As a reviewer of House, I try and do my best to visit all other reviewers (after mine are published) to see what their take was of an episode, story line, and in this case, a relationship. The last scene of “Help Me” featured a scene that I’ve been waiting for since I started watching the show. It was highly satisfying to the point of rewatching it an embarrassing amount of times.
Not everyone feels the way I do. Some of the reviews I’ve read said that that kiss and that scene were not earned. I’m wondering if they’re watching the same show I am. So, I am taking it upon myself to prove that that scene was perfection by looking back at past seasons and how we ended up here.
I recently wrote in one of my articles that House is not a happy show. I know what to expect when I turn it on. I expect to see one man’s heroic downfall. Or at least I did, until Monday night. I am not good with temptation so I was spoiled as to what would happen throughout the episode, the exception being that last scene. It was what I had always hoped for, but couldn’t envision the House writers getting it right. Well, congratulations are in order.
Let’s jump right in. House is alone, sitting in his bathroom. My mind jumps right back to last season’s detox with House and Cuddy staring at each other while he desperately tries to grab the pills she flushed. When he asks her, “You going to leap across the room and grab them out of my hand?” he is clearly thinking about the same thing. In the fantasy, she saves him from himself. He doesn’t want to change so much as having someone come in and rescue him.
I love that she says its his choice. I feel like this is one of her last ounces of self-preservation. She doesn’t want to have to save him. She wants him to want to save himself, so she knows she can move on with him.
Take a look at the clothes they’re wearing. House’s motorcycle jacket has made its way into some of the show’s most important scenes. He was wearing it after the bus accident and more importantly, it made a rare reappearance in “Joy” when he goes to Cuddy to build her back up after losing the baby. She’s dressed down. It’s rare we see Cuddy looking anything less than a hot authority figure, but in both scenes, the only real love scenes we get with these two, she’s in scrubs. Obviously, there’s much more to her appeal than her physical appearance despite House constantly making cracks about her body. Also in both scenes, her hair is pulled back, revealing her face much more clearly than we’re used to seeing. Could be about her being more open and vulnerable.
The dialogue in this scene was simple. Not much was said, and what was said was carried off so incredibly well by the actors, it was impossible not to believe what they were saying. House’s expression after Cuddy said she it ended it with Lucas was priceless. It was the absolute last thing he was expecting from her. And why would he after she tore into him at the accident site earlier? It’s what he’s wanted to hear since she and Lucas started dating. House is rarely a character that registers shock on his face. It’s too vulnerable of an emotion. His face after she told him she had ended it reminded me of his face in “Lucky Thirteen” when he found out Cuddy was adopting. House has a way of knowing things before people tell him so it’s rare that he’s surprised. His shock mirrored mine. The difference was that I let out a shriek that that could have woken the dead.
All the theorizing this season on why House and Cuddy weren’t getting more scenes together have finally culminated in what I consider this hypothesis: bad timing, self-preservation, and fear. In season five, Cuddy was ready for House. In “Let Them Eat Cake” she confronted him with “Everyone knows this is going somewhere.” While not entirely vulnerable to him, she did give herself to him physically and he blew it. So much so that at the end of that scene, we see him and can barely hear him when he swears (arguably).
After that, she shut herself off to him for the most part. It wasn’t going to be her making the moves. In season six, House was ready, but Cuddy, knowing that trying things with House was too emotionally risky, moved on to be with someone more safe and less complicated. Enter Lucas.
House pursues, Cuddy deflects. And she deflects hard. Her words to House this season haven’t been her nicest, but it’s all for the sake of pushing him away so he doesn’t seem like an option to her anymore. Hurt him so he can’t hurt her. By the end of an exhausting season capped off with an even more exhausting day, Cuddy cracks. And while to some, it might seem like a fairytale ending, to me it felt like an ending that was earned for both of them. This whole season they’ve both been doing what they think they should be to be happy the safe way.
Why wouldn’t it take an emotionally draining day plus a vulnerable House confession to bring her back to where she knows she wants to be? Now, for those that think House is merely turning into a soap opera I have this to say: trust the writers. They know House-land better than any of us and they’ve gotten us to this point organically. This pairing between House and Cuddy isn’t a soapy-it’s real. And we’ve known they’ve connected for some time now. From “Known Unknows” where the seed that House has loved Cuddy for years to that scene in “5 to 9” where Cuddy relies on House for her adult needs, we know these two people connect. Not to mention their scenes in the rest of the series. Why does that have to mean to some people that the show has gone off the deep end?
I watch this show for insight about a character, namely House. If you watch this show to strictly be informed of medical mysteries, I think you’re missing out. Because this show is about a man, not about the final diagnosis. So let’s let our man explore what he deserves after a long year of struggle against his inner drug demons and after an even longer struggle of being alone.
Back to the dialogue. Once Cuddy tells House she’s ended it, we’re given some honesty. It’s rare we see both of them being honest with each other, and House asking her “Do you think I can fix myself?” was beautiful. Her not knowing reflects us as viewers. We don’t know if House can make it, but what we now know is that Cuddy loves House. Confirms everything I believed from the get-go.
Her lines, “I love you. I wish I didn’t. But I can’t help it.” She loves him in spite of herself, and there’s only so much the woman can do to deny her feelings. I love that the camera stayed on her during her confession and loved even more that she had to help him up for them to kiss.
No music in the scene while they were talking until the very end. The music to me felt like an old romance. It reminded me of a classical romantic couple. Nice symmetry with the string instruments to “As Tears Go By” in last year’s finale. Their kiss was sweet and both of them looked so at ease with one another and peaceful. It wasn’t oversexed like the hallucination. It was understated and sweet.
And House’s final address to her commenting on one of his biggest fears, that his key to happiness isn’t really happening, was a straight shot to the audience. “How do I know I’m not hallucinating?” he asks. “Did you take the vicodin?” she asks. “No.” Then, a line with deeper meaning: “Then I think we’re okay.” With House not taking it, he’s choosing to try feeling. Feeling anything. More pain, more happiness. Cuddy knows that House not taking it means that they at least have a shot.
Her smile to him after that was so genuine and then his short answer back to her of “Yeah,” just solidified them for me, as well as the intertwined hands. I can’t wait to see how the writers meet the challenge of giving this relationship a shot. It certainly won’t be easy. But nothing in House-land ever is.
(Image courtesy of Fox)