsenal built into his house behind a bookshelf. Books, intellect, mind, so went my trail of thought. Another side to his paranoia is that he won't eat or drink anything not prepared at home which leads the team to think of poison. Instead he is poisoning his own mind. The arsenal is not on the architectural plans, inferring perhaps that the dianosis is not obvious.

Park's paranoia sets in when both Adams and Chase go for Taub as their partner. Adams says that House liked poking ant hills as a kid and that he is an ass who thrives on conflict. But Park retaliates saying he's an intuitive ass. So House does succeed in poking the ant hill, as Park is paranoid about the team not liking her and Adams is paranoid about Park being paranoid and the dynamics of the team. Adams and Park disagree diagnostically and House of course offers the brilliant idea of fighting about it in jello.

Taub recognises that Foreman's life is boring and that he's looking for excitement in the wrong place, ie, anything related to House. Foreman even lied to the patient and ruled out anxiety so House would look at him. He ends up dating a married woman and is paranoid about Taub setting him up when he meets her at the gym. Instead of accepting the invitation from the nurse, he chooses the married woman, choosing to engage in something dangerous and potentially self destructive (aka Housian).

Hilson. The funny antics of the bromance continue, with nets and decoys, both trying to be the cleverest and most devious. The shot of Wilson hanging from the net is priceless. Okay, so the more serious stuff. If you think of the nets they represent not only a literal trap but a feeling of being trapped. Wilson doesn't get House in the net, he traps him in the bathroom, the place of limbo between happiness and destruction we've found House in at key points.

Wilson was justifiably paranoid that House owned a gun. From my point of view House deceived him with the prop gun (which he says he got from a magician, where things are not as they seem, again) not only because he wanted to win but because of why he had the gun in the first place. "Why would I need a gun?". If you note the box says "House" as in it belongs to House from one perspective, but from a more sinister perspective, it is intended for House. It's a metaphor, I don't believe he would actually shoot himself but it's part of his destructive nature to have dark thoughts. House also says "Dangerous people don't break into your home they live in it". It's notable that we actually SEE House take Vicodin for what I believe is the first time since 'Twenty Vicodin' (we can assume he's been taking it when we haven't been looking).

The gun 'theme' runs throughout the episode (connecting the POTWs storyline to House's), and each team member talks about whether they owned one or why they didn't. Guns aren't destructive, people are. So we see a little more about who these characters are in their relations to it. Ironically House's gun serves as the epiphany trigger and the diagnosis is Diphtheria (for which a vaccine exists). The POTW is cured of his symptoms, but not necessarily his paranoia. But perhaps the experience contributes something torwards that. His wife makes them move out and says it's not worth living in fear.

From what I saw there were two notable very touching references to Cuddy. House says "Boggle winning words" when he talks to Park from the bathroom about the dianosis, and of course the sword which refers both to her and to House's father. I hope that means we'll be learning more about him in episodes to come.

The elevator moment between Chase, Park and Adams is just so wonderfully awkward. Chase more or less justifies Park's paranoia when he tells Adams he thinks Park is weird but she doesn't take his no as an answer for a date.

An episode rich in references and symbolism. The POTW story was more of a subplot from my perspective as the Hilson storyline is what captured my attention.

Ps. Reference to piano being the only thing in his apartment worth stealing. Sigh. Piano playing in future eps? Let's hope so.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

'Dead and Buried' Episode Review

House tries to manipulate Foreman into letting him take on the case of a four year old, who just happens to have died five years ago unexpectedly. He values the mystery and the uncontrollable need to solve the case more than the life of a fourteen year old who is still alive.

There is an ironic touch to the way House discovers the death of the child (Drew). He is taking anger management classes and so while being treated for one problem he satiates the desire to get his fix on another (the mystery). House exploits the fact that the father is not only angry about the son's death but also about the unknown cause by saying "People need answers". It is a projection of how House himself feels. Wilson knew he was an addict of “pills, anti social behaviour and sarcasm” but of course House is addicted to finding an answer. It was a particularly Holmsian episode, especially with the investigation of a death.

House exhumes the body and it becomes both a literal and metaphorical uncovering of the truth. Amusingly, when Chase asks where he is, he answers, "Nowhere, he said cryptically". I am a big fan of wordplay and book/film references, so I also appreciated the "Igor" one. The funniest line has to be "You owe me a new pair of pants". The episode is full of humour despite two very profound cases.

Iris, who House was initially willing to ignore is eventually diagnosed with multiple personality disorder as a coping mechanism for trauma. Her repressed memory is manifested through different people and her psychological symptoms indicate suffering. Through hypnosis she accesses her unconscious. The characters her mind created to cope were chosen for specific reasons, as were their symptoms. The little girl (young Iris) is incapable of moving her arms because "I'm nobody, nobody sees me". She was unable to do anything to save her father and her guilt and grief paralyse her. That personality is also allergic to strawberries which is what she was eating when the car crashed and her father died. The magic eight ball Iris got for her birthday triggered young Iris' vision of the eight ball keychain hanging from the rear view mirror. Iris also creates a boy, which shows the level of agression she has inside. This character represents masochism and punishment. "He" bruises her arms and makes her keep things like violent porn films. The tunnel vision symptom or blurred vision represents the blurring of personalities and truth. The blur of her multiple personality disorder buries her cancer which masquerades as a pregnancy.

The episode is very touching (the music certainly adds to the atmosphere). House invites the father into his home, and he also tells him that his son looked "peaceful" when he exhumed him. House connects in a way unlike him, which shows that he understands the importance of having people there. The mystery is vital but it's not enough. There are allusions throughout the episode of traces of someone that is gone (ie/ notches on the door frame which indicate leaving or passing), referring to the son, but in my opinion also referring to Cuddy. She "managed rather than controlled him" as Foreman is trying to do. House manages to cheat the system over and over but Foreman believes "He's the most rational man I've ever met". So between Foreman and Wilson we can conclude that House is a rational addict. Rare, but that's House.

The zebra was there telling us it was important but we didn’t know why. It's a show of great writing when the answer is staring at you and you can't decipher it. Of course, the slightly deaf grandfather was the trigger clue, indicating the genetic disease. It was ironic that Wilson, who was trying to disuade House from pursuing the case was the one to give him the answer ("fall on deaf ears"), as often happens.

It was an emotionally charged episode, the father visibly grieving for his son and the mother burying her sadness. She can only really let herself feel when the matter has truly been put to rest. Her detachment from Drew was a manifestation of guilt and impotence. House felt her lack of emotion was a symptom, but instead it's a coping mechanism, which is a parallel to Iris and her story. The mother tells House there are two types of people, those who can move on and those who can’t. On the Housian side of the spectrum this applies to his inability to let a mystery go unsolved and his unwillingness to really let Cuddy go, which we see at the very end of the episode.

Only by digging deep and breaking down the resistance barriers of emotion can both cases be solved. House accepts the consequences of his actions and gets into the police car after he reveals the genetic condition to the family, without resistance. He even puts the mystery before himself.

The episode has a very fluid continuity with 'Parents', using the nightmare theme of a haunting past (I wonder how many people noticed the figurines of the clowns) and with the mother deciding to mask her child's 'moodiness' by prescribing her Diazepam rather than letting her face the truth.

