Overall Rating: 8.5
For the first time since "Bombshells," I am hopeful that the two years House spent hitting rock bottom with his Vicodin addiction, recovering from said addiction, fighting for some happiness and dating Cuddy will not have been a cruel diversion with no intended purpose. They may not be going the way I'd hoped, but at least it appears that House will not return to status quo ante.
FOX.com has a basic recap here.
I was really worried there. Through about 33 minutes of this 45 minute episode from Bombshells' conclusion to that moment, I was deeply concerned that the writers had decided that two years of work moving House from tortured loner convinced of his own inevitable, unending misery in service to genius to tortured soul struggling toward the light one agonizing and (frequently intoxicated) step at a time...were not working for them. I was gravely concerned that they were going to take House back to Season-5 status quo of perhaps even further back. I almost gave up on House last year as well when it seemed the writers were without clear direction or desire to change their star player. I was wrong then, and, at least for now, I can hope that I was wrong this year as well.
I was particularly annoyed at minute 26 of this episode when Foreman approaches Wilson and asks for help reigning in House to do his job with their "real patient." Bear in mind, Wilson has always been the stand-in for what the writers believe is the truth about House's current mental state. When Wilson says, "House needs to get over this - get back to normal. Lately, he's been doing crazier and crazier things just to feel normal and this (referring to his bet with Wilson involving a boxer)...isn't crazy. This is the best thing for him..." I have no choice to but to take that to mean the writers think that to "get over" his relationship with Cuddy, House needs to return to status quo ante. Readers be assured, the instant that concern is realized, this blog will drop House and never speak of it again, because I dislike nothing more than being lied to by entertainers for no good reason, and that would constitute a lie. You do not lead viewers down a two-year path that seems to flow gracefully from a broader 7-year path only to say "never mind!" and laugh while your viewers struggle to understand what happened to the football you pulled out from under them, Lucy and Charlie Brown style. If they do that here, the blog post that reviews the episode in which that becomes completely apparent will be nothing more than an image of me flipping David Shore the bird and a 0 rating.
But that's not what seems to be happening at the moment. No, it appears, instead, that House is careening toward oblivion. Which at least would fit logically with the arc they established at the end of fifth season, be in keeping with House's psychological profile, and represent direction...ANY direction. Direction is good...this particular direction is not the one I was hoping for, but I'm resilient and fair enough to recognize that they could still be building toward something meaningful.
But for a moment, I want to return to Wilson. A deep frustration is building within me regarding Wilson's treatment of House's Vicodin addiction. Can explain to me exactly why, four years ago, Wilson raged at House and demanded he do SOMETHING to prove that their friendship meant anything to him at all when it came out that House was forging Vicodin scripts...why Wilson has always taken care to point out exactly how screwed up the addiction is and how it's negatively impacting his life...and why now, all of sudden, he goes back on Vicodin and Wilson doesn't say one god damned word about it?? In fact, the only thing he gets concerned is when House starts doing experimental drugs to cure his leg? The only thing I can think, right now, is that Wilson is afraid of House...afraid of what he would do if he were cornered and his one coping mechanism taken away (after the fall of the Huddy). That could be...we did see in this episode that House was easily able to intimidate Wilson into silence when he tried to pose the theory that House was trying to fix his leg (and the boxer) to prove that he could fix his life. One could make the case that House is more dangerous to himself and others now than he's ever been...I'm willing to give the writers a bit more time on this one. But saying an addict is always an addict and shrugging when they fall off the wagon is tantamount to injecting them with drugs in the first place. This is precisely when you CANNOT give up. Wilson is needed now more than ever and he's not there for House. And that's highly disturbing to me.
The PotW plot was a bit weak, but the secondary plots involving House, Wilson, Cuddy and the boxer were well written and encouraging (and yet deeply troubling at the same time...heh).
Hugh Laurie blew the top off the TV again with his gigantic skills...you had to feel for Lise Edelstein's character as well in her well-played single appearance.
Apart from the disturbing lack of action from Wilson and the lingering questions regarding the take away message about House's chance at redemption, this episode is getting the benefit of the doubt and bonus points for proving that House is not "fine" in his old routine and his old life.