Tuesday, January 26, 2010

House “Remorse” A Sorry Episode

The producers and writers of House “Remorse” should feel some remorse for making me sit through an hour of a relatively dull episode. The patient was uninteresting, the medicine was uninteresting, and House’s own problem of the week was uninteresting. Greg House (Hugh Laurie) is not one to be obvious in his remorse for anything, but in this episode he tries to make amends to one person, while he destroys something that Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) cherished. It seems that when House makes one step forward, he is compelled to make two steps back.

In “Remorse,” House is intrigued by a patient, Valerie (Beau Garrett) who turns out to be a psychopath, and it’s possible that House sees in her what others may see in him – a cold heart. He first decides to take her as a patient because she’s described as “hot” and her husband “not” and this combination interests him. While this case is going on, he’s also dodging calls from someone named Wibberly (Ray Abruzzo), who attended med school with House. House switched papers with Wibberly during a seminar, House thinking the professor hated him and was shocked to find he got an A with Wibberly’s paper. Now, as part of House’s therapy, he’s decided to apologize to Wibberly for the switch.

There is the usual wrangling over the patient's diagnosis, but in this case, Thirteen/Dr. Hadley (Olivia Wilde) doesn’t agree with the rest of the team, and on her own, does a brain scan which uncovers Valerie’s psycopathy. Valerie turns out to be as cold and calculating. When Valerie senses that Thirteen is going to blow her cover with her husband, she decides to turn her wrath on Thirteen. Thirteen pushes back by creating a scenario where Valerie’s husband would find out she was cheating on him and lying about it. This incenses Valerie even more, and she fights back by alleging Thirteen sexually harassed her. Thirteen deserved every bit of the trouble from Valerie, as Thirteen was too meddlesome, almost vindictive, regarding the patient’s personal issues. To make a long story short, Thirteen continued to work to diagnose Valerie, discovering that she didn’t always act like a psychopath. This leads her to Valerie’s diet change, where she added lots of nuts, which contain high levels of copper, something that Valerie’s body could not process properly. After they reduce the copper levels in her body Valerie’s physical symptoms improve, but she stills acts like a psychopath to her husband, who walks out on her. But Thirteen realizes that Valerie is actually feeling something, and Valerie had pushed her husband away out of her own guilt.

While all this is going on, House is dealing with Wibberly, finding out that Wibberly is not working as a doctor but instead as a bagger at an organic supermarket. Wibberly tells House he got an F on the paper that House switched. House actually appears to feel some guilt. When he later finds that Wibberly is about to lose his home due to an adjustable mortgage and medical bills from his father’s illness, House’s guilt goes into overdrive and he tries to give Wibberly a check so Wibberly can stay in the house longer. Wibberly refuses the check and confesses and says he really did become a doctor, but screwed things up with a gambling problem and gambling debt. He also really got an A+ on House’s paper.

Of course, it can’t be an episode of House unless he does something hateful or nasty, and in this case, he cuts up one of Cuddy’s only photos of her taken by her father and cuts up one with Cuddy and Lucas and switches Lucas’s head with the head of the monkey that Cuddy was holding when her father snapped the photo. Cuddy is of course hurt, but in this case, House seems not to care. Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) can’t seem to get House to understand why he feels the need to fix the wrong with Wibberly, but doesn’t seem to have any feeling about fixing the wrong with Cuddy.

While this case gave Olivia Wilde an opportunity to show slight expression on her usually deadpan face, her co-workers Drs Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Taub (Peter Jacobson) took a back seat. Unfortunately, we got another dose of Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) and Thirteen in their lifeless, chemistry-less struggle with their relationship. I wish they would just drop it already and move on, as this relationship dragged down the show while it was going on, now it is dragging down the show as they try to mend fences.

At the end of the episode, House forces the check on Wibberly by slipping it in the mail slot of his front door. Even though he knows Wibberly lied about his situation, House still seems to feel some remorse. But, we get no hard evidence that House is sorry about what he did with Cuddy’s photo. Unless House can show remorse for the things he does to the people he really cares about, there will be no personal growth for House. Personally, I am very tired of the whole cat–and-mouse game he is playing with Cuddy, and I wish that he would move on. In fact, I find myself wishing that Dr. Cuddy would just leave the hospital (and the show) so viewers can finally be free of this relationship which gets more painful to watch each week.

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