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House Season 5 Episode 23: Under My Skin

You sure can tell that we are approaching the end of the season–they just don’t make episodes this good in November. Cue the spoiler-rific analysis…

The patient story was okay tonight, but as it is with the best episodes of House, the patient story isn’t really that important anyway. I will say that I looked up Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis and a highly recommend that you avoid Google Images on this one. For your sake, my link is to a Wikipedia article that contains no pictures. It does however confirm exactly what the episode told us, that this is a 1 in 1 million reaction to medication. It was interesting to see the team finish the case without House present, and it’s also funny to see Chase reinserting himself into the team. My only other comment on the patient is that no, her boyfriend was not Jonathan Brandis from seaQuest DSV.

As entertaining as it always is to watch House attempt to diagnose a patient, it’s always better when he is trying to diagnose himself. That’s exactly what made the season four finale great, and tonight was much the same. While it was obvious that we were leading to up to House confronting his Vicodin addiction, we still got some great television along the way including House actually apologizing to a patient for his methods. And even though he’s experimented on himself before, I really enjoyed House putting himself into insulin shock.  In fact, it really made me think about what a great Dr. Jekyll/Hyde we would get if Hugh Laurie was ever so inclined.

Ultimately, House faced his addiction head on, although not in the way I expected. When he walked into Cuddy’s office and announced that he was quitting, I thought he was doing it so he could secretly go to rehab. I didn’t expect him to make himself vulnerable by giving up control and putting it in Cuddy’s hands. We’ve seen House go through withdrawal before, so what we got next wasn’t entirely new territory. What was new was the exposure to House’s subconscious we got thanks to Imaginary Amber. On a quick side note, I’m somewhat disappointed that, while we see a very shitty-looking House in withdrawal, my research says there is just no way someone taking that much Vicodin could be through the worst in one night. 

After a long night, House awakens to find that the only annoying sound in the room is Cuddy’s breathing, and Amber is gone. This leads us to Cuddy’s departure, and the moment we’ve been waiting for since episode six this season. After episode six, I said I was glad that House and Cuddy didn’t jump in the sack right away and now I know why. This was a much better story to drive these two together. Cuddy loves taking care of House, and she is the only person with whom he is willing to show his true self. I know they won’t be happy-ever-after, but I believe they really do belong together at the end, whenever that comes.

House’s lines of the night:

  • Foreman wants to know why House was talking to the patient–“I think skinless women are hot.”
  • Wilson thinks that the vision of Amber means something–“Yeah, the irrational part of my brain picked the rational part of yours.”
  • Telling Wilson not to use the “cancer voice” with him.
  • What’s worse than death? “Double death?”
  • And for the romantic in me–Cuddy: “You want to kiss me don’t you?” House: “I always want to kiss you.”
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May 4, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Science, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on House Season 5 Episode 23: Under My Skin

House Season 5 Episode 22: House Divided

Last week, when the episode ended with a vision of Amber (aka Cutthroat Bitch) greeting House at his apartment, I was not excited.  It seemed like a weak attempt to fill out the cast after the sudden departure of Kal Penn’s Dr. Kutner.  In addition, I really felt like we had already done the whole ‘vision of Amber’ thing back at the end of Season 4 when House was remembering the circumstances of the accident that caused in her death.

The opening of the episode was excellent.  While I have no experience being deaf, I felt like they did an outstanding job of recreating the experience from the patient’s perspective, especially the way they created the symptoms of Exploding Head Syndrome.

House’s greatest hits of the night:

  • Showing up with the giant 80’s style boombox and the hilarious sunglasses.
  • Calling imaginary Amber “Gazoo” (Flintstones reference for those who didn’t get it)
  • On Wilson helping plan the bachelor party – “What, there were no retired ministers available to plan it?”
  • About Dr. Cameron – “Says the soon-to-be second prettiest Dr. Chase.”
  • Wearing the bluetooth headset so he didn’t look like a crazy man talking to himself.
  • Adding chemical burns to the death certificate after his practice in the morgue went wrong.
  • Secretly throwing the bachelor party at Wilson’s apartment so he had no choice but to attend and end up wandering through the streets with no pants.

This was one of those great episodes of House that gave us both a great patient mystery and an outstanding non-patient story. Watching House go from dismissive of Imaginary Amber to completely reliant upon her was intriguing, but not nearly as interesting as the revelation that his subconscious thoughts were not to be trusted. It’s one thing to take advantage of the excellent recall of distant memory, but another to allow your base instincts to nearly cause the death of Dr. Chase.

Near the end of the episode, we also saw a rare vulnerable side of House, as he admitted to Cuddy that he had not been able to sleep since Kutner’s suicide. It’s rare to see this kind of honesty from House without it being immediately followed by a smart-ass remark. Then, as the episode closed and House awoke after a full night’s sleep, he is greeted by Imaginary Amber, who asks, “Sleep well?”

Far from a desperate attempt to fill the Kutner void, I think this may actually have been the best episode of the season.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Science, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on House Season 5 Episode 22: House Divided