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House Review: The L Word

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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.

Ready to Help Wilson

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.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (116 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I thought the B9 comment was pretty clever and very clear. I LOLed right away when it panned to Wilson's face, and then the pizza battleship game. Maybe because I am watching a show about medicine, I immediately heard benign.

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@Fudgefase: B9 is a homophone for "benign," or non-cancerous. It was lame, and not exactly true, of course, but there you have it.

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Not my favourite season but by far the most deep and personal episode of the lot, 10/10. i could go through the scenes but they speak for themselves, the fact that episodes of that spectacular quality makes me wonder if ending it now is infact the best idea or maybe one more season could be enjoyed. This episode alone redeemed this "off" season and restored my deep and possibly unhealthy love of this show.

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Explain the B9 thing please.
I love House but have not liked this season either. Way, way too cliched. This ghastly new turn with Wilson is frankly, the most interesting thing to happen for months. The other characters are just awful and their storylines forced. Laurie was right to call a halt i think.

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(sorry, my final sentence got chopped off)....despite everything and if House can't change, can't believe in Wilson's feelings for him then Wilson's death will be meaningless.

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I was a faithful House fan up until the "Huddy" debacle then I stopped watching. However, now that the focus has returned to the real relationship and heart of the show - House and Wilson - I once again find myself mesmerized! I don't think there are two actors on TV that play off each other better than Laurie and Leonard. Both are powerhouses able to convey so much with merely a look. I really think that Wilson will die or at least we will end the series with the certain knowledge that his days are few to come. The series has always said people don't change but this is the one thing that will cause House to change - to understand that sometimes people love you in spite of yourself. He could never understand how Stacy could "cripple" him, how she could love him so much as to go against his wishes and make him endure the horrible pain of his ruined leg. Now, he knows. Wilson is teaching him what nothing else has. Wilson is the only person who has every stood with him despite everything, he is the only person who has ever accepted House unconditionally (sure they fight and breakup but they always come back together) and in losing Wilson House will be losing his only friend, his anchor and his protector. House will have to draw on the love he has for Wilson and the love Wilson leaves behind and learn he can go on, he can face the pain because to not face it would mean Wilson's life didn't count, his friendship wasn't enough, his faith in House was misplaced, and his death had no power.

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I agree, this was all about love. House's great love for his best friend, Wilson. I was an emotional wreck at the end of this episode so Wilson's slideshow was a welcome bit of comedy relief. Laughter is the best medicine the old saying goes. Do you think House was thinking the same thing? That his last-ditch bit of treatment for Wilson was laughter? Was this the first time his team came up with a solution without House's input at all? That's very interesting. Are they finally learning to figure things out on their own? Has House taught them all he can about how to reason and think?

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B9. I never would have noticed it; way too subtle! But the last bit where James found the screensaver was amazing. After all that, to be able to laugh. And House taking care of him; is he finally growing up?

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JohnnyK, the song is 'Yachts' by A Man Called Adam - great tune, it's on volume 1 of his collected works.

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very nice season... i have been fa of house no matter what...one if the best shows ever.....