|“Babies?” “Don’t blame me, I live in the writers’ heads.”|
WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINALE! I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS.
For once, I shall begin at the end rather than the beginning. As we all know, “Everybody Dies” is the series finale.
For the sake of spending Wilson’s last months together, House fakes his own demise. He pretends to burn to death, there is a funeral, Wilson gets a text. He finds House grinning, sitting on a stoop. After being yawped at endlessly about how selfish and self-centered House is, House makes the grand gesture of sacrificing everything for Wilson.
This begs the question: what on earth was the point of the episode? If House has already planned his own death, down to switching dental records with his patient, who lies dead next to him in the warehouse, why is he visited by the Ghosts of Costars Past? I mean, it’s nice to see Anne Dudek, Kal Penn, Sela Ward and Jennifer Morrison again. If only they had something more interesting to do.
So, House wakes up from shooting heroin, and is trapped in a burning warehouse. Why is this warehouse burning? It’s never explained, so it drops into the vast yawning pit of Baffling Events and Disappearing Characters and Plot Holes. Again, if he’s planned to fake his own death, what’s with the ghosts and hallucinations? Why on earth did he shoot heroin? Don’t give me that addict kerfuffle. Surely he’s done it before. He’s taken everything before.
Each “ghost” shows up to lecture House about himself…pardon me for putting it this way, but HOW COME THIS SHOW CAN’T MAKE A POINT WITHOUT HALLUCINATIONS? This fall-back device is annoying. And tired. And ultimately boring, once you get over the pleasure of seeing the old faces again. The same old arguments, written the same old ways. Written and directed by show creator David Shore, it’s not up to the amazing “No Reason” and not as abysmal as “Two Stories.” Pointless mediocrity is what we have after a listless final season. It’s easy to see why the show has been cancelled.
What’s missing from these characters is any sense of humor. Each “ghost” solemnly lectures House about his life, his choices, fill in the blanks. Kutner is first, (Kal Penn), who asks him who the dead guy is.
|“It’s James LeGros. He was the POTW for about, oh, five minutes.”|
POTW is a heroin addict who likes being an addict (ANVIL ALERT). He has agreed to help House (although we’re not sure how) get out of jail. Through dialogue with Kutner, the exposition continues: House is trying to avoid jail to stay with Wilson for the remaining time. Kutner talks about a “plan” and asks, “why are you sitting here on the floor with the suicidal guy?”
I’d heard it all before and I knew it was a hallucination and House wasn’t dead. Amber (Anne Dudek) shows up to take over the exposition. She speaks in a spaced-out monotone, which fits the dialogue.
Amber is there the longest, and given the lamest dialogue, mostly standing around solemnly intoning…whatever. Your faithful correspondent doesn’t give a damn. Stacy, House’s great love in Seasons 1 and 2 (Sela Ward) is there to show him the life he never had, handing him a baby with matching big blue eyes. Excuse me? House has never shown more than a faint interest in settling down. Yes, he bonded with Rachel Cuddy, but has she ever been mentioned again? He looks into a suburban living room , where he is canoodling with…Dominika?
Speaking of which, where was Cuddy during the Greatest Hits parade?
Then, finally, drama! House crashes through a collapsing floor! He’s trapped! As he lies on the floor, surrounded by flames, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) appears, urging House to die. That he’s done everything he can, he deserves to end it. It is such a pleasure to see her onscreen again.
However, she joins him in the hospital with the POTW, and in a baffling turnaround, tells him he’s a “coward” for choosing suicide. Meanwhile, Foreman and Wilson have been searching everywhere. They go to—Nolan’s office! WTF? Yes, it’s nice to see Andre Braugher, but–Nolan wouldn’t let House out of Mayfield unless he got clean. And now he’s okay with House being on Vicodin? This makes even less sense than everything else! Oh well, Nolan does fine with his three sentences.
House is alone. “I can change,” he mutters. But he can’t get out! Foreman and Wilson reach the warehouse just in time to see House through the flames. Then a burning beam comes down and the whole place explodes.
|“Oh, fuck me.”|
A body bag is removed, the dental records match.Your faithful correspondent was upset but all right with House being dead. If someone was going to die, it is fitting that it should be House.
|Foreman breaks the news to Wilson|
A funeral is held. House’s ashes are in an urn. I will forego the obvious joke. Charlene Yi kicks off the festivities, Blythe (House’s mother) gets a line, Chase gets a line, Amber Tamblyn shows up, everybody gets a line. It’s all actually quite poignant.
Then Wilson gets up. He starts a eulogy, but then loses it completely, calling House “an ass” for failing Wilson the one time truly needed him. A cell phone keeps ringing during Wilson’s sort-of eulogy. It’s in his pocket, but it’s not his phone. He opens it and sees a text: SHUT UP YOU IDIOT.
Cut to a car pulling up. Wilson gets out, to find House waiting for him. Turns out, as I said at the top, House faked his own death. He has given up his career, his identity, in short, sacrificed everything to be with Wilson. Now tell me that isn’t true love.
The ending montage shows the cast (Taub has both mothers and both babies, excuse me?) carrying on in the wake of House’s “death.” The best moment is when it is revealed that Chase is the new head of diagnostic medicine. The second best moment is when Foreman finds House’s ID card wedged under a wobbly table, and realizes what has actually happened. So, everybody dies, but they don’t. Just that poor bastard junkie.
