Tuesday, October 20, 2009

House “Brave Heart” Is All In the Head

Photo from Fox

Last night’s episode of House “Brave Heart” was delayed by a MLB playoff game going into overtime. For those people who DVR the show, I hope they were able to change their programming in time so as not to miss a good chunk of the episode. I wish that DVRs could automatically adjust their recording times when shows run over and mess up the schedule.

This episode of House brought the team a patient that really shouldn’t have been a special patient. Donny (Jon Seda), who works law enforcement, got into the hospital because he fell 30 feet while chasing a suspect. But when he tells Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) that he thinks he will die soon because he is reaching 40 and his father and grandfather died at that age, she decides to get the diagnostic team involved. I found myself not even caring about the patient, as I saw that his condition didn’t warrant the time and related expense from such a high-powered team. The case only gets interesting when House (Hugh Laurie) uses candy/sugar pills to treat the patient, thinking the problem is all in his head. The patient dies shortly thereafter. When Foreman and House want to autopsy the body, the patient comes alive, screaming, as Foreman begins to slice into his chest to look at his heart. Based on the previews for the show this was really no surprise, but it was amusing. Later, when House is talking with Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), he has his usual epiphany and realizes the problem is not with Donny’s heart, it’s in his head. The team fixes Donny’s head problem, and also fixes the same problem in Donny’s son - a son that he just discovered that he had. It seems House wasn't completely wrong when he thought Donny's problem was in his head.

Dr. Chase is still struggling with his murder of Dibala, and continues to keep his secret from Cameron. She knows something is wrong, and she begins to pull away from him as he pulls his problem further inside himself. He has a problem going into the ICU as this is where he killed Dibala, and Foreman knows that Chase has to come to grips with the issue fast. When Chase seeks the confessional for absolution and the priest tells Chase he has to turn himself into the police, Chase does not see that as an option. Chase believes he did the right thing and did the world a favor by killing Dibala. The problem with Chase is that he wants to have his cake and eat it too – he wants to be forgiven and absolved without having to pay the price. I suspect that either he will eventually tell Cameron and she will leave him, or he will keep his secret from her and that will create a further rift between them and she’ll leave him. No matter what Chase does at this point, I suspect his marriage will pay the price in some shape or form.

House, meanwhile, is still living with Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), and he is sleeping on the couch. When Wilson decides to turn a part study/part shrine to Amber into a bedroom for House, House takes him up on the offer of a real bedroom. But House begins to hear voices at night. He can’t tell where the voices are coming from, but he initially looks for rational reasons, like having his hearing tested. He does seem to hear the voices at the hospital once, so he may suspect that he is having mental problems again. But when his hearing tests fine, he decides to examine the bedroom more carefully when he hears the voices, and finds that the voice he is hearing is Wilson in the next room, talking out loud to his memory of Amber. He goes back to sleeping on the couch, and when Wilson is startled to see him there, he tells Wilson he may have to go back into the mental hospital as he is hearing voices in the bedroom at night. When Wilson seems too agreeable to this, House gets angry with him and Wilson admits he knows House knows about his talking to Amber. Wilson convinces House to try the same method and talk to his dead father as he lay in bed. House tries it but then yells out to Wilson that it isn’t working, much to Wilson’s glee.

This was a decent episode but a little flawed. The patient should not have been given such special attention by the team when he was first admitted. I am not saying that his problem wasn’t worth investigating, it’s just that I don’t see why he couldn’t have been handled as an outpatient. I can’t imagine real hospital taking on a patient like this with such a high-powered diagnostic team while the person stayed in the hospital. I suppose that while he was recovering from his injury it was probably OK for them to check out his other issue at that same time, but House shouldn’t have had to play the old “sugar pill” game with him to get him discharged.

Since the news has been out for some time that Jennifer Morrison is leaving the show, I suspect that somehow Chase’s murder of Dibala may come into play, possibly causing a rift in their marriage. I can’t imagine Chase ever openly confessing to the killing. Besides, I think Chase truly believes he did the right thing and isn’t likely to admit to the killing and have to pay the price.

The issue with House hearing the voices has one problem – he seemed to hear the voices at the hospital when he was in his conference area. House may still be having some problems and I wonder if all those voices he heard in the bedroom really did belong to Wilson? Is the Wilson talking to Amber explanation House's own version of a sugar pill? As with his patients, House’s first diagnosis is often not the correct one, so it’s highly possible that his explanation that it was Wilson’s voice every time may not be the right explanation either. It could also be nothing – his mind may have been in overdrive just thinking that he could be relapsing into mental illness, which cause him to hear those voices in the hospital. As in most cases with House – only time will tell.

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