House “Dying Changes Everything”

Caroline Babula (’09)/Eastside Entertainment Editor

house_tv_show.jpgRating: B+ 

The Doctor is in, and more callous than ever as House returned last night for its fifth season. 

Despite being a new season, classic House showed his true colors within the first few minutes. The sarcastic and selfish doctor was seen sitting in the room of an elderly man who faithful viewers know is in a coma. House borrowed a video game from the pediatric department to play in said room while using the convenient unconscious man’s hand as a cup holder for his jumbo cup of soda. 

Also within the first five minutes, we learn Wilson has been away from Princeton, Plainsboro for two months grieving the death of his girlfriend, Amber, who died in last season’s shocking finale. Upon his return, Wilson tells House that he wishes to resign and possibly even move out of New Jersey. 

Meanwhile House and team are treating a 37 year-old woman who initially presents with hallucinations of ants crawling all over her body. Cuddy advises against House taking the case, so he could work things out with Wilson, but, due to his innate stubborn personality, House takes it anyway. The woman begins to bleed severely from her rectum, which Kutner, “13” and Taub assume is due to pregnancy. However, when an ultrasound is performed, no evidence of a baby can be seen at all. Although these are fascinating contradictions, House is completely detached from the case, as he is too absorbed in trying to get Wilson to stay. His caustic tongue does not help, though, as surely telling Wilson that he will “move on from Amber to burnt sienna” in two months is not heartwarming or encouraging, but hurtful instead. 

The strain of his relationship with his best friend causes House to be moodier and even crueler to both his team and his patient. Cuddy can’t stand the tension between House and Wilson, so she orders House to at least feign guilt over Amber’s death so that Wilson will listen to him and ultimately stay at the hospital. Instead of apologizing, House gives Wilson the choice of staying and House will save his dying patient, or leaving, with House going home as well. 

Since House does, indeed, leave the hospital and goes home, his team is forced to diagnose the patient sans him. In an attempt to bring House back, Cuddy has his home cable disconnected and hides all of the remotes at the hospital. She also forces House and Wilson to have couples’ counseling, which does no good at all, since neither man is willing to discuss the issues between them. 

Taub wants to find a way to get House back, but 13 is especially determined to diagnose without him. This is obviously because House pushed her to get tested for Huntington’s Disease, and the results were positive. She shares with her patient that she will lose her life as she knows it within twelve years, and shortly afterward she will die and that she wants her life to matter. For a few minutes, 13 is proud of herself for seemingly properly diagnosing the patient, as her prescribed treatment is working. Crushing her joy is the fact that House realizes that the diagnosis is wrong: the patient has leprosy, not lymphoma. Scornfully, House tells 13 the quote that leads to this episode’s title: “Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.” 

After saving his patient, House decides to give a full apology to Wilson. Wilson says he knows that Amber’s death was not House’s fault, but Amber is not the reason he is leaving Princeton-Plainsboro. Simply, Wilson can no longer tolerate how everywhere House goes he spreads misery, because he cannot feel any pain himself. “We’re not friends anymore, House,” he says. “I’m not sure we ever were.” 

Overall, this episode could have been much better. Yes, the case was interesting, and yes, it was fun to see House’s team try to solve the case without its ringleader. But the comedy was not there. The sarcasm was missing and in its place was nastiness, and not the good kind that we accept from House. Previews for next week, however, look very promising, with House hiring a private eye to spy on Wilson. I’m not sure how long the separation of House and his only friend will last, but it does seem to bring down the show’s quality a notch or two. Hopefully, this is a storyline which will be quickly resolved. 

Silver lining? At least it wasn’t lupus. 

Ratings

A+: Episode is nearly perfect. It doesn’t get any better then this 

A, A-: Excellent Episode with only minor flaws or imperfections, a must-watch episode for anyone who enjoys TV 

B+, B: A Good but not great episode, has flaws in a few key areas but still a great television experience 

B-, C+, C: Enjoyable show that has some obvious flaws, but has certain aspects that make it a decent show 

C-, D+, D: Episode with more weaknesses than strengths, barely watch able. But, worth a look if one is a fan of the genre 

F: Episodes receiving this grade are not worth the time. These have numerous shortcomings and flaws. Minimal to zero entertainment value