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

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Final Words

After the crash the first thing House says is "You're right, I feel much better". As I mentioned in my previous post about 'Moving On', I view the crash as a final release of his built-up suffering. The numb feeling having dissipated, all he has left before the crash is 'hurt' and rage. Wilson's half smile is an indication that House is 'back', so to speak. As I looked at the song used in the last few moments of the episode, I thought it would be interesting to look at the last words spoken. They are often poignant in terms of what the viewer will take away from the episode; a last imprint in our memories.

House leaves suburbia and we find him on an indisclosed exotic beach. When the barman asks "You want another one?", he replies, "No I think I've had enough". That is telling on two levels; one, for the fact that he no longer needs to drown his sorrows in alcohol (which implies that he is no longer in a largely self made pit of despair), and two, that he has "had enough" of being miserable and attempting to find happiness where it no longer exists.

Next he says, "What do you think I should do today?", to which the barman responds, "I don't know, go home?" Again this gives the impression that he is ready to 'move on' from the routine (we don't know how long he's been there after the crash). But the fact that he says "Not tonight..." gives the impression that he isn't ready to face the consequences of his actions, that he is well aware of what he did (therefore once again the full owner of his mind and his mental faculties). Although the crash was 'helpful' on an emotional level for both him and Cuddy to have a final 'break', it is of course against the law. This is where the hallucination/coma angle falters further (many already reluctant to believe they would use that angle again, despite the 'surreal' feeling of the ending); as he appears to be very aware of wanting to escape reality.

Then again this could be his subconscious telling him that he is not ready to leave Mayfield, for example, but that he is 'moving on' in the right direction. If you look at the very last moment, he is heading towards the light (the sunlit area of the beach), indicating that he is perhaps getting better. Or waking up from a coma.

I enjoy taking a closer look at things not to make a concrete decision about what definitely happened, but to explore the possibilities and entertain various ideas. In my opinion, anything that presents, not only different possible scenarious but different levels of interpretation has to be praised. As I've said before, 'Moving On' is not what I expected for the finale, but it does have elements I admire very much.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

House MD - Love // Sick

"A Retrospective of House's relationship with pain and love"
by @ncismelanie_


House MD - Love // Sick from ncismelanie on Vimeo.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Final Five - 'Got Nuffin'

The last five minutes of 'Moving On' are the epicentre of the episode. What happens in those five minutes changes everything forever. It literally shatters their reality; House is obviously not fine. Or, it's his subconscious sending him a message, just as Cuddy's subconscious was conveying a message via dreams in Bombshells. It's interesting that after he 'breaks' he goes into an almost dream-like sequence on the beach rather than 'waking-up'...

I was speaking to a few people on Twitter and @2105miko spoke about the song at the very end of the episode, wondering whether there was any relevance in the choice of a song with the word 'dream' in it. The lyrics are: "When I'm with you, all my brothers, oh, I feel like a King, it feels like I'm dreaming..." There are obviously many ways to interpret the song choice. It could be that the very ending is liberating and a dream compared to the nightmare of his suffering (song lyrics: "I got [nothing] to lose but darkness and shadows...bitterness...")/ In 'Under My Skin' House hallucinates about being with Cuddy which in the realm of the subconscious is almost identical to a dream. Could he have been hallucinating about any part of his relationship during S7? / Being with her in reality, as clich├ęd as it sounds, is a dream come true. /Or as previously mentioned it is a view into his mind, his subconscious. The ending does seem very surreal. It's particularly brilliant because it causes the viewers to question their perspectives, to dig deeper; what did we really see?

So why THIS song? I think the title says it all really; 'Got Nuffin' [nothing] to lose, as he has nothing left. Once again, House is miserable and alone; just the way he "likes" it.

Song at the end of 'Moving On':( Spoon - 'Got Nuffin' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSS5ajxtQmA )

Friday, 17 June 2011

'After Hours'

After watching the Season 7 finale 'Moving On', a few of us talked about how 'After Hours' would have made an incredible finale. Incidentally, it was my favourite episode of the season. So here are my thoughts:

The episode begins suddenly, with no context or explanation. You can feel the tension build as Darien struggles to break in and start the car. Intensity is what makes so many [H]ouse episodes so successful; and this one is most certainly swimming in it. Not knowing what will happen is a powerful magnet for the viewer.

The relationship between Darien and Thirteen is extremely interesting. They have a bond, unknown to us at the beginning, which propels Thirteen to ignore her own rational intuition in favour of honouring Darien's wishes. The POTW storyline is in fact a parallel to House's storyline. Both are determined to stay at home and remain in control of their situations.
House's discovery of the rat tumours is hard hitting. It illustrates his failure in judgement, his rash decision making and his sheer desperation. Interestingly, House's MRI happens while Thirteen is ultra-sounding Darien. They begin to take a deeper look at their (physical) problems.

