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October 6, 2015

'House' Season 7, Episode 17 Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 22nd 2011 7:30AM
Hugh Laurie and Omar Epps on 'House'['House' - 'Fall From Grace']

The reason 'House' garnered such a huge following when it first took to the airwaves wasn't just the unique storytelling formula, the familiar twist on classic literary characters, or the new approach to telling a mystery story in 45 minutes or less.

It wasn't even because of the main character's bizarre behavior, which would get any other doctor fired from a free clinic operating out of a used boxcar in The Middle of Nowhere, Arkansas.

For me, at least, it was its ability to twist the story of almost every episode with just the right amount of finesse and shock. It didn't turn the rope so hard that it could stop the blood flow of a healthy mare, but it could still get your attention. Monday's mid-season-ender returned to that early form just in time.

On the surface, it seemed like just any old regular 'House' episode, with a sick patient making for a baffling case and a never-ending stream of disgusting and debilitating symptoms, and the usual behind-the-scenes drama of a busy hospital. Think of it as 'Grey's Anatomy,' only interesting.

Of course, House was still reeling from his break-up with Cuddy, or at least he put on a strong enough mask to hide the fact that he still has feelings for her or has been in any way affected by his heartbreak. Instead of running through prostitutes or larging-up a hotel bill like last week's enjoyable hour of television, he took an interesting twist and hooked up with a Russian hottie who needed a green card and an American husband to score one. This time, he was actually in the hospital helping out with the case but up to his usual level of goofing off, except most of it was aimed at testing Cuddy's limits on a much more personal level. She really didn't have much to do with the main case, which weakened the conflict a bit, but kept the focus on the juicier and more mysterious aspect of the patient and his changing diagnoses.

This week, the patient was actually the bigger draw compared to House's personal life, even if it didn't seem so at first. The mysterious patient (he never gave his real name) was a homeless man found by a couple of 'October Sky'-impersonating kids who accidentally set his arm on fire with their model rocket. His weird inability to detect smells set the mystery in motion. Actually, the changing nature of the disease or injury that seemed to morph into something else with each new symptom dragged on a bit and didn't really grab your attention until the very end when ... well, let's save that for the end. No sense in knowing what's for dessert before you've seen the main course.

Plotwise, House's wedding was a nice route to take in the wake of his break-up with Cuddy, for both characters. Last week, she seemed very distant, not just from House, but from the entire hospital. And while she was kept away from the main patient almost entirely this week, at least House gave her enough ammunition to remember her raison d'être: Keeping House's leash tied tight enough to keep him from straying too far out of the yard.

I was a little hard on her character and her role in the scheme of the script in last week's recap for creating a lot of unnecessary drama and not presenting enough of a challenge to the conflict other than her recent personal history. This week, the character (or rather the writer John C. Kelly) stepped it up and jumped back into her role, not just as a hospital administrator, but maybe even as House's friend or, at least, his very confused ex-lover. If anything, having the old Cuddy and the new Cuddy together in self-conflict makes for a much more diverse and interesting backstory than when she was just one or the other.

It was even nice to see Wilson back in the fray and helping the characters grow or move in the body of the episode. He really needs more face time in the coming episodes, not just as House's exasperated partner or target.

The most challenged character of the week, however, was definitely Martha. She learned the downside of being too trusting with her patients when it seemed that our mysterious homeless man may actually turn out to be (insert a "Dum, dum, dum" here) a serial killer who eats his victims, bones and all. The fake name and mysterious history didn't add up until the very end but, despite the misgivings of some, it was actually a nice shocker of an ending that gave me an interesting reason to look forward to 'House's return in mid-April.

'House' airs Mondays, 8PM ET on FOX.

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One thing to to note the actor playing the patient also played Amber Tamblyn's boyfriend on her show Joan of Arcadia.

March 27 2011 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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