After watching “After Hours,” I wonder: Why is it that we don’t see more episodes like this in a House season? Is there some rule that we must always remain true to the standard formula? Must we always have a diagnosis at five or six minutes before the hour is up? And more than that, do we always need a patient of the week? Most of the episodes I’ve liked throughout the series have either broken with format or taken the cast out of their usual element. This episode is no exception, with all characters being pushed to their physical and emotional limits. With one episode left, we’re right back to the feeling we had after the first episode this season: Now what?
Foreman and Taub
I’ll start with who I felt were the least compelling pair. And might I just say, it wouldn’t be May sweeps without FOX trying to shoehorn in a scene with strippers. Note that we’ve seen strippers on House in May in seasons 4, 5, and now 7. Thus endeth the stripper rant. At any rate, Tiny Taub, of all people, managed to knock up his young ginger girlfriend of the moment. Sigh. I really wish I cared more, but since it all ties back to House, I’ll say this: Taub finally grabbing on and taking some responsibility may be foreshadowing of House doing the same. I’ve heard interviews with David Shore saying that people can’t change. House needs to make a change and at the end of its seventh season, it can’t be a small Housian step. It better be big and noteworthy.
It’s unfortunate, but so like Taub to need to be pushed to the breaking point in order to take any action. Ding, ding, ding! And this is where yet another House parallel comes in. House took himself to the physical and mental breaking point and finally, by the end of the episode admits that something does in fact, need to change. Interesting that yet again, all characters on House so want to punish themselves in the most disturbing ways. And once more I beg “the powers that be” at House, please bring Dr. Nolan back! As for Foreman, what is there to say? He literally did not have one storyline this season that was anything worth watching. Maybe season 8? Do we even care anymore?
Thirteen, Chase, and Darian
Again, the teaser this week was one that led right to the characters that we know and love. It’s a nice break from the usual teaser having very little to do with the regular cast. Thirteen is complicated; this we know. But very few people know exactly what makes her so “dark and twisty,” to throw a little Grey’s Anatomy lingo into this review. Chase, in the darkness of some late night DDXing got to know just a little more about Thirteen. I’m happy with this connection and at this point even happier that these two characters in particular are becoming closer. Thirteen’s friend Darian served the episode well for a couple of reasons. One, she forced Thirteen to realize what can happen to someone who never faces their emotional issues. Would you want to be like Darian? No, thank you. Two, Darian allowed Thirteen and Chase to work together, both of them trusting the other and opening up. In the end, Thirteen was willing to trust Chase enough to confide in him. And as another parallel to House, I’m happy to see her moving in the right direction as well.
And were we supposed to infer that Chase and Thirteen were discussing euthanization over coffee? Like when Chase euthanized Dibala and Thirteen euthanized her brother? Who wouldn’t love to overhear that conversation in a Starbucks? Thirteen opening up to someone who is not as damaged as House, (not according to Cameron of course), is a big step forward for her and could very well change the direction of her character arc. Think we’ll see a more hopeful Thirteen in season 8?
House, Cuddy, Rachel, and Wilson
Ah, who doesn’t love House’s bathroom? The people over at House certainly seem to have an affinity for it. Let’s see now. We’ve got House hallucinating Amber and his detox in there. We’ve got him pulling off his bathroom mirror and breaking it to get to vicodin after a sobering year. We’ve got Cuddy telling House she loves him in that bathroom. And then we have them bathing in post-coital bliss the first episode of this season. Let’s not forget “Bombshells,” where House actually takes the vicodin after staying sober for so long. And now we’re back. And House has seemingly gone off the deep end. And what better place to do it in?
“After Hours” was certainly all about the drama and House’s self-surgery was one for the books. In a crazy, over the top fashion, House performed a brutally graphic surgery to remove the self-inflicted tumors on himself. I don’t even know that I can type it without gagging. For multiple reasons, really. First, it was gross. Second, it was plain crazy! In order to watch this show, you must suspend your disbelief. House had to be in a real state in order to do that to himself and I have to be in a real state to imagine that he truly would. For the time being, I’ll bite. He’s desperate. He’s hurt. He thinks that fixing his leg will fix his life. And of course, it doesn’t. It’s a nice call back to last week’s “The Fix” and last season’s pondering of whether House can actually fix himself. Well, mentally he clearly can’t. Physically, he certainly attempts, but didn’t succeed. One of House’s many issues is that he thinks that the two are one and once his leg was fixed, he would be of sound mind. Clearly not.
I enjoyed that it was Cuddy who picked up for House and no one else, even though she was last on his list. Rachel was adorable in this episode and she demonstrated that her and House really did bond when House and Cuddy were together. I wish I could say Cuddy’s behavior thrilled me in this episode, but instead of being truly concerned for House, she seemed more irritated with him and disappointed. It’s not like she doesn’t have the right to be, but couldn’t she show some more compassion and less judgment? He’s clearly gone off the deep end. Her compassion for him did come through when she was willing to go through the surgery with him.
In a nice parallel to “Three Stories” and “Help Me,” House admitted to Cuddy that he does trust her, again seeming to appease her of the guilt she surely feels over breaking up with him and her guilt from the surgery on House’s leg all those years ago. I enjoyed that scene with them in particular as well as basically anything Rachel did in the entire episode. Was her letter to House mostly Cuddy or mostly Rachel? It’s clear Cuddy knows Rachel and House have a special relationship. What’s not clear is if Cuddy actually misses House at all. In “Changes,” she told her mother they were absolutely not getting back together. But doesn’t she still love him? I just have a hard time buying that Cuddy is completely over him. Maybe that’s my own delusional side coming out.
In the end, it’s Wilson who tells House that something clearly has to change. Sing another tune; we’ve heard this one before. I’m ready. House is going to be in its eighth season next year and I am ill prepared to watch another season of House struggling with drugs and his pain. Tonight’s episode pushed the limits and succeeded. If next week’s finale does what the promo showed, it could easily be just as strong of an episode. Looks to be an explosive ending.
- Okay, so when are Thirteen and Chase having sex?
- In the promo, Cuddy said she wanted House nowhere near her. My guess is that the only way she’d be that protective is if he was putting Rachel in danger.
- It doesn’t look good for the Huddies. Not likely we’ll get the happy ending we got last season.
- I liked Taub’s “call mobile” bit. It was funny to me for whatever reason.
- How cute was Rachel and her pirate lingo? It was very sweet.
- Are we being set up for a parallel or a juxtaposition? If House doesn’t change and continues being ultimately unhappy, we’ll get a juxtaposition montage at the end with Thirteen and Chase talking, Taub feeling the ginger’s tummy, and House doing something like popping a Vicodin. If it’s a parallel, we’ll have him doing something totally different. No idea what.
(Image courtesy of FOX)