On Monday’s episode of House, we not only got greater insight into Cuddy’s daily life, but we were also shown the balance or lack of balance in her relationships. House and Cuddy have a rich history of undeniable chemistry. “5 to 9” established that they trust one another. And they love one another (arguably).
So where and why does Lucas enter the picture? Let’s be clear. He’s good for her on an emotional level, because in most other areas, he is childish. This isn’t to say House doesn’t have some of those same immature qualities. House can be plenty immature, but everyone knows that there is much more behind it. What’s behind Lucas’ immaturity? More immaturity is my guess. This isn’t to say he’s incapable of loving Cuddy, but it is to say that he loves her differently than House.
Lisa Edelstein has said in interviews that Lucas’ character is willing to show up for Cuddy. He’s the “good on paper” guy, whereas House is damaged and has an addictive and obsessive personality. So as a strong woman, who would you choose? The guy who has been mostly honest with you from the get-go? The one who pursued you with clear intentions? Who would be there for you and Rachel without question? Or House, who is the definition of “work in progress?”
Let’s take a closer look at the exchanges between Lucas and Cuddy and between House and Cuddy to determine who might be best for Cuddy at this time. And if who she thinks is best, is really the best.
The episode opens with Cuddy’s routine. Yoga first, and then interrupted by a sick Rachel. Finally getting it together, she’s running out the door when Lucas comes in to slow her down and to supposedly do her a favor and “loosen” her up. Not a job well done. Or done at all, for that matter. Then we see Cuddy giving herself an affirmation. It’s for her. And it’s done without regard to Lucas in the room. He’s clearly unimportant to her at that moment. “You can do it,” she says. “Do what?” he says.
To me this moment defines their relationship. Lucas doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get her. They can have fun together, they can act like a family, but she’ll never have as in-depth a relationship with him as she does with House.
As soon as she leaves Lucas, she is put face to face with her other favorite man letting her immediately know that Lucas told him they have sex every morning and had bet on her answering her pager for House in the middle of it. Cuddy is subtly unhappy about this, but doesn’t let House see her too angry. She wasn’t, in fact, very angry at all. A quick scolding to Lucas and she was back to trusting him.
By the way, anyone else find it strange that after Lucas’ pranks in “Moving the Chains” that House and Lucas ended up on a bromantic stake out together? Methinks House has an ulterior motive. Although I guess it could have been just finding out as much as possible about Cuddy’s sex life. Check!
Lucas brings her lunch, but also manages to bring her the nanny’s phone, cutting off communication with her. Cuddy’s frustration with him is clear. She also hasn’t completely confided in him about the deal with Atlantic Net. Lucas knows something isn’t going her way and offers a solution in the only way he’s capable: digging up dirt. Cuddy likes his simplicity. Don’t get me wrong, Lucas isn’t an idiot. He’s conniving and sometimes calculated. He can also be sweet, but he’ll never beat House at his own game. Not in the end.
House’s interactions with Cuddy become more and more adult as the episode wears on. In spite of herself, she asks him what to do about Atlantic Net. Old House would have made her eat her words for letting him in and admitting that she wanted his opinion. New House relishes the idea of her wanting his advice and he gives it to her with good intentions.
And then the car scene which I loved. Two adults with real consideration of each other. Who know each other. Who care for each other. Problem solving. She now trusts him as a person who has her best interest in mind, at least in the short term. But what about the long term?
In the final scene in bed, Lucas is there, but does she want him there? At first he puts her hand on her and she takes it away. She is fulfilled with just her and Rachel. Then she changes her mind and invites Lucas back by taking his hand and putting it on her. Maybe it’s about control for her. With House, she’s out of control. She can’t have a say in how it will go over time. With Lucas, he’ll do what she wants, whatever she says. It’s not a high stakes game.
While Lucas is the safe bet for now (even though I still think he’s a manipulative jerk where House is concerned), will Cuddy start to realize that House’s changes may be more permanent than she had thought?
I hope so. The chemistry between House and Cuddy makes both of them tick. House doesn’t show up in her office strictly for medical knowledge. They lean on each other. They know one another. And that kind of relationship doesn’t come around often enough not to take advantage of. Knowing Cuddy now though, I wonder if she’s even emotionally capable of taking that risk after she’s been knocked down so many times where House is concerned.
I know who I’m rooting for. What about you?
-Lisa B. Palmer, BuddyTV Fan Columnist
(Image courtesy of Fox)