House's fourth-season finale was a big ball of turmoil, so it's no surprise that Tuesday's season five premiere spent a long time sorting through the fallout. We pick up two months after Amber's death, with Wilson preparing to make radical changes, House attempting (ineptly) to stop him, and Thirteen trying to make sense of her own uncertain future. It wasn't the emotional wallop of the previous two episodes, but it certainly wasn't a romp in the park, either. Want to talk about it? Just read more.
The House-Wilson relationship is one of the most fascinating things about this show for me. I've always wondered why Wilson keeps coming back to someone who steals his food, drugs his coffee, and — now — kills his girlfriend (inadvertently), and can't even say he's sorry. And finally, he's deciding not to come back. Wilson starts the episode by declaring he's leaving PPH, needing a change of scenery (House: "Get a plant!"). The common consensus is that House is the only one who could get him to stay, but sappy emotions about death aren't really his thing ("I'll take him out for a beer. That will make up for the fact that Amber's in a pine box and there's randomness and chaos in the world."). Surprisingly, he manages to actually confess his guilt — House feels something! — but it turns out House's role in Amber's killing isn't the issue. Instead, it's Amber's own role, namely that she was protecting House that night. Wilson's been doing the same thing for years, and leaving seems to be the only way he can stop.
Meanwhile, since House literally walks out on his patient — isn't that malpractice in most states? — her story falls to the team, particularly Thirteen, to handle. And while I'm still not sure how much I care about Thirteen, this episode comes as close as anything has to giving us some insight into her character. She feels like a lackey, stuck taking direction without the authority to make meaningful decisions. She also knows that she doesn't have long to do whatever she's going to do in this life. So can she fly? Well, not yet; when it comes to diagnosing, she's no House. But I wonder if we'll see her be more willing to learn. Or will she decide, as her patient apparently has, that some people just don't have wings?
Some other thoughts:
- The music in this episode seemed to draw heavily from the American Beauty school of dramatic scores, in particular that final, haunting song.
- I found Cameron's scenes with Wilson quite moving. She knows how to deal with loss on Wilson's level (which is to say, a basic human one).
- Sure, there were some "no means no" jokes and penis references, but for an episode featuring feminists, House could have been a lot harsher.
- House's "outing" of Thirteen's illness seemed forced to me. Was it just set up that way so that her big reveal to the patient could be the first time we actually hear her say she has Huntington's?
- I wonder if the writers are purposely trying to turn Taub into a second-rate House, complete with lamer insults and a more annoying personality.
- Does Thirteen's lab coat seem overly long to anyone else? It's like a lab dress.
- Visually speaking, one of my favorite scenes was House and Wilson in Cuddy's office, sitting side-by-side like some twisted version of American Gothic.
Your thoughts? Glad to have the show back? Wondering why Chase is still the only surgeon at PPH? Anticipating/dreading next week's intro of the private eye?
Photos courtesy of Fox