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

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.


  1. So true, Wheels within wheels.
    Some things that stuck me. First House tries to blackmail the guy by threatening to ruin his business deal, then his daughter tries emotional blackmail. and very Housian the POTW doesn't allow either of them to win.

    also Love that Wilson is the behind the scenes puppet master then we get the look on his face when he sees the $5,000 check. Who is playing who?

    The continuing theme of violence as self expression accompanied by self acceptance. Wilson, Park and now Adams. Wonderful writing

    Great episode and I am really enjoying your blog

  2. "Morning has broken" is wonderfully ironic, but also transports the idea of a new beginning out of the ashes, which is another House/Adams parallel. And instead of allowing Adam's anger to fester like he did with his own for too long, House spends the money he made on buying the ortho equipment and giving her a "safe" outlet. (Getting some satisfaction for himself as well of course.)

  3. Thank GOD!!! A reviewer who actually watched the episode without prejudice and saw the symbolism within. It was not my favorite episode but it was a solid one in my opinion and it held many interesting twists as you stated above.

    Don't think I can add to what you've stated and thank you for the unbiased review. Looking forward to next week.

  4. Thanks guys!

    Stathies, I love that there are always games involved in House, a sense of playfulness and comedy in competition. The look on Wilson's face was great.

    Esther I really like the idea of House and Adams both being reborn from the ashes of their pasts, as well as the contained area in which she can explode and then begin to heal and move on, thanks for sharing your views.

    Lorib12, thanks so much for your comment! I try and focus more on the analytical than the critical side to differentiate a bit from other reviews. It's a shame that some people go into the episode expecting not to like it rather than keeping an open mind.

  5. It's so refreshing to read a House review that is articulate, intelligent and insightful yet venom and sarcasm free; that is willing to let go of the hurt and bitterness caused by Shore's less than stellar executive decisions and instead of passive-aggressively mourning for what has been lost, is actually dedicated to looking at what the show has to offer with an open mind and an open heart, eager to find delight in it. Keep up with the good work, S.

  6. Thanks very much. I really do appreciate your comment. I do what I can to shed some light (or dark as the case may be) on the episodes. Also I have fun doing my mini analyses, and am happy to share them.

  7. This is why I got on Twitter in the 1st place. I wanted to be able to discuss the show with other people that loved it and watched it objectively. I found that in this episode it was more difficult to detect the parallel similarities between the POTW and House's personal struggle as opposed to other episodes. It was just less obvious, so thanks for sharing your observations. I did love that the title tied into so many parts of the story. I love the interaction between House and the newbies because we get to see how he preps and molds them to work for him. His past team members were either already there (Chase, Foreman, and Cameron) or in the others'(Taub and 13) cases, they had someone (like the aforementioned three)to kind of warn them of House's antics. These ladies are coming in with their eyes wide shut...and I am tickled to watch it. As you said, they will learn. If you get a minute, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I wrote yesterday as well. http://lashao813forhugh.tumblr.com/post/12203184746/house-fandom-is-there-such-a-thing-anymore