At the very end, we see House and Wilson on motorcycles, strapping on their gear. “House, when my cancer gets bad—“
House gives him perhaps the happiest smile we’ve seen in eight years. “Cancer is boring.” With that, they ride off into the sunset, to the strains of Louis Prima singing “Enjoy Yourself,” a truly bittersweet choice. And a perfect ending.
|“Wilson, you look so gay. Thank God.”|
Farewell, House. For better or worse, we shall not see your like again.
Your faithful scrivener has not watched “Swan Song” yet, so my opinions will be saved for another time.
It is a shame that this episode followed the “Reichenbach Falls” on “Sherlock”. Bad timing.
Does anyone else find it sad that Chase’s team is now Park and Adams?
Wilson sitting with a blanket over him the morning after the fire broke my heart.
“Enjoy Yourself” was sung by Amber in a great creepy way when she was a hallucination in Season Five.
I love Sela Ward. Stacy was the only one who called him “Greg” and gave as good as she got.
I missed Lisa Edelstein.
Elisa & Fletcher
The best moment in the show. In the opening.
Your obedient scrivener feels the way RSL apparently did:
Tweet from Kath Lingenfelter: Oh man, RSL was not happy with us on this gag.
Someone also explain why the female writers on this show go along with the appalling female stereotypes the show has been trafficking in the past two seasons. Are they actually men with false names? Do they have a secret right-wing agenda that all women are good for is sex and…sex? Are they all former hookers, hoping to bring their deep life experience to the screen?
There is an old lady with Alzheimer’s at the bus stop, and Wilson is determined to stay with her until the cops arrive. House and Wilson ride a bus back home. Wilson talks about a traumatic senior year incident that left him scarred (a girl dumped him for–wait for it–Kyle Calloway). One can hardly believe he got married three times after that shattering incident.
Since House isn’t around, they again swap around the script so Chase can do all of the standard House misdiagnoses and stand up against the rest of the team and Foreman to do what’s right. In one shot he’s leaning over a morgue table staring downward, in a pose so House-like it’s ludicrous. “We’re missing something,” he keeps saying. He even gets his own whiteboard. Then—Epiphany Face! There’s a quick explanation that Dr. Biff’s OCD causes him to use way too much hospital soap. Combined with energy drinks, he went crazy, etc. etc. There, there, it makes no sense to me either.
I’ve got a new series to star in, “Chicago Fire.” Later.
|“Mommy’s sorry for almost killing you, sweetie. She’ll be more careful next time.”|
Emily’s illness, as it turns out, is not caused by genetics but from a tumor in her heart. House has been working with the cases less and less this season, so it’s Chase who gets to have Epiphany Face and solve the puzzle. One suspects that the show is setting up Chase to be the team leader as the series ends.
House giving the last of his Vicodin to Wilson.
|A million fangirls scream around the world|
But then, crazed with pain and illness, Wilson lashes out at the unfairness of getting cancer, and spews out venomous truth at House. House sits, hurt, and silent. House is usually silent when the people he cares about rage at him. If anyone has any thoughts about this, please post them in the comments.
However you choose to view their friendship, it is indeed true love. It would have been perfect had the episode ended there. Instead, House and Wilson return to work. Wilson finds an open laptop on his desk, hits a button. Journey blasts out, accompanied by a photo montage of House and two hookers clowning with an unconscious Wilson ala “Weekend At Bernie’s.” Your mileage may vary, but it was a cheap, jarring end to an otherwise excellent episode.
|“When did I get the time, money and energy to do this? When my Vicodin’s all used up? Ah, screw it. Par-TAY!”|
What did you think about the ending montage? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
Anything you’d like to say in the comments? Just bear in mind that I am always right.
“House,” you have abused me long enough. You have bewildered me with your nonsensical plot lines, badly written dialogue, anvils dropping faster than summer rain…but this time, “Body And Soul” crossed the line.
Greg drags me to hell and back in this giant wrecked parking garage, I get bent all kinds of ways, we have to go home WITHOUT the cane! So I’m not only throbbing, I’m burning, stabbing, aching, off the charts on the pain scale! Greg doesn’t take the fucking Vicodin! It’s not a moral decision, jerk-off, it’s PAIN! What about PAIN don’t you understand at this point? Man, I was seriously pissed, but it’s not like I have hands or a mouth or free will. I’m just a goddamned leg, for Christ’s sake.
Then Cuddy showed up and I had to act like I wasn’t in shrieking pain because Greg was getting all like “wow, she’s here, I’ve wanted to bone her since the Crusades! And I looooove her.” They kiss and through some sort of magical endorphin boner process, I’m not supposed to hurt. AFTER ONE OF THE WORST DAYS OF MY LIFE.
Yes, the leg was extremely upset.
In reverse, last night’s episode was horrendous with a shattering ending.
The press release claimed the story was about dreams. There were dreams, and hallucinations. Why, why, WHY do they keep going back to hallucinations? If it weren’t for hallucinations, vomiting blood and paralysis, “House” would be ten minutes long.
