House” returns from a holiday hiatus with a pretty run-of-the-mill episode. That’s not exactly a bad thing, since a decent episode of “House” is uually better than a good episode of a lot of other other shows, but after such a long break, fans were probably expecting something a little more compelling. Check out our review to see how we felt…

The Players

  • Director: Miguel Sapochnik
  • Writer: David Hoselton
  • Cast: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Sean Leonard, Matthew Lillard, Jesse Spencer, Omar Epps, Amber Tamblyn

Episode Title: “Larger Than Life”

A bassist for an obscure band looking for its big break jumps onto the tracks of the subway to save a woman who is having a seizure. They both survive, but the hero’s health appears to be compromised, landing him in the care of Dr. House and his team. In the meantime, House accidentally offends Cuddy’s mother, who he has been coerced into having dinner with for Cuddy’s birthday, and Taub enjoys the renewed sexual energy of his wife, which he first attributes to a Princeton-Plainsboro billboard featuring his face. However, he soon comes to the conclusion that there may be another source for her desire for intimacy.

The Good:

  • Matthew Lillard: While not an exceptional actor, Lillard stole the show in the first Scream movie, and it was nice to see him on screen again. granted, his character has little to do except act like a generic musician and look sick for forty-five minutes, but he does a good job with the limited role he’s got.
  • Be Better: “House” is a hell of a drama, but it’s not always subtle in its insights into human behavior. We’ve learned to live with that, and so while the episode’s themes–as symbolized by a Billboard of Taub with the words “Be Better” printed across it–come across maybe a little too strong, they’re still worthwhile topics for a TV show in a time slot that usually talks down to its audience.
  • Candice Bergen: The “Boston Legal” alum plays Cuddy’s mother with the kind of quiet aggression that was sure to get under the skin of any male viewer who has had to deal with the mother of a girlfriend before. She’s a little young for the role, and maybe casting such a familiar face in such a small part was distracting, sure, but she’s pretty close to perfect in her performance.

The So-So:

  • Taub’s defiance: The symbolism goes a little overboard towards the end of the episode when Taub trashes the billboard featuring his face. It’s too out of character for him, and we got what he was going through without needing to see that.
  • Masters: Still on the fence about this character. She’s cute and charming, but the complete lack of confidence is a trait that’s getting a little ridiculous. Amber Tamblyn plays the role well, but it’s getting gimmicky.

The Bad:

  • Wrapping things up: This episode was a little too formulaic in its treatment of the patient. “House” is all about being unafraid to look at the ugly side of who we can be as people. No one’s perfect, and we’re all prone to lying, cheating, and making bad decisions. But sometimes, this stance becomes predictable. Such was the case with this episode, where Lillard’s character tells his wife that he plans on qutting his band and spending more time with his family, simply so we can have that moment at the end of the episode, the moment every viewer knew was coming, where he back tracks and decides he wants to play a few more gigs. Sometimes it’d be nice to see an episode where a character surprises us.

Overall:

There was nothing strikingly bad about the episode, but at the same time, there was nothing strikingly good. It was forgettable, the kind of episode you’ll skip over when you re-watch this season on DVD. Even a major turning point in Taub’s life towards the end of the episode falls pretty flat. But hey, it’s “House,” so there were worse ways to spend your Monday night.

Rating: 6/10

Photo Gallery:

What did you think of last night’s episode? Tell us in the comments!