House Review: The L Word
Everybody may lie, but I'm choosing the opening of this House review to be honest:
I watched nearly every episode of this Fox hit through last season's finale. But the repetitive nature of the series, combined with House's extreme action (a car through Cuddy's living room?!?) and Lisa Edelstein's subsequent departure made me lose interest. I haven't tuned in to a single final season episode.
Fortunately, House is the sort of show that's easy to jump into - and, even more fortunately, as I sub this week for our resident House guru, Lisa Palmer, "The C Word" was an especially engrossing hour of television.
The House/Wilson dynamic, after all, has been the heart of this series from the beginning.
Upon learning the title of this week's installment, many assumed a couple weeks ago that the doctor would become the patient and House would be forced to face his own mortality. This proved to be half true, although House likely wished that diagnosis had been accurate (ironic because, come on, when is the first diagnosis ever correct on House?).
It wouldn't be hard to imagine House accepting an early death, figuring he deserves it, even being grateful for the permanent respite from his pain. But Wilson?!? His best friend?!? The only person who truly knows him and is still there for him?!? It's House's worst nightmare, compounded by the harsh truth that a fully-medicated Wilson spews forth on his pal's floor:
He doesn't deserve this kind of suffering. He's made many mistakes (just ask his wives), but he's always aimed to be honest, to be a good man. The same certainly can't be said for Gregory House. It's the cruelest fate he could possibly face, watching Wilson die.
But at least it promised to be quick in this case, once Wilson chose the radical treatment. What a powerful scene we witnessed, when this oncologist recalled all the patients who could not beat the (strong) odds, going through their mementos on his desk. It stopped House in his tracks. It deprived him of any witty comeback. It just left him with one option: we'll do it at my place.
It's hard to fathom anyone taking such an extreme measure, but it's a lot easier to do so when that person has watched one patient after another die slowly and painfully in an artificial setting. I absolutely bought that a doctor in Wilson's position, someone with the burden of medical knowledge, would make such a decision.
The following scenes were all difficult to sit through, but in the best way possible. Hugh Laurie directed this episode and he didn't hold back with the close-ups. We saw Wilson's cracked lips, his wounded body, his vomit, his blood. But not his packed adult diaper, thank goodness.
Agony isn't a word or a concept. It's your only reality, House previewed prior to the dangerous night. Safe to say he was correct.
While all this was taking place, of course, viewers were treated to the dichotomy of the cutest six-year old girl in history, her fighting parents and her lifelong ailment. It wasn't hard to discern the similarities between this case and that of Wilson and House: the lengths one will go to for love.
One will ignore logic and place a sick girl on a merry-go-round. One will pump one's daughter full of experimental medicine. One will give one's best friend the last of his Vicodin. Forget the C word, readers. This episode was all about the L word.
And it was very well done all around. The precious little bundle of tumor and his towering pillar of strength tugged at heartstrings and funny bones, as they've done for nearly eight full seasons now.
While Lisa will return next Monday as your regular House critic, these two got me here. I'll be tuning in to the final three installments, not just to learn Wilson's fate but also to see if I can steal any more awesome games.
Seriously, pizza box battleship?!? Amazing.