The great thing about “House” is that even though you couldn’t care less about bizarre diseases and mystery diagnoses, you’ll get hooked by its thoughtful take on human psychology and emotions. Last night’s episode took us into the heart of a person who desperately wants to die, and handled the material with great sensitivity. Check out the review…
- Director: Greg Yaitanes
- Writer: John C. Kelley
- Cast: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Sean Leonard, Amy Irving, Omar Epps, Peter Jacobson, Jesse Spencer
Episode Title: “Unwritten”
Alice (guest star Amy Irving), a writer of young adult novels that straddle the line between Harry Potter and Twilight, has just finished the tenth installment of her popular young adult mystery franchise, and is about to kill herself before suffering from a seizure that lands her in the care of House and his team. House is familiar with her work, but even more familiar with her depression, and takes it upon himself to not only cure her physical ailment, but also discover the root of her mental one. In the meantime, as his relationship with Cuddy edges closer and closer to the end of “the honeymoon phase,” he worries that they have nothing in common to allow long-term happiness.
- Amy Irving: Irving is one of the more memorable guest stars this show has had in recent years, convincingly portraying a woman so embittered by an unknown inner torment that she has little doubt about whether or not she should go on living. When House offers her an injection that he claims (untruthfully) to be an instant killer, she immediately takes this opportunity to end her life. We always tend to care for the patients in this show, hoping that they are cured and their lives are restored, but, strangely, we’re even more hooked when the patient wants to die anyway.
- House’s worries: The fact that House is concerned over the future of his relationship with Cuddy is no surprise; he has come to define cynicism for many viewers over the past few years, and the last thing anyone expects is for him to look on the bright side. But in this case, Hugh Laurie does a good job of selling the performance in a way that suggests House really is getting better. Now, when he confides in Wilson, he seems to want to look on the bright side, and that’s a start.
- Cuddy is happy: This show is, first and foremost, about people. While House may be the focus, every character has had their faults and struggles explored in great detail over the past six seasons, but Cuddy’s personal challenges have never really been as clear as they are now. Why? Because now she seems happy with her relationship, and seeing her behave like a person who has found some peace in life only serves to make us truly realize how unfulfilled her character always was beforehand.
- Go-karts: A scene involving a double date at a go-kart course is tough to take seriously. Sure, it’s fun to see House actually enjoying himself for a change, but it’s also awkwardly scripted and staged.
- Chase’s one-night stand: It wasn’t too long ago that Chase murdered a patient (granted, that patient was a dictator who was going to commit genocide, but still) and got divorced from Cameron. It’s fine for the writers to decide that his sub-plots are dried up for the time being, but the fact that he is already sleeping with random women is a little troubling. We want to like this guy, and having him get laid after all he’s been through won’t exactly make that happen.
The most common problem with House is the fact that there are always two stories going on: the individual plot of an episode, and the continuing development of the characters. Sometimes, only one of these stories is worth paying attention to, and it is usually the latter. This time around, however, we get to see House make slow but admirable progress as he works towards becoming a normal human being, and we also get a patient whose tale is quite moving. All in all, a strong episode.
“House” airs on FOX every Monday night.
Did you think last night’s episode was an emotional hour of TV? Tell us in the comments.