The POTW is a cute little eight-year-old boy from Hmong ancestry. Whatever that is. Somebody in the comments can explain it, because I don’t care enough to look it up. Besides, the Hmongs on the internet are complaining the show got it all wrong. Amazing how many people this show can piss off.
Cute Hmong Boy dreams he is being choked by his late grandmother and wakes with acute respiratory distress. House brings several boxes of files to the team about Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome among males in the Hmong community. They eventually decide to look into infection, as well as the possibility of inhaled toxins.
Hmong Mom is an engineer, but Scary Hmong Father-in-Law is convinced that Cute Hmong Boy is possessed by demons. The young lad does have a collection of symptoms as assorted as a Halloween trick-or-treat bag. The most striking symptom is levitating. (And no, they never really explain the levitation, which sucks since it’s the only interesting symptom and looked good in the promos).
“Man, that is some seriously sick shit.”
Cute Possessed Hmong Boy speaks in tongues, wakes up from another choking dream with bruises on his neck, and crashes every five minutes.
One of the boy’s dreams involves Scary Hmong Father-In-Law choking him, which not only looks real but also seems possible. Even logical. It hints at possible child abuse. In earlier days, child abuse often played a part in family secrets. But that was when the show made some sort of sense. Instead, oooo, is it disease or is it …SATAN?
Once again, it’s “Faith vs. Science”. This dead horse has been beaten until it’s the consistency of chopped liver.
At the patient’s home, the doctors discover a slaughtered pig and assorted voodoo-type thingies in the boy’s bedroom. Sleeping in an abattoir, now THERE’S a recipe for PTSD. Cute Hmong Boy’s father went crazy and killed his boss. Scary Hmong Father-in-Law thinks his son was also possessed. Your faithful correspondent thinks it is because the son was choked and forced to sleep in a room with large dead animals. Be that as it may, SHFIL convinces Hmong Mother to ditch common sense in favor of an exorcism. And slaughter another swine in the boy’s hospital room. Now I truly believe the show is written by the interns while the writers sit out by the pool and smoke crack.
During the exorcism, which involves pretty red cloth, Cute Hmong Boy crashes (again). Against House’s orders, Adams injects ibuprofen into the boy’s IV because she believes he has patent ductus arteriosis, which starts at birth but for some magical reason never manifested until now. Guess it was the demons.
But we’ll never know. Or care.
Park has a sex dream about Chase. Chase has a sex dream about Park, which is quite funny. Any time I can get to see Jesse Spencer without his shirt is a good time. At the end, Park decides that the reason they have sex dreams about each other is because they’re good friends and comfortable with each other. So she farts.
(I hope that means I’m good friends with George Clooney.)
Adorable Dominika is now the Dominika The Wonder Whore, as she demonstrates that she is a crack shot AND an ex-cop who reads about quantum physics in the tub. AND she’s made thousands of dollars selling knishes AND she knows how to fix small appliances AND she knows how to tilt her head adorably while delivering appalling dialogue in an adorable accent…she is House’s “dream girl”!
I’ll be in the lavatory retching if you want me.
Dominika reveals that she has fallen for House…they start kissing…ick augh bleagh Creepy Grandpa and That Girl blechh…when the INS calls and halts this abomination. Dominika discovers House done her wrong by throwing away her INS notifications. Farewell, Dominika! Don’t let the door hit your adorable ass on the way out.
Just as we’re settling back with an ice-cold martini, House visits Wilson to tell him he’s “surprisingly depressed” that Dominika has left. Wilson emotionally coldcocks House by announcing, “I have cancer. Stage Two. ” The promo for next week shows Wilson coughing up blood on House’s couch, refusing to die in the hospital.
There were three possible reactions on the part of yours truly.
The first is: “Are you joking? The oncologist gets cancer? House’s only friend gets CANCER? In time for May sweeps? Are they so cynical that they think all of the millions of fans who deserted the show will come back in droves because Wilson is probably DYING? What kind of manipulative merde is this? Why did I ever think this show had a shred of integrity?”
The second is: “Wow, Robert Sean Leonard is going to knock it out of the ballpark!”
The third is: “OH GOD NO NOT WILSON PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON IF WILSON DIES THAN HOUSE HAS TO COMMIT SUICIDE THEY ARE NOTHING WITHOUT EACH OTHER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON OH MY GOD THAT PROMO IS UNBEARABLE TO WATCH I HATE YOU DAVID SHORE DIE DIE DIE I’M GOING TO ROLL UP IN A BALL AND CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP.”
Mine was number three. Mascara was smeared. Eyeliner washed down the cheeks. Tears streaked the NARS blush. Martinis were gulped down between sobs.
“House,” this will not stand. Pardon the pun. It was only this afternoon that one and two kicked in. Yes, I am mortified at my initial reaction.
If Wilson dies and House does an “Out of the Chute” redux, I want him to miss the pool and hit the pavement. Now THAT’S what I call a finale.
Feel free to discuss this episode in the comments, and remember, I am always right.
Elisa & Fletcher
Ladies and gentlemen, we might have a winner in the race for the worst script for House before the show leaves the airwaves for good. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman had a strong lead with “Man Of The House.” It was neck and neck with “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.
But leading the pack by a length as we go around the home stretch is “We Need The Eggs,” written by Sarah Hess and Peter Blake.
