Maybe it's because I've been watching a lot of Lost lately, maybe it's because I was expecting "Two Stories" to be like season 1's "Three Stories," or maybe it's just because I've seen episodes of television like this before, but I was not confused by the idea of time in this episode. In fact, the story that this episode told unraveled in the most perfect way possible. Everything in this episode unwound itself in the exact way it was supposed to, and it only made the episode more unique, at least compared to many other episodes of House. In this week's, "Two Stories," we get a lot more than the title bargains for, but the main idea of "Two Stories," is to show that there are two sides to every story, no matter how right you think you are. Or House thinks he is, which according to Cuddy, is always.
Typically, this is the spot I reserve in this article for the patient of the week, but this week, there was more than one person being obviously paralleled. In "Two Stories," we had a parallel House and a parallel Cuddy. And might I say, I loved the young girl. House's attempt to make the distinction between bossy and bitchy defines the House/Cuddy relationship to a T. And as young little House says regarding his version of Cuddy, "She's bossy, but she's usually right." Their entanglement, as writer Tommy Moran would have it, was similar to that of House and Cuddy. Manipulation plus misguided heartfelt need. The boy playing the young version of House was very sweet, even in his manipulations. His honestly was refreshing and our House, the allegedly wiser one, took some great notes with him after their conversation.
In a season 4 episode, "Mirror, Mirror," a patient has Mirror Syndrome,
taking on the personality of whoever dominates the room, tapping into
their wants, needs and fears. Tonight, the cute mid-puberty couple
seated next to House on the principal's bench served as a nice look into
how to address things maturely regarding your significant other. That
is, of course, after things go horribly awry when they are addressed
dishonestly. Interesting that a pair of middle-schoolers manage to
teach House a thing or two about honest communication. As a middle school teacher, I was a fan of the kids in this episode. Their voices rang true to me, albeit in the ritziest, most affluent way ever. As for the patient, to me he was only there for the end result. The thing that caused his symptoms was the smallest little pea of a catalyst which ended up snowballing into the patient hacking up a lung. Metaphor, anyone?
For avid House fans, this episode may seem familiar. We saw an episode, one of House's
best actually, like this in the first season. In it, we find out the
story of what happened to House's leg, but in a most unconventional way:
through House's forced lecture to medical students in which he recounts
three separate stories through his perspective about patients with leg
pain. So what does "Three Stories" have to do with "Two Stories"? Well, first of all, they're quite similar in the way they're
constructed. House's storytelling, wacky time construction and his
male Housian perspective are all present. Also in each, he's grappling
with relationship issues, but his issues with Stacy in season 1 were
much more pressing than in this more light-hearted episode.
What's interesting is that both episodes address House's need to fix
things on his own terms and address his own needs first. We found out in last
season's finale "Help Me," that House made the wrong choice about his
leg, risking his life to keep his leg. Stacy argued with him in "Three Stories" about whether his life was worth the risk to him and to her. In "Two Stories,"
House is not only willing to listen to others, but he comes to Cuddy,
heart in hand by the end telling her how wrong he was and that he can do
better. Is there any better way to fix something? Perhaps House is starting to realize that there aren't any better shortcuts than honesty and vulnerability. This is emphasized ever further by House admitting to the principal, "I need her in my life. Do you know what it's like to need someone?" He says this as though he's discovering it for the first time. He needs her and he is finally addressing that fact.
Is House selfish? He certainly has never claimed
otherwise, but we're learning from Cuddy just how selfish she thinks he
is. It starts with a toothbrush, but oh, it's about so much more! Cuddy tells House after finding that again, he isn't willing to help her
or do as she asks if it's inconvenient for him, "You need me. And you
may even love me. But you don't care about me." Really, Cuddy? Do
you, in your heart of hearts, believe that House doesn't care? I can
agree that he can be a selfish person and that he's been looking out
for No. 1 for some time now, but he really would do just about
anything for her and she would have to trace that back to him caring
about her. I agree with her being angry but maybe not to the extent that she was. This episode does a nice job of making a distinction between
caring and needing. Can you need someone without caring about them? Or care about someone without needing them? It's clear to House that he
cares, but Cuddy clearly needs some reassurance.
House has got a valid point when Wilson asks him what he did to make her mad and he says, "I was myself, which by the way, she was supposed to love unconditionally." Who's right here? Is Cuddy supposed to let everything go because that's the way House is? Or is she allowed to step in and voice her needs. Her doing just that pushed their relationship one step further and showed us that House is capable of listening and atoning in a non-manipulative way. Our little man is growing up!
1. House admitting he was a moron in the end is a big step forward for him. House is always willing to point the finger at everyone else's idiocy, and for him to look inward is a nice change, although I'm sure numerous critics will just say he's getting soft.
2. With every sexual reference on House, a new fan fiction is born. This week, the post-coital tooth-brushing will be featured.
3. "Isn't that like sexual harassment?" "Not if you're good-looking."
4. I lived for the kid that was obsessed with "old" movies, and the fact that House couldn't get anything past him. There's a know-it-all kid in every class. Trust me, I know.
5. Interesting to see another doorway scene between House and Cuddy. Last year, Cuddy put an end to their potential relationship in the episode, "Ignorance is Bliss," and this year, it's her ending things again, but at her own house, on her terms. Doorways are a common symbol in their relationship, always showing some kind of precarious balance, and making us wonder who is going to cross the threshold.
6. House and Cuddy watch porn together?
I have to say, I'm very curious about just what seed an episode like this is planting. Is this the beginning of the end? Or the beginning of a potentially new beginning? Executive producer Greg Yaitanes teased a breakup, but I wonder if he's just trying to throw us all off the scent.
Keep the speculation going. Comment below!
(Image courtesy of FOX)