I have to say that I loved this episode, it was touching, intricate and yet not crowded, funny, intriguing and very Housian. Two thumbs up.

Ps. The parody of Chase as a TV doctor. LOL.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Parents Episode Review

Clowns are often the stuff of nightmares. A symbol widely associated with the happiness of children can also be terrifying. The fact that at the beginning of the episode the children are not happy indicates that the clown has a negative connotation, which is more actively expressed in hindsight. The nightmare (the first symptoms of the disease) begins with the clown and ends with the clown (the truth about the sexual abuse). House episodes are often cyclical.

The patient has a repressed memory, perhaps even one that has been completely erased from his unconscious. Because of the way the storyline develops we believe the mother is the guilty party for keeping the son from seeing his father. The inversion happens only near the end when the disease links to the father having sexually abused the child. This strongly reinforces the point which runs throughout the episode that biological parents are not necessarily the best parents. This actually applies to both parents: Maybe the mother "ripped off the band aid too late". While trying to protect him she screwed him up as he is perhaps now even more determined to make a connection with his father. His father also discouraged him from school, but does his mother not want him to become a clown because of what it represents or is it also about the need for her son to be a success? I found it terribly sad when I thought back to when Taub is talking to the patient and he says that he wants to pass on the joy that his dad gave to him. Which poignantly leads to his mother believing it's better for him to think his dad is dead but decent.

The question of nature predominating nurture takes centre stage. Does matching DNA mean you should have the right to raise your biological child? Legally it does, but morally? House says that all parents screw up their children, to which Taub (in other words) replies, then what does it matter if I keep my daughter?

House, in his usual habit of analysing his team, talks about their parents and how they screwed them up using varying techniques. Chase had a workaholic father and an alcoholic mother who neglected him, but which led him to read medicine and become a successful doctor. Park’s parents were overbearing and so House says she has to measure their affection in hours (as she believes a child needs stability and dedication of time from both parents), Taub is a parent (his daughters have the potential of being "screwed up squared")…and finally after House manipulates her by not manipulating her we find that Adams’ parents were very good parents but that she ended up being screwed up because of it. Instead of working hard as an escape to suffering, she romanticised it and made it happen, which makes her "the most screwed up of all" (and which led her to work in a prison).

When we see Taub at Rachel’s door, what we assume he’ll say is that they can take Sophia (now hilariously also referred to as Sophie; his other daughter) with them. He still believes that it matters to his daughters that he is there for them, that they will somehow recognise that and not be indifferent to who raises them at this early age.

The subplot of the boxing match was superb. I sensed some funny business was happening when Foreman was telling Wilson that he had to be his friend to keep House out of jail, and then when Wilson walked into House’s apartment I just knew. House manipulated him because of his kindness. Wilson takes it on the chin like a champ though. “I’m going to that fight, you let me worry about logistics.”

The clinic patient: Ironically the treatment for the imaginary disease (diabetes type two) is the cause of his actual disease. Incidentally House drinking "urine" before we knew it was apple juice made me simultaneously laugh and shudder. Also, the clinic patient's imaginary disease linked to his dad is an inverted parallel of the patient's dad actually giving his son syphilis.

House's parents: He faux reluctantly says that his decent daddy of the cloth was indecent with his married mother. His step father (John, a marine) was very strict and demanding. House is screwed up and he needs someone other than himself to blame. House hates being a disappointment so it made me wonder whether he had had any contact with his mother since jail.

I really enjoyed this episode, it was very rich in layers and the patient's story really captivated my attention which isn't always the case with the POTW.

Ps. I found it absolutely hilarious that House was stroking Taub's daughter like the Bond villain (and Dr. Evil) strokes his white Persian cat.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Story of a Fan: An Interview with @ncismelanie_

For those of you who don't know, Mélanie D'Anna aka @ncismelanie_ is a French graphic designer who is a huge House MD fan. She is well know among fans for her extremely high calibre fanvideos. They capture that deep dramatic or humorous Housian essence we crave to see in each episode. Recently she undertook a project for House MD after her incredible talent caught the attention of Executive Producer Greg Yaitanes and the leading man himself, Hugh Laurie. She was asked to create four short videos according to very different themes. Below is a link to her page which explains more about what took place, including a letter from Greg Yaitanes referring to the project, a picture of Hugh Laurie watching Mélanie's videos and the videos themselves:


Mélanie agreed to an interview when I asked if she could share a bit about her vidding experience both in general and for the [H] project, and she agreed. So here it is:

Q: What made you become such a huge House MD fan to the point of
creating fan videos of the show?

A: I always loved editing. House became a passion years after years. It's such an interesting show to edit thanks to its different themes : humor and drama. The character of House is very complex and has a lot of layers to "work" on. And why I'm a fan of House ? Simply the best of quality, interesting, entertaining, funny and powerful show on television in my opinion.

Q: Where did you learn to edit?

A: By myself :) I wish I could study it in school !

Q: You have an incredible talent for matching clips to music. Can you
share your vidding process?

A: Thank you Steph ! First of all I choose the theme : what do I want to tell in the video ? The second step is choosing the music. Without a good one I can't start anything. Then I scan the episodes to find the clips I need. And at the end of all of this, I finally start editing everything together.

Q: This project for House MD was a wonderful opportunity. What did you
learn from making these videos?

A: It was a really amazing opportunity ! For a fan of show, literally a
dream come true. I learnt to work with specific themes that I did not chose. It was a challenge. The biggest challenge was, I think, to edit on a song that I didn't
choose. That was the case for the Dick Van Dyke video.

Q: What went through your mind when you were making these videos?

A: I had so much fun making them, each of them was so special. I tried not to think for who I was making them and tried to do the same as I do for any video I make. But of course I was stressed to create them because I knew they were for the House crew but I was relieved when I've been told they liked all of them.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who admires your work and would
like to follow in your footsteps?

A: I think luck had a lot to do with what happened to me. There are a lot of talented "vidders" in this fandom and on the web. I would say you have to love editing cause it asks for a lot of patience. You have to be passionate about what you do :)Oh and "Be yourself and never let go" could be a great motto, don't you think ? ;)

Me: *Laughing* I really do! Thanks so much for agreeing to do this. Congratulations once again and good luck for future projects.

Mélanie will be visiting the House MD set next year.

Check out her other videos!
You can follow Mélanie on Twitter and subscribe to her Youtube page:

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Confession Episode Review

"Nothing has changed"/"Everything has changed" summarises this episode well. We see House's old "team" office from an angle that makes it look huge and empty (without Taub and Chase), but when they join the new team things begin to morph back into the ways of the past.

It was an extremely humourous episode, very old school. One of my favourite lines was "You probably want to boil the kids for a couple of hours when you get home". In terms of favourite (comedic) lines, The Confession wins for me so far this season.

This leads me to Taub, his Taubettes and the question of legitimacy. This storyline is a parallel to that of the patient. The imposing question is: Is it better to know/tell the truth despite the consequences? Taub confesses to "his" daughters that he needs to know the truth but that he will love them regardless. However in the end he decides that in this case the heart weighs more than the head. The patient, a man beloved by his community, has the urge to confess his affair to his wife, to free his yoked conscience. Later, confessions become symptomatic, and there is no barrier between reality and fiction. The patient pushes people away with unconscious false testemonies to past actions.

