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House Recap: Episode 17, "The Social Contract"

House Rundown: Episode 17, "The Social Contract"

On this week's episode of House, House once again finds himself treating a patient whose issue seems to be striking a little close to home: The man has developed a condition that makes him say whatever he's thinking, even when those things are horrible. House does that, too, of course, but he kind of lacks that nice medical excuse. That's a nice backdrop for a solid House/Wilson story, though, as House struggles to figure out why, exactly, Wilson is keeping secrets from him. To chat about it, just


We've seen time and again how jealous House gets when he thinks someone is trying to steal Wilson away from him, and that's a driving force in this episode. When House discovers that Wilson has blocked off some time on his calendar (and prevented House from dragging him to a monster truck rally!) without saying why. House thinks he has a right to know what Wilson's doing because Wilson always shares that kind of stuff eventually, but Wilson seems particularly determined to keep this one a secret. It's actually a relief to see Wilson get mad; it doesn't happen much on this show, but when it does, it's proof that House has crossed a major line.

But Wilson eventually apologizes and explains: His mentally ill brother ran away years ago, and Wilson has always blamed himself. Now he's been found, and they're going to meet, but Wilson's wary of telling House because House won't lie to him. House doesn't quite get it at first ("I am fully capable of lying to you. I have, plenty of times!"), but Wilson points out that House doesn't do the "everything will be fine" sort of lies that keep the world turning. And yet, House tries, for a while — but he ends up having his Wilson-induced revelation and calling his team right when Wilson needs a pep talk. Wilson seems to forgive him, though; he and House may not have a normal social contract, but at least House tried.

It's interesting to see that story contrasted with the patient's. House's friends and colleagues expect that he'll be a jerk, but it's a surprise to the patient's family to suddenly be hearing his innermost thoughts. Even if he goes back to having some kind of filter — which, of course, he does at the end — he may never be able to repair things with his wife and daughter. From now on, every time he says something positive, they'll be wondering what he's really thinking but not saying; no matter how he acts, he's not the same person they thought he was.

Some other thoughts:

  • I'm so used to all of Wilson's pain being Amber related that it was strange at first to think he might have other hard things in his life, too.
  • Given the larger revelations to come later, it's funny that this episode starts off with a little, tiny something Wilson's always hidden from House: Monster trucks really aren't his thing.
  • Oh, poor racquetball-inept Taub. He thought it would be useful for Wilson to owe him a favor, but now he knows the House torture isn't worth it. Also, it's funny to see how quickly Taub switched from working for Wilson to working for House.
  • Love that they've kept "MMMbop" as House's team ringtone.

Was it good to see House attempt to act like a normal, human friend? Nice to have an episode focusing squarely on the House/Wilson bromance? A relief to have just a smidgen of Foreteen? Talk back below.

Photos courtesy of Fox

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