Tuesday, April 28, 2009

House “House Divided” Doesn’t Stand

Photo from Fox

Monday’s episode of House(Fox) “House Divided” was one of those episodes that highly annoyed me, yet I think the annoyance was necessary to make a point about House’s mental state.

Most annoying to me was that this episode was very hard on the eyes. It seemed as it was filmed with the brightness turned up, so much so that everyone seemed to have a soft glow. I think this effect was done in order to simulate the heightened sensations that House (Hugh Laurie) was experiencing as he hadn’t had a full nights sleep since Kutner’s suicide. That was also made evident when at one point, House’s vision of everyone else in the room besides his hallucination of Amber (Anne Dudek) seemed to fade. I felt like my eyes were being assaulted for the entire hour.

Which brings me to the second annoyance – the bringing back of a character who is dead. It doesn’t matter that she’s only a hallucination. It seems that many shows can’t really kill off a character, they have to bring them back as a dream, hallucination, or in the cases of the soaps, some sort of twin or doppelganger. It's trite. In this case, Amber has returned as a figment of House’s mind, and yet it seems to be House’s own mind that Amber represents. It gets to the point where House likes the fact that he seems to be able to talk out loud with his own mind, even going to the point where he sticks a bluetooth headset in his ear to make it look like he’s talking on the phone to someone. The funny thing is, Amber looks like she had put on some pounds since becoming a dead person. I wonder how that works?

The next annoyance is one scene with the patient where they flashed lights at him in order to induce a seizure. Flashing lights are an almost instant migraine trigger for me, and I had to look away from the screen and cover my eyes just so I wouldn’t get a headache. Frankly, I thought that the viewers would be the ones to get as seizure from the flashing lights, not the patient.

And yes, there was a patient in this episode. He was a young man who happened to be deaf, who seemed to have an "event” while in a wrestling match where he seemed to scream out in pain from something going on in his head. House uses his brain’s hallucinations to try to come up with the correct diagnosis and thinks that having access to his own mind in the form of Amber is a plus for him, so he decides to continue to stay awake and not take the sleeping pills that he got from Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). The bottom line is that House and his team continue to just throw out their best guesses and treat the patient accordingly. There really is nothing special about a medical team that just treats by speculation and doesn't get it right the first time. House, however, one-ups his own staff and the patient when House decides, as Chase (Jesse Spencer) has already opened up the patient’s brain, that they might as well put in a cochlear implant so the patient can hear. This was done without the patient’s wishes and the mother’s approval, and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) gives him hell over it, and puts Forman as lead on the case. House still does what he wants to anyway. Cuddy is a wimp - House should have been fired.

Overlaying all this action is that House decides he is going to take the ball from Wilson to arrange a bachelor party for Chase. Chase knows that Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) won’t be happy with whatever House plans, so he asks House to have him “kidnapped.” When House arranges Chase to be taken in by fake immigration people, Cameron is on to it as the fakery is completely transparent.

House also has Foreman (Omar Epps) and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) scope out exotic dancers. Thirteen asks Foreman for some money to give to the dancer and she is clearly attracted to her, and Foreman seems to be OK with it too. Later, at the actual bachelor party, Foreman admits that he even paid for Thirteen to drink a shot that a dancer was holding in her bikini top. It seemed a little creepy to me and frankly I think these two truly are becoming the odd couple. It isn't because of Thirteen's bisexuality, it's just that she and Foreman have no chemistry.

Things take a turn for the worse when Chase has an allergic reaction to a strawberry body butter used by one of the ladies at the party – which by the way House had set up in Wilson’s apartment – and Chase goes into anaphylactic shock. House thinks that he subconsciously wanted to kill Chase because he knew that Chase had a strawberry allergy and he specifically asked one of the ladies who used the strawberry body butter to come to the party, knowing Chase would be drinking shots off her body. At the same time, the patient – remember the patient? – has another problem and the doctors are all called in to consult. Of course, they have all been drinking, and Cuddy’s answer to that is to just give them breath mints and let them treat the patient. She is officially an idiot. But House doesn’t come in to the hospital, he goes home, realizing that his hallucinations are causing destructive behavior. The next day, Cuddy tells him that he was wrong on the diagnosis (gasp!), and House asks her for some sleeping pills, explaining that he hasn’t slept a full night since Kutner killed himself.

House goes home and takes a sleeping pill and seems to sleep well, looking around and not seeing the hallucination. He thinks he has the problem licked, until he turns around and sees Amber standing there. Clearly, he is having mental problems.

I could go on and on about the failings of this episode, but I do have one positive comment about it – it correctly conveyed a building problem within House’s mind. At the end, it was no surprise to me that his hallucination of Amber was not going to be erased, and it left me with an unsettled feeling about what problems are coming up for Greg House. In fact, everything that annoyed me about the episode seemed only there to heighten this unsettled feeling about House’s future. In that aspect, the episode worked very well.

I can only hope, though, that the “I see dead people” thing with House is short lived. It seems a lazy way out for the writers to bring back a character that the show should have never gotten rid of in the first place. Personally, I think that dead people should stay dead. But, since it looks like House is going to go a little nutty, though, we may be seeing more of Amber until his mind is fixed. Hopefully, it won’t last too long.

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1 comment:

Nomad said...

I'm still sad that they let Cameron go, replaced her with that other ditsy girl