Imagine you have a friend-of-a-friend, an obnoxious drunk who brays with laughter at his/her own jokes. Now imagine that friend-of-friend is a shambling, fetid zombie.
(Note to self: do not watch the Season Two arc involving “the love of House’s life”, Stacy, played by Sela Ward, on the same day a new episode airs. Said arc is sensitive, well-written, two adults behaving in a believably screwed-up way. “Distractions” begins House’s hiring of hookers for uncomplicated sex.)
This ostensible premise is a large slab of fatback about how we all want love but fear it too much, and the substitutes we choose instead. “We Need The Eggs” is a quote from Annie Hall:
I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.’ And the doctor says, ‘Well why don’t you turn him in?’ and the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’ Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.
OUCH! That anvil hit my foot! And so early in the episode! House says the movie is a critique of “our modern mores”. (Annie Hall was made in 1977.)
The underlying premise is how the show demeans women at every opportunity. Not just House, the show itself.
Open with a man out on a date with a woman, Molly, who is not his girlfriend. She likes him and tells him she wants more. His eyes promptly begin to bleed. Way to avoid commitment.
I have to admit here that I was filled with excitement because the arcade game owner was played by my old pal Eddie Pepitone.
The POTW, Biff, is in love with a rubber sex doll, Amy, played by a rubber sex doll. He’s had it customized to look like a yoga instructor he dated for the length of your average high school crush. He loved her but she didn’t love him.
“You come here often?”
Perverted Biff adores Amy (reminding your faithful correspondent of both Lars and The Real Girl and “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning” from Supernatural, in which a man is in love with a—surprise!—rubber sex doll). Speaking of Supernatural, the segment I enjoyed the most was when Amy became “real”, climbed on top of Perverted Biff and proceeded to gush blood from a wound on her torso all over both of them. But of course it’s a hallucination, the go-to device for damn near everything this season.
His illness is from using tap water in a neti pot.
Parallel with this is a sitcom so tawdry I wanted to erase it from my mind half-way through. One imagines the guffaws in the writer’s room: “That’s really sick!” “Let’s go there!” “Omigod, House and his hooker—genius!” “We make hot chicks to do sexy things—no, STUPID sexy things!” Greg Yaitanes: “Ka-boom!”
House’s favorite hooker, Emily, is quitting to get married. He needs a new hooker/rubber sex doll! OUCH! That anvil hit my other foot!
House interviews a parade of prostitutes at his office. One is rejected because she can’t fix small appliances. The last one is reduced to standing on her hands and spreading her legs wide open. Cue laugh track.
House goes to Wilson for advice, Wilson points out that House is married to a beautiful, intelligent woman—adorable Dominika! House enlists Dominika in an adorable plot to break up Emily’s marriage. They hide in her truck called “Knishing On A Star”. Har har.
Bond Girl and Creepy Grandpa coming up with a plan
Wearing a wire, Dominika propositions the fiancé, a fat man (visual gag: beautiful woman, ugly guy, the uber-pairing for most sitcoms) who is ready and willing, but—wait for it—he’s not Emily’s fiancé. He’s her brother! Cue laugh track to hysteria and applause.
House begs Emily to reconsider. It creeps her out that House is living with a fake wife. Maybe she would be okay with a rubber sex doll.
“I see the way she looks at you. I see the way you look at her,” wise hooker Emily says. “It’s not the way my pimp looks at me.” Oh, wait, that last line might be a misquote.
House is stunned at this revelation. He and Dominika might be in love. At least for this episode’s purposes. For a character David Shore said they weren’t bringing back, Dominika is getting an awful lot of screen time. All right, so it’s not Karolina Wydra‘s fault that she’s trapped in this crummy storyline. But why is she so cursedly adorable? Why are all of the women such ciphers?
Oops, I forgot, this is House.
In other boring relationship news, Adams and Chase debate why neither of them have relationships. Yawn. Taub invites a woman over by lying to her. Yawn. Park meets a fellow nerdy music lover and they play guitar together. That’s cute.
House almost kisses Dominika when she says she fixed the blender. You see? A hooker couldn’t fix the blender! Dominika is the woman he’s been searching for! She’s adorable! Then he pulls away—he’s scared of love—his relationships always end badly—he’d have to run his car into his own apartment–!
But when he opens a letter that says Dominika has been approved for citizenship, he throws same into the trash. Much the way he deleted the message on his answering machine while Wilson was staying with him, saying there was an apartment available.
In Episode 10 of Season 2, Stacy compares House to hot vindaloo curry. She starts to tell the same Woody Allen joke, but before she can deliver the “egg” punchline, House interrupts with “curry.”
God, I miss curry.
“Why am I even here?”
House + Dominika = Eeeeeew
I’m starting to wonder if Hugh Laurie isn’t just high on life.
Robert Sean Leonard is mugging his way through his scenes with a palpable air of disdain.
The rubber sex doll is the perfect actress for House.
I wish Dominika was played by Eddie Pepitone.
The “Park looks nerdy but says shocking things” is getting old.
After this episode, I’m going to my doctor to get checked for an STD.
Elisa & Fletcher
DISCLAIMER: I am a reviewer, not a recapper. There’s a difference. You want a recap, go to another site.
To those who ask, “If you hate the show so much, why do you keep watching?”
