House: Adverse Events
Ah, House, the more you change, the more you stay the same. Whether it be a new boss, a possible fling with Cameron, a new husband for your ex-wife, a cure for your limp, the loss of your best friend, or Jodie Foster's dad from Contact, you always get right... up... to... the precipice of actual change... before you revert back to the same old misanthrope we all know and love.
Here's the thing, though: House might not change, but darned if the writers aren't geniuses at shaking up the supporting cast around him. Love it or hate it, tonight's episode was the solidification of the new direction we're headed in this season. So, what do you think of Lucas?
Here's what Lucas brings to the table:
1. Self-Awareness. Lucas goes through the same ethically dubious moral gymnastics that House goes through, but he does it with the awareness that it's only part of the job rather wearing it as an armor to hide behind. Wilson provided the moral opposite of House; Lucas provides a fun house mirror of House -- what House would look like without all the pain.
2. Awesome, off-beat line-readings. Maybe it's premature to say this only a few episodes into his run, but Michael Weston is easily the best addition this show has seen since the first season. He's like the anti-Thirteen.
3. A potential rival for Cuddy. It's been five seasons, it's about time something woke House up to what his sub-conscious school-girl strip tried to tell him (and all males everywhere) last season: he's hot for Cuddy.
So, while I'm sure Lucas is a polarizing figure for all of you out there in House-land, for this humble reviewer, he's a breath of fresh air. Seriously, how good are these writers at mixing up the formula? If House took place in the eighties, they would have ended the fourth season with Chase and Cameron getting married and opened the fifth with them dealing with their suddenly 6 year-old daughter, Chrissy Seaver.
Beyond the fleshing out of Lucas, tonight saw a mildly interesting medical mystery with Breckin Meyer showing up as a starving-artist with a twisted perspective. And not, you know, the normal twisted perspective that expect an artist to have, but the kind only a cocktail of experimental prescription drugs can make.
As with every patient, treatments are tried and failed until the right one is hit upon. We had some unexpected turns in this week's treatment, like kissing Thirteen, but I could have done without seeing yet another tracheotomy. This is two weeks in a row that we've had someone's neck cut open and a tube stuck in. I think I'm actually qualified to perform one now if necessary: enough already!
Tonight's weak spot was House's manipulation of Taub and the too-convenient mirroring of Taub's own situation with Brandon's. I actually like the Taub character, but I wished the airing of his deep and dirty secrets might have come about in a more subtle way. If they had made the revelation of Taub's affair to his wife a minor thread for a week or two before bringing it to the forefront, it might have had a bit more impact. Your reaction to a cliff-hanger ought to be "oh, snap!" not "oh, I guess they're going to make us wait a few weeks to find out if Taub is still married; I wonder what's happening on The Biggest Loser."
That said, one of the joys of watching House is that no string is ever left un-pulled and I'm certain that the ramifications of Taub's House-manipulated confession will play out over the course of the whole season. So, while tonight's episode might have misplayed the hand a bit, there's still along way to go before we'll know if it's a dramatic dead-end or not.
-- Did I catch that right at the end? Was House actually a cheerleader. Like, with a megaphone? And, uh, "spirit"?
-- So, I guess Wilson isn't completely gone. Next episode's previews make it seem like Wilson is back for a major chunk of the episode. I love Wilson as much as the next guy, but does anyone else think it's a little too quick to bring him back? Shouldn't we be seeing House in Wilson-free mode for a while?
-- No, seriously. A cheerleader?
-- Need more proof that Lucas is a solid addition to House's life? That was some sweet jamming there at the end, huh? I forget sometimes how important a role music plays in this show. (Sure, the slow-mo "limping through the hospital and out into the snow while a really cool rock song plays in the background" bit might have been done two or three hundred times in House's run, but it still always manages to be cool.)
-- I'd like to see something... a flashback, some fan-fiction, a drug-induced hallucination, it doesn't matter... showing me what House was like with the other cheerleaders. This needs to be done. It needs to be done right now.
As always, I count on you guys to call out my own moral deficiencies in the comments.