The POTW then develops an extraordinary skin peeling condition (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) and confesses even to several muders (to Chase which is brilliantly ironic). This does however, lead Chase to have a Housian epiphany and diagnose the patient's confessions as fabrications. Chase shadows House as he did when he "left medicine", taking time off while House was in prison.

Near the beginning of the episode, Taub utters the classic line "Everybody lies". This plays throughout the episode. People deceive one another, sometimes for personal gain, in the case of House trying to find out about Taub (which leads to the fantastic cafeteria scene where Taub philosophises about House's actions being a projection of his own inner feelings, and is then abruptly cut short by Wilson). Or, deceiving someone to pacify a situation or prevent pain, in the case of the patient lying to his wife at the end about the affair. It's a heavy moral dilemma. Confessing is the alleviation of the conscience, so do people do it out of respect for the other person or to take away their own pain?

House confesses to Adams what he says she already knows, that every man who sees her wants to sleep with her. "Most people find it easier to ignore the truth".

I loved the end scenes with the offices. Now he can pester Wilson whenever he wants. It's endearing to see him connect himself in such a way. House needs the comfort of familiarity. It was also very funny.

A nod to Cuddy was also very nice to see, acknowleding her rather than pretending the past does not exist, which would not be very realistic. This is the last big blow of the confessions. Wilson tells Foreman that Cuddy constantly asked him for advice about how to deal with House, and look what happened. Foreman again relies on Chase to tell him that House is screwing with him by not screwing with him. He's still finding his footing.

Great episode! I really enjoyed seeing the new team all together and more comfortable, balanced dynamics.

Ps. The bracelet is now officially a character on the show.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Risky Business Episode Review

That there is some serious business of varying levels of risk goes without saying, but wow, I was not expecting as many references as this. Okay, so those that I picked up on:
POTW moving his business to China and causing Americans to lose their jobs, House blackmailing the patient for money to pay for the team, Park's bet with House that she won't get fired, House's deal with Adams for money to put on the stock market, House's one upmanship with the ortho doctor, drunk Neurosurgeon supervising Park which leads to Park trying to blackmail Foreman, Park using her diagnosis and sending the patient into a coma (which is what House wanted anyway).

As the two new doctors get to know House better they will learn NEVER to bet against him. He will go to the ends of the Earth to win.

Now the use of the gentle, happy song (Morning Has Broken) both at the beginning and end not only creates a cyclical feeling of repetition and continuity but contrasts absolutely wonderfully with what's actually happening. It gives the scenes a sense of absurdism. Music is often used to emphasize content by taking it to the next level by using harmony, but this contrast of gentle and tense (at the beginning) and smashing fury (at the end) works perfectly. Bookstaver did an incredible job capturing the final scenes. The slow motion/ normal speed also gives the end a "trip" feeling. The references to Alice in Wonderland (and time)add even more depth to this.

The sense of the hangman we see at the beginning plays throughout the episode, with Park potentially getting fired, House going back to jail if he continues to provoke the ortho doctor, and of course, the business man going bankrupt if he stays in America. Everything however is reversed, and all the situations resolve themselves. The POTW does sacrifice his relationship with his daughter in order to keep his honour, another parallel theme that runs with House (Wilson talking to Park).

The disciplinary hearing is also a mirror to House in jail, we see that Park is becoming like House, revolting against "the (Fore)man" and House himself (despite being what he wanted). She manipulates the board into letting her stay. The other parallel to House's situation is Adams who has been separated from her ex husband for a year (similar to House/Cuddy). She symbolically smashes him when she lets loose with the baseball bat, as House did with Cuddy's house (to break from a smothering situation and to move on). What's even more interesting is that she shatters "medicine" as in a medical room, which is what began to happen to House himself during his relationship with Cuddy.

House does the very rare and helps both Park (making it so the board hires her if only to go against him) and Adams (by helping her move on). Grief is another theme: and we see how Adams (and thus House), and the patient deal with the loss of their spouses.

The thing that always gets me about House is the level of intricacy in each episode, the wheel within the wheel...It's worth watching each episode more than once as new details seem to emerge with each viewing. All in all an interesting episode, more so because of the relationships than the disease itself. I can't wait to have Taub and Chase back and get the old foundations and new dynamics.

Ps. I loved the "no spoilers, they ruin everything" and "OMFG". So Twitter.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Charity Case Episode Review

Honey, I'm House! We're back to the old Housian feeling of past seasons, but with a fresh sense of the re-born rather than the re-cycled. The case centres around a man who seems to suffer (as House immediately refuses to believe it could be anything but a symptom) of extreme altruism. His generosity surpasses a rational sense of giving. His ambivalence towards his family, in the sense that he loves them and yet does not elevate them above other human beings, proposed a strange paradox in terms of caring. House of course jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the man's disproportionate sense of generosity, but interestingly, not for his own use, per se, but in order to get his team back.

When Thirteen begins to con the patient into giving her a kidney in order to analyse his mental state, he immediately agrees despite the fact that it will kill him. Adams, Foreman and Wilson believed that the man was not sick and had the mental capacity to agree to the first kidney donation, so this proves just how wrong they were (as well as revealing more of the "true" perspective to us). It also goes to show just how much perspectives differ in terms of looking at humanity. House, Thirteen and Chi, who are the skeptics and realists, see this need to be extremely charitable as part of a disease. We see both a rosy and dark version of the issue. I'm more of a realist and this IS House, so I'm glad dark wins. However it is a happy ending as the man is cured and although he will continue giving, he gets his family back. And House can once again say: I was right.

So we go from the POTW who cannot stop giving charity to Chi who refuses to accept any. I thought the banter between Adams and Chi was superbly written, especially in the locker room where the shoes were involved:

Chi: "You want me to return these, give them to someone, wear them while you masturbate?"
Chi: "You do know I punched the last person that pissed me off"
Adams: "Was it Santa?"

Chi's refusal comes from principle, which is great because it doesn't stop her from helping House con Adams into a one upmanship in order to get his car fixed. It's a win-win-win, as Adams thinks she's beat Chi, Chi has actually beaten Adams, and House gets what he wants. I think having Chi as House's ally is great, especially as she doesn't let him walk all over her. Adams does prove that she is not a wallflower either as her charity is not in the realms of generosity in this case, however both her and Thirteen are working for free, hence another aspect of charity.

I thought House's scenes with Thirteen were true to both their natures and beautifully written. His selfishness was overcome when he realised just how happy she was and that it was an innate sense of guilt that was keeping her in the hospital working as a doctor. So the last (veiled) act of charity is letting her go. I'm really sad to see Thirteen leave as she has such an interesting presence on the team and has evolved so much.

