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'House' - 'Lockdown' Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 13th 2010 8:37AM
David Strathairm and Hugh Laurie on 'House'
(S06E16) "I'm going to be dead in a few hours. Your secrets couldn't be safer, unless you're keeping them from yourself." - Nash to House

entered into one of television's most overused cliches last night: the "randomly stuck together somewhere plot line." It's happened so many times that attempting to count all of them would require a NASA scientist, a team of fact checkers and one of those slick-looking slide rules that only a handful of people left in the universe know how to use.

This time, the team gets separated into different parts of the hospital during a lock down. Each has their own interesting stories to tell as they whittle away the hours, and each have varying degrees of success.

It all starts with a rather quiet and touching shot of a baby being brought into the world and her parents discussing possible names for their little bundle of joy. It's an out-of-the-ordinary opening for a show that regularly features a random stranger going through their motions of their life, only to have it interrupted by a seizure or profuse bleeding out of one or more of their bodily orifices.

The baby goes missing and the hospital is put on "Code 7" with various members of the team stuck in different parts of the hospital. And even though the whole episode relied on one of TV's most trusted plot devices to take the characters out of their element, the good outweighed the bad.

The most interesting, of course, is House, who gets stuck in a hospice room with Nash, played by David Strathairn, a patient dying from a heart condition that he tried to get House to treat. Frankly, the episode as a whole would have been more interesting and entertaining if they had just parked the camera in House's room.

Strathairn is a scary good dramatic actor and he brings great pathos to his clearly flawed character. Pair that with House's usual temperament and equally scary-good ability to read people and you've got a great little psychological stage play between two minds trying to read each other and bring out the other guy's emotions.

James and Hadley get held up in the hospital cafeteria and resort to a classic childish round of "Truth or Dare" to pass the time. It's a rather sloppy way of getting into each other's psyches but it leads to some funny moments when Robert tries to steal a dollar from the cash register and Hadley flashes Taub later on in the episode.

It also helped Robert open up on his relationship with House and how Robert is using him as a crutch in his own life. Plus, I could never get sick of hearing Thirteen confirm her bisexuality all over again. I know, I'm sick. I need help.

Taub and Foreman's drug experiment in the records room just felt like an excuse to have a "Cheech and Chong" moment in an otherwise serious episode, with a little self-discovery tacked on at the last minute. It opened some history about the characters, but it just felt so weird and irresponsible that their actions leading to it made the whole moment out of place.

The low point of the evening was Chase's plot and inevitable pseudo-reconciliation with his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Sure it had a few touching moments, but it started on a transparent, melodramatic roller coaster of emotions and ended, naturally, in sex, the way it never does in the real world. Frankly, Chase's plot couldn't have been more predictable if it were running on a train track.

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I think this was the first time I'd seen prescription drugs used recreationally on TV.

April 19 2010 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Danny, I feel like you've missed the point of the episode entirely.

The idea of the episode was to give us a character-driven, psychologically heavy episode by pairing up characters who would otherwise *never* end up alone together. It's in the same vein as "Conversations with Dead People" from season six of Buffy (possibly one of the best episodes of the entire show). The characters are examined externally by someone who is aware of their situation but not emotionally involved with it so they can offer objective analysis. It's like sitting down in the middle of a project and saying, "Okay, folks, where are we and what kind of day has it been?" It was executed brilliantly here.

Also, the Chase subplot may have seemed unrealistic to you, but it wasn't. My evidence comes from personal experience and anecdotes of the people I watch House with, but sometimes falling out of love with somebody includes a day when you think you're saying goodbye for the last time and you end up sleeping together one last time. "Box of stuff day" is a typical day for this in college breakups.

April 14 2010 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carmack's comment

People are entitled to their own opinions, but yeah I think he really did miss the point.

Personally I thought this episode was much better than the odd 'Black Hole' and some of the other recent episodes this season. It was waaaay more relaxed and completely ignored the formula, which was a great change of pace.

Plus, Taub and Foreman punching each other was hilarious :D

April 14 2010 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This whole episode was worth the 9 seconds we got of Allison (Elvis Costello) Ringtone.

April 13 2010 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The recapper realizes that the episode was the first one directed by Hugh Laurie, right? That centering the episode around House's room would have not only been impossible because of this but would have ultimately diluted the whole effect that his story with this guy had?

I think Hugh did a great job with it though..It was essentially a filler episode that was pretty much a character study of where these peoples lives/thoughts are but it also reminded us of key things with at least 2 major arcs of the season (House's mental patient time and Chase/Camerons marriage respectively).. Mostly at some level it showed all the characters at varying levels of vulnerability..

