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Review: House - Remorse

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jan 26th 2010 1:15AM
House (Hugh Laurie, R) is interested in meeting an attractive patient (Beau Garrett, L) who he believes suffers from psychopathy in the HOUSE episode 'Remorse.'
(S06E12) "Yes, it's hilarious! Great to see what a success your therapy was!" - Wilson

Ever since the season six premiere way back in September, one of the biggest complaints that I've heard or read House fans make is how the show's creative team seemed to abandon any of House's lessons from therapy. He no longer seemed to be getting better and for the most part, House was back to his old crotchety self, thus negating his stay at Mayfield.

That quote up above from Wilson felt like a little bit of an inside joke -- the writers get it, too. So with "Remorse," not only did we get the best patient-of-the-week case we've seen this season, but we also got to see House trying ... a little. But, to make a pun, if it ain't "broken," don't fix it, and crotchety House still works.

Look at it this way -- if House had the same switch flipped in his brain that Valerie had, then he'd be a blubbering fool too, telling everyone how he really felt about them. The way House is now, virtually emotionless and chock-full of sharp-tongued insults that vaguely mask how he really feels, is far more entertaining.

Speaking of Valerie, though, Beau Garrett nailed this role. From that first moment when she showed her "real" personality, to threatening Thirteen, to the very end when she finally started to feel emotions -- it was all very well done. As usual, I didn't really bother to fully grasp her whole story (I'm not sure I cared about the affairs with her co-worker or her spineless husband). But as just a patient with her symptoms, Valerie is easily one of the most memorable House has ever had.

Beyond the case, "Remorse" focused on two other threads. The quiet reconciliation that's been going on between Foreman and Thirteen reached a threshold this week as their constant bickering finally led to some apologies and forgiveness. It seems as though the two of them will be able to work together just fine now and it wouldn't be all that surprising if they ended up together again. Though, should that happen, you know House will do something to stop it, despite the fact that right now he's lobbying for it.

That always has been House's biggest problem, though. What little emotion he does have, he always ends up focusing it in the wrong direction. The return of his old med school acquaintance (they certainly weren't friends) Lorenzo Wibberly brought up plenty of emotion within House (mainly guilt).

But when it turned out that House wasn't responsible for Wibberly failing out of med school (he actually passed and ending up destroying his own career with a gambling addiction), House still couldn't shake his already made decision to give him some money for his mortgage. House acted in his own self-interest, and he needed that feeling of forgiveness for himself.

Like Wilson said, it was easier because Wibberly was practically a stranger. House continues to hurt people he truly cares about (mainly Cuddy), yet he never does anything to remedy those situations. Ironically enough, all the effort he put into Wibberly will result in no proof. Wibberly will never cash the check, and as House walked away from the guy's home, it was snowing -- even his footsteps will be erased. It seems as though no matter how hard he may actually try, House can't change.

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

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Chuck

Every time you all respond to Bruce, you are giving him what he wants: attention. Just vote him down so it almost goes away, and ignore him. Maybe he'll find some other show to not watch and yet have an opinion about.

January 26 2010 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mary

Oh Hollywood doesn't like drug addicts but they love serial murderer!!! Dexter and Michael Hall win everything. A drug addict is right up that left coast crowds alley.

January 26 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mary's comment
Takayo

To add to that, Hollywood must also just love up and coming drug dealers, because I believe Bryan Cranston won the year before Hall took the award for Dexter.

I don't think the drug issue had anything to do with Hugh not taking home an award for so many years, it's just he's been up against some fierce guys repeatedly. Although I don't think Hall deserved it as much as Hugh, I'm sure next year that Emmy will have his name on it. Even if House goes back to Vicodin (although the DEA may seize the Emmy).

January 26 2010 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C C

Another solid episode. I think the writers realized that the initial episodes following the premiere were kind of loose and they've tightened up the scripts.

I don't know about the government pressuring House to drop the drugs, but I do believe that House's addiction to Vicodin has cost Hugh Laurie Emmys. Hollywood likes addiction in their stories as long as it's successfully overcome within a short period of time and the addict is "redeemed". House was mostly on Vicodin for the first five seasons-a bit too long for their tastes. Now we're into the "redemption" phase of the series, and I suspect this may be the year where Laurie finally gets his Emmy.

January 26 2010 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Hank I realize it's wishy-washy to say it without documents that prove it, but I don't care enough if commenters here at TV squad believe me. I know it's true, and if you care enough to verify it, I've said how it can be done. Meanwhile it's not the least bit interesting or controversial that the DEA would make such a complaint. The only thing that's interesting is why Fox (or whoever is in charge of programming content on Fox with respect to "House") finally decided to give in to the DEA and get rid of all traces of House's vicodin/painkiller use. And I don't know the answer to that. I'd love to know, though.

January 26 2010 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
Takayo

It's mostly unbelievable because no one else is mentioning it. Anywhere. Searching terms related to it would only bring up sites quoting your original comments, and that's pretty unusual for any story (especially a controversial one) about a TV show as big as House. Almost as unusual as the DEA not getting on to House for its depiction of a genius that uses Vicodin, as you would say.

Maybe Fox didn't do away with Vicodin (wholly) because of requests from the DEA, despite the fact that they may have been getting them for X amount of years, and instead it was due to the natural development of the character, and the issues with the DEA were an aside. Since, as you admitted, you don't know why Fox decided to cave in, then this scenario is plausible, and makes the most sense if everything you mention is accurate. The "disappearance" of House's pain was because House found out it was related to his mental state, which was suggested heavily in Season 3, and I think appeared before then. And sufferers of chronic pain have been helped in reality by mental therapy.

