Season 5 Episode 16

The Softer Side

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

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out of 10
536 votes
  • House tries out a dangerous but effective method to alleviate his pain, and we get to observe the results.

    Another episode orientated on House's character more than anything else, which is what we had missed and what mostly makes this series so special. With Hugh Laurie's amazing acting and the great chemistry between him and Cuddy or Wilson, you can't miss! And not only that but we got a very special patient case as a treat, that was unsolvable until the very end, when House came in to the rescue and figured out what noone else could.

    In more detail, House quits Vicodin and goes on Methadone because he discovered it is the only drug that leaves him completely pain-free. The repercussions for his health are so severe that he nearly dies, and is in danger of dying any minute. Wilson and Cuddy find out and at first try to make him quit, but then change their mind when they notice the amazing change that has come over him. He shaves, wears a costume, tries to take care of his health, is in a good mood and looks happy. So Cuddy settles for regulating his dosage and letting him get on with it. The glitch in all this is that House's good mood makes him succumb to the demands of the patient's parents, doing an unecessary exam and thus causing him to be severely ill when at first there was nothing really wrong with him. That makes House question his judgement under the Methadone, so in the end he goes back to his old routine. "This is the only me you get", he tells a baffled and genuinely concerned Cuddy.

    I loved the scenes between Cuddy and House, they were so intense and emotional and we can clearly see, there is something much more than mere friendship or professionalism there. They clearly care about eachother, and very much so. Also, the tension of whether Forman and 13 are going to get fired or not is finally relieved in this episode, House calls their bluff but he doesn't seem inclined to do anything about it. They prove with their performance that their relationship isn't an obstacle in their working efficiently together. And then there was the issue of sexual and social identity, and how over-protectiveness of parents can sometimes be destructive. Though the opposite side, that of coming clean and telling the truth, is also blown when 13 makes the mistake of thinking the kid is depressive. So the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In the cruel but honest line House delivers (one of his best so far in my opinion): "You gave birth to a freak of nature, doesn't mean it's a good idea to treat him like one". The abnormality is there and you can't overlook it, but there's no need to overreact to it and turn it to an unsolvable problem. I wonder if House will follow the same principle for himself, and stop abusing himself like he usually does because it hurts him to not fit in.
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