Wilson and 13 playing truth or dare was actually the lightest of them all with us realizing that no matter how OK 13 is with her illness now (which hasn't been mentioned much this season) she still isn't, while showing that Wilson still seriously wants love yet sort of keeps House by him to shield himself from the pain it could cause (great lead-in to next weeks episode, which looks like a fun one)

Chase and Cameron's story was possibly the heaviest of them making them put their relationship under a microscope that neither of them took the time to look at while they were working together, even in separate departments, at the hospital.. The only problem I saw of this is that they didn't focus as much on the Pink Elephant in the room as the should have: Killing the dictator.. Sure they touched on it but even amongst all they worked through about their actual feelings towards one another it was still very much the thing that ended them... My fiance believes that Cameron will end up pregnant from their little sex romp (no evidence of contraception was given) and that will create another huge issue for them as they face this divorce.

House was sort of a somber middle ground.. We knew he had changed in the Mental institution but he's never come out and said the woman was the reason, some would stand to assume until last night that it was the Doctors doing that helped him more.. But at the same time we've been seeing him struggle with the guy he's become since he's been out.. He has been less of a cocky bastard, has cared more for his patients.. but he's taken very little time to analyze it for himself.. I think that's what his story was about: Taking the time to realize how far you've come. He offers the guy mercy over telling him to suck up the pain, and when he does offer the mercy he offers it ONCE as apposed to forcing it down his throat like he would have in the past.. He apologizes to this random stranger for never taking his case.. He actually HELPS the patient try to reach out while actually reaching out himself.. Its bold steps and we're seeing he's doing it without help from any one (like Wilson, or the doctor)..

I think Taub and Foreman served a purpose in this episode that is a lot like House's.. House tried with both of them this season, in 2 different episodes, to get to the bottom of why they are the way they are but even though the episodes in question essentially got the job done neither character has grown, or at least we haven't seen growth.. Them showing us in their Viccodine haze that they know they're flawed (specifically when Foreman can't do any thing but tell the truth about himself) and that they don't like it so much that they're willing to try to use this opportunity to flaw themselves even more by destroying their records and strike out with a clean slate, says something about their need for change, even a slight bit of redemption. The story also takes 2 characters that actually don't interact much together, despite even being in the same room much of the time, and forces them to do so, with the end showing that they actually have a lot of respect for one another.

The only thing I wish this episode did was shed even the tiniest bit of light on that Pink Elephant I talked about in Chase and Cameron's story.. Somehow.. Someway.. I was expecting it to slip out in Taub and Foreman's story and I think they missed the opportunity to further the idea that what Chase did is going to very much bite him or Foreman or even House in the ass sometime soon..

April 13 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BoomingEchoes's comment

I enjoyed your comment, but I disagree about your characterization of the pink elephant in Chase and Cameron's relationship. I think the whole point of their interaction in this episode is that killing the dictator is not at all what really ended their relationship, but rather, it was the fact that Cameron is just messed up.

April 13 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hahah, the last 2 contradictory posts made me actually LOL (& I never actually LOL)

April 13 2010 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree the Chase plot was expected; however, it was pretty good. It was good to see Cameron again. David Straithran, so awesome. I really enjoyed this one also. 13 and Wilson, boring. HOWEVER, Taub and Foreman were the most enjoyable. I laughed and enjoyed their interactions with each other. I think Omar Epps is a very good actor and loved seeing him in a fun situation. Black men do laugh! So, it was refreshing to see him in a more relaxed situation. He was GREAT!

April 13 2010 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, it's a cliche, but from the previews, I really expected a good episode. Unfortunately, it seems all the good parts were actually in the preview and the rest of the episode was just a stinker. It's not often it happens with this show, but I really think this episode just bombed. The Taub/Foreman storyline in particular was horrible and was made worse by Omar Epps horrible acting. No matter what emotion he's trying to put forward, it always feel so strained and always falls completely flat.

April 13 2010 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The worst review I have ever read on here.

April 13 2010 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to djmcheme's comment

I agree, this was pretty terrible; using character names that the show does not use, calling characters the wrong name...

April 13 2010 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I missed when they found the baby. I know it's not the main point but where was she? What did it have to do with the extra towels?

April 13 2010 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rjbtrdx's comment

The housekeeper was having mini-seizures, and picked up the baby instead of dirty towels. Cuddy figured it out when she saw eight towels in the room instead of four, and then the housekeeper pretty much catatonic. They did not imply any criminal intent.

April 13 2010 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh to be Taub for a few moments.

April 13 2010 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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