Because I need the eggs. OUCH!
A while back I mentioned that the writers of House are in a race to see who can write the worst script before the series’ end. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman have a strong lead with “Man Of The House.” But there is a serious contender, “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.
Disclaimer: I do not usually use the vulgarities written here. But desperate times and all that.
Words cannot adequately convey what sheer torture your faithful correspondent endured watching this. Director Miguel Sapochnik has directed some of the worst episodes of House (“Larger Than Life”, “Family Practice”), and he truly let out all of the stops on this suckfest.
The program’s slide into the cesspot is positively meta. Is the show itself some sort of sick House-ian screwing with the audience, putting us through the wringer for their own amusement? Are they teaching us a lesson, as House so often does? If so, the lesson is: never take for granted that you have viewed the suckiest episode of House. There’s still more manure to be mucked out of the writer’s room.
The patient of the week…oh, the hell with it, he’s Hockey Biff…is an “enforcer” on a hockey team, the big guy who punches out the smaller guys on the rink. In the opener, after the usual fancy slow-fast-loud-silent things they like to do when there’s action, they go straight to the inevitable scene of the patient vomiting blood. Although this time it’s on ice. Very pretty. Points to the art department.
House just happens to have a hockey table game when the case is brought in, which made me want to take an axe to my television. Does House have a secret underground bunker of toys suitable for every case? The show likes secret underground bunkers (oh, dear, yours truly is going to be called out because it was an above ground bunker in “Perils of Paranoia”).
Taub hates Hockey Biff because he reminds Taub of all of the bullies he endured in school. But then Taub likes Hockey Biff because…um…sorry, I have no idea.
Hockey Biff has the requisite paralysis, the word “sarcoidosis” is thrown around, and Hockey Biff grows breasts. Didn’t a gentleman lactate on this show recently? Taub diagnoses Hockey Biff: the man has mononucleosis, which back in the day was known as the kissing disease. Dear readers, I suffered from mono in my youth, and the most dramatic symptom was lassitude. But then, I already had breasts.
For an instant Hockey Biff considers no longer being an enforcer, but his moral dilemma is neatly solved by a $2.1 million dollar contract.
But Hockey Biff is merely a footnote to two of the most unbelievable, intellectually insulting and badly acted character arcs—wait, that’s been most of the character arcs recently. In any event.
For the “wah-wah-wah” part of the show, Park wants to escape living with her parents, so Chase offers her his spare bedroom. Adams has been firmly pushed into the background so that Park can say and do wacky things. Expect Charlene Yi to land a quirky role in a sitcom next season. That’s obviously what she’s being prepped for. Park moves in, but so does her grandmother, Popo. Chase takes a liking to Popo. Short but seemingly never-ending short story short, Park moves back in with her parents, and Popo stays with Chase.
The egregious, deplorable House/Wilson plot is the cement shoes tied to the feet of “Gut Check” that pulls it to the bottom on the swamp. On the one hand, we get to see more of Wilson than we have all season. On the other hand, we have to live through moronic shenanigans that make the Three Stooges look like Chekov.
The set-up: Wilson cannot sleep because the new baby next store is keeping him up all night. House makes the instantaneous deduction that in reality Wilson regrets not having children. House reveals to Wilson that Wilson impregnated Beth, a falconer (a falconer! How delightfully random—NOT) eleven years before, and as a result, there is a male heir to the Wilson name. Wilson, having had a lobotomy this season, is overjoyed and doesn’t question for a minute that his best friend of many years never mentioned this before. House vowed to keep it a secret. Since when has House successfully kept a secret from Wilson? Since when has House wanted to keep a secret from Wilson? In reality—oh, God, this show is so bad I’m referring to earlier seasons as “reality”—House would have lost no opportunity to browbeat Wilson about his love child.
Instant child! A little boy with glued-one eyebrows meets Wilson, they have everything in common, Beth never appears, and on the second meeting, Duncan declares, “I love you, Dad,” and gives Wilson a big hug. How did House manage all of this with such lightning speed? How did he know that the conversation with Wilson was going to happen? Oh, I forgot again, making sense stopped making sense to the creative staff by the end of Season Seven.
Despite Duncan neither acting nor speaking like an eleven-year-old (he prefers prosciutto to peanut butter) Wilson is delighted that he has a son. Robert Sean Leonard sells the heck out of the subplot, but underneath he seems to be saying, Are they really asking me to say this crap? But when Duncan wants to move in with Daddy because Mommy is moving to Costa Rica to save wildlife (ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) lobotomized Wilson believes it and freaks out. In the past, Wilson would have seen right through the scam, and played House against himself, perhaps pretending to be overjoyed with his new “son” and telling House that from now on, his “son” was going to take all of his time, so bye-bye, House.
But no. House unmasks that “Duncan” is Wendel (with one l, thank you to the reader who picked up this error), a child actor he hired to show Wilson that he never really wanted a child. Wilson starts to get angry, but then remembers that was the old Wilson, with a brain and a backbone. So he sits back on the couch and gives a forced chuckle. (I swear, Robert Sean Leonard looked like he was dying of embarrassment at that moment.) At the end, he is shown happily making pizza with House. Insert agonized scream from yours truly.
