Has “House” lost the magic? Shockingly, no, although by this point most series have overstayed their welcome. The series still manages to be entertaining and engaging; last night was no exception, featuring perhaps the strongest episode of an already strong season. Read our review to see how we felt…
- Director: Greg Yaitanes
- Writer: Sara Hess
- Cast: Hugh Laurie, Charlyne Yi, Olivia Wilde, Odette Annable, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Wentworth Miller
Episode Title: “Charity Case”
A wealthy patient falls ill, exhibiting the usual assortment of bizarre symptoms, with one special trait: he is excessively altruistic, giving away millions upon millions of dollars, denying himself a potentially luxurious life. Dr. Park–and, it seems, House–thinks he is crazy and that his generosity must be tied to his disease, while Dr. Adams simply thinks he is a naturally good person. This disagreement turns into a major issue when the patient offers to donate a kidney to one of Wilson’s dying patients.
- Ethical dilemma: Although it has never been exactly subtle, “House” has always done a good job of tackling the kind of ethical issues that most medical dramas ignore, being too busy with romantic subplots to deal with anything substantial. The question this episode asks (is it ok to accept life-saving generosity from a person if that generosity is a sign of life-threatening illness?) is not an easy one to answer, but easy answers tend to be boring answers.
- Role reversal: Unlike movies, TV shows span a number of years, allowing the relationships between characters to develop in ways that might have been unimagineable in early seasons. When we first met Foreman, he was just another member of House’s team; now, he’s in charge, and Omar Epps balances the acting skillfully enough to show us that, despite the character’s professionalism, he’s enjoying the power.
- Pacing & plot: To put it simply, it is an entertaining episode. There’s humor, but also genuine tension, and as an audience we enjoy being kept on the edge of our seat. That so rarely happens with modern television.
- Thirteen: We live in an age where the fourth wall simply doesn’t exist, because entertainment magazines and blogs provide us a lot of details about cast members that the show hasn’t caught up with. Those of us who have read the articles know that Olivia Wilde was not going to remain on this show, so it is impossible to create any question in the viewer’s mind regarding whether or not she will decide to join House’s team again. We know what’s going to happen, even if the characters don’t.
- Dr. Adams: The jury’s still out as to whether or not Dr. Adams will make a strong addition to the team. We already know she’s simply here to fill the “attractive female doctor” void that Olivia Wilde and Jennifer Morrison have left; whether or not she’ll bring the same degree of personality that they did remains to be seen.
- Seriously, c’mon, what about Cuddy? We get it. Like Olivia Wilde, Lisa Edelstein has made it clear that she won’t be returning to the show. But the only thing worse than awkwardly addressing this kind of absence is not addressing it at all. House is working in the same hospital as the woman who sparked his rage and indirectly landed him in prison. This needs to be addressed in some capacity.
While some behind-the-scenes issues have hurt the show, the fact of the matter is, this is a textbook “House” episode. The writing is solid, the performances are memorable, and the drama is very real. Can’t ask for much more than that.
“House” airs every Monday night on FOX!
What did you think of last night’s episode?