On a happier note, we also see a little bit of the clinic, which many of us have enjoyed a lot in the past, often seeing House humiliating his patients. So let's hope for more to come!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Transplant Episode Review

Transplant was an interesting title to theorise about. I like the fact that it did refer to both an organ transplant and House being transplanted from jail to PPTH under Foreman's watch (the new DoM). House has not lost his wit nor his disrespectful ways, mocking Foreman's position and refusing to acknowledge him as a real boss. Foreman seems less authoritative than I thought he would be but perhaps some aspect of revenge is reserved for later on. I also like that the writers kept House true to his form. "People don't change" and expecting him to come back an apologetic, remorseful man...well it was never going to happen.

The fact that the POTW is not a patient but a diseased organ is an interesting twist. House has a natural tendency to de-humanise diseases so he was able to procede as normal without the 'annoying' interaction with the patient (the receiver of the lungs was Wilson's patient). House is often criticised for being an ass, but if he hadn't suggested to Wilson that he stops "respecting" his patient and convinces her to live she would be dead. ("What comes after respect?") The parallel to this is that Wilson then gets the bad influence alcholic boyfriend to convince the patient to live. Wonderful writing.

I like Chi Park already. She does remind me of Masters but I think she will hold her own. The fact that this apparent mouse punched her supervisor not only makes House respect her more, but connects her to House. The part where he suggested they were twins was fantastic. I like to see that she isn't subservient and only follows House's instructions if they are medically relevant (ie refusal to steal the chair). She decides to stay at PPTH, and has the courage to tell her parents what happened because of House. She sees past what he projects and what people say about him to what really matters; his impeccably observant and deductive mind.

The medicine draws him back again, as we saw in Twenty Vicodin. You'll note that he was completely unaware (and doesn't care) about how much he is being paid. Besides believing that people don't change, he also likes his surroundings and situations to stay the same. The team is nowhere to be found and House mentions more than once that he wants them back. Also, the team not being present is a very well-thought way of de-emphasising the fact that Cuddy is no longer there. It makes that particular (major) change easier to digest if it's less obvious. House also wants his old office and even goes as far as breaking in to get it back (which he does in the end). It's perhaps a reminder to the audience that House has always done dramatic, apparently nonsensical or shocking things. He just happens to (at least partly) compensate for these actions by so often being right.

Humourous dialogue I particularly appreciated:

After shouting unexpectedly about the elephant in the room (prison) he talks about not being raped and then says, "Well now that we've got that completely behind us". 

"Fresh fruit in prison is usually chicken"

Wilson punches House in the face and then says "Dinner tonight? I'll pick something up."
 (This is a reverse parallel between House and Chi, with the punch symbolising punishment for a moral wrongdoing).

The relationship between House and Wilson is a vital character in itself. I have always admired their friendship and to see Wilson forgive him once again both makes me happy and proves that "the heart does go on". It is perhaps a misguided idea to trust his friend but a friendship like theirs is unconditional. I like the vegetarian metaphor, with Wilson going back to meat signifying him going back to House.

I thought it was a very good transitory episode from jail to PPTH, and I particularly liked seeing House interact with Chi and Wilson. Next up is Charity Case. If you're into speculation, check out my theory on Thirteen.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Twenty Vicodin Episode Review

The episode begins at a slow pace and increases with the tension of how the five days, split to create a heightened sense of prolonged time, will treat House. We find that he will be released on parole if he behaves for five days. Of course, things aren't that simple. Medicine is at the heart of the episode because it is what drives House to be who he is. As much as he wants to be released, the intrigue of a medical mystery is actually his imprisonment.

This follows with the fact that House turned himself in. It makes sense for House to be found in jail after the controversial finale crash into Cuddy's house. However, House chose to go to jail. I think this is a very important factor to consider. As Dr. Adams points out, he could have got a much better deal legally but he chose to punish himself. Either fully aware or subconsciously aware, he desperately wants to regain control of his own life.

House is not however the alpha dog in jail. The "Nazi bitches" run the jail and tax House more when they realise he is going on parole. He has five days to collect 20 Vicodin to give them.

On the other hand, he becomes a puppet master as he immediately captivates Dr. Adams' attention. She's impressed by how he manages to read her so readily and sees his unique diagnostic capabilities first hand. House talks about undertaking a PhD in dark matter, the original title for the episode. He says that there is 6 times more "stuff" than can be detected and that it is the "greatest mystery of them all". Dr. Adams tells him it's "divorced from humanity" which is ironic because I still believe it could be seen as a metaphor for House. He is dark, complex and often hard to understand/misunderstood. He tries (and very often succeeds) in diagnosing what no one else can see.

Dr. Adams, being a new character is probably more scrutinised than others. She is obviously impressed by House's talents and bows down to his needs. At first she is merely a puppet, controlled by House's manipulative and yet proven intellect. But she shows promise when she reacts as House would ("cool") to the lack of clotting in the patient's earlobe. She takes initiative regardless of the consequences at the end, believing in House but acting because she wants to (which shows strength of character). She is fired but (spoiler)it's very likely her actions are repayed by being hired as part of the team, because House makes it happen.

I very much like House's 'gentle giant' cellmate. Of course, he's not so gentle when he comes to House's rescue. I really enjoyed their relationship and the humour in the fact that he could crush House at any moment, "Or I say thank you for not killing me". I think besides fear House has a genuine connection with him, protecting him from the consequences of being found with contraband. I think that's partly why he threw the collected Vicodin away, but I think he was also trying his hardest to stay away from trouble and start a new life. But medicine draws him back in (he mentions wanting to look at a return's policy for his talent). When I saw the promo I thought he would cause chaos (by throwing the Vicodin pills in the air) to get into solitary, but it was in fact to get to the clinic to try and save his patient, who as it happens, does not have Lupus.

I can't believe we're finally onto Season 8! Feels like we'd waited forever. But I can say that it was most definitely worth the wait. I thought it was an incredible season opener with a nice window into the consequences of his actions and his addiction to medicine (not just Vicodin). One thing I did miss was music (edit: besides the instrumental). I always love the soundtracks on House.

Now onto "Transplant"! Check out my blog post on it (from a while back), looks like I was along the right lines (spoiler) with House being taken to PPTH under a parole leash to treat a particularly diagnostically challenging patient.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Saturday, 17 September 2011

S8 Cast Photo

I like the concept of the photo with the x-ray/MRI film on an illuminated wall. The film is of course transparent and black and white. This contrasts nicely with the fact that medicine is not. X-rays and MRIs are used to identify a problem, to look closer than the human eye is capable of. The fact that House is the biggest negative in the middle illustrates that (on one hand) he is the one being examined. But you see him only at face value, you don't see inside him. Taub is holding up a film of a human head up towards House, but all you can see is the skull, no brain. Perhaps because House wasn't thinking 'clearly' or because people can't see (understand) his actions.

Foreman is the only one seated. I think by now we can almost safely assume he will be the new DoM. Unless things we have seen and read so far are part of an elaborate bluff. Being seated means being more comfortable than the others; a position of comfort...He also, as always, has an air of being the boss. 

@Stathies said she thought it has a Nineteen Eighty Four vibe, which is what I had thought when I saw the first poster (being in the dark/unsure of time and letting your thoughts and worst fears destroy you - Room 101). But this one captures the idea perfectly with "Big Brother" always watching, as House has always done with the team, always knowing everything about them and their every move and thought process. This lends itself well to the obvious and yet subtle fact that House is not actually in the picture, he is not there. The concept is inverted, with House being the one who ends up in jail. 