What has happened to Wilson? Why didn’t he have more of reaction when he found out his best friend had kept his son a secret for eleven years? Why didn’t he have more of a reaction when he found out the boy he’d bonded with was a hired actor? Why is he there at all? For House to make mildly lascivious homosexual jokes to? For fan service? If he has to be there, at least give him back his frontal lobes.
Hugh Laurie continues to look weird. Are they foreshadowing cancer, or does he just look weird?
Odette Annabelle is definitely being sidelined. Now that they’ve got adorable Dominika, the man fantasy girl-with-boobs quota has been filled.
Until next week, that is. From the press release 8×17 :
Meanwhile, House is interviewing for a new favorite hooker, since his current favorite, Emily, has decided to get married and leave the business
We can hope that House is using this plot for sly commentary on the objectification of women on television. But probably not.
Elisa & Fletcher
Note to anonnonablog regarding “Chasing Zebras”: you have to go to Amazon to buy the book.
It can be shattering to discover that someone you worshipped has shortcomings. That is what happens to the POTW, Army Biff, in “Blowing The Whistle”, when he finds out his father’s death was not honorable, but a drunk-driving traffic accident in which Dad killed a pedestrian.
Now for the important, shattering, truth: at times I have mixed feelings about House MD. I actually shed a few tears after the episode. Not because of the episode. Your faithful correspondent is deeply saddened that the show she has been intimate with for years is packing its bags and leaving. I know you are all shocked and amazed that I have any shortcomings, but there you are.
With only a handful of episodes left, so it’s hard to tell what is important or unimportant, or unimportant now and extremely important later. In latter seasons, they built up to some major astonishments (for example, in Season 6, discovering that Dr. Nolan, House’s psychiatrist, had been advising him behind the scenes all season without the audience’s knowledge). This episode is surprisingly good, which this season means mediocre in any other season.
Perhaps one of you out there could explain the POTW’s A-story to me. Army Biff (Arlen Escarpeta) leaked a video of a civilian massacre, yes? He will go to prison, yes? His by-the-book brother is well and truly pissed, yes? Army Biff feels it is a matter of honor to let the public know what the military is doing. Biff’s Brother (Sharif Atkins) feels it is a matter of honor not to let the public know what the military is doing. Have I gotten this straight?
Army Biff was a more significant presence than most of the season’s POTWs, with a more compelling story, even if I had trouble following it. Army Biff refuses treatment unless he is given a public forum for the video he leaked and his reasons for doing so. Both sons venerate their late father and each feels in his own way that Dead Dad would approve of what they are doing. Biff knows that his dad died in an accident, but he suspects a military cover-up. However, it is Biff’s Brother who covered up the accident. I did wonder why it would be so shattering to find out that your father killed someone accidentally while drunk…well, perhaps that would upset one a tad. My apologies.
The show might have cast two actors with a passing resemblance to each other. Atkins does a lot with a little, most of which consisted of standing about scowling with disapproval.
House sits with Army Biff and gives a speech about honor. It sounds fairly close to an old-time House monologue :“You’re not doing this for honor. You’re doing this to please your father. And the pathetic thing is, the man you’re trying to please never existed.” (House daddy-issues alert!)
The B-story, taken from “Half Wit” and a few other episodes, has House pretending to have liver failure. In “Half Wit” he faked brain cancer to get experimental drugs to get high. It would have been much more fun if he had let Wilson in on his scheme, as he had when he faked having syphilis to screw with his team in an earlier episode.
Adams is the one who diagnosises hepatic encephalopathy from a few vague symptoms. Everyone gets very freaked out. He’s sick! Maybe he’s dying–again! It is obvious that House is again trying to screw with his team. It is Chase, the team member who has known House the longest, figures out how House has been doing it. I mean, Chase has been to this rodeo before.(Note: Jesse Spencer has shaved his neckbeard! God, he’s beautiful. But I digress.)
There were two clinic scenes this time. As often happens, those were some of the best parts of the episode. However, in the first clinic scene, Wilson sounds so much like House that it’s possible Hugh Laurie wasn’t available that day and Robert Sean Leonard was swapped in. But still, highly amusing to see the patient busted for compulsive nose picking. In the second, House has a hungover clinic patient hop on one leg while singing the “iCarly” theme song.
Taub has been freed from the confines of that godawful marital soap opera, allowing him to be the Taub we all know and love. (His gaming name is Taubinator!)
Park gets to be the self-righteous one this go-round, and she is more entertaining to watch than Adams. I may dislike her intensely, but she has a personality to dislike intensely. But if you were deathly ill, would you want someone nattering away at you about right and wrong? If he wasn’t so weak, my bet is Army Biff would take a swing at her.
Wilson is around more, which is always a treat. As I wrote above, I do wish House had let Wilson be his co-conspirator, rather than let his friend worry along with the others. Wilson looks harried and unhappy in most of his scenes. I am hoping that this is the character, not the actor. But then, Hugh Laurie has been phoning it in all season and it’s almost over, so why try too hard? It’s still a shame.
After the past two episodes, “Blowing The Whistle” is a definite improvement. Let us hope the upward trend continues. In what fashion the series ends is anyone’s guess. Your faithful correspondent hopes that the series ends with House and Wilson getting married.
