House Review: What Do We Deserve?

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Is there ever a gift too large? And is it really selfless to give a gift if it makes the giver feel good? In tonight's episode, "Charity Case," House assumes that one man willing to give away almost everything he has for the betterment of others can't be benevolent. He must be sick. 

This installment reminds me of a number of other House episodes, including season 4's "No More Mr. Nice Guy," where a patient's generally great attitude about everything was a symptom, and the season 6 episode "Instant Karma," where a billionaire who thought that bad things were happening to his child because everything else in his life was so great. In that one, the billionaire gave everything away to try and strike a universal balance.

Dr. Adams and Dr. Park

I'm not mentioning these past episodes to point fingers at the series and say, look, we've been here before.

What this series does well, and has always done well, is explore issues repeatedly and thoroughly to come at every ethical issue at every angle. Shock of all shocks, I liked the ideas that tonight's hour explored. And that's not because some commenters bullied me into it. I didn't love the episode on the whole, but it did make me think, which I can appreciate.

House is a man who consistently believes that people should get what they deserve. Should, being the operative word. On at least one occasion, House has snapped and said, "People get what they get." To him, this is most accurate, especially after everything that has happened to House. Then again, maybe House, in some ways, is getting what he deserves. He has one friend. I can't see him ever having a successful romantic relationship, and a number of people that House has loved have either died or left. I digress. 

My point is that House has done a thorough job of exploring what people deserve and if karma exists. This episode fits into that theme nicely, testing the idea of if the gift-giver has the upper hand and if they are deserving of good karma.

I liked this week's patient because he didn't have everything. He gave away to such an extreme that even his family didn't understand his selflessness. Is this what he deserves? The problem with Benjamin, and this is what his wife sensed, is that it wasn't all selflessness. At a certain point, when charity provides the giver with immense pleasure, it is no longer selfless, but selfish. Staying with the theme of charity, Dr. Adams returned in this episode as House's new admirer and loyal follower. 

As a Housian scholar, she's already pulling pranks on Dr. Park, gifting her to the point of discomfort from Dr. Park's perspective. House sniffs out her motives quickly, seeing that she's just trying to understand/mess with Dr. Park's discomfort with charity. 

Regardless, Dr. Park won that round as the messer became the messee and inadvertently gave over the money to repair House's car. And, by the way, shouldn't House's car be totaled considering the last time we saw it, it was driving through a home? Back to the patient.  nd Thirteen, who is also kind of like the patient. 

Thirteen has the gift of raising the dead! Well, not really, but she made it sound that way. She's an excellent physician and now she wants to (selfishly?) give it up for happiness with her girlfriend, (not boyfriend - who won the poll?). So is she being selfish in not imparting her gift of diagnostic medicine to the tens of tens that come through House's door? Or is it acceptable for her to just want to be happy and healthy (relationship-wise)? 

Throughout the episode, House is attempting to get money out of the generous patient. After two minutes, Benjamin is ready to give House a million bucks. But does House want it if it's not really true giving? He needs to make sure that Benjamin is actually as truly altruistic as he seems. House was completely baffled by the patient's lack of hypocrisy. 

Three years ago when Cuddy wanted House to come to Rachel's Simchat Bat (Jewish naming ceremony), House bristled at the idea of attending an event riddled with so much religious hypocrisy. Cuddy didn't go all in with her religion, and House doesn't believe someone should be able to pick and choose. So when he comes across a patient who gives above all else, even family, and is true to his altruism, House questions it because it seems so unnatural. In the last few minutes of the episode, after his medical issue was fixed, House asked, once again, for the money.  Benjamin chose his family over House, and was applauded by House, who called that "healthy." 

Upon reflection, House released Thirteen from her doctoring duties as well, demonstrating to us viewers that House can recognize a healthy relationship, but couldn't be in one to save his life. Literally. After all the work the series did to bring Thirteen and House together as friends, I was disappointed to see her leave, but satisfied to see her leave on a happy note, unlike everyone else who has exited the series in a dramatic fashion. 

I know it may seem like I'm hung up on the past, but it's because I am. I loved the show at its height, which for me happened in peaks throughout a few different seasons (3 and 5 in particular), and I miss the chemistry among those that used to be on the show. Sue me. I'm not at all in love with Foreman, Adams (who still seems bland to me), or Park, who elicited exactly one laugh from me this evening. But, as House said at the beginning of the episode, "New life, new look." This show has a new look, which means it's going to be different from the show it once was.

Finally, bring back Chase. Seriously. Please.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (85 Votes)
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I so hope House is able to end on a memorable, high note.

