'House' Fan Columnist: A Closer Look at 'Baggage'
'House' Fan Columnist: A Closer Look at 'Baggage'
Lisa Palmer
Lisa Palmer
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
"Baggage" was cringe-worthy in the best possible way.  I was so grateful throughout the episode to be given insight into House's therapy session and what I found most interesting is how House believes he is perceived.  As a responsibility.  As untrustworthy.  And as a pain to anyone who knows him. 

So why the cringing?  Throughout the whole episode, with or without spoilers, I knew this episode was about relationships.  Like Nolan, I knew House was hurting.  It's interesting that Nolan's therapy sessions are much like your typical episode of House.  First we're given a problem.  Then Nolan tries to diagnose House.  I loved how he questioned House's choices.  And this is what therapy is about!  It's about why we make the choices that we make and what we think is behind other's choices.  I cringed every time House did the math and it added up to one: him and him being alone.  

I realize House isn't a happy show.  It's about a lonely man.  And by season's end, we're starting to understand just how alone House is.  At the end of last season, we saw House rely on Wilson and have delusions of grandeur of leaning on Cuddy.  But by the end of this episode, I wonder, and I'm sure House wonders how much they really care at all?

He wants to be with someone and he's being rejected from all sides.  Every window of opportunity he has taken this year, whether it be with Lydia from the start all the way through until the end with Wilson, and even Alvie, have been shut down.  Now I'm starting to put the pieces together from where this season was going from the start.  "Lockdown" was less about the hospital being locked down and more about House's descent into shutting down the small part of his brain left for hope (as Alvie's stray observation indicated)

House has let his guard down with Wilson and has rationally accepted Wilson and Sam living together.  So why the bar fight, Nolan points out.  Why the need to punish himself?  House says regarding his patient that people do stupid things when they start losing the people they love.  House basically telling Cuddy he doesn't want anything but a relationship with her in last week's "The Choice" has gotten House to realize that he'll never have her.  Whether or not this is actually true, we'll have to wait and see, but House is realizing he doesn't have a chance with her, Wilson is moving on, and Alvie, who he was actually excited to have around, took off without a trace as well.

Then we get the nice patient symmetry between House and the husband and Nolan finally gets to where House's head is.  It's about relationships.  And it has been for some time.  When I think about this season and this week's episode, I now understand lots of House's choices because most of the time, they were Nolan's.  When Nolan said to go for it with Cuddy, we got "Known Unknowns" and "Ignorance is Bliss."  When Nolan told House to cool it, we got the rest of the season.  Less Cuddy scenes because House is attempting to let go of her and let her live her life.  It's possible Nolan told House something along the lines of letting her go will send her back to you eventually.  But House now realizes that when he let her go, she moved on.
Meanwhile, House is chasing down this book that he's wanted to give her for years.  He found it and held it for a long time, not wanting to give it to her.  The book is a metaphor for his love.  It's old, it's meaningful, and it's not simple.  And him giving it to her would mean something to him and hopefully to her.
So how did House screw up?  I think it's when he finally told Cuddy something that might make her choose someone else over him and leave their friendship and the love that she has for him in the dust.

House is now regretting that choice, and I think the first two minutes of the finale, which can be found on EW, confirms that House is now trying to work backwards and back into her good graces by giving her and Lucas the book, trying to act as a friend would act because he knows deep down that he wants her in his life on any level.

By the end of this week, House seems to quit therapy.  It's not working, he claims.  It's simple.  He wanted to be happy.  He's not.  Everyone else is.  Is this karma, I wonder?  If so, the gods are cruel to House.  I'm terrified of next week and I think it will be a long way home for House once he inevitably goes off the deep end.  

(Image courtesy of Fox)