Also there are depicted mental or physical consequences of his Vicodin abuse, though they may not appear in every episode or season. There have been several episodes to prove this, like the one where House can't manage to pee without inserting a catheter, the hallucinations from last season (although I guess that entire storyline was just for the DEA, according to you) and, of course, the effects when he's trying to stop the abuse show how serious the matter of House's addiction is to the show runners. I think I even heard from one of the doctors that comments, or the writer himself from http://politedissent.com that the occasional mood swings and other various symptoms House portrays offhandedly in episodes may be a subtle way for us to see how Vicodin is affecting him.

The DEA may have taken issue with there not being enough of these episodes, but there certainly are episodes where we see the effects of House's addiction.

I've spent way more time in response than I should have, though, so I'll just say that I really liked this episode too. I don't know why people don't think House's therapy has made him a changed man, I've been seeing the changes in him pretty consistently throughout the season. At least concerning being kind to people he doesn't normally interact with. House changing into a joy around Wilson, Cuddy, or the team won't happen any time soon, but remember the guy from the apartment building who House helped with his chronic pain, and he helped Wilson back in the beginning of the season as well, even if it was under the guise of wanting him not to lose his license; he also helped Wilson briefly in Wilson's titular episode when directing organs at him, and later hanging out in his best frien'd hospital room (not something I would see happening as easily in prior seasons)then of course this episode. House has definitely changed a lot from his therapy. The only thing I'm not really enjoying about this season is the Cuddy storyline. It's just weird.

January 26 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Danman: I'm not going to post documents that I'm not supposed to post. But I know for sure. If you do a Freedom of Information Act request asking for all correspondence between the DEA and Fox with respect to the content of the TV show "House" I see no reason why such documents would fall under any FOIA exception (so you should be entitled to them). I know this for sure, and I'll keep bitching about it when it's relevant. But don't worry, I've stopped watching House so only if I read something above the fold in a review of House that clearly irks me about this subject will I say anything about my "conspiracy" (it's the DEA's stated job to do stuff like this, why anyone would think my accusation is so farfetched is amazing to me... what's farfetched is the DEA *not* saying anything about getting rid of a primetime TV character that flaunts his drug 'abuse' while routinely being the smartest, wittiest guy in the room with no mental or physical consequences whatsoever... it would be a wild conspiracy if the DEA didn't make complaints about such an occurrence).

I'm not just guessing here. The only thing I do not know is why Fox finally caved in, as the DEA didn't just start complaining about House during its last season.

Do a FOIA request, you'll see I'm right.

January 26 2010 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bruce's comment
Hank

The first defense of the wrong...I don't have to prove I'm right, you have to prove I'm wrong.

January 26 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DanMan

Bruce,

You are undoubtedly familliar with the concept of burdens of proof. Because you are the party rasing the allegation (i.e., the DEA is forcing Fox to tone down House), that means you, and only you, has the burden of proving your claim. Your assertion that you can't "post the documents" does nothing to support your claim and, therefore, is not proof of the same. Moreover, rather than meeting your own burden, you attempt to "shift" the burden to us to obtain the documents; however, as you may be aware, you simply cannot do this until and unless you have satisified your own burden.

However, even assuming these documents exist, the facts, as explained by you, actually undercut your argument. You have asserted that the DEA has made this request for "years," but Fox has routinely ignored it. Given that Fox paid no heed to these documents for "years," it logically follows that the documents had no impact on Fox's decision to drop this storyline, and the decision was made purely as a result of the writer's decision to try something new.

Anyway you slice it, you're arguments are flat out erroneous.

January 26 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kristi

I really liked this episode for 3 reasons.

1. The patient du jour was actually interesting.
2. House IS changing. (just cause he hasn't done a 180 doesn't mean he has changed)
3. I didn't HATE Foreman this episode.

http://www.orble.com/teevee-house-125/

January 26 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GerryofNorVA

Anyone notice the Sherlock Holmes reference ? House's street address on the $5k check ? 221 Baker Street, Apt B. Cool.

January 26 2010 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to GerryofNorVA's comment
Edward

That was established in previous seasons.

January 26 2010 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

It _was_ established in previous seasons--but didn't he move to a new place this year with Wilson? So are these old checks? Are the writers just keeping his address the same even though they made a whole episode out of him moving to a new place?

January 27 2010 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

The insane asylum and "therapy" was just the DEA's plot device to explain the permanent removal of all vicodin use and reference to painkillers from the show. House wasn't going to change at all (other than not seeing dead people anymore). Fox was willing to cave in to the DEA's demands to cease all "glorification" of "abuse" of painkillers, but they were not willing to make House a less snarky, entertaining character. They figured most people wouldn't miss the vicodin-popping/flaunting as long as Dr. House was still really, really silly. And they were right. Nobody asks what happened to his chronic pain, or how he suddenly is able to function without painkillers. The DEA got what they wanted, and it's horribly insulting to every person who suffers from chronic pain. I've stopped watching the show, it's just not the same and I can't stand knowing it's become just another piece of drug war propaganda with a big "DEA Approved" stamp on it. But reviews like this make it sound like the whole psychiatric hospital plot was about character development, and that's just asinine.

January 26 2010 at 6:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to bruce's comment
marali

You are so very wrong in this review. House is so much more a changed man than any of us could have ever anticipated.

House's remorse is earthshattering in this episode. Watch it again especially when House tries to apologize to Cuddy at the end but sees her happy with her new beau.

Geez! House is an ass but he has evolved.

I'll bet anything that Cuddy's guilt trip re: the pic House destroyed is as much of a scam as the Doc whose career Greg destroyed.

January 26 2010 at 5:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Helena

Come on HOUSEWRITERS! give us some chase/thirteen!!!!

January 26 2010 at 4:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Helena's comment
Sam the Deaf

I like your idea :) Bring spicy!!!

January 26 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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