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Sunday, 7 of March of 2021

House – “Changes”

“You’re lucky you’re hot and smart because — well, you’re just lucky you’re hot and smart.”

House displaces a dead body so he can use the bed to watch TV.

I’m so glad House is back to catching up on his stories.

Donal Logue guest-starred this week. Obviously, that means House has to be cancelled. Them’s the rules.

It’s always a pleasure (for me) to see Jimmy the Cabbie pop up wherever he can. I also can see that he wants to stretch out his dramatic wings a little bit (something you could see in Terriers, too) but I was a little disappointed Logue had a part that didn’t use his sense of comic timing. Instead, his sad-sack romantic was just a mirror for House and Thirteen to observe their own wistful existentialism, particularly Thirteen since she’s taken the mantle to prove love wrong while House just busies himself with pills.

Usually I don’t like to give away the punch of a story so early in the review but, as has been the case for much of this season, the patient stories were fairly uninteresting compared to everything else that’s going on. Not only did they give House and Thirteen something to talk about but the other ducklings had something to do this week. Except Taub. I suppose with so many spotlights someone’s going to get left in the dark. And if it’s going to be someone, it’s going to be the squatty one.

But some stuff with Foreman and Chase! That’s exciting! Isn’t it?

It’s exciting because House is completing this season’s mastery. When Huddy started, and I conceded that the relationship wasn’t a drug-induced hallucination like I’d been praying for, House’s attention drifted from medical puzzles to establishing something real with Cuddy. With that drift, the ducklings (even the new one) flattened considerably. The medical stuff got boring, the characters were shadows of their former selves, and all that had life was the Huddy thing. At the time, I hated it. Everything about it. I thought it was the demise of the series, as visible a wrong-turn as The Hair Cut on Felicity proved to be. But now we’re back to how we were before: Cuddy and House at odds, Wilson the mediator, House popping them pills, and our eponymous sleuth is more focused on the medical drama, even the less dramatic ones like this week’s. And, with the attention being shifted back to the hospital and away from House’s sexing, our little ducklings get some time in the sun again.

Though it might just be a reminder episode for us, like a Previously On House used as a B-story. Remember how Foreman takes everything too seriously? Remember how Chase is a slut? Those things are still a problem for both of them! If the brief stint with Masters did anything to help the show, it was that her final episode helped highlight the damage the Ducklings have endured and, happily, it looks like we’re getting re-examinations of those blights.

The stuff with Thirteen is capital among these since it’s a reflection of what’s happening with House, or at least he thinks it is. The “It’s like there’s two of me” line reinforces that. How different, though, is House’s desire to make sure everyone is miserable by the truth and Thirteen’s need to thwart the patient’s belief in a fraud? While House struggles with his narcissism fueling “why me” into his brain (notice his obsession with no one being special since he thinks he is supposed to be special), Thirteen just wants to make sure things are real, even if that is in a relative sense. She’s perfectly okay with the guy being hopeful of greater things while that might be something House rolls his eyes at. House feels he won the worst kind of lottery but tries to convince himself that he hasn’t been singled out. Thirteen has already accepted her fate.

The rest of the ducklings, meanwhile, make sure you remember what makes them tick but, interestingly, never go so deep as to fix the root cause. Sure, the patient’s drama was quasi-interesting if flat and predictable and the diagnosis was only interesting because the epiphany related to the House/Cuddy storyline (mainly there so we can realize reunification of Huddy is not off the table), but the thing to take away from was the doctors’ search for an underlying cause. Even when they assume he has cancer, instead of treating it, they are willing to grow the tumors in order to treat the “genetic flaw.” Don’t cure the symptoms, cure the disease.

This is, of course, the week-to-week approach by the Diagnostics team; it’s why they don’t just throw a handful of Tylenol at a patient and send them home. But Chase and Foreman don’t treat that underlying cause for what ails them. Chase is troubled by his whoredom but, instead of figuring out why he’s slutting around and, maybe, trying to find a nice girl, he chooses a more monastic route. Essentially, he just tries to ignore the woman thing altogether. Safe. Healthy. Foreman, on the other hand, rather than addressing his stress and inner rage, decides that he wants to try to trick the system with manipulation and beta-blockers. His only legitimate stab at cooling off is yoga, which, of course, is only useful if you understand its about stillness and not just doing the moves. Two doctors treating their own symptoms and not finding the underlying cause.

Taub, at least for this episode, acts as the wise-cracking intermediary in Chase v Foreman, which is probably far more interesting for him than being the butt of all the jokes and Psych 101 analysis usually thrown at him by his colleagues.

From a mediocre episode, we pull some conclusions that will assuredly be important for the coming season finale in a few weeks. House hit several times on Thirteen’s life expectancy (also an important theme from her return episode, “The Dig”) and how it affects her outlook. The damaged lives of all the ducklings is pretty much always important. And (again, to my chagrin) it looks like House and Cuddy’s relationship will also be important since they dedicated a good amount of time in this episode building up was only turns out to be Cuddy’s mom wanting them to stay together. I don’t know what the finale is supposed to be but I can only assume it’s a swirl of all those things.

Other things:

  • I’ve heard/read/seen several people remark about a House/Thirteen relationship, from honored critics to a video Q&A answered by Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson. To those that think it’s a possibility: shut up. It’s only slightly less ridiculous than ‘shipping for Peggy and Don.
  • When was the last time you were honestly intrigued by the medical drama?
  • For a guy that apparently hasn’t tried yoga before (I’m assuming since he decries it once House catches him), Foreman is able to nail that position pretty well. Related: if House is one of his stressors, he should know yoga doesn’t work to counteract it. Cuddy is that shining example.
  • While I’ve enjoyed the relationship between Taub and Foreman, I like it when Chase and Foreman give each other some good-natured ribbing. Reminds us that these two have been in close-proximity, if not exactly friends, for years and they know each other better than they know family members.
  • If we can get Cameron to come back on this show, will she leave How I Met Your Mother? Please?

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