House setting up his OR in his bathroom again creates an uniquely Housian form of  tension. House’s efforts are healing in theory and self destructive in practice. All he wants is to fix things. The needles he carelessly drops on the floor link to the crack den where Darien was stabbed, insinuating that he has hit rock bottom. Again a parallel is drawn as Thirteen asks Darien about the underlying issues of her recurrent drug use, as it connects to House trying to fix his pain by injecting what we discover later to be nothing but rat poison. The literal pain is nothing compared to the emotional damage he is trying to repair.

The scenes in which House is in excruciating pain as he cuts into his leg and extracts the tumours are phenomenally acted and directed. They create a mirrored form of agony for the viewer; my teeth were clenched as his were, and my hands were clasped together.

House calls for help, but no one can help him but Cuddy. It takes everything he has to call her. He doesn't want to go to the hospital just as Darien refused to do so. Thirteen called Chase for help which means subconsciously at least, she was willing to accept it (Chase manages to break through her resignation about taking Darien to the hospital). The fact that Darien hallucinates is very intriguing. As the stories run parallel, are Darien's hallucinations significant in terms of House or are they simply a view into her mind?

Cuddy in essence rescues House, but as she has said before, she is part of the problem, not the solution, so she can only help with the physical problem. She says, "unhappy people do reckless things", insinuating that House's pain cannot be fixed by fixing his leg. In the meantime we discover Darien's underlying problems (shooting the kid leads to the drug use).The two stories finally collide when Thirteen rings House for help. When House asks for Cuddy to be in the OR it's a last attempt to reconnect, again, to fix things. Again he chooses her over medicine (the experienced surgeons). He needs her. In both stories, the surface issues are solved; they fix their bodies, but not their hearts.

In terms of subplot, we have House’s adorable relationship with Rachel which only adds salt to the wound of the break up. The letter Rachel dictates for House also seems a reflection of Cuddy’s wishes.

There is Taub, who wants to punish himself for his reckless behaviour (getting Ruby pregnant) by getting beaten up by bouncers. His initial thoughts about not wanting her to keep the baby are reversed after a near-death experience. (This makes me think: dying changes everything, almost dying changes nothing).

We also see that Chase and Thirteen begin to bond on a deeper level; both suffering because of their moral values and the consequences of their actions.

The episode is just brilliantly written. What I really love about it, is that after the near chaos that takes place throughout 'After Hours', everyone goes back to normal at the end; the team looking at cases and House agreeing that he is miserable. Life goes on.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

'Moving On'

As Season 7 was heavily focused on the intensely complex relationship between House and Cuddy I've posted some photos which depict their emotions throughout 'Moving On'.

Season 7 Finale- 'Moving On'

Before we start talking about Season 8, we should have a look at the S7 finale, 'Moving On'. We usually expect a massive hit from [H] season finales. Well we quite literally got one. It received the biggest variety of reactions I have ever seen. I saw the words "love", "hate", "disappointment" and "WTH" quite a lot. Speculation is huge in the world of [H]. Was his escape within the realms of reality? Is he in a coma after the crash? Has he actually been at Mayfield for some/all of S7? Did S7 actually happen or was he hallucinating?

I will keep my take on the finale brief. On my first viewing I was disappointed. BUT that doesn't necessarily mean I didn't appreciate it for what it was. There were some moments of absolute genius:

- The close-up shot of an almost numb Cuddy at the beginning of the episode in black and white as the sirens silently blare in the background. This is in fact the end, not the beginning, which means there is a cycle; a parallel at least to House telling Wilson he feels nothing (at the chronological beginning), or rather in my opinion, he feels everything at once and is left in an almost paralysed state. Which links to my next favourite moment.

- The moment House finally stops feeling indifferent and pushes Cuddy against the wall, telling her "I feel hurt". This of course opens the floodgates, which in my mind links to Bombshells when Cuddy talks about trapping emotions and intuition behind closed doors, until there comes a point when that is no longer possible. Once House begins to reveal his feelings, (to Cuddy, to himself, to us) HE can no longer trap them behind closed doors. This of course leads to the heart stopping car crash at the end. I have to say Hugh Laurie never fails to impress me. His facial expression, his eyes, everything he conveyed was earth shattering. The crash, in my opinion, does NOT represent a murderous House, but a man that has finally been destroyed. I see the broken house as a representation of a fractured House. He gave his heart to Cuddy, which meant that he also in part gave her his mind, as he chose her over medicine. His Housian rationale shifted to accommodate a wonderfully complex relationship. And then he is left broken (link to Mayfield - 'Broken'). His crashing through the house also symbolises, I believe, a final rupture in his relationship with Cuddy (symbolic-finale episode and 'Moving On').

What I saw as a disappointment was the ending. Put it this way, if the SERIES had ended that way I would have felt cheated. On the other hand, it opens up the show to interpretation and what interpretation leads to is involvement. As long as we are not left indifferent, the show will continue to thrive. So that is my "brief" opinion of the finale.

Please feel free to post comments/your own views either under the post or in the discussion forum.