Feel free to discuss in the comments. Bear in mind that I am always right.
Elisa and Fletcher
Seizure in the cold open – check
Blood in odd openings – check
Sarcoidosis – double check
Hugh Laurie looks weird.
Thank God Dominika wasn’t around.
Nothing can make me care about Adams having sex. Seriously. Nothing.
DISCLAIMER: Before all of the House/Cuddy fans explode, yes, I miss Cuddy and I miss Lisa Edelstein.
In its continuing efforts to make us forget that this was once a brilliant, ground-breaking television drama, writer John C. Kelley (late of NCIS) and director Tim Southam bring us this listless effort.
While not as bad as “Man of The House” (but really, what could be?) instead of a profound examination of a family mired in duplicity, and how House came to be the man he is, the viewer is treated to a parade of sloppy jokes and lazy clichés. The reason it has taken so long to write this review was that I kept delaying having to rewatch it.
Consider this: you have approximately 42 minutes of time to fill. You have to make choices about what to fill that 42 minutes with. Let’s divide it into chunks, like a large sundae.
Chunk One, melted Wavy Gravy:
WHO IN THE NAME OF JESUS THOUGHT PARK HAVING AN ACID TRIP WOULD BE FUNNY? And those cartoony visions of Chase, Adams and lastly, Taub as the tooth fairy? What show is this?? If I want to watch “Who Shot Roger Rabbit” I’ll go to Netflix, thank you very much.
Apparently the POTW was hoping to have hallucinations, so he laced his ice cream and candy with LSD. During the usual search of the patient’s dwellings, Park ate some of same, and so we are inflicted with Disney-itis.
This waste of screen time needs to apologize to its viewers.
Chunk Two, Vanilla:
The patient, who we shall call Blind Biff, has loud explosions going off in his head, like the deaf teenager a few seasons back. Biff has a deeply masochistic girlfriend/slave who has been taking care of him since college.
However, he’s met someone new who expects him to be independent. Biff is ready to be independent. He wants to give Masochist Melissa the old heave-ho and ride off into the sunset with Shiny New Girl. Who, for some reason, is never shown. A throwaway line, “I don’t want her to know I’m in the hospital” takes care of that. Good work, writers!
However, some treatment or other renders Blind Biff Blind Deaf Biff (say that five times fast) and before you can say “low self-esteem” Masochistic Melissa has thrown herself across Blind Deaf Biff sobbing how much she loves him. Blind Deaf Biff is no fool. Screw independence. Shiny New Girlfriend isn’t going to stick around with someone who is going to need full-time care. So, in a triumph of self-preservation that left me misty-eyed, he asks Masochistic Melissa to marry him. “YES!” she yells. Blind Deaf Biff is deaf no more! His hearing returned magically to hear her chaining herself to him for life! Now he is only Blind Biff!
I half-expected the wife from “Nobody’s Fault” to run in and scream, “He saved my husband’s life—whoops, wrong episode.”
Chunk Three, Rocky Road that fell out of the cone onto the sidewalk: House’s family.
Blythe comes to the hospital to see her son. Now, bear in mind that she was presented as a loving parent in “Daddy’s Boy” and “Birthmarks.” A veritable June Cleaver who looked the other way while Ward was beating up the Beaver.
House wants nothing to do with her, and wants her to think he was in Africa the past year. This makes no sense, particularly when she reveals that she knew he was in prison the entire time. Uh, Blythe, could you explain why you never bothered to contact YOUR ONLY SON during all of that time? She tricks Wilson into thinking she has cancer, causing House to show up at her hotel. House learned his manipulative skills from someone, clearly.
Blythe answers in a hotel bathrobe. House discovers she is in bed with…Thomas Bell, his biological father! Played by Billy Connelly, whom I adore and who did his best to sell this trash. (Diane Baker, who plays House’s mother, was born in 1938. Billy Connelly was born in 1942, which makes him seventeen years old when House/Hugh Laurie was born. Who knew Blythe liked them so young?)
You may recall some episodes back that House read a book of essays by Bell, who was a minister, and apparently quite devout. (This show will absolutely torture you if you have any memory at all.) Since then, he has morphed into a carefree Scottish man who was a chaplain in the American Navy (?) who did quite a bit of partying back in the day. Bell and House not only have matching birthmarks on their heads, they have them on what a romance novel would call their “manhoods,” as well.
We further learn that Blythe was quite the hippie, taking drugs, sleeping around, demonstrating against the war while ignoring that her child was being abused and seemingly not noticing that her husband was a Marine. There are enough disconnects here to cause a power shortage to the entire Eastern Seaboard. Including the fact that not only did she not feel it necessary to contact her son while he was in prison, but also that she got married to Bell two months after House Sr. died in Season Five. So she lied to House for YEARS?
Bell says quite rightly that he could “have done something for the boy” and House might not have turned into “a pill-popping sociopath”. This last is at a cozy dinner at a restaurant where House has brought Dominika because the company is lacking in adorable, and Wilson…because he’s there. House stands up and pulls out his manhood to show the matching birthmark.
I will pause here to note that Wilson doesn’t look at all surprised. I assume he’s seen it before.
Bell loses his cool, whereupon Blythe says the hoariest line in all of drama [if you don’t apologize to my son] “You will never see me again!”
