"So, this is the story you made up about who you are. It's a nice one." -AmberI have no interest in letting my Twitter account overtake my blogging or column-writing -- I have trouble expressing an opinion in 140 words, let alone 140 characters -- and yet I'm half-tempted to just copy and paste what I Tweeted immediately after watching this episode, which was "David Shore and company need to lay off the M. Night Shyamalan marathons."
"Too bad it isn't true." -Kutner
You get the point. It's not that I necessarily object to surprise twists -- it's that I object to the same kind of surprise twist, told over and over, by the same storyteller. Piling one hallucination on top of House's previous hallucination, on a show that already did a season finale where the main character was unwittingly hallucinating (and then did a season finale last year where he was having visions but was aware of it), well... that's too much. Sorry. When you go to that well multiple times, it stops being a cool trick and becomes just a trick.
Now, we all pointed out the phoniness of House's instant detox and clean-up last week, and the Hollywood improbability of Cuddy being willing to kiss and have sex with a guy she'd just seen puke and reach into toilets. So it doesn't feel like a cheat that that would be phony. But I don't think having House enter rehab after this hallucination feels any more powerful than if he'd done it when Amber wouldn't go away. It just feels like Shore and the other writers (in this case, Doris Egan) are just scratching for new games they can play with the audience, and I'm tired of it. Just tell the damn story, tell it straightforward, and trust that you have one of the best actors on television to make it interesting.
And yet, for all of the many problems I've had with this season, and for all the cursing and grumbling I did after House had his epiphany in Cuddy's office, I still find myself looking forward to next season. Some of that's obviously on Hugh Laurie -- the guy's brilliant enough that the show would have to fall much, much further for me to want to stop watching him in it -- but some of it's on where this conceivably takes House.
I complain a lot about Shore's reluctance to follow through, and to restore the status quo whenever possible. But there was a finality to the look on House's face when he looked back at Wilson while entering the rehab hospital(*), that, coupled with all the build-up of the last few episodes, suggests this isn't something Shore intends to scrap like the Ketamine cure or many of the other "Nothing will ever be the same again!" cliffhangers. Maybe he's just fooling me again (though, in fairness to Shore, he never did re-assemble the original team like I thought he was going to do, however much that enrages the Cameron/Chase fans), but if he's not, I look forward to seeing what the show's like when House isn't a junkie.
(*) And boy am I glad I still had "24" buffered when I got to the end of my "House" recording and found that it cut off before the end. For those of you in a similar situation, all that happened after 9:00 was Cameron and Chase walking back down the aisle as a married couple, and House looking back at Wilson as he was being checked into rehab.
And before we got to the dumb "Sixth Sense" twist, there were a number of strong moments, from the patient's rogue left hand stroking his girlfriend's face with affection, to House being human for once and realizing that Carl Reiner(**) really needed someone to be with him as he dealt with the news of his cancer. So even when the show's doing straight-up Patient of the Week scenes, it can still get it done.
(**) I said it after seeing "Ocean's Eleven," and I'll say it again here: who woulda thunk that Reiner would be such an effective dramatic actor?
I'm not giving up on "House," no matter how much I grumble. But if we discover that the admission to rehab was another hallucination, well... that's a dealbreaker, ladies.
What did everybody else think?