Review: House - Wilson
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 30th 2009 11:58PM
(S06E10) "They're all dying. They're all your friends." - House
Episodes like this are why I've faithfully stuck with House after six and a half seasons. Sure, more often than not, House can get stale -- it's the same thing, week in and out, and even something shocking (like Kutner offing himself last year or Cameron saying good-bye two weeks ago) isn't enough to take away from the fact that it's just another episode with another wacky case. But episodes like "Broken", and now "Wilson," are proof that there are so many more layers that need exploring in the world of Princeton Plainsboro.
Turning the tables, breaking the mold -- call it what you will, but tonight's episode posed a drastic change to the House formula we're used to. Focusing on Wilson is arguably something that needed to happen a while ago and considering the list of demons floating around in Wilson's head (Amber's death, his paper on assisted suicide), it seems appropriate for his outlook on life to finally start changing. He just needed one more good push and the return of his friend Tucker (The West Wing's Joshua Malina) was literally just what the doctor ordered.
Wilson saved Tucker from leukemia once before by giving him his own blood in a transfusion when a match couldn't be found and now, five years later, a similar situation has presented itself. Tucker needs a liver and Wilson is the only match. The core of the situation, though, is a theme that's been explored heavily since the beginning of the series -- Wilson's style as a doctor. Does he care too much? Does he become too personally invested with his patients? House made the best point. Yes, Wilson has elevated all his patients to friend status, but that doesn't mean he needs to (or should) feel guilty when one of them dies as a result of Wilson's treatment choices.
Wilson has always tried to see the good in someone and even though Tucker's fried liver was a direct result of the double chemo Wilson gave him, I still couldn't help but think of John Locke and Anthony Cooper in Lost. You knew there would be something unsettling about Tucker once he got a third lease on life thanks to his doctor's generosity and that's exactly what happened. Instead of choosing to be with his wife and daughter, the very people that created the emotional base fueling much of Wilson's guilt, Tucker chose to go back to his floosie girlfriend because the people you want to be with when you're dying aren't the same people you want to be with when you're not. All in favor of House's "self important jerk" diagnosis, raise your hand.
Overall, it was brilliantly done and the final scene between the two of them, when Wilson finally stopped being a doormat and told Tucker "my name is James, not Jim" was really just a sheer pleasure to watch. Wilson grew up a little there and that in turn translated to his decision to screw Cuddy over by outbidding her on the condo she wants for her and Lucas. Why? Because Cuddy hurt House and House is Wilson's friend. Wilson knows who matters now and hopefully it stays that way.
A few more thoughts --
- While Wilson played "House," seeing the real House and his team in the periphery, running around with patients (like the fatty tennis pro who ate ten bags of popcorn a day to shed pounds) was fairly amusing. Does it always seem that comical when viewed from the outside?
- All the aspects of Wilson's "House" were really well done, from his evaluation of Cuddy's motives, to running the differential with the team, to that smirk of satisfaction at the very end.
- I would totally download the Greg House single of "Faith" from iTunes. Someone get on that...
House returns on January 11th with new episodes.
[Watch full episodes and clips of House over at SlashControl.]