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August 29, 2015

Review: House - Wilson

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 30th 2009 11:58PM
Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard, L) discusses treatment of a patient with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein, R) in the HOUSE episode 'Wilson.'
(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...

returns on January 11th with new episodes.

[Watch full episodes and clips of House over at SlashControl.]

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I know this would be a risk and could go majorly wrong, but I wonder if someday we might get episodes centering on the other characters. Maybe even a very minor character, that would be fun to see things from an even more "outside in" view than Wilson.

Anyway, great episode as always and I look forward to more House! :)

December 11 2009 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wilson's "my name is James, not Jim" was actually said to the girlfriend (Ashley). He didn't even have a response for Tucker's comment about who you want when you are dying isn't the same as who you want when you are alive. So he hasn't really stood up to Tucker.

And though it did seem wrong for Tucker to stay with Ashley instead of going back with his ex-wife (they got divorced, after all) - it wasn't really established that she was a floosie. Sure, the ex-wife had been with Tucker through thick and thin, and Ashley had not, but I took it that to be more of a timing thing (e.g. his cancer was in remission during the time he dated Ashley) and not that she would have left him just because he was sick or something.

December 01 2009 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with the one above that said ....The House/Wilson relationship is one of only a few reasons why I still watch the show. There is magic in scenes of a deep and undying friendship between them both...moreso than just a personal level. Even though circumstances and events seem to pull them apart from one another...they have even withstood the unslaught their personal shortcomings that could affect friendship between them...but, both they survive it...and despite all the aversities are still best of friends. I do not watch it because of the House/Cuddy relationship. Nor, do I because of the incompetence of House's team members...I am so them and wish they would all go away.

December 01 2009 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


The Wilson episode was definitely one of the best ones this season, the show has always been pretty good at breaking the format, specially when it includes our favourite bromance, and last night proved that.

I agree that it was high time for Wilson to get explored as a doctor and his style as such, since he's one of the most interesting and relevant characters on the show (if not THE most after House).

Wilson screwing Cuddy in everyway but the literal one? It was mean and childish, and funny and exactly what Wilson needed at the moment. It was exactly the point that House had made earlier in the episode when Wilson asked him if he was OK, House said 'no' but he was being mature about it and then pointed out that being childish was more fun. And Wilson giggled, because there's a small part of Wilson that agreed, it's the part of him that attracts him to House and made him screw Cuddy over at the end. It wasn't right, but Wilson was standing up for his friend. I liked it very much :)

December 01 2009 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the episode and it was much better than some of the crap we've gotten this season, but you have to remember, it's just one episode. We'll go back to the same pattern next week, and "Wilson" will be an afterthought. Review of the episode on my blog.


December 01 2009 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was the kind of episode that could turn around an entire season. I feel like it's been uneven, disjointed, and a little too "down" so far this year. The premiere was excellent, but since then, it has lacked focus. On one hand, I do think they have tried to mix things up. But the execution hasn't been strong. Last night was much better, setting up promising storylines for House, Wilson, and Cuddy. We'll see how it goes from here.

December 01 2009 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kiona J.

Minimum Huddy is always good. Less Cuddy is even better. Her character is repititious and annoying, and the pairing is boring.

That said, this episode made me a very happy fangirl indeed. The wonderful character development of Wilson. The forgotten Hilson dynamic. Random ducklings flying all over the best. Even Taub was on his game. This will go down as my favorite episode, unless someone can hurry up and outdo themselves :P

December 01 2009 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"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."

YES, yes yes, a thousand times yes. I felt like I was watching a new show last night. Not that the show felt new, but I mean that _I_ was excited about it like I was when I first saw House. It was a fresh way in to familiar characters...I LOVED watching Wilson interact with the support staff we never meet. I want more SassyNurse.

They're really taken a show that was getting stale and freshened it up well. This season has held some of House's best episodes ever.

Great ep. Good character dev, excellent distillation of the real 'ship on this show (House/Wilson...House/Cuddy is just a distraction). Two thumbs up.

December 01 2009 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I guess my wife and I were watching a different show. Although I enjoyed the focus shift to Wilson, it was WAAAAAY over dramatic. Why would he give him part of his liver? My only reasoning can be that he will be sick in the future because of it. Also what was up with Wilson's nurse? She was like Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch. Not a horrible episode but no where near the praise that I am reading from you all.

December 01 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Excellent episode! The House/Wilson relationship is one of only a few reasons why I still watch the show. The House/Cuddy relationship is not. I am so tired of it and wish it would go away.

December 01 2009 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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