Thursday, October 25, 2007

“You’re House-lite now”: House

Early on in this week’s episode, ‘Guardian Angels’, House notes of his applicants “I really think there are no bad choices in this group.” It’s a wonderfully loaded piece of dialogue which speaks magnitudes about House’s character. In torturing his many servants, House is obviously having the most fun he’s had in a long time. However, it’s fun for all the wrong reasons. House doesn’t just enjoy abusing them – that would be far too commonplace for a man like him. Instead, he savours the process of picking favourites based maybe a tiny bit on their talent as diagnosticians, but predominantly on which ones are more interesting. As House is a medical genius, he doesn’t even need to feel bad about this.

This week House fires Bosley (aka the old one, but I'll just call him Bosley) for an undeniably fair reason: they’ve both been constantly thinking along the same lines, and House has no use for someone who always agrees with him. Unbeknownst to him, Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson) was actually helping his case by protesting against this throughout the episode. One can’t help guessing, however, that House’s real reason for firing Bosley was something less genuine. He had clearly been fascinated by the fact that Bosley wasn’t a real doctor, but unlike the savvy Thirteen (Olivia Wilde, ever more charming), Bosley told House all about himself all at once. So since House knew everything about him, there was no mystery. And as Bosley wasn’t an interesting diagnostician to make up for this, he was gone. I’m not proclaiming the reason one or the other – too many TV characters have their motives spelled out by writers. House, on the other hand, is complex enough that his actions could have multiple explanations, or even no explanation at all. Which is just much more interesting.

‘Guardian Angels’, while diverting enough, wasn’t up to the standard set by the last three episodes. The problems may have stemmed from the case. The patient’s various hallucinations were creepy at first (especially in the disturbing teaser) but became tiresome when played more for emotional effect. The effect simply wasn’t there, despite fine performances and heartfelt dialogue. We hadn’t spent nearly enough time with the patient to feel her pain. Not that I’m suggesting House should start devoting more time to its patients – that would be a waste of its brilliant (and now, many) primary characters, plus that approach is currently ruining the considerable potential of Private Practice.

I did like all the stuff with House’s old team, although I hope we get to see a bit more of Chase soon. Cameron, who seemed to be enjoying herself nearly as much as House, placed a bet with him that Cole (Edi Gathegi) wouldn't take House being too mean to him. Cole does indeed punch House in the face, which I didn’t quite believe, but then I guess we don’t know enough about him to judge. Either way it keeps him on the team, in typical House style (another week, if House had been in different mood, he might have been fired on the spot). Meanwhile, Foreman searches in vain for another job. Finding that no-one will touch him after his gutsy call last week, he ends up back at Cuddy’s door. It’s a strong explanation for Foreman’s return, and I look forward to his reunion with House next week.

Oh, and one more thing: please let Bosley come back! It was hinted that he and House would now become actual friends, and I'd like House to finally find himself another pal (not that I don't love Wilson). Plus Bosley would make a cool recurring character.

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