Oh, really? The man you’ve been balling while your son is in prison? “You will never see me again!”
Now, honestly, who says that? And over a personal spat? Are the interns writing the scripts? “Dirk, get me a soy latte and write Scene 36 while you’re at it.” It’s a cheap line for a cheap moment of cheap drama.
Bell and his son bond later, I have no idea why. House says he “respected” his father and I did an honest-to-God spit-take. Champagne all over the Aubusson. The man he didn’t visit for a year while the guy was dying. (Am I sensing a pattern in this family?) Who he wanted to give a “bastardodgy”. If House respected his father, I am Lady Gaga.
The sludgy fake whipped topping to this sundae:
Wilson does a DNA test which proves that Thomas Bell is not House’s father after all. Let us consider this matter…Bell and House have matching birthmarks in the same two places; at age eleven House had catalogued all they have in common physically…but Bell is not his father?
“Your mom’s a slut,” Wilson observes. The House of yore would have had an actual reaction, instead of “She’s less boring than I thought.”
I wish I could say as much for this episode. Sorry for so few details, but I simply could not get through it more than twice. The second time I kept screaming uncontrollably, which is why my dialogue quotes aren’t more precise.
We are now coming to the final eight episodes. As much as I will mourn and miss this show (or what this show used to be) all I can say is, thank God.
Feel free to discuss this in the comments, and bear in mind: I am always right.
It would seem that, in its return to basics, “House” has established several ongoing motifs.
1) The team does almost all of its work without him. However, House
occasionally swings by for the epiphany. Or to say “put him on interferon”.
2)There is an amazing amount of time spent on meaningless mind games and
3) Park is quirky and says “surprising” things.
4) Adams is a hologram.
5) Foreman is in almost every scene. Which is odd, because he’s not on the team
anymore. As Dean of Medicine, he’s getting more screen time than Cuddy did. I adore Foreman, but really. Doesn’t he have a large teaching hospital to run?
On a cheerier note, your faithful correspendent could actually recall this week’s episode, “Runaways.” Last week’s episode, “Better Half,” was so dull it could have been a filmed blocking rehearsal. Even now I can’t remember the plot…oh, yes, early onset Alzheimer’s, a fascinating, tragic disease that the show managed to make neither fascinating nor tragic. It was even irritating when House spoke Portuguese. Yes, House knows every single language ever invented, but please, just once, show, have a translator come in! There was some kind of prank war. And fisticuffs.
What “Better Half” clearly demonstrated was that the chemistry between House and Wilson seems to have evaporated. The rapport is no longer, the relationship is no longer there, it’s two actors in a room. Neither of them particularly interested in what’s going on.
Hmmm, I remembered more than I thought I would.
Back to “Runaways.”
Right at the top, House announces for the 107,406,321th time, “People don’t change.”
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BANISH THIS PHRASE TO THE BLACK HOLE OF WRITER’S PURGATORY! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NEVER USE IT AGAIN! IS IT SO MUCH TO ASK THAT IN A SEA OF CLICHÉS, YOU CAN’T LEAVE OUT ONE???
Ahem. I beg your pardon. It’s a bit of a sore point.
A teenage runaway arrives the clinic with an ear bleed. This was once the hospital where seeing House was truly the last-case scenario. Desperate people came from other countries because he was a world-famous diagnostician. Now, it seems, all one needs is a trip to the clinic or the ER and House pops up, ready to go.
The teenager is supposedly homeless but she has set up shop in an abandoned house. Can’t recall her name, so let’s call her…Biff. Poor Biff has Druggie Mom. Druggie Mom and Biff briefly reconcile when Druggie Mom tells Biff, “I only did drugs after you were asleep, honey.” “I love you, Mom.”
House no longer has an ankle monitor on, so he drags to team to oh-so-wild-and-crazy places. Such as a shooting range, where he dresses like Elmer Fudd. Then a turtle race, in which Park gets to be quirky at a turtle.(Don’t these doctors have tests to run? Laundry? Anything?)
House’s biting wit is on display when he can’t stop giggling over the name “Pooholtz.” Straight out of Oscar Wilde’s playbook.
Foreman’s extramarital affair ends when he learns the wife has told the husband and the husband doesn’t mind. It makes no sense, but it’s just as well, as the wife is an even worse actress than Park.
Taub…remember when Taub was a wonderfully dry, snarky doctor? About two decades ago? Taub’s storyline is one of the best arguments for Planned Parenthood that I’ve seen yet. He bonds with the Sophii by telling them about football.
ANYWAY, Biff’s diagnosis is worms. Rather like the girl who went fishing with her parents and ate undercooked trout and ended up with tapeworm, Biff went swimming with Druggie Mom and contracted worms. Druggie Mom goes to bond with Biff. But Biff has run away once again, just as…somebody else ran away. I mean, the B-plot is always the A-plot on training wheels.
And there were two wacky civil way reenactors.
My hand on the Bible, I am not making any of this up.
Next week’s episode is supposed to be iconic.
ETA: As I was writing this, the Fox network announced that it is bumping “House” off the schedule for the month of March, extending “Alcatraz” in its place. You may draw your own conclusions.
ETA Part Two: Feel free to discuss this review in the comments. However, personal attacks will not be published.