The seventh season of House finally delivers...in it's penultimate episode
Three dangling plot threads are addressed in dramatic fashion: Thirteen enlists the help of Chase to treat a stab victim she shared a cell with in prison; Taub reveals he's impregnated a girl and struggles with a decision; and House attempts surgery on himself because he's a stubborn bastard--but it's great television.
This was obviously not a good time to start watching House if you've been out in the cold for a while. With the season coming to a close, the writers obviously felt they had to get our hearts pumping by addressing the three main storylines of the season: Thirteen's hiatus, Taub's relationship problems, and House and Cuddy's doomed from the start relationship. They definitely got mine pumping.
The House writers have always known how to balance drama and humor...but you didn't find any of the latter in this episode. It was drama from beginning to end, literally, with no room for any of House and Wilson's silly games. While the humor on House has always been a draw, this episode would have suffered for it. It's almost the end of the season. If things don't get serious now, something's wrong, because any House fan knows that its season finales are usually pretty hardcore. I can't imagine how the series finale will be...will every body die? Will the Joker blow up the hospital?
What made this episode so dramatic--so tense--were numerous moments. Each story had a defining moment(s) to offer. When Chase hits Thirteen to the ground, you can see the devastation in his face. The actors (Jesse Spencer and Olivia Wilde) do a wonderful job of capturing this scene. It's a turning point and the start of, ironically, a close friendship or even relationship. Both Chase and Thirteen have killed men because they felt it was right, and them coming together in this episode under such haunting circ*mstances--and coming out better for it--I feel is significant for the future of the team.
Taub's problems, on the other hand, don't stem from a rational but conflicting sense of right and wrong, but a more selfish and arrogant personality. The character's marriage has fallen apart because of his obsession with boning younger ladies, and now he's knocked one up. He's not really a sympathetic character...and yet, we are forced to sympathize with him. When he's down on his knees, hands behind his head, thinking he's about to be shot, it's hard not to feel sorry for the guy even if he's really stupid. And his story at the end that makes him realize he wants to keep the baby hammers that home.
Now for the main story: House and Cuddy. House has followed a rocky path this season. After Cuddy broke up with him, he completely destroyed what time in rehab supposedly did for him. In a desperate attempt to either fix his leg or drown his sorrows in something other than Vicodin, or both, he treated himself with an experimental drug. When the test rats begin dying from tumors, House performs surgery on himself to get them out. After one out of three, he calls for help, and the only to answer, ironically, is Cuddy.
This entire storyline has been building up to a slow but dramatic conclusion, and it seems House and Cuddy have hit a place in their relationship where there's no turning back from. Even after all their history together, how do you walk in on a guy performing surgery on himself in his bathtub and be able to look them in the eye at work? Then it hit me: this is why Cuddy isn't returning next season (well the real reason is that Lisa Edelstein didn't renew her contract, but the show's reason will be my theory). House and Cuddy have been through hell together, and I think it'll come to a point in the season finale where Cuddy is finally, and actually, fed up. And she'll leave.
As for the self surgery scene...wow. I don't think I've ever seen something so graphic on television before that's not on South Park. It was like 127 Hours, and I'm not even exaggerating. I had a tough time watching it. I watched it, but I was laughing. Not because it was funny, but because I couldn't believe they got away with that. I guess once you've established yourself as a respected show that's run for seven seasons, you do what you want. This scene is so well done, though, and so intense.
The only characters that didn't receive much attention are Foreman and Wilson, but when you had so much drama happening at once, they don't really factor in, at least not this time. I think this episode has to be the best one yet of the season and I hope the season finale can capitalize on the feeling it left me. House needs to keep this tension alive as it heads into what is its eighth and presumably final season. Sad as it may be, that's probably for the best. The show's been running out of steam. However, if this episode proves anything, it's that House is still a great show worth watching.