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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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (85 Votes)
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I totally agree with Jessica here. Its just not the same show. Also don't forget about the cancer researcher who gave up her job to be happy in life. Sacrificing a "gift" for freedom to do what she couldn't do before. True, her medical condition didn't cause her to do it but I think it paraells with Thirteen wanting to just be happy. Will definitely miss her but they do need to bring back Chase to get the back and forth dialogue back with House. Maybe the show could still be salvaged that way. Its not believeable with Park and maybe a little with Adams...

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Foreman no longer has any personality and is merely a vehicle to provide conflict for House. That pipsqueak Park is an annoying mosquito. There is some hope for The Newer Girl if she and House can establish some chemistry. Wilson just keeps recycling lines from previous years, most significantly, "You aren't my friend anymore." (Who believed that?) I think the show needs to set a date for expiration and go out in a blaze of glory. Oh wait a minute, that was last year's finale. Me thinks they are on borrowed time.

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Pretty much the only thing i like about this episode was the case, the rest no so much. As you pointed it the case and ethical dilemmas were extremely interesting. I havent been this interested in the case/patient since the African dictator that chase killed. But right now i cannot stand his "team" if you can call it that. As another commentor pointed out. Like every dynamic in the show went to crap. There is no team dynamic anymore, theres no give and take, no one stands and argues a point anymore. One of my favorite things about House were the differential scenes and now they are pretty much nonexistent. The house-foreman relationship [the faux house-boss/cuddy] is crap. in EVERY instance when Foreman was on the same level as house or slightly above him it was BARELY believable and BARELY worked, but now we are supposed to buy that he is dean of medicine and its going to work long term, yeah right. Dont get me wrong I think Omar is a very talented actor, i've like him since back in his ER days, and i like the Foreman character too, but i dont buy him having any control over house.

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No one is glad that the approach taken to the thyroid of the patient?
I'm glad to make a memory of the first seasons where the explanation of each case were make like that.
What if I did not like was the way House resolved the case, and that explains it right there to Wilson and do not leave the room and left Wilson upset as in other chapters.

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I love house best show on ty will allways watch it long as its on.love you dr.house

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You forgot the subway hero in Season 7 (POTW was actor who played Shaggy in Scooby Doo) in your list of past episodes with same theme. @Gislef
You are mistaken. House drove his own car into Cuddy's dining room, not Wilson's car.

Jlc

Great review Lisa and I haven't watched it yet but will do so today or tomorrow. This of course is the first season I've NOT watched House episodes on the night they air. I will try going into this episode with an open mind. I know that you did and you always do. You don't deserve the criticism you've received because I know how much you put into your writing and how objective you try to be. It IS hard not to compare this show with its past because its past was so good! :) The thing about this whole "new life, new look" for House is too little, too late in my book. It feels forced as if they didn't have a choice...oh wait they didn't have a choice. After the incredible mess TPTB made of Season 7, they really didn't have a choice but to move in this direction. My sadness over what's happened to this show isn't about one person (Lisa) leaving the show, it's about the loss of a DYNAMIC. This DYNAMIC could have been preserved through well-written stories which would have kept ALL the actors enthusiastic about their jobs, as well as keeping the characters and stories interesting and the fans excited over the show, all resulting in HIGH ratings and we know HIGH ratings would have made Fox/NBCU very happy! Forget the romantic relationship between House and Cuddy for a moment (which in my opinion could have been successfully written in the backdrop and not made the forefront of every episode or barring that it just never should have happened in an effort to retain the House-Cuddy dynamic we once had, but alas it did and now look at the mess we have left) just think about the difference between Cuddy and Foreman as Dean of Medicine, and Cuddy and Foreman in terms of House and his respect for them. House doesn't respect Foreman, not really. Ok in the past on a few occasions he may have respected Foreman, but does he now? Not really. Why should he? He used to imply he didn't respect Cuddy but he did and he showed it in his own weird House way. But Cuddy and House had a history, which Foreman and House don't have and that history had a HUGE impact on how House and Cuddy interacted. TPTB can't erase it, can't make us forget it happened, and can't cover it up. It's just there, in our minds. We already know the backstory, and it can't be erased or forgotten. Before folks criticize me for my comments, understand that I used to LOVE the show, the WHOLE show, which means the characters, their stories AND the riveting medical cases. I can't tell you how much I miss the old team and how much I miss the second team and especially Kutner. In the early days Foreman was terrific, as were Chase and Thirteen. I even grew to like Cameron, she really "grew up" over the course of the show and you could tell House was proud of her, remember in Season 5 he had a rather serious personal talk with Cameron at the ER counter about her relationship with Chase and she felt comfortable enough with him to open up about knowing Chase was going to propose and why she was so afraid of it. I really loved that moment between Cameron and House, it showed just how much their relationship had evolved from the old boss-employee to colleagues on the same level. Hugh is always going to be great and House-Wilson will always be good together but they seem unbalanced, the dynamic is just not what it was. It's impossible to watch this season and NOT compare it to past seasons, the show was just THAT good. When you've had pure excellence, nothing less than that will ever be good enough. Keep up the good work Lisa and to all the fans, keep your chins up and remember the good times!

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House drove Wilson's house through Cuddy's window, not his own. Although you wonder how he managed to keep his apartment and his house, and who took care of them, for the year that he was in prison.

Uncle-jackass

Favourite quote from another show that relates to this episode: Trina: Pop Tart?
Logan: Hmmm, a Tart from a tart.
Trina: Ye of the sickle wit. Can I ask you something?
Logan: Hmm, would you look at that? [mimics pulling something from his mouth] There was a string attached to my Pop Tart. [tosses away imaginary string]
Trina: Yeah. Well, I'm in a little bit of a jam, and I could use a loan. Morale of the story... There is no such thing as a selfless act (@credit goes to Friends).

House Season 8 Episode 3 Quotes

New girl, meet newer girl.

House

Dr. Park: Why am I watching you cut your hair?
House: New life, new look.

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