Still going strong eight seasons in, when most other shows become sad mockeries of themselves, “House” may no longer seem as fresh as it did a few years ago, but it’s still got something to say, and it does so in an entertaining style. This week’s episode is a little heavy on the “you won’t possibly believe what twist we have in store for you this time” effect that the promos for the series always aim for, but its focus on character more or less makes up for that.
- Director: Miguel Sapochnik
- Writer: David Hoselton
- Cast: Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson, Robert Sean Leonard, Charlyne Yi, Odette Annable
Episode Title: “Dead and Buried”
Foreman assigns House to the case of a mildly troubled young girl with so many secrets, she is even hiding some of them from herself. He lets the team tackle that problem, focusing his own efforts on trying to determine what killed the years-dead son of a man in House’s anger management class. Unfortunately, not only does Foreman believe the case to be a waste of House’s time, but the case also requires House to violate his parole and risk being sent back to prison.
- The truth: It would take a long time to list all of the reasons that “House” has found a loyal audience and kept it for years, but chief among those is the essence of the title character. House may be sarcastic, misanthropic, and, as the mainstream-TV-censored characters in the show are fond of saying, “an ass.” He’s also driven, and he is willing to put his own freedom on the line if it means finding the answers he is looking for. That makes for some compelling situations, especially in episodes like last night’s.
- Foreman’s struggle: Foreman has occasionally been granted his moments to shine, but overall, fans could be forgiven for thinking that he’s not always been given the attention his character deserves. Thankfully, last night allowed viewers to see that beneath the decisive and rational exterior that he puts forward, there is a man who is almost as obsessed with his own principles as House is. When these two characters clash, the outcome isn’t always dramatic, but it’s rarely predictable.
- The case: The case this week was meant to be shocking, and while we can’t honestly say that we called the twist, we can honestly say that it didn’t have the effect on us that the writers probably intended. It was engaging enough to keep us interested, but gimmicky enough to make us wonder if it was necessary.
- Chase’s secret: Another minor mystery reaches our characters this episode in the form of Chase’s decision to take up some stereotypically feminine grooming habits. We, the audience, don’t care about this nearly as much as House and the other members of the team do, and when the punchline finally arrives, it doesn’t have the humorous effect that was intended.
A couple of disappointing elements aside, this episode had enough focus on one of TV’s most compelling characters to keep us more than satisfied. House continues to keep us guessing, but he never does something dramatic simply for the sake of drama. There’s always a human logic behind his decisions and that makes for some great television.
“House” airs every Monday night on FOX!
What did you think of last night’s episode? Tell us in the comments!