The characters also seem disconnected and slightly uneasy which could represent the fact that it is a new team and it will take some time for them to fit together. Wilson is facing away from the rest of the team, almost as though he is walking away. It made me think that he also has his back to House. At the end of 'Moving On' his half smile indicated he somewhat understood why House had expressed his anger in a vehicular fashion, but the consequences of his actions highlight just how serious it was. There is almost a hole where Dr. Cuddy should be...

Lastly, the film reminds me of what David Shore said he wanted for Season 8: to go back to the foundations, to the crux of what the show used to be. I look forward to seeing what's in store.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

S8 Posters #4 and #5

Dark, mischievous trouble-maker. 

A more serious, sombre House. Reminds me of the clown picture on my blog title. I love the jail bars making an 'H' just below his eyes.

Source : @MsHousefan

Friday, 9 September 2011

S8 Poster #2

While the other prisoners work hard under the watchful eye of the guard, House lays back and soaks up the Sun. Slacker. Of course he uses his disability as an advantage. We wouldn't expect any less. Note that the guard watching him has a shot gun in hand; the notorious House. The tagline is very tongue-in-cheek, but I like it.

Source: EW.com

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Twenty Vicodin Promo 2

Source: MrCanerGelibolu

The SONG in Promo 2 

Source: @Kid_P_

Friday, 2 September 2011

Season 8 Poster 1

This is the first poster for Season 8. Last night TV Line posted it along with their theories of what the tally marks represent. As we have known for a while now that House will be in jail when S8 begins it's easy to overlook the fact this is a (huge) hint for those completely unaware of what the writers have in store for us.

Source: TV Line 

The general consensus seems to be that the lines represent the 7 seasons so far and the tally in the 8th line represents the premiere. It would make sense as the fourth line is shorter, as was season 4. The number of episodes don't match but some have shared the opinion that this is done purposely to add to the intrigue.

I think this is a very reasonable explanation, but I can't help but wonder if there is more to it. The titles often make reference to more than one aspect of the episode, so why shouldn't the poster?

Peter Blake told me that Hugh himself came up with the concept for the poster, which made me even more curious about what the poster intends to convey.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

Dissecting The Housian Heart

The human heart has four chambers.

I took those four chambers and assigned a label to each one: The Self, Family, Friends, Romantic Love. In order for the heart to function it must pump blood through each chamber. This in turns sends enough oxygen around the body, and of course to the brain.

House is most used to functioning with one full chamber, The Self, and a steady trickle through another, Friends, in the form of Wilson (and Cuddy in the past). During the first half of Season 7, his Housian heart began to resemble that of a happy, fully functioning human being (if such a thing exists).

His relationship with Cuddy and with Rachel filled two chambers that do not usually see much activity, Romantic Love, and even more notable, Family. We saw House's relationship with Rachel particularly blossom during Carrot or Stick. They bonded primarily because of her uncanny ability to lie. House's warped sense of boyfriend duty led him to coach Rachel into trying to get into nursery school. It was actually a very touching episode to watch. His heart began to alter, less of The Self...that doesn't mean his actions were entirely selfless, but it does mean that he was aware of another person's feelings and desires.

The more the chambers are devoid of blood, the less oxygen goes to the brain. In a metaphorical sense, it is a darker state of being, everything is more abstract, less clear. For House, having all the chambers full, hightened his sense of The Self. He focused on every detail, terrified that he would not meet expectations. His mistrust of happiness meant that he was constantly on edge, skeptical and preparing himself for failure and disaster. Arguably, this in turn made him (subconsciously) sabotage his relationship with Cuddy. He took Vicodin to cope with his feelings and to prove that he could be there for her. But I believe he knew, deep down, that she would eventually find out. Cuddy reached a breaking point she previously thought she could overcome. Both were to blame and yet neither were to blame. It was inevitable in my opinion. When the break-up came it destroyed him, but it was not unexpected. Heartbreaking.

House often has incomparable vision when he is in a 'dark' state, he sees the light so to say, he sees clearly. An oxymoron yes, but very Housian. He thrives in his state of perpetual misery. That's not to say that he enjoys being miserable, but merely that he can depend upon it. Happiness is a difficult concept, often fleeting and ever-changing.

The Housian heart works at its best in a concentrated state of The Self . He is not incapable of love, that is clear. However, House gave Cuddy a part of him when he said "I'd choose you", and thus he lost a part of himself. It's not uncommon to compromise in a relationship, but when he chose her over medicine, he gave her his heart which usurped his mind. That's why he is so enraged when he sees the patient in 'After Hours' doing exactly the same thing, choosing love over the mind. Because a person's heart is often in the hands of another, whereas the mind is controlled by the self.

House is left heartbroken. His heart had begun to resemble a 'normal' human heart (in the metaphorical sense). In jail his shattered, shrunken heart will begin to mend, slowly, with the passing of time. But a Housian heart will grow once more; a mistrusting heart, with one chamber more enlarged than the others. House is back to self-preservation.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Charity Case (Episode 3)

We now know that episode 3 is called 'Charity Case', it was written by Sara Hess and will be directed by Greg Yaitanes.

Speculation time:

This time I found it easier to get a piece of paper and a pencil and write down what came to mind when I thought about what 'Charity Case' could mean in terms of episode content. One important piece of the puzzle was provided by Michael Ausiello via TVLine.

October 17th refers to Charity Case. This is my theory:

First I thought about the title: Is it really as straightforward as it sounds (unlikely)? Is Charity the name of the patient? (if so it could mean something all together different from what it implies). Is the patient a VIP?.... It lead me to think that the patient could be connected somehow to the new DoM. 


House is back at PPTH (we know the writers want to get back to the medical side of things). The new DoM forces House to take on a charity case, basically work for free, as House is unlikely to agree to do any sort of charity (more or less use his talent and simultaneously punish and humiliate him- I'm thinking Foreman or Vogler here...). House has no choice if he wants to work again. PPTH is probably the only hospital that will take him back with a criminal record. 

The patient has Huntingtons......AND another disease. The symptoms of both diseases interlink making it difficult to differentiate the symptoms and diagnose the secondary illness. House calls in Thirteen. She feels both guilty and proud for euthanising her brother. She agrees to come in because perhaps, in a small way, helping someone else can make up for being powerless to save her brother ("The Dig"). 

Her knowledge of Huntingtons (notably because of her mother) helps her understand the effects of the secondary disease more clearly. Eventually she helps House diagnose the disease. It is extraordinarily rare to have the combination of the two (that's why they need House). It means that somehow the medication needed to treat the secondary disease helps postpone the symptoms of Huntingtons appearing (adding a few years to the patient's life perhaps). 

Thirteen feels like she has redeemed herself inspite believing (knowing) what she did was right (her brother). It's "bittersweet" because her disease will continue to progress without any extra time to "live life". She leaves again without telling anyone. Not even House knows this time. If it's the last season, as Ausiello said, she won't come back. If not, we may see her again and House may have to keep his promise ("The Dig"). 

