Episode Reviews (5)
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The Dead Boy and the Strawberry Triggered Personality Switches
House pulls double duty this week as he takes the case of a 14 years old girl who is pregnant but claims to have no boyfriend, and later evolves into split personality disorder. House pulls every trick he can to get outside the hospital work on a case of a dead boy who died of an undiagnosed illness. The best part of the episode was the dead patient case which took House to his puzzle solving extreme, and it was good to see the double duty since having just one patient can be deadly boring for those of us that watch and aren't enticed that this week's particular story. The writing for this episode was well paced and thought out, having House in an anger management class where he heard about Emery's dead son or if House read the file and then planted himself there to offer his medical assistance. The part with the 14 year old girl being pregnant was creepy at times with pornography Chase and Taub found in her room. Foreman faces adilemmaof sending House back to prison if he keeps violating his parole conditions by leaving the hospital. Emery was a good addition this week and the case of the dead boy being investigated was a fresh outside the hospital case that doesn't occur often enough. Chase's grooming had no mystery to it and the story fell flat except for his Aussie-ing out on the TV program was perfect for a pick up laugh in the middle of the episode. Great episode, it's nice to see that the writers can shake it up every now and again since a lot of this season has been rather dull at times, but it's good to see that the series can still throw some sucker punches at us.moreless
House isn't Dead yet...
It's not time to bury House, as "Dead & Buried," in my, at least, is proof that this show can still make for pretty decent TV. Houseis a medical procedural show, so it's formula is a bit stale, but Season 8 is an improvement over Seasons 6 and 7. I commend the writers for trying, at least, to shift a bit of the show's focus back on the patient/medicine.
"Dead & Buried" gave us a glimpse of the old House, the doctor who is obsessed over mysterious medical puzzles. It also showed us just how much an addict Gregory House is. I'm definitely enjoying Season 8, but that's not to say that this show is anywhere near the level of quality it was during its early days.
Because I feel that House is no longer the same show. It has a different feel to it, and that's probably due to the new faces on the team. It's got a few familiar elements, but other than the House-Wilson exchanges, House has evolved since the first season.
Getting back to those roots and elements that made this series great and compelling is a tall task for any writer, let alone the writers that have (somewhat) dismantled this show. They're definitely trying, but considering what they've done before in the past, there's no coming back for House.
But for what it has become, House is still a relatively decent show. Compared to its early days, though, House isn't nearly as compelling. "Dead & Buried" tried to act like a time machine, much like Season 8 as a whole has, and take viewers back to the good old days of the series.
Going back to the roots, however, is impossible considering how far the show has fallen. Good effort, though.moreless
No summary so no spoilers.
As this is my first "review," I want to point out that for me, the final episode of season 7 said all I needed to know. I would have been satisfied with it as a series ending, but some may want more so I look forward to this season.
I find Josephlopez's review interesting. I also found myself recalling an "older" House. So much so that I went back to the beginning. There are several aspects of the Pilot episode that ring a loud bell. I encourage you to try it yourself. In short, House is still House - people don't change - only perceptions. And of course, truth does begin in lies (at least for this show).
As a fan, I really hope this series ends this season. If it does, I anticipate a typical House full circle applying to the larger arc of the series.
On another note, I read an article today - I think it was ign.com, that posed the possibility of mental illness in fictional characters.
I'd like someone to try and analyze "House." They've tried it on the show and he (House) rejected it. What kind of fictional character would tell his own writers that they don't know what they're talking about?
Just a thought, House reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes - he is tuned to details but needs the police (the team) to challenge him with generalities and false conclusions while Watson (Wilson) functions as an outlet or reality check. Don't forget the parallel to "addiction." Or his obsession with finding an equal (preferably a woman). Or the notion that the "real" Holmes was based on Doyle's admiration for a medical doctor.
This episode continues the things he learned about himself in dealing with his psychological explorations. I think that makes this a fantastic episode.
However, I think the corner of this series has always been - House's Head and Wilson's Heart. This was obviously the climax of the first arc and I have to believe there have been others since, but you can make your own determinations.
My score is not so much about the episode itself but the writers' ability to reintegrate already associated material - hence the division between the two cases. There is a split that may come to a head in this season and maybe it will click for you, maybe it won't - it clicked for me last season (but don't tell anyone).moreless
This week, House shook things up a bit, with a rare, not-directly-patient-related cold open.
Sure, the first scene had our heroes discussing both cases of the week, but neither patient was in attendance. There was no weird, "Wait, what show am I watching?" moment, as a completely new set of actors tried to establish a world and back-story in about three minutes and change. Instead, we got House's office, and a conversation that, in any other episode, would've taken place post-credits. Even stranger, there's no reason I can see as to why this was done. We've had off-brand cold opens on the show before, but in the past, those shifts were indicating a different kind of episode than usual, with slightly different goals. I don't have a problem with the change, as those cold opens can be fun, but they've gotten pretty rote over the years, and it fits, in a way, with the current season's more low-key aesthetic. One of the show's more irritating tendencies of late has been its increased reliance on shock value as a substitute for good story-telling, and starting on a low-key note seems like a step in the right direction.
