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House Recap: Episode 23, "Under My Skin"

House Rundown: Episode 23, "Under My Skin"

This week's House finds House still struggling with his hallucinations of Amber and wanting to get them out of his head for good. That sends him to his friends for help — with intriguing consequences. Meanwhile, Cameron asks Chase a potentially relationship-changing favor, and House's team works on a case alone. To chat about it, just


The big thing about "Under My Skin," of course, is the House/Cuddy kiss, the kiss that — according to the promos and the show's cast itself — apparently turns into something more. But it's the culmination of a million smaller moments in the episode that find House truly taking comfort in his friends. He knows he can't go on without help, with Amber's voice in his head. It's throwing him off, making his medical decisions worse. So he confesses everything to Wilson — whose reaction to the hallucination being Amber is pretty mild, I think, all things considered — and starts an episode-long quest to figure out his affliction.

House really only sees two options, so kindly spelled out for him by Amber: one, he's crazy, which means no more medical practice; two, he's hallucinating from Vicodin, which means detox, which means pain, which means no more medical practice. Either way, the biggest thing haunting House (besides Amber, of course) is the thought that when he comes out on the other side of this, he won't have his identity as a doctor anymore. But he thinks he might be losing that anyway; on the phone with Foreman, he realizes he's made a lucky — not brilliant — call in diagnosing the dancer. So what else is there to do? Wilson offers to take him to a clinic, but House wants to be with people who know him. Specifically, he wants to be with Cuddy.

It's interesting that the two of them can only really connect when one or the other is incredibly vulnerable. They've kissed twice now this season, and both times, one has been helping the other through crushing pain. She's good to him in the detox scenes; she brings him ginger tea and flushes his one last pill down the toilet before he can take it. I loved watching Amber slowly realize that House isn't kidding around this time; when he confesses the locations of all his secret stashes, she responds with an indignant "I don't even know who you are anymore!" And when he starts to come out of withdrawal, Amber's gone.

Some other thoughts:

  • I hope that, were Anne Dudek to somehow read this, she'd take it as a compliment: she does creepy better than any other actress I can think of.
  • House may have solved the case, but the team manages to pull out a way to save the patient's life even after he quits. Good for Taub, especially.
  • What do you make of Cameron and Chase? I understand where she's coming from, but I also understand why Chase is hesitant. It seems like "Oh, I have my dead ex's sperm, and by the way, I want yours, too" is a conversation they should have had pre-engagement.
  • So Cuddy and House's story goes back even a little further than we thought: Cuddy audited the class where they met purely because she thought House was "an interesting lunatic."

We've asked this question before: can House still be House without Vicodin? This time, he seems a little more committed to finding out the answer, and I'm curious to see what happens next week. Are you?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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