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TV: House (S06E03)

Wikipedia Fact: "

Episode Quote: "Departments of diagnostic medicine don't exist. The only reason we have one is because of House." (Dr. Lisa Cuddy)

Year of Broadcast: 2009 (20 days behind US)

Starring: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Peter Jacobson, Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spencer, Andre Braugher, Rick D. Wasserman

*Spoilers Follow*

Summary: House finds it harder to resist Vicodin now he’s away from the facility; Foreman is put in charge of Diagnostics, but he and Thirteen struggle to adapt to the new balance of power; The team treat a video game developer who places a lot of faith in internet wisdom.

Thoughts: I wasn’t entirely correct with my expectations that things would mostly be back to normal with this episode, that House would be back diagnosing patients and the programme would revert mostly to its comfortable formula.  House really has taken his treatment and Dr. Nolan’s advice to heart (and I was glad to see Nolan is still around), deciding that the only way forward is to change things as much as possible, to avoid returning to the routines that sent him down the old drug-addicted path.  It’s an interesting angle for the character, because it used to be that he would say that preserving his genius and diagnostic talent justified everything, that all the pills and unhappiness and loneliness were the price that needed to be paid.  Of course, it didn’t last – it would pretty much kill the series – and House discovered that the thrill of diagnosing complicated ailments is perhaps the one thing that can keep him focused and off the pills.

We did have a case though, and the episode managed to be something that seems to be quite rare for American TV: one that’s able to include video games and not be in any way judgemental or imply that gaming turns you into a murderer.  The video game itself seemed to be an awkward virtual reality thing with unlikely controls, standard CGI-style visuals and camera work, with some interesting character models and excellent face mapping (able to replicate Taub and Thirteen’s expressions and movements incredibly well, which would surely use quite a few resources).  Overall it was a surprisingly good effort, even if it wasn’t particularly accurate.

The case itself was interesting, with Foreman struggling to find the best approach to be the boss, Thirteen having difficulty adapting to being her boyfriend’s employee, Taub deciding there was nothing left for him there, and a patient who was wholly enamoured by the “wisdom of the crowd” idea, to the point of being willing to put up a $25,000 reward for a successful diagnosis, though I’m not sure video game developers working on cumbersome virtual reality set-ups generally have that kind of money to throw around.  And even though he wasn’t at the hospital, it was House who diagnosed the patient and discovered how important diagnostic medicine is to him, tying his story neatly back into the case.

It was interesting to compare House and Foreman in this episode, actually.  House was prepared to give up everything he had previously claimed was important in order to stay clean and happy (or at least, what his drug-addict self claimed was important).  Foreman, on the other hand, was able to finally take House’s position for real, which he has wanted for at least several seasons now.  When he discovered that his relationship with Thirteen was a problem, it seemed like the only things he considered was either ending his romantic relationship with her, or his professional one (opting for the latter when he fired her).  Ultimately giving up his position as head of diagnostics didn’t seem like a possibility for him, and it’s going to be entertaining to see what happens once he’s demoted again as House returns.

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