In sticking with the title of this week's episode, "The Confession," I must confess that I thoroughly enjoyed this hour.
Is this what David Shore meant by "getting back to basics?" It felt far more like an arrival of that idea than any of the previous four installments. Chase and Taub returning filled the Thirteen and Cuddy-shaped gaps nicely, and even though I'm still not a Dr. Adams fan, I liked the dynamics between her and Chase for a couple of reasons, including both of their experiences with their spouses reflecting the patients and especially Chase's relationship with the idea of confession.
This week's patient is the perfect guy on paper... except, of course, for the cheating, but it's a first-time offense, so we should let it go, right? But what if the patient has even more to confess? What if he's a complete and utter liar? "Everybody lies" is the House anthem, and this week it's Taub preaching to a younger Housian scholar instead of House reminding his team of his favorite mantra.
Yes, everybody lies, but do the lies hold the same weight if they are confessed? When Bob, the patient, finds out he needs a donor, the entire town shows up to volunteer their services. But Bob is too obsessed with the idea that everyone should know every sin he committed, so they can make an educated choice about whether to make such a personal sacrifice. Does a confession make a person honest even though they lied to begin with?
And, better yet, how much is honesty worth if it comes after the effects of the lies have already taken place? Part of the reason I enjoyed this episode is because the best House outings attack ethical and moral questions honestly and without judgement. By the end of this hour, I don't know the right answer and neither does the patient, Chase, or Dr. Adams. But what we have left are questions.
Before we get to the conclusion, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least discuss Taub and his "Taubettes." At the end of last season, I was incredibly frustrated with how the show was utilizing the character of Taub. When he first appeared, I loved him. Thought he was funny, witty, enjoyable to watch. Same in season 5. Then season 6 came around and the show shifted focus away from House and gave us entirely too much Taub. Same for season 7. Getting Taub in small doses - excuse the pun - is how this series is best served.
I'm fine with spending some time on him this week after he's been gone for such a long while, especially with a storyline that so neatly ties into the episode's main themes. House is throwing Taub's babies' paternity tests at him, and Taub is just insecure enough to take the bait. After testing his kids, he has the option to view the results. And, echoing House's earlier sentiments that sometimes it is easier to ignore the (potential) truth, Taub shreds the results. It's nice to see Taub get what he really wants, and this is the happiest we've ever seen him.
Maybe a House-cation is exactly what the doctor ordered.
It's the same with Chase, although the fact that he didn't practice medicine for the year House was imprisoned is quite interesting. Was he really just surfing, which is a nice nod to Jesse Spencer's passion, or is Chase only happy practicing medicine on House's team? When Cameron left in season 6, he had the option to go after her; instead, he showed up at House's apartment to tell him he needed his job. Not surgery, but specifically House's team. I'm really hoping that the series delves into Chase more, as I am curious as to whether him not practicing medicine for a year is significant, or just a side note.
Chase was also a great addition to this episode because of the patient's need to confess. As a religious man formerly in line to become a priest, Chase holds the idea of confession very near and dear to his heart. After Chase killed the African dictator in season 6, he sought forgiveness with his neighborhood priest. Telling the truth is important, but does telling the truth outweigh the actions of the lies?
Dr. Adams and Chase were coming at this question from two different angles. Dr. Adams is a woman scorned. Had she learned about her husband's infidelity earlier, maybe she would have been spared some hurt. Chase, on the other hand, confessed everything to Cameron eventually and she left him. Chase's confession did nothing but hurt and disappoint Cameron, whereas Dr. Adams would prefer to know the truth, her feelings be damned.
In the end, the patient lied to his wife about his cheating. But was the lie selfish or unselfish? Telling his wife the truth would only hurt her, and it was a one-time mistake. However, is the patient just trying to protect himself? When is it appropriate to lie?
And where does House fit into all the ideas about truths and lies? Truthfully, I'm not sure. In this episode, I saw him as the ultimate puppet master, always pushing everyone on his team to confront their own demons and desires, all the while leaving us guessing his motives. By the time we get to the synagogue-esque wall raising, it's clear that House wants the option to see his friend whenever he wants: a priceless gift to a needy House.
I welcome Chase, Taub, and the opening credits back with open arms and cross my fingers that tonight's episode wasn't a fluke.