Too bad the rest of the episode didn't follow suit. I found "Dead & Buried" somewhat frustrating, and the big reason why it's so frustrating is a certain flailing tendency to try and hit every button at once. So we don't have one case this week; we have two. The main case centers on a teenage girl named Iris, who watched her father die in a car crash when she was 2, and a 4-year-old named Drew who's been dead five years. This alone isn't a bad premise. House has been gradually splitting away from his main team for a while now, despite his obvious dependency on having them around. In a very real way, this has become two series in one, the former a fitfully interesting/infuriating character study of a misanthrope struggling to deal with reality, and the latter a bland but intermittently ridiculous hospital drama where the lives of a group of quirky young-ish doctors are punctuated by cameos from their snark-slinging boss. The split isn't total yet, but it's easy to see the dividing lines between the two concepts. House was barely involved with Iris' case until he solved it, and none of the other doctors knew much of anything about poor Drew. And while this split does make the actual patient of the week storyline even less interesting than it already was, I'd argue that it's not a horrible idea. At the very least, we get to see House getting invested in a case again, even if he's flying solo.
It's just that this episode was blatantly manipulative, pulling out all the stops on House's pursuit of the truth in regards to Drew, while at the same time worsening Iris' lot until she was few steps away from pulling a guest spot on American Horror Story. Not only was she apparently pregnant, despite repeated assurances that she'd never had sex, but Chase and Taub also found a stack of letters and violent porn in her bedroom, which led to the confession that she had an abusive boyfriend her mother had never heard about. If that wasn't bad enough, House soon deduced that there was no boyfriend, and that Iris' experiences as a 2-year-old were sufficient psychological trauma to induce multiple personalities. So Chase decides its time for some hyponsis, because hey, what else would you do? Iris works through her problems, revealing enough of her real, non-crazy-caused symptoms to allow House to diagnose cancer. As seriously as everyone took all of this, it's hard to treat it as some great drama, especially once the hypnosis comes out. Mostly, it plays like writers using a dartboard to plot their next move.
Contrast that against Drew's case. House meets Drew's father at anger management class, gets obsessed with solving the case, and starts pushing boundaries. So we get to watch him pushing the father for more information, before breaking into the mom's house to look for clues, all against Foreman's express wishes. It's unpleasant, to say the least, and despite Wilson's repeated assertions that House is addicted to puzzle solving, it never makes all that much sense why he's so fixated on the kid's cause of death. There are ways this could have worked, but "Dead" doesn't really bother getting into them beyond the surface, so we have a lot of the same old talk about how House is who he is, between scenes of him confronting an increasingly pissed off family. Besides, Foreman's objections to this case are bizarre. He doesn't say that he's worried about hospital PR, or that he thinks its a bad idea to re-open old wounds. Instead, he tells Wilson he's worried about some sort of bizarre domino effect, that once House starts taking on multiple cases, he'll never be able to stop. Really? How is this a problem? And why should Foreman care?
Foreman cares because it creates conflict, and as always, that conflict collapses when it comes time to deal with it head on. House solves his case, and he does so in such a way that shows Drew's mom's second kid is also at risk, thus making everyone that much less likely to punch him in the face again. And Foreman threatens to send House to jail because he's worried if he doesn't, House won't respect his authority? This is baffling. I didn't mind the idea of Foreman becoming head of Plainsboro, but he can't really be House's antagonist simply to be an antagonist. Insisting that he needs to send House back to prison to prove some sort of disciplinary point is goofy, and hollow, since I doubt House is going to back to the slammer any time soon. Everything ends up fine in the end, like it almost always does, and that's fine. But there was too much wincing in this episode, and too much silliness balanced against what should be painful, wrenching drama. I don't mind if House gets goofy; I do mind if it also expects me to take it seriously at the same time I can't stop laughing.moreless
Well what do you know. .
I thought this show had seen its last good episode many moons ago, but this weeks episode proved that it still has some legs left in it.
It had 2 medical mysteries, which is better than the half of one we usually get. Both were solid, interesting and engaging. Had some good comedy moments this week with Chase and Taub.
Foreman has seemingly given up on trying to control House, so not sure where this season is heading. Maybe an incident resulting in Houses return to Jail? Not sure, but would be happy enough if the rest of the season was as good as this episode. Sadly fear it will not be.
Few things still bothering me, the main one being Wilson. At this point, is there anything that House can do that will result in Wilson doing the right thing (and the thing you would imagine someone as seemingly nice as him would do) and abandoning the maniac that is House. It just doesn't make any sense.
But all in all, from what has been a poor opening to the year of House, a welcome return to some sort of form :)moreless