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I agree with all who think the show is trash now. When House crashed thru Cuddy's house, that would have really been the perfect way to end the show. "House goes to jail, Cuddy obviously never wants nothing to do with him again" & we can find a show that we will love maybe someday as much as i used to love this one. It is NOTHING w/o Lisa! I so, so miss her presence on here, and the only team member on here working with House up till now? Totally unbelievable. The show has completely lost its luster & i see no way it will ever be good again. Wrap up the show as this season is all a dream & at the end of the series, House wakes up from a dream in prison or a pysch hospital! I need my Lisa fix & tried to watch the Good Wife for the first time last night, fell asleep waiting for Lisa to come on & when she did, all i could think of was Cuddy.....she played that part so well. I am only watching to see how they play this out but i am sure this is the last season. In the EW magazine, it's not even listed in the top 25 or whatever it is shows for the week. Bow out now, it isn't worth watching anymore. I don't think Robert Sean Leonard's heart is in it either. Too bad, it could've been a good show w/o getting rid of all the great female characters. When Jennifer Morrison left, i was upset. I miss 13, but i miss Lisa most.....i liked the way the show was at the beginning best. I'd have to say 'House's Head/Wilson's Heart' will always live on to me as prob the best episodes there were. It involved everyone quite a bit & it was really well written. Good luck with the show now....i am not happy with it.....

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I am SO DONE with this show. Wish the advertisers would be too and it would be cancelled. This season's stuff has been done before, and done better with an awesome supporting cast that I grew to love and care about, yes - especially Lisa Edelstein as Cuddy. The show can no more stand the loss of her, and Olivia Wilde, and all of House's team than it could stand the loss of House and Wilson. Yes, this is the last season, yes, that was the last you will see of 13, and no, Cuddy isn't coming back - so can Hugh Laurie carry the show? NO! Not with these bad writers and selfish producers, and not when he is only showing out of contract obligations. Too bad the show ended last season, but they are dragging it out. They already DID "altruism is a disease" at least once. The only people still watching must not have seen every other episode or must have hope that their favorite cast members will be back. They won't - time to move on to better television. This just keeps getting worse and worse!!!!!

Marissa

i loved the episode and i probably wouln't be watching house as much because olivia isn't on it i will watch the show if she comes back on another episode or if the episode looks good.

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Wait, I thought it was Park's car, not House's, that needed repair. (?) If I missed that detail, I blame it on the fact that I'm not able to give the show my undivided attention any longer. *sigh* I miss the good ol' days... and yes, I miss Cuddy. So sue me.

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Well I am now done with House. It has bugged me for a while (Foreman especially ugh cannot stand him) but only hung in there for the hotness that is Olivia "Thirteen" Wilde. Stopped watching when she left for her two movies, then was happy when she came back. Loved seeing her again but sad it was most likely her lsat episode. While I was sad to see her go, it was nice to see her end up with a girl;) but also House has always had a different relationship with her and it showed in the end of last night's episode.

Uncle-jackass

As a last tribute to the character Remy "Thirteen" it was nice the writers coming up with an episode that sums up the sentimentality of the character who was always the pessimistic or realist perspective from individual; due to having either Huntington's disease or a bleak outlook on life. The most re-memorable quote stated in season 7 episode 20 was: "Here's the dirty little secret: I just think we are who we are, and I think lotteries are stupid" Taking in this episode was Wentworth Miller's character whose illness of having a thyroid problem (re-hashed storyline I know) which resulted in a selfless paradox. Generally when House fixes these individuals the character either accepts that she/he would rather be ill/compromised to live happily or they remain gifted but disabled or ill, etc. In this case, after House fixed him all up, WM's character stated that family matters; its selfish but also true. Which also stays a tribute to Thirteen's character who chronically believes that we are all selfish human beings and lying to protect others is too. Has House changed over the course of the seasons? Does he need to? Ans: No... but he recognized that if were truly a good friend we would want them to be selfishly happy. White lies are a necessity of society; especially for dear friends.

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What I don't understand is wth is chase

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Disappointed to see Thirteen go, but soo happy that she ended up with a girl and not a guy :D

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Ugh and meh. Lousy rehash of the "you have to be sick to be this way" whether this way is overly generous or good or religious (Hasidic couple) and Park is a total nonentity and Adams is an acolyte already with no challenge to House. And House, well House is no longer interesting or humorous. I have to give up on House. I will watch the last episode for sentiment's sake when it comes up in April or May 2012. All TV shows, comedy or drama, should end when they are still somewhat hot and not after a limping wreck of a season, didn't anyone in Hollywood TV land learn anything from the X Files disaster of a final season??????? Ugh