This week's episode of House comes at us largely from the perspective of its patient, a man who had a bicycle accident that rendered him "locked in" with no way to communicate save for blinking and moving a computer cursor with his brain. House — who conveniently crashed his motorcycle and ended up in the hospital bed next to him — becomes fixated on figuring out what caused his syndrome, while the patient is forced to listen to the everyday dramas of House's team with no way to escape the monologues. Ready to talk about it? Just read more.
So, how well did House do with shooting an episode from the patient's point of view? My reaction was mixed. I liked the patient's sarcastic inner comments to some of the team's more inane conversations (in particular his bored reaction to Foreman's story about being bad at choosing jewelry), and I would have loved to see more of that. Sure, it's a little hard to get into the rhythm of his thoughts in the first half of the episode, but then there are a few moments in the second half — like when he's struggling to move his finger — when I really wanted to hear what he had to say. Part of the point of the episode is how difficult it is to communicate when "yes" and "no" are the only things you can get across. But we get exposed to the patient's inner life for a little while, and it was enough to make me miss it when it went away.
As for how much the episode reveals about the team, that's also a mixed bag. To my surprise, my favorite story is Taub's, once again. He's moved by his patient, thrilled when he finds a way to keep him communicating once the eye-blinking fails. At one point, we even see tears in his eyes; this is Taub's big chance to connect with the work he's doing for House. But House keeps stringing him along, asking him to come up with one brilliant idea. In the end, it's Kutner who finds the medical answer — I do love the way he's become the ace of House's new team, despite seeming like a doofus — but he lets Taub take the credit for the diagnosis. House knows it's a lie, but it's the kind of lie he respects. It's a lie that proves Taub cares.
Meanwhile, just as the patient is getting caught in a lie about leaving town (while he was, in fact, sending out resumes from his friend's basement, trying to hide from his wife that money was tight), House is getting caught in one of his own, with Wilson doing some sleuthing. It's always fun to see the two of them trying to out-scheme each other, and this one reveals an interesting fact: House has bee seeing a psychiatrist. Or, at least, he saw a psychiatrist once; he claims he'll never go again. But that raises this question: What would make House go to a psychiatrist now? Is he facing some new issue? What are we to make of that scene from House's locked-in POV right at the end of the episode, when he sees Wilson tell him he'll end up alone? Is that really something House fears that much?
Some other thoughts:
- Love House's response to the patient saying God sent him: "Suddenly, you're not so fascinating."
- Nothing makes a piece of jewelry less romantic than diseased rat pee.
- Mos Def seemed particularly good at expressing frustration when his character reached his limits of communication — the strangled noises at the pain of the catheter, the frantic begging for his wife to stay, etc.
- It's cute that House's test for the blinking is "square root of nine," but what if the patient had just been bad at math?
A good departure? Or too gimmicky to be taken seriously? Sound off in the comments!
Photos courtesy of Fox