Lisa, our House Fan Columnist, recaps last night's episode. Was it the same old House? If you're interested in writing and love TV, think about becoming a Fan Columnist.
When House breaks its usually format, the viewer is typically in for an interesting episode (i.e. "Three Stories," "House's Head," "Wilson's Heart"). This was no exception, but I have to say I did miss the usual excitement of House interacting with his team and the patient early on. Having said that, this episode addressed some provocative ethical dilemmas and the intriguing relationship between Wilson and House.
Side note: so glad to see House singing again, especially a song like "Faith," that hopefully goes to his mindset during the episode.
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This week, our POTW was from Wilson's past. He calls Wilson "Jim" and takes him hunting every year to celebrate his remission from cancer for five years. This is enough for House to call him a "self-important jerk."
Throughout this episode, we're given a tour of the oncology wing and we see Wilson's various patients, assistant, and House popping up in the strangest of places. Wilson is so carefully attuned to his patient's Del's behavior, he notices that Del isn't bragging about his grandkids as per usual. Ordering tests, Wilson moves on to his patient-friend Tucker, who's he most focused on.
House claims that it's a recurrence of the patient's cancer whereas Wilson sees that it must be something different in his "friend" Tucker. House of course thrives on Wilson's denial of the very thought of cancer and goads him with a $100 bet that it is cancer.
We're also introduced to what would seem like Tucker's flavor of the month, Ashley, a girlfriend that Wilson easily mistook for Tucker's daughter. We soon realize that Tucker considers her a fun adventure, but relies on his ex-wife Melissa for the sound and stable medical advice. Ashley, the young and seemingly dumb, is booted for now as Tucker's former wife and daughter move in to rally around him.
In "Wilson," Wilson blames himself yet again for not just failing to come up with the right solution, but for what he sees as providing the wrong solution and basically killing his patient-friend. He takes a Housian risk by ordering double doses of chemotherapy and the good news that the cancer is gone is overshadowed by the patient's liver shutting down and his day long time table to live.
I knew it must have been a House episode I'd seen a thousand times before when I could easily diagnose Tucker's eye jaundice to mean liver failure. We saw this at least one other time in a Wilson-related episode, and that was with Amber before she died in "Wilson's Heart." I doubt this was an accident.
This episode is about responsibility. Moral, ethical, and friend to friend. In "Wilson's Heart," Wilson had no one to blame for Amber's death even though he desperately wanted to blame House. In the end, I'm sure he ended up placing some of the responsibility of her death on himself even though it was clearly not his fault.
When Tucker asks Wilson to donate part of his own liver to save a "friend," Wilson is at first turned off to the idea, solely seeing himself as Tucker's doctor. But where do his responsibilities as a doctor end and as a friend start? It takes Wilson a few drinks to realize that he is going to accept the responsibility as a friend and donate part of his liver.
Both House and Cuddy see right through this aiming straight for Wilson's weak spot: his consistent guilt. Wilson feels responsible for the patient for a number of reasons. One being that he saved him in the past, so he can't let him die now. Two, is that Tucker considers him a friend so Wilson feels obligated to play that role. And three, Wilson gave him the medical treatment that put him in the position he is in now.
House takes the opposing standpoint for a few reasons: he always plays devil's advocate, he thinks Wilson is doing this out of guilt for someone who doesn't deserve it, and he is scared Wilson is going to die. He also believes Wilson will be Wilson. Always. And this is how Wilson functions: guilty and giving to the needy.
Sum total: Wilson donates part of liver. Putting himself in a vulnerable position by asking House to be there for him during the surgery, the viewer is given honest-House yet again. He doesn't want to be there for Wilson because if Wilson dies, he's alone.
Meanwhile, Del is saved because of Wilson's astute diagnosing, but he's more modest about this catch than when he thought he first diagnosed Tucker. Why does Wilson deny responsibility when he does something worthwhile, but accept full responsibility when an undesirable outcome occurs?
While Wilson goes through the procedure, House stays by his side, as we would have predicted. Tucker, now alive and well, opts out of his family reunion tour and goes back to the girlfriend half his age. Apparently, "the person you want when you're dying isn't the same person you want when you're living." A cringe-worthy line if I've ever heard one. Thankfully, Wilson does muster up the chutzpah to stand up to Tucker and Ashley, telling them his name is James, James Wilson, and not Jim.
While all this is happening, Cuddy confides in Wilson about wanting to move to a new place with Lucas. If Wilson is correct, she's trying to get Wilson's and House's blessing all in one foul swoop. Clearly not as easy as she thought, as by the end of the episode Wilson outbids Cuddy on the condo to avenge his friend. No one hurts House without paying. And as anyone would predict, House was proud of Wilson for doing something that required anger-motivation.
Finally, we find Wilson and House together, responsible for one another, caring for one another. House is there for Wilson during a procedure he doesn't believe in, and Wilson thwarts cunning Cuddy's plans for a brand new condo to share with Lucas.
Do we really have to wait until January for the next House?