Note: Take the "medical" side of my theory with a pinch of salt, what I say may not be medically accurate.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Transplant - Episode 2

So far this is what we know about episode 2 of Season 8. It will be written by Foster and Friedman, directed by Dan Attias and will be called 'Transplant'. We've known about the writers/director for a while but only recently found out about the title.

The word 'transplant' is most widely associated with organs; most commonly the removal of one person's to put in another. It can also mean the transplantation of the same person's living tissue to another part of the body. OR, it can have an entirely different meaning. To transplant can also mean to move or be moved from one place to another.

As I have mentioned previously, [H]ouse titles often have layers of meaning or apply to more than one aspect of the episode (often main plot and sub plot). I will take a gamble and say that in this case it will mean House being transplanted from jail to hospital (hopefully to PPTH to add a controversially dramatic level) to get the treatment I theorised that Annable's character would give him (some sort of surgery: mentioned in "A Close Encounter- The 'Change' Aspect). On a more medical (and more obvious, though perhaps misleading) level it could mean that House himself will be getting a transplant.

I have NO medical knowledge other than what I've learnt through TV shows, documentaries and common sense so forgive me if what I say next is complete nonsense.

Scenario ONE: Say a prisoner dies, someone House tried to save for a while, someone who he became close to (a jail Wilson). This prisoner says that when he dies House can have his organs/living tissue; in this case his thigh muscle. Annable performes the surgery, House returns to his normal level of misery (self-defined happiness).

Scenario TWO: House has some sort of brain surgery that minimises his pain. The medical 'transplant' applies to the sub plot which somehow links to House (a prisoner, someone related to Dr. Jessica Adams).

Without knowing what happens in episode 1, 'Twenty Vicodin', it's extremely hard speculating about what will happen in episode 2. That's all I have at the moment.

Any other ideas about what 'Transplant' will mean in this case?


A splendid chap (aka BF) had a very interesting idea about what 'Transplant' could mean. He shared my view that it could mean House being transplanted from jail to hospital. HOWEVER, he also had the idea that perhaps there will be a case so severe that the patient will have to be transplanted to the jail hospital for House to diagnose; an illness so unusual that no other doctor can diagnose let alone cure. Then I thought that this could also apply the other way around. House could be taken to hospital (most likely PPTH) under police custody to treat the patient. That would be his first time back at PPTH. Fireworks.

Friday, 5 August 2011

You guys ready? [H]


By: yllen27

David Shore - Season 8 Talk

[H]ouse may not ever be the same after the departure of Lisa Edelstein but I'm very excited to see that Shore is going back to basics, to what made the show the tremendous success it has become. 

We find out that House will be spending months behind bars and that the show will pick up months after the Season 7 finale, officially confirming the time warp. This means of course we won't see House in jail for long but I think they will make the most of that aspect in the premiere.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A Close Encounter - The 'Change' Aspect

So it seems that Odette Annable's character will not only become a member of the Diagnostics team, she will make a difference. How? David Shore says that "...he changes her, and she changes him". Shore's mantra has always been that people do not change, they evolve. So I can only think that this connection they share somehow changes their perspectives or their frames of mind. I can't imagine her giving House hope, as after all hope is for sissies. So HOW do they influence one another? I imagine it has something to do with dealing with pain (both physical and emotional). It makes me wonder how this all came about...which perhaps leads back to figuring out why the episode is called 'Twenty Vicodin'.

Shore also says that they will go back to dealing with the fundamentals of right and wrong. They often deal with these matters by giving the patient one perspective and House another. Right and wrong are difficult concepts and are often the foundation premeses of said fundamental issues. I wonder which arguments they will take on.


Greg Yaitanes tweeted yesterday emphasizing the fact that Odette Annable has been the only woman that could change House.

I had one of those 'lightbulb' moments and came up with a theory which I posted a little haphazardly on Twitter last night. I believe she changes House physically. It would make sense considering they do not believe a person can actually change as I mentioned previously.

My theory was initially based around the fact that she changes him via experimental brain or leg surgery. She is a young character, which made me think that she is perhaps a researcher. This in turn led me to the idea that she deals with the brain and perhaps conducts neurological tests on prisoners. Tests are often conducted on criminals in order to assess whether their brains function differently. I thought that perhaps she finds something in House's brain, most likely in the area that deals with pain. Does she manage to end or minimize his leg pain?


 Source: EW.com

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Charlyne Yi - So PPTH in Episode 2?

According to TV Line actress Charlyne Yi will be joining the Diagnostics team in Season 8. We recently found out that Odette Annable has also joined the team in the same capacity. Two new women on the team will certainly shake things up a bit. I know we had Masters more or less fill in for Thirteen but I'm interested in seeing two completely new female characters on House's team. It makes me wonder what their personalities will be like. Will they clash or form some sort of sisterhood in an effort to stand up to House's constant irregular demands. SPOILER! We know that House will be in jail when S8 begins, and according to this article Yi joins in the second episode. Does this mean that we are back at PPTH in the second episode then? I doubt that he will meet both doctors in jail....

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Dean of Medicine

Last night Michael Ausiello posted seven potential candidates for Dean of Medicine now that Lisa Edelstein's Cuddy has left the show.

Not only are the seven characters completely different in themselves, they would deal with House in contrasting ways, some far more enabling than others. In my opinion the most likely candidates are Foreman and Vogler. 

However, this is where it gets tricky in my opinion. On one hand I don't see the board of directors hiring someone who is not strongly authoritative such as Wilson, Taub or Chase. They may be excellent doctors (most of the time) but I don't believe any of them have the 'presence' it takes to run the hospital. Furthermore, the board wouldn't want a DoM who would bow down to House's every whim.

On the other hand, Vogler and Foreman would be strict and have the strength of character it takes to run the hospital and do what needs to be done. However if either of them become DoM, I doubt they would let House back into PPTH. Besides, as Ausiello pointed out, Vogler and his money were thrown out of PPTH in exchange for keeping House. Although I disliked the character because I was of course on our favourite anti-hero's side, the clash would be very dramatic and would make excellent TV. Foreman seems to be the natural successor, having previously been House's "boss". The wildcards seem to be Sam and Dr. Cole who are random choices for DoM in my opinion, neither really 'fitting' the role. They could surprise me though, the writers certainly have done so before.

No one will ever quite fill Cuddy's (Lisa Edelstein) shoes as she was the perfect balance between the strong-willed character it takes to run a hospital and stand up to House (most of the time), and being caring and understanding rather than a cold and solely money oriented boss. It will most certainly be a difficult decision. Of that, I am sure.

Who would be the BEST DoM? Who would be your favourite?

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Twenty Vicodin

With 'Twenty Vicodin' as the new premiere title came a lot of speculation about the meaning behind the words and the episode content. In my last post I mentioned that Peter Blake (@pkbhouse) invited fans to suggest reasons for the seemingly obvious yet deceivingly vague title. He RTd his favourite guesses on his Twitter page. There were 17 of them. He later posted:


Obviously being the dedicated (and impatient) fans that we are I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the guesses. So I chose 4 that I thought could provide a solid foundation for the title 'Twenty Vicodin'.

First of all, it has been confirmed now by Hugh Laurie himself that S8 will begin with House behind bars:

Source: TVLine


It's probably not very diplomatic to include my own RTd answer but I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't actually think it could be a possibility. I know it makes no sense syntactically but you get the picture. 

We find House in jail, he is suffering from withdrawel symptoms after 20 days with no Vicodin. In his desperation he finds a way to access the medicine cabinet in the prison hospital by faking serious symptoms that get him out of his cell. He manages to convince them that he is in so much pain he is about to pass out. They give him the appropriate medication and leave him to recover (because the doctors are well aware that withdrawel is excrutiating, they believe him). He rips the IV out of his arm and manages to break into the cabinet to steal vicodin (because the stronger pain medication will only last so long). He plans to get back into bed and continue his treatment without alerting suspicion. That's when he meets Odette Annable's character who catches him in the act. In order to convince her not to tell anyone he promises to make her part of his team...


I like that in this case 'Twenty Vicodin' is more symbolic: It makes reference to all his most consequential Vicodin abuse with examples that include strong hallucinatory episodes ('Under My Skin' and 'Both Sides Now') in season 5 to 'Bombshells' and 'After Hours'. Pain is a selfish motivator to do anything you can to stop it regardless of whom it harms. It's even worse when Vicodin can no longer cure physical let alone emotional suffering. Everytime he took Vicodin he fractured a part of his future, his addiction led him to alienate even those closest to him. He was almost sent to jail during the Tritter arc (note: it was Cuddy who saved him from his fate then...). The end of his relationship with Cuddy and his emotional shrapnel cut him until he could no longer control his emotions, which led to the last five minutes of 'Moving On'. So in terms of continuity this would also link extremely well to the premiere.


I like the idea of Vicodin being used as a bargaining chip as it's very old school House. The warden will be played by Michael Paré, as reported by TV Line. He will most likely play a prominent role in the episode so it is highly likely that the title is in some part a reference to him. As the most highly renown diagnostician House can ask for whatever he wants if it means that a life will be saved in the process, whether it is orthodox or not. (I wonder what disease he would have?)...Odette Annable's character could be related to the Warden and is the one who begs them to let House save him. House realises she is extremely competent (as well as attractive) and invites her onto the team. 


A slight change to this one. We now know that House will in fact be in jail when S8 begins so hallucination aside it is quite possible that House ODs in Paradise some time after 'Moving On'. The barman notices he has not turned up at the bar that day and enquires about him or someone else finds him, calls the hospital and Odette Annable's character is the one who revives him. They find out who he is and arrest him. Because of his addiction he has built up a resistance and that amount of Vicodin (20) doesn't kill him. Or perhaps he clinically dies for twenty minutes and that is how long it takes to revive him. Whatever happens in his mind during the time he is 'dead' could be part of the time warp.  (I like the Paradise-Purgatory-Hell imagery of this one).

OBSERVATION: Only the text in the pictures belong to the authors themselves. Their (more detailed) views may differ from mine. I simply took their ideas as premeses for mine.

So which, if any, do you think is the closest to the truth? If not, why 'Twenty Vicodin' as the premiere title?

64 days and counting...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Spoon Full Of Jail Makes The Medicine Go Down

Michael Ausiello tweeted earlier letting us know that 'Twenty Vicodin' will be the title of the S8 premiere. Here is what he had to say:

So now we're all left thinking of all the possible reasons for the mention of Vicodin and particularly the number twenty. I don't think that we should necessarily accept that twenty refers to a number of Vicodin.

I'll think about the new title and hopefully come up with something more substantial to post later on. In the meantime the floor is open for any suggestions! 

Yesterday @pkbhouse invited fans to guess the meaning behind 'Twenty Vicodin' and RTd his favourites on Twitter. Check out the suggestions: http://twitter.com/#!/pkbhouse

I wonder if anyone came close.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

S8 Premiere Title Guess : A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

While we wait for Peter Blake to tell us the new title for the premiere of S8 (he will no longer be using 'Dark Matter') this is my suggestion:

'A Stitch In Time Saves Nine'

Any part of this sentence would work well:

'A Stitch' - This could mean an ache, a problem, a solution...

'In Time' - Reference to the time lapse, doing something 'in time' as in succeeding, or waiting for something to happen (being patient)...

'Saves Nine' - He saves nine lives in some way or another (in prison, consulting from afar for patients at PPTH) as a form of retribution....cutting his sentence short perhaps.

The phrase itself as a whole (for those who don't know) means resolving a problem as soon as it presents itself rather than later having to deal with more extreme consequences (a reference to 'Moving On').

We should find out the REAL title today so stay tuned.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

When The Cat Is Locked Up, The Mice Will Play Doctor

Ok, so that's not the original saying. I just wanted to update the blog with the latest [H]ouse news.

SPECULATION: So recently we've had TV Line's speculation about House being in jail at some point during the premiere. Here is what they had to say:

Source: TV Line

Today I found out that Odette Annable will be joining the team as a series regular. Will she be a Cameron, Thirteen or Masters type character? Or will she break the mould completely? Deadline Hollywood broke the news:

Source: Twitter @nikkifinke

If this pans out will House be able to practice medicine after his arrest? Will his medical licence be revoked or suspended? I'm thinking that Annable will perhaps act as House's puppet while he is unable to practice medicine. Any ideas about Annable's character?

So many questions...let the speculation fire burn.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mr. Sandman Bring Me A Dream

I was listening to Mr. Sandman in the park when I started thinking about how funny it was that they used this song at the beginning of 'Family Practice'. And by funny I mean cleverly ironic. A lot of us thought it was a reference to the obvious, the fact that perhaps what was happening or what was going to happen would not be real, but a dream or a figment of the imagination of some sorts. I suppose in hindsight we weren't far off. 'Bombshells' is a few episodes later...

Let me go back to why I first thought it was clever to use this song. It's about Mr. Sandman bringing her a dream, "make him the cutest that I've ever seen". And then we have House. The anti-dream in terms of what you think you would want. In reality, despite being a miserable mysanthropic addict, he is an utterly fascinating and brilliant man. He is far from a dream though. So this lead me to think about 'Bombshells' and the fact that he appeared to Cuddy in a dream in order for her subconscious to access the fact that on some level she already knew that he would fall back on his old (candy) cane crutch Vicodin. So at least from this perspective it appears to be a parody reference to Mr. Sandman bringing her a dream man. In fact he came in an almost feverish nightmare, a hallucinatory style dream.

Anyway, I just thought I would write this down as I thought it was an interesting, and on the surface a very strange song choice.


As I don't think I'll be able to speak to Miguel any time soon, I'll stick to my theory for now...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Escape

When a little bit of escapism goes a long way...

Life's a beach

Gif tailor-made for me by @ncismelanie_
Thank you!

7x08 "Small Sacrifices" - The Almighty Lie

I wrote this after the episode aired (22.11.11). I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to write something so long, but it was an incredibly interesting episode. So here it is:

One of the predominant themes throughout the episode which is aptly named ‘Small Sacrifices’ (for more reasons than one) is Religion. How it is perceived is contrasted by faith and atheism. Continuing the flow of last week’s “A Pox on Our House” the opening scene refers to a very prominent historic event. The score used creates the tension we’ve come to expect of House. The scenes are almost graphic and the anticipation of waiting for the stake to be driven into the man’s palm results in a sharp intake of breath. The difference from last week is that the scene takes place in the present and pays homage to the past. When the cross is raised, the silhouette of the cross and the man’s back is raised against the backdrop of the city, looking down upon it, as Jesus himself is said to have done. 

The hospital opening scene sees the contrast between the work and personal relationship between House and Cuddy. “What you got against chickens? One got choked last night thanks to you!” (And the chicken as a euphemism for sex metaphor begins…) House refuses to accept he was wrong for lying to his boss (creating a division between work Cuddy and girlfriend Cuddy). The constant back and forth is realistic, entertaining and true to both their characters. The play for power and having the last word keeps the relationship fiery. 

The patient’s circumstance (not the patient himself) attracts House’s attention so much so that we see him visit the patient straight away, which is very unusual. The 'House vs God' scenario begins... The crucifixion was not atonement but bargaining. This closely parallels the five stages of grief we know so well from [H]ouse. The patient bargained for his daughter’s life (which ironically sounds more like a deal with the devil). He has gone through denial (that his daughter only had two months to live), anger (that his wife left him), bargaining (to keep his daughter alive), depression (he is afraid of dying but must die to honour his deal), acceptance (to accept treatment [while being lied to]).  House’s atheism propels him to mock the POTW and he talks about ‘causal determinism’ and explains that “we are hardwired to need answers” . It is a battle between science (medicine and intrinsic self preservation) and Religion (unwavering faith). House believes Religion is the fall back answer rather than the rational one. Interestingly, Chase seems uncomfortable with what House is saying (as although he was/is Catholic he has renounced his faith a fair few times). 

The meeting between House and Wilson takes the format of back and forth lying and probing. Their personal relationship intertwines their business one (talking about cancer while talking about Wilson’s lie). This in fact counters House’s argument that Cuddy should accept to keep personal and business life completely separate.

Wilson, who is usually the moral compass in House, advises him to lie as it will pacify Cuddy’s feelings. House interprets the advice in his own Housian way, and embarks on an ‘I have to make Cuddy lie to get even’ escapade. 

The lab scene provides the opportunity for the audience to find out about Master’s history (her parents and their marriage) and the fact that Taub is anxious about his wife and her fidelity. Chase says the “chickens are coming home to roost” when Taub reveals his wife has a meeting at a hotel. 

Again there is a breach in House’s theory that private life can be kept separate from work. He asks for confidential patient files as “tat for tit”. She asks him to concentrate on “work thoughts” and when telling him she doesn’t like what he’s wearing she becomes suspicious that he is trying to make her lie. 

When Wilson’s office door is locked House also becomes suspicious. He admits to Wilson that he lied and forged Cuddy’s signature. Wilson (the usual moral compass) lies again and says he is busy because he is the Head of Oncology when he is in fact helping Sam. He reveals to propose at the wedding. House mocks Wilson about love and suggests “a Buddhist aquarium” as a perfect place to propose. The darkness of lying and betrayal throughout the episode is countered by mockery, irony and humour.  

Taub ironically has trust issues about his wife’s fidelity. The irony is amplified by the fact that she is possibly cheating with a man in a support group for “people with unfaithful spouses”.

House presents a “33 year old carpenter presenting with narcissism, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations”. However, he is not describing the patient, but “HIM with a capital OMG”. House continuously mocks the POTW about Religion. House suggests the neurological problem is to blame for his ‘delusions’ and suggests an MRI to find God (of course implying that there is no God). 

House’s admission of her forged signature to Cuddy only serves as an entry into the honesty/lie equilibrium. House brings up her DOB that he read in the HR file, believing she lied about it. However she lied to HR, not to him. He wants her to “embrace the value of lying”, which she will not.  

When the diagnosis turns to MS, House asks where the POTW’s friends are. He says all he asks is that they pray for him. To which House replies “always sacrificing, very inspirational”. House does not believe in self sacrifice. The irony is that one could very well argue that he himself suffers from narcissism and delusions of grandeur. The POTW claims that “faith is not a disease” and that medicine will not turn him into an atheist. House counters with “…but [faith] kills a lot of people”. 

The irony and mockery of House with the tailor in a Christ-like pose is overwhelmingly good. He stands over his ‘children’ (always refers to them as ‘kids’) as Jesus did and as the patient did (over the backdrop of the city in the opening scenes). 

Religion comes into play once again with the diagnosis of Marburg MS. He will die in a few days and stem cell (embryonic) experimental treatment is the only option. However the patient’s Religious beliefs will prevent him from accepting treatment. A criticism perhaps, of Religion preventing Science from evolving. The patient believes that accepting treatment is an insult to God.

Masters then wants to use the daughter to persuade the POTW to get treatment in an “honesty is not all bad” policy, which counters House’s beliefs. However he uses it. When the patient refuses the daughter says “If God could do this I hate God”. Religion is constantly the source of disagreement. 

At the wedding Chase’s womanising rampage counters Taub’s belief that his wife is betraying him emotionally by revealing intimate thoughts. When he asks her stop, she does not agree. The tables are very much turned. 

House uses humour constantly when dealing with Cuddy, as he is still slightly uncomfortable with allowing himself to love her. He tells her she looks “simply stunning”. However, she wants is an apology not flattery.  When House asks her “What would you wear?” referring to getting married, the dulcet tones of love in fact hide an ulterior motive.  When she says “I may not be young but I’ll be first time” House catches her in her lie as she was married before in 1987 for 6 days (which he uncovered when he became suspicious she knew too much about divorce law). His entrapment backfires. 

Wilson’s proposal to Sam also backfires. His claim to love her work and her sense of morality negates the fact that she insists she was telling the truth about the radiation levels on the five cases she is being audited on. She leaves him because he has not changed, or better, evolved. 

House once again lies to the patient to save his life. He says he did a PET scan on his daughter and tells him she still has Neuroblastomas and that the CT scan had missed the tiny tumours. “Looks like God broke your deal”. Is morality therefore a relative concept?

When he tells the patient the truth and that he is not being punished for breaking his deal with God; and that therefore there is no God, the POTW replies that God is truly merciful and does exist. “Punishment is proof of God and no punishment is proof of God, ingenious argument”. “Faith is not an argument”. This prompts House to re-evaluate his stance on his stubbornness to prove a point. Masters realises the patient would be dead if House had told her the truth. However she still believes in the absolute value of truth which helps counter House’s theories. 

The turning point in the ‘Huddy’ relationship takes place in Cuddy’s office. He truly believes that if everybody lies, trust is unfounded and fictional. However he has learned that trust is not an argument that can be won or lost. He must suspend cynicism and believe. He then takes a “leap of faith”. “I won’t lie to you again” he (more likely than not) lies to Cuddy. He admits to Wilson that “I lied” and took your advice. He knows he will lie again, but so does she. 

House sacrifices his rationality and reason to appease her. Cuddy sacrifices her moral ground that lying is not acceptable, as she understands that it is his small sacrifice which is of value, and not the fact that he promised never to lie to her again. It was in this lie, in fact